Course approval process

Number of courses

Waterloo students must take at least the minimum number of courses as required by their host school for a given term. However, regardless of the number of courses you will actually take or finish while on exchange, the Waterloo tuition you pay is the equivalent of five UW courses (i.e. 2.5 unit course load).

Regardless of how many courses students complete while on an exchange term, the maximum number of transfer credits they can receive at Waterloo will be equivalent to 2.5 units. 

Using both the host school's website, make a list of courses you would want to take that you believe are similar enough to qualify for Waterloo credit.

We recommend you discuss potential options with your academic advisor(s) to confirm which courses work best for your degree progression. 

Your course choices may change throughout the application process; remember at every step that we cannot guarantee course availability abroad. It is important to be flexible when selecting your courses. We also recommend that you select extra courses for backup options as changes may occur after arriving at the host school. 

Course approval requests

Begin by checking the exchange course equivalencies chart to see if the course you are planning to take has already been assessed for a Waterloo course equivalency. If your course appears on the exchange course equivalencies chart then you do not need to take any further steps.

For any courses you plan to take that do not appear on the exchange course equivalencies chart you must submit your course requests for approval by e-mailing the department advisor responsible for the course area you are seeking equivalency in, as listed under ‘Contacts’ below. (ie. email the advisor for Statistics when seeking approval for a STAT course.)

Make sure to include the following details:

  • Subject line: term abroad, host school- your last name (ie: F18, Leeds Exchange - Smith)
  • Email Body
    • Your full name with UW ID#
    • Name of the host school (where the course is being offered)
    • the host course title with code/number
    • the course description, and URL link and/or syllabus (if available). Please provide as much detail as possible, as this betters your chance of recieving accurate approval
    • suggested UW course match, and/or any other information that you feel may help with the assessment

Please copy the Math Exchange Office on all your correspondence.

Math Faculty contacts

Program/Course Code Advisor contact         
ACTSC Emily Kozlowski 
AMATH Eduardo Martin-Martinez
BUS *(non-DD)  Keith Freeland
CO David Jao
COMM Peter Blake
CS Nomair Naeem  
MATBUS Math Exchange Office
MATH Math Exchange Office
PMATH Stephen New
STAT   Riley Metzger

Double Degree students:

  • If you are requesting Laurier BUS courses, you should contact Bethany Ankucza at Laurier. This is for course approval AND to verify if courses can count toward a concentration. NOTE: only Double Degree students wanting BUS courses should contact Bethany.

Non-math course approval requests

The next step – course approval process

The advisor will email you back if you have been approved for one of the following:

  • an exact equivalent, with the name of an existing UW course (i.e. ACTSC 446). This means that it has been determined that course content is close enough to the UW course content to earn the UW credit
  • an unspecified equivalent (i.e. ACTSC 3xx/STAT 4xx/CS 2xx). In this case, the advisor has determined that the host school’s course is a course in that subject at the equivalent level, but it does not have an exact equivalent match at UW. This can replace a general requirement but cannot replace a specifically required course. For example, STAT 3xx could count as a 300-level math course for a STAT major but it could not replace the STAT 330 degree requirement

If this email has does not CC Math Exchange, please forward your approval(s) to Math Exchange Office.

After you have arrived at your host school     

If you need to make changes/additions to your courses after your arrival, please do so by submitting course requests as per the process above.

Advisors will work as quickly as possible to review your requests. We must, however, strongly encourage you to reach out as soon as possible; do not wait until the last minute. Please also be mindful of the time difference between your host school's location and Waterloo, using tools such as a smartphone's world clock.

Once you've finalised your courses at your host school

Kindly consult this sample credit transfer chart explaining the credit equivalencies between foreign institutions and Waterloo course units.

Host University Full Course Load 2.5 Waterloo Units Equivalent 2.0 Waterloo Units Equivalent 1.5 Waterloo Units Equivalent
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) 30 ECTS 27-30 ECTS 21-26 ECTS 15-20 ECTS
Univ of Birmingham 60 Credits 60 Credits 48 credits 36 credits
National University of Singapore (NUS) 20 Modular Credits (MCs) 20 MCs 16 MCs 12 MCs
Nanyang Technological University 16-18 academic units (AU) 16 AU 12 AU 9 AU
Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U) 15 Credits 15 Credits 12 Credits 9 Credits
Lund University 60 Credits 60 Credits 48 Credits 36 Credits
POSTECH 15 Credits 15 credits 12 credits 10 credits (minimum required)
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) 30 ECTS 27-30 ECTS 21-26 ECTS 15-20 ECTS
The Australian National University (ANU) 24 units 24 units 18 units 12 units

Additionally, complete this transfer credit form. Please only complete the form once you're certain that these are your final courses, after you arrive at your host institution. Your transfer credits cannot be processed until your official transcript is received from the host school. Standard processing times for transfer credits once the official transcript is received is 2-4 weeks.