International Exchange

International Exchange topics for consideration

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.

Faculty of Science students:

  • Students in the Faculty of Science are encouraged to Go Abroad in a number of different ways: academic exchanges, internships, co-op jobs, summer programs, volunteer opportunities, and more. Through Waterloo Passport, you'll be able to explore the programs and destinations available to Waterloo Science students.

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.

Transfer credits and residency requirements

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

Faculty of Arts students: See the Academic Calendar for the Faculty of Arts regulations. 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: You may refer to your faculty's website. As well, please schedule an appointment with the Science Faculty Academic Advisor for International Exchange, Janessa Zheng.

For more information about other international programs, such as internships and service learning (volunteer) programs, please contact one of the Global Learning Coordinators.

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.

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 on campus in Fall only and is taken before PSYCH 292. PSYCH 291 is available through CEL in Winter.
  • PSYCH 292 is offered on campus Winter only and is taken before PSYCH 391. PSYCH 292 is available through CEL in Spring.
  • PSYCH 391:
  • Social science research methods courses (PSYCH 389) are offered Fall only. The corequisite for enrolment is PSYCH 391.
  • Natural science research methods courses (PSYCH 390) 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). The corequisite for enrolment is PSYCH 391.

PSYCH 391 plus Psych 389, 390, are open to those in Honours Psychology and Make-Up Psychology only.

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.

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.

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 need an extended course description or course syllabus to determine the transfer credit.

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, 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.

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

Apply for an exchange program