This list of frequently asked questions has been prepared by the School of Planning Undergraduate Office.
Where can I find when a course is offered and who teaches it?
Please refer to the schedule of classes.
Why can't I access Quest or enrol in any courses?
If you get a message from Quest indicating that you have a “Service Indicator” or "Hold", it generally means that you have fees owing (course fees, tuition, or parking). To confirm fees owing, click on "Personal Portfolio” and then “HOLD”. If you owe PLAN or ENVS course fees, contact Tiffany Chen to determine the amount to be paid to settle your account. Once the outstanding balance has been paid, it takes about 10 days to process the paperwork to release the hold. It is very important that you pay all course fees before the end of each term to eliminate any enrolment problems, and so you can access your grades.
Why is a course not appearing on Quest when trying to enrol?
On Quest, if the requested course is not appearing, it may not be offered, it may be full or the only seats remaining are reserved for other programs. You should refer to the schedule of classes to determine why you don’t have the option to enrol. You can view the class limit, number of students enrolled and whether it’s offered that particular term.
Why do I get an error message when trying to enrol in a course?
If you get an error message when trying to enrol in a course, it means that the course has not been added to your schedule and you have not been enrolled in the course. If the course is full, or the seats are reserved for other programs, you must contact the instructor to obtain permission to get into the course.
If you get a course conflict message, it means that the course you are trying to add overlaps with another course, and you must choose a conflict-free course.
What can I do if a course is full?
If a course is full, you can send the instructor an email to see if you can get into the class, since the instructor is the only person who can increase the class limit for a non-Planning course. You can obtain an instructor's email and contact information through WatIAM or contact their Department.
If you are successful in obtaining a spot in the class, forward the instructor’s email to Tiffany Chen who will request the registrar's office to add the course to your schedule. Please include the course code and your ID# in the email. If the course is a Planning course, check with school’s undergraduate advisor, rather than the instructor, to see if there is room in the class and if the limit can be increased.
If you are trying to get into a Wilfrid Laurier course that is full, you must contact them directly at 519-884-1970.
What does this error message, "Available seats are reserved. Reserved seat requirement not met." mean?
This error message means that you are not enrolled in the course, since the only available spots are reserved for other programs. Contact the instructor to see if you can get into the class.
If the instructor approves your request, forward the email to Tiffany Chen who will arrange course enrolment.
Can I take a course without the required pre-requisite?
Generally speaking, you cannot take a course without the required pre-requisite.
What is an Antireq. (antirequisite)?
An antireq. is a condition preventing enrolment in a course. The most common antirequisites are courses that have significant overlap. Degree credit will not be granted for both the antirequisite course and a course naming it as such.
Enrolling in a lecture/seminar and a tutorial/lab/studio
If courses have a lecture/seminar and a tutorial/lab/studio component, students must enrol in both sections. Normally, the total class time is three hours/week.
What is a double-weighted course?
Some courses are double-weighted and are worth 1.0 unit (i.e. PLAN 313). They count for two courses and fees are paid as such. The course duration does not span over two terms.
What time do classes start and finish?
Courses can start as early as 8:30 am and as late as 7:00 pm.
The final courses of the day end at 10:00 pm.
What electives should I take?
This is your choice! Take elective courses that interest you. Electives can be chosen from any department on campus, as long as there is course availability.
Can I take a language course?
Yes. If you have prior experience with the language, contact the instructor or the Department to see if you qualify for the course.
If I'm short a course how can I make it up?
If you are short a course, it can be made up during an off term or work term by taking an online course or by taking an extra course in your 4A or 4B term.
Pursuing an option, minor, diploma, or specialization?
How do I know what text books I need?
You can view BookLook on the Bookstore website.
Do I have to use my university email account?
Yes! The University of Waterloo email account is considered the official line of communication. If you haven't already done so, please activate your University of Waterloo email account. Instructions on how to link your current email account to your uwaterloo account can be found on the Mapping Analysis and Design (MAD) website.
When sending any e-mails to staff or faculty of the University of Waterloo use you university email account and include your name and student id number.
What happens if I fall below the required average ?
Co-op students must maintain a cumulative major average of 75% (all PLAN and ENVS courses) and a cumulative overall average of 65%. A student who does not maintain the required average(s) will be given a conditional term to bring their average up to the required level the following term.
Should the student fail to meet the academic plan requirements at the end of the conditional term, she/he will receive a “failed” standing. Normally, students in 2A or above receiving a “failed” standing are eligible to apply for re-admission after an absence of two consecutive academic terms. A co-op work term immediately following a required to withdraw standing is not counted toward the two-term absence.
