Information for

Exchange programs - studies abroad

This website provides supplementary information for Psychology Majors regarding exchange programs.

Navigation for this site:

Choose an exchange program

The educational and cultural benefits, and in some cases linguistic benefits, of participating in an international exchange program are significant.

Which exchange program is best for you will depend on, for example,

  1. the geographic region you are interesting in going to,
  2. your interest in the courses that are available at the host school,
  3. how well the course offerings at the host school map on to your remaining degree requirements,
  4. the start and end dates for the exchange program which can affect your progress at the University of Waterloo.

Waterloo International: Where can I go?

Faculty of Arts students:

  • See exchange destinations including details by university regarding the start and end dates for school terms, descriptions of the credit weight systems, and grade expectations for transfer credits to the UWaterloo record.
  • interactive Google Map that charts international destinations and experiences.

Miscellaneous considerations pertaining to particular schools

Please review carefully the course enrolment restrictions (if applicable) listed on the websites for the host school.

For example:

Newcastle University reported (August 2010) that University of Waterloo students will not be permitted to take Psychology courses at Newcastle because the discipline of Psychology falls under the jurisdiction of the medical school at Newcastle University. The medical school will not admit exchange students to courses. University of Waterloo students are also not allowed to take courses in the area of Law at Newcastle. Guidance notes at Newcastle University

The University of Sheffield restricts the enrolment by exchange students in courses across several disciplines. Note only level 1 Psych courses are on the approved list for exchange students in 2014.

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Start and end dates for the exchange

Check the dates for specific exchanges on the Waterloo International website.

The start and end dates for exchange program don't necessarily coincide with the time frames of the UWaterloo school terms. Please take this into consideration when choosing an exchange program. The target for completing the degree could potentially be extended if the exchange affects your ability to complete work terms (co-op students only) or required courses at UWaterloo in a timely fashion.

If courses at the host school have final examination requirements, you must do the final exams. We don't allow students to request alternate course requirements for the final exam requirements e.g., so students can travel before returning to Canada, or for those in the co-op system of study to begin work terms on time.

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Transfer credits and residency requirements

Review the general transfer credit policies and residency requirements for your Faculty:

Faculty of Arts students: See exchange destinations including details by university regarding the credit weight systems and grade expectations for transfer credits to the UWaterloo record.

Faculty of Science students: Contact the Undergraduate Services Coordinator (see contacts) in your Faculty for details regarding the grade expectations for transfer credits from exchange programs to the UWaterloo record.

Grades for courses taken on exchange will not be factored into your UWaterloo average calculations.

Transfer credit is not allowed for courses taken within professional programs e.g., the Faculty of Law at Tilburg University.

For the residency requirements for the Psychology Major, see Psychology Department policies.

For tips regarding psychology courses on exchange, see develop a course plan (next section) for details.

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Develop a course plan

If most of the remaining courses for the degree are required courses rather than elective choices, you must be very selective about the courses for the exchange program.

Course availability at UWaterloo

Note the following about Psychology course availability:

  • PSYCH 291 is offered Fall only and is taken before PSYCH 292.
  • PSYCH 292 is offered Winter only and is taken before PSYCH 391.
  • PSYCH 391:
  • Social science research methods courses (PSYCH 389, 393, 395, 397, 399) are offered Fall only. The corequisite for enrolment is PSYCH 391.
  • Natural science research methods courses (PSYCH 390, 392, 394, 396, 398) are offered Winter and Spring only. Limited offerings of these in the Spring term, and those in the co-op system of study have priority enrolment for the Spring section(s). Most students take PSYCH 391 the Fall term prior to taking the natural science research methods course. A few students will take PSYCH 391/39X concurrently in the Winter term.
  • PSYCH 465 (Applied Apprenticeship) and PSYCH 467 (Human Resources Apprenticeship) are optional courses that are offered Winter only.

The above courses are not offered online. PSYCH 391 plus Psych 389, 390, 392 through PSYCH 399 are open to those in Honours Psychology and Make-Up Psychology only (see psychology programs).

PSYCH 292 equivalent

Transfer credit assessment in this category has been limited:

  • Bond University in Australia (evaluated August 2015):
    PSYCH 292 credit would be given for PSYC 11-105 (Statistics and Data Analysis 1).
  • Tilburg University in the Netherlands (evaluated January 2015):
    PSYCH 292 credit would be given for 424503 (Introduction to Statistical Methods).

PSYCH 391 equivalent

Transfer credit assessment in this category has been limited.

  • Bond University in Australia (evaluated August 2015):
    PSYCH 391 credit would be given for PSYC 12-200 (Statistics and Data Analysis 2)
  • Deakin University in Australia (Winter 2008):
    PSYCH 391 credit was given for HPS 301 (Research Methods in Psychology B).
  • Leeds University in England (2008/2009): 
    One student attended Leeds for 2 terms and earned PSYCH 292/391 transfer credit for the combination of PSYCH 1036/1037.
    Note: PSYCH 1036 alone does not equal PSYCH 292. PSYCH 1037 alone does not equal PSYCH 391.
  • Tilburg University in the Netherlands (evaluated Winter 2015):
    PSYCH 391 credit would be given for 424521 (Experimental Research Methods).

Natural Science Advanced Research Methods equivalents (PSYCH 392, 394, 396, 398)

Transfer credit assessment in this category has been limited:

  • National University of Singapore (Winter 2006):
    PSYCH 39X (Natural Science Research Methods) plus PSYCH 4XX (Honours Seminar) was given for the combination of PL 4880B (Human Psychophysiology) and PL 4880E (Neuroscience of Memory).
  • University of Wollongong  in Australia (Winter 2015):
    PSYCH 394 credit would be given for PSYC 345 Advanced Topics in Cognition.

Social Science Advanced Research Methods equivalents (PSYCH 393, 395, 397, 399)

Nobody has taken an equivalent to a social science research methods course while on exchange.

Advanced Psychology course equivalents

If there is a UWaterloo equivalent for the course, the transfer credit will be specified accordingly.

If there is no UWaterloo course equivalent, the course requirements normally must include the following to be classified as PSYCH 3XX (advanced Psychology) instead of PSYCH 2XX (Psychology elective):

  • written work, for example, an essay, short answer and essay questions on tests and exams (i.e., the majority of grading is not based on multiple choice questions),
  • some of the reading assignments should go beyond the basic textbook level (i.e., advanced/specialized texts or primary journal articles).
  • a prerequisite beyond the introductory Psychology level (this isn’t always the case for courses on exchange),
  • sufficient credit weight to be equivalent to .5 units at UWaterloo.

The credit weight at the host school will be factored into whether or not a Psychology course is classified as PSYCH 2XX or 3XX. For example, at Leeds University in England where credit weights are 10, 15, and 20, typically only courses with credit weights of 15 or 20 will count as advanced Psychology courses at UWaterloo.

Honours seminar equivalents

For a course to be deemed equivalent to an honours seminar (PSYCH 4XX), the following conditions must be met:

  • the course must be classified by the host school at a senior level (i.e., taken by students in at least third or fourth year),
  • enrolment in the course must require some background in Psychology,
  • the class size must be 25 students or less,
  • the course requirements must include student presentations and/or group discussions regarding readings, as well as some written work (i.e,. grading isn’t based only on multiple choice tests),
  • and the majority of the reading list must be from primary journal articles.

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Obtain course approvals

Once your application has been approved on Passport, you will be able to submit courses that you plan to take. If those courses have not previously been evaluated, we will determine what the transfer credit assessment is. We will contact you directly if we need a course syllabus.

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Courses at UWaterloo during an exchange term

Faculty of Arts students on exchange programs are allowed a maximum of 1 online course (.5 units) from UWaterloo while on an exchange term under exceptional circumstances if approved by the student's academic advisor(s).

School term at UWaterloo following the exchange term

Those hoping to begin classes late following an exchange program must have permission to do so from each of the course instructors no later than the first week of the term. This is particularly important in the case of courses that:

  • have waiting lists for enrolment. You could loose your spot in the course if you don't make contact with the instructor early enough.
  • are dependent on active student participation and/or group work from the outset of the term e.g., PSYCH 389, 390, 392-399, 420, 451-463.
  • have course requirements due during the third or fourth week of the term.

Instructors are not mandated to offer extensions on midterm tests, assignments, etc. for those who begin courses late. If you miss a deadline because of late arrival, it is up to you to discuss the possibility of an extension with the individual instructor as well as the terms/conditions for those extensions. Further, it is your responsibility to obtain copies of lecture notes from classmates.

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Complications for the work term following an exchange (co-op students only)

We advise that you either arrange your own co-op position for that work term or contact your Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA) Advisor two weeks prior to returning to Canada to access the co-op application/interview process.

Requests to change the academic/work sequence must be approved.

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Apply for an exchange program

Only those who are in satisfactory academic standing (i.e., satisfactory, good, or excellent) will be eligible to participate in an exchange program.

How do I apply?

See important details from your Faculty:


Faculty of Arts, Exchange Coordinator:
Robert Ryan
Location: PAS 2417
Phone: 519-885-4567 x 38645

Faculty of Science, Undergraduate Services Coordinator:
Kate Andrey
Location: ESC 253
Phone: 519-888-4567 x 36939

Awards and certificates for those having international experiences

International experiences awards

Global Experiences Certificate

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Last updated: Feb 2, 2016