A student who is given a “failed” standing at the end of their second term of study, will, normally, be required to successfully complete the foundation term. (A student still maintains the option to withdraw for two academic terms). A student who continues in her/his studies after either a successful foundation term or an absence of two consecutive academic terms will have her/his record cleared; that is, grades achieved in all previous terms will not be included in the calculation of cumulative averages. Calculation of cumulative averages will begin with the foundation term or upon readmission after an absence of two consecutive terms. Courses taken prior to the foundation term or readmission will remain on the student’s official academic record. Cleared courses with grades over 50% will contribute to the total credits required up to 10.0 units.
Students are allowed to have only one foundation term or failed standing on their transcript while in their ENV program. Students not achieving their program averages for a second time will be unable to continue in Planning or in the Faculty of Environment.
What should I do if I am struggling with school, personal or health issues?
University is a challenging time, there are many services offered on campus to assist you. Below is a list of the most common services that range from study help to counselling.
- Tiffany Chen, your academic advisor, is available to see you regarding any issues that you may be concerned about or struggling with. Her office hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-11:30 and 1:30-3:30. An appointment isn’t necessary; you can just drop by her office in EV3-3209.
- Instructors and/or teaching assistants can provide support (and possibly recommend tutors) for your course issues. You may feel intimidated about approaching one of them, but they are REAL people who are there to help you, and their goal is for you to succeed in their class.
- Counselling Services can provide you with individual counselling, and you can arrange an appointment in Needles Hall (NH), room 2068 or by calling 519-888-4567, ext. 32655.
- The Student Success Office is here to help guide you through your time at Waterloo, whether it’s supporting you in your first-year experience, connecting you to leadership and development opportunities or helping you adjust to Canadian culture as an international student. You can find them on the second floor of South Campus Hall.
- Study skills are also available through the Student Success Office on a variety of topics such as: study skills, writing skills, time management, preparing for and writing exams, cramming, etc.
- Workshops are also offered through Counselling Services on areas such as: managing your mood, stress management, coping skills, procrastination, and depression.
Tutor Connect an online tutoring board that connects students tutors with students who need a tuto
- If you are experiencing financial pressure, you may be eligible to apply for a bursary through Student Awards.
- If you are concerned about your writing skills, the Writing Centre can help you with the necessary skills for academic success.
- The Centre for Career Action can also provide a list of jobs (summer, part-time, work placement, volunteer, etc.) which are available to all students. They offer a variety of workshops such as: interview skills, success on the job, working effectively in another culture.
- Health Services provides on-site family physicians for registered students which includes urgent care and walk-in care.
- The Federation of Students runs a food bank. It's a place students can get free groceries when things get tight, especially at the end of term.
We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free services above that students find very helpful. Our goal is that each and every one of you succeeds and enjoys your experience at Waterloo!
Application to Graduate
Application to graduate forms due online:
- March 1 for Spring Convocation (completing requirements in the winter term);
- December 1 for Spring Convocation (completing requirements in the fall term);
- August 1 for Fall Convocation (completing requirements in the spring term).
Forms must be completed online through the registrar's office "forms" link.
Graduation photos - appointments are booked online through Lifetouch. Grad photos are taken in the Student Life Centre (SLC) year round. Please see Lifetouch's website for your specific class composite deadline. Grad photo questions can be directed to Lifetouch using the contact form.
For more information on graduate photos, see the Registrar's Office website under "Frequently asked questions about convocation"
Graduation ceremony and planning ring presentation
The School of Planning is delighted to offer all graduates of the Planning program an official School Ring which will be presented at our Graduation Ceremony following convocation.
Please ensure that you have all course and library fees, parking fines, etc. paid by the end of the term.
To determine if you have fees owing, check on Quest under “Personal Data” and select “Service Indicators”.
Confirm your address on quest
It is important to confirm that your mailing and home addresses, as well as your current email address, are accurate on Quest in case the Registrar’s Office needs to get in touch with you immediately regarding your program requirements or graduation.
The University of Waterloo holds two convocations each year - one in mid-June and the other in late October.
Please see the Registrar's Office website for Convocation details.
Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP)/Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI)
Our programs are recognized by the CIP for membership eligibility purposes. Membership is managed by CIP affiliates such as the OPPI. Graduates from Waterloo's degree programs must apply for Provisional member status and complete a minimum of 24 months of post-graduation experience in the Planning profession to be eligible for full membership. Candidates must also complete log books that detail relevant work experiences. Once the log books have been approved by OPPI, candidates must pass an oral examination (Examination A) that focuses on ethics and professionalism. Members of OPPI are also automatically members of CIP. Full members in Ontario are called Registered Professional Planners (RPP), and are entitled to use the initials "MCIP, RPP" after their names.
I am confused about the CR (credit) or NCR (no credit) option for my Winter 2020 courses.
- For Winter 2020 term only, students will have the ability to request to have any numeric grade converted to the CR/NCR grading basis.
- A CR grade will be given for a passing grade (50% and more) and a NCR will be given for a failing grade (49% and less).
- Once requested, there is no approval process, and there is no going back. Petitions to revert the CR/NCR back to a numeric grade will not be approved.
- All PLAN/ENVS courses will count towards your Planning degree average.
- Your past grades always carry forward. Your Winter 2020 average and academic standing will be based on the available numeric grades. CR and NCR grades have no impact on any average calculation.
Review the CR/NCR Memo(PDF) sent out to you from the University back in March 31, 2020.
If you need more guidance to determine whether you should choose the CR/NCR option or not, please reach out to your Academic Advisor, Tiffany Chen (email@example.com).
Spring 2020 term and CR/NCR grades
The CR/NCR grade conversion choice available for Winter 2020 - which was implemented due to emergency shift in teaching methods and assessments - is not planned for the Spring 2020 term.
Can I take courses during my Fall 2020 work term?
Students going into a scheduled Fall 2020 work term have an option to take up to five electives in Fall 2020 (instead of a sequence change).
- During the course selection period, students with a Fall 2020 work term will be able to select one course in addition to their WatPD course.
- During the Drop/Add Period (August 4-5), students interested in taking 2 academic courses during their Fall 2020 work term should discuss this with their academic program advisor and will also require permission from their employer, once employed.
- As of August 18, co-op students who are still unemployed will be able to register for additional courses (subject to availability). Please contact The Centre if you are unemployed and unable to register.
For more information:
What are the changes to my coop work terms?
There are three parts to your Co-op Plan Requirements:
- A minimum of four satisfactory work terms.
- A minimum of four Professional Development (PD) courses.
- A minimum of four work-term reports.
Any student unable to obtain a co-op credit for a Spring and/or Fall 2020 work term, the minimum number of work terms required by the program will be reduced to:
- 3 – work terms
- 3 – PD courses
- 3 – work term reports
Due to accreditation, this is the least number of work terms, PD courses, and work term reports that students will be allowed to graduate with.
Only students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring and/or Fall 2020 will be considered for this reduced minimum.
Please note that the reduced number of work terms is not cumulative (i.e., if a student is unable to obtain a co-op credit for both for Spring AND Fall 2020, they are still only eligible for a reduction of one work term).
*Note: PD 6 & PD 8 have a work report component embedded in the course which you can opt-in to.
Do I still need to take a PD course if I don’t have a job?
Yes. You need to complete a PD course during each work term until your PD requirements have been fulfilled, even if you haven’t found employment in a given term. It’s still possible to complete all of the assessments in every PD course without employment. You can reflect on your academic experience or volunteer work in lieu of referencing time in the workplace.
If you are worried or have a question about something in your PD course related to employment, contact your course team for assistance.
For other PD course questions, visit the frequently asked questions page found on the Professional Development Program website.
I am in my 2B term going into my Work Term One in Spring 2020. Would I qualify for a course with "pre-requisite: at least 3A"?
The system will identify you as a 3A student if you’ve completed 10.00 units (20 courses) even though your prescribed 3A term isn’t until Fall 2020. Keep in mind that current 2B students will be doing a study term in Spring 2021 and will be taking core courses and electives again. We encourage you to explore your options carefully for Spring 2020.
Why was PLAN 313 cancelled?
Planning has a mix of courses that were already planned to be online, and those that can be adapted for successful online learning in the time frame we have. In cases like Plan 313, a studio based project course with unique teaching / learning demands and where there are serious limitations on achieving learning outcomes, we have decided not to offer the course.
The spring 3B cohort will still have the opportunity to complete the urban design specialization as per the following:
- For the required Plan 409 UD specialization course offered in Winter 2021;
- a transcript note will be added for this requirement to be waived. (will be missing Plan313)
- For completing the required 1.0 unit electives for the UD specialization –
- Recognize that Plan 409 uses the two elective spots in your 4A winter term (Winter 2021).
- We would recommend you take Plan414 (Heritage Planning Workshop) which we are offering this Spring 2020 and
- Either Plan408 (Urban Design Seminar) or Plan 431 (Issues in Housing) – both to be offered in Winter2022 to complete the UD specialization.
What electives should I take?
To help you decide what electives to take, here is some information to consider:
- If you want to work towards your Planning Degree elective requirements, keep in mind that you have 2 first-year electives, 3 second-year electives, and 9 upper-year electives to complete.
- All PLAN/ENVS courses will count towards your degree average in which you must obtain a cumulative overall average of 75%.
- You may want to work towards a minor or a specialization.
- Use the Schedule of Classes to see what is offered this spring. To understand requirements and eligibility for these courses, you can refer to the course descriptions in the Undergraduate Calendar.
- If you would like to take a course that is currently full, you must e-mail the course instructor and ask for their permission to join the course.
Where can I find the latest updates on COVID-19 from the University?
University of Waterloo Official Resources of interest: