Introduction from the director
The Master of Public Health (MPH) online handbook includes important information on our school, faculty and university services, as well as current degree requirements. The online version of the handbook is revised each year. Please read it as soon as possible because it will likely answer many of your questions. Instructors and staff expect you to be familiar with the handbook and refer to it repeatedly as you proceed through the program. Please note that the handbook is an informational supplement for our students and not a replacement for the University of Waterloo Graduate Calendar, which dictates the formal policies concerning registration, fees, grading, degree requirements, and other university regulations.
Best wishes and enjoy the journey!
- Master of Public Health home page
- School of Public Health Sciences home page
- University of Waterloo Graduate Calendar
- Graduate Student Association (GSA)
- Centre for Extended Learning (CEL)
- University of Waterloo scholarship information
- Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)
Faculty and school organization
The School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS) is one of three academic units within the Faculty of Health, which is one of six faculties at the University of Waterloo.
School of Public Health Sciences
Ellen MacEachen, PhD
519-888-4567, ext. 47248
Samantha Meyer, PhD
519-888-4567, ext. 49187
519-888-4567, ext. 46352
Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator
Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Health Informatics (MHI) and Master of Health Evaluation (MHE)
Michelle Fluit - on secondment.
Please contact Melissa Santo
519-888-4567, ext. 47734
|Professional Graduate Programs Assistant||
519-888-4567, ext. 48200
SPHS faculty offices are located on the first, second and third floors of B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) and the Lyle Hallman Institute for Health Promotion (LHN). Appointments can be made through email or in person.
Registration and tuition payment procedures
Tuition for regular graduate programs at the University of Waterloo is charged based on enrolment status. There are no ‘per-course’ fees applied in the MPH program.
Full-time students will generally take two or three courses per term but may take as few as one course in a term. Full-time students are expected to complete the program on a full-time schedule (generally within two years). The credit weight of the Foundations course is not counted in the Fall semester of the first year; it is added to that of the Capstone course (combined weight of 0.5 credits or 1 course) and counted in the final Spring semester of the MPH program.
Part-time students pay part-time tuition and generally complete the MPH program within four years. Part-time students are permitted to take a maximum of one course per term. Those students who wish to take more than one course in a term must make a request to change their enrolment status to full-time, and are required to pay full-time tuition.
Please note that students do not pay tuition fees for the Foundations course at the start of the program in August. Instead, students will pay part-time tuition fees in their last Spring term for the combined Capstone and Foundations courses.
Students must maintain the status indicated in their application for at least the first term (Fall term). Following the first term, a student may request to change their status from full-time to part-time (or vice versa).
Full-time students will maintain their full-time status through the Practicum term as this is a 1.5 credit weight course. Full-time students who are only taking the Capstone course in their final semester of MPH, and are not receiving funding based on their full-time status, can change their status to part-time in the final term of study.
If you are receiving funding you must complete a Promissory Note online. You must do this each term you are receiving funding.
Tuition fee information
Hard copy fee bills are not mailed to you from Finance. Your up-to-date account information is available on QUEST. The enrolment and fee arrangement information is available by viewing the Tuition Fee Schedules on the Finance website.
This GSO website contains information on:
- Fee payment and enrolment
- Enrolment (change of enrolment status/voluntary withdrawal
- Program time limit extensions
- QUEST information and instructions
In addition, the Graduate Studies Newsletter contains contact links to information for the following:
- Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines
- Finance Office – Student Accounts
- Graduate Studies Office
- Graduate Studies Calendar
- Human Resources – Payroll
- WatCard Office
- International Student Office
- Graduate Student Association
Remember, you will not receive credit for the courses if you are not officially registered in them by the course-add deadline. This includes the practicum.
Familiarize yourself with the regulations in the current online graduate calendar and check anything you are unsure of with the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator. By registering and paying fees, students assume responsibility for knowing the regulations and pertinent procedures as set forth in this handbook and the University of Waterloo Graduate Calendar. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have met coursework and other requirements to complete your degree. The Associate Director of Graduate Studies, the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator and the Professional Graduate Programs Assistant are all here to assist you in this process. Some of these regulations are listed below.
Notes: Students are normally expected to maintain continuous registration (in each of the three terms/year), must register for at least one course per term, and at the same capacity (either full- or part-time) as initially registered. Failure to register and pay fees each term will mean you will have to apply for readmission. Special permission is required from the Faculty Associate Dean and the University’s Dean of Graduate Studies to change your registration status from full-time to part-time (or vice versa) or to go inactive, etc. If you do request inactive status, you must seek approval from the Associate Director of Graduate Studies, and the Associate Dean (Graduate). A rationale explaining the reasons for the request must be submitted. Requests for inactive status will not always be approved.
University policies regarding courses
Course drop/add dates
Students may drop or add courses until the dates specified in Graduate Studies Academic Calendar by means of the online system Quest.
Beginning in week seven of the term, the approval of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies is required and a Graduate Student Drop/Add form. Forms can be found on the Graduate Studies website. The form can be forwarded to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator if you are unable to get to campus to obtain approval signatures yourself.
Courses cannot be dropped or added nor status changed after the examination period has begun.
Change of enrolment status/voluntary withdrawal
Forms can be found on the Graduate Studies website. The form can be forwarded to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator if you are unable to get to campus to obtain approval signatures yourself. All completed enrolment status change forms must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office by the end of the enrolment period for the term requested (Spring term – May 31, Fall term – September 30, Winter term – January 31). The form must be submitted to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator by open course enrollment for the term in order to acquire the approval signatures.
Students are required to make fee arrangements based on their expected enrolment status as of the fee payment due date for each academic term.
A change in enrolment status to part-time or inactive will require repayment of certain scholarships. Repayment amounts are calculated based on the University of Waterloo tuition refund policy.
A grade of incomplete ("INC" on your transcript) indicates that a student has not completed the requirements of a particular course. University policy stipulates that an incomplete (INC) may remain on a student's transcript for at most two terms of registration, following the term in which the course was taken. Thereafter, INC's may only be extended on a term-by-term basis through a request from the School and the course instructor. If a grade has not been submitted by the end of the second term, the INC will automatically convert to FTC (Failure to Complete). This FTC grade may not be removed from the transcript except on appeal to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Such appeals would be granted only in exceptional circumstances such as where failure to complete was the fault of the instructor and not the student. If a student is required to withdraw due to incomplete program requirements “May Not Proceed” will be noted on their grade report. A failing grade in any course will necessitate a review of the candidate's status by the School, and may result in the requirement to withdraw from the program. Please refer to the Graduate Studies Calendar.
When an “NMR” (no mark reported) appears on your transcript, it means that no mark was submitted for you and it is your responsibility to check with the professor in order to have it changed to a grade through submission of a grade revision form. Interim grades are not assigned for two reasons. First, different assignments (extra credit for extra coursework) for some students in the class may be perceived as unfair. Secondly, INC’s are used to denote inability to complete the course assignments by the end of the term.
At present, you are not able to add an AUDIT course to your Quest record. You must obtain permission from the course instructor and approval from the Graduate Officer via a drop/add form. In addition to regular attendance in the course, the instructor has the discretion to require class participation, preparation, and sometimes completion, of assignments and/or examinations. If you find yourself in difficulty while auditing a course, you should arrange to drop the course from your schedule before the exam period. An NMR or DNW (did not write exam) cannot be given for an Audit course. Should you fail to receive an “AUD,” the course will automatically be deleted from your transcript.
Taking courses at other Ontario universities
The Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Plan (OVGS) allows you to take a limited number of graduate courses at another Ontario University (Host University) while remaining registered at Waterloo. The plan allows you to bypass the usual application for admission procedures and resultant transfer of credit difficulties. You pay fees to Waterloo and are classed as a "visiting graduate student" at the Host University, where you pay no fees. Application forms are available on the GSPA website and authorized by the university Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
Once you have completed the printed form it is your responsibility to send it to the Professional Graduate Program Coordinator. Attach to your OVGS application the syllabus of the course you intend to register in. The course will need to be approved by the Associate Director, Graduate Studies and Associate Provost, Graduate Studies.
The course selected must be at the graduate level and part of the student's degree requirements. You are allowed to take a course from a Host University only if Waterloo is not offering the course and you cannot audit such a course. The OVGS is not to be used for the purposes of convenience or taking courses which do not pertain to your specific graduate program.
Once approval has been granted, the Home University will credit work done at the Host University toward the student's degree program, assuming that the student obtains a suitable standing/grade. Time spent as an Ontario Visiting Graduate Student is credited to the residency requirement at Waterloo, subject to University regulations. If you wish to withdraw from a course in which you are registered as an Ontario Visiting Graduate Student, you must obtain an official withdrawal form from the OVGS program. It is your responsibility to notify the GSO at the University of Waterloo as soon as possible should you wish to withdraw; otherwise you may be assigned a failing grade for the course.
The maximum number of transferable credits shall be one-half of the course credits required for the degree. In most cases a maximum of two 0.5 credit weight courses are considered for transfer, considered for elective credit only.
Proposed courses for transfer credit will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Students are responsible for supplying all required documentation for assessment. Transfer credits must be "unused" credits, i.e., they must not have been credited towards an earlier acquired degree or other academic credential. Transfer credits may be requested for senior undergraduate courses that are cross-listed as graduate level courses. Transfer credits must be specified in writing at the time of the School’s recommendation for admission. A minimum of 75% (University of Waterloo converted grade) is required for transfer credit. Documents required for transfer credits: letter requesting the unused credit transfer with courses listed, course syllabus, transcript that shows the grade received.
Verification of illness
If you are ill or have personal problems that prevent you from submitting assignments or completing an exam you must notify your instructor and provide documentation from a physician. If you do not obtain the proper documentation you may not be permitted to write a makeup exam or hand an assignment in late. If you are ill, make sure you use the Verification of Illness pages.
This form needs to be printed off the University of Waterloo Health Services website and filled out by your physician. If you visit any clinic other than UWaterloo Health Services, you must bring this form to your physician; regular doctor’s notes may not be accepted! Even if you miss an exam due to illness and have the proper supporting documentation, make sure you let the instructor know within 48 hours of missing the exam. There are very few circumstances that would exempt a student from this.
Important information for new students
Professional graduate program student space
Students enrolled in professional graduate programs in the School of Public Health Sciences are eligible to request study space when visiting the campus. Please contact the Professional Graduate Programs Assistant if you need help finding a working space.
email accounts, computer facilities and services
All graduate students must obtain a “mailservices” account as soon as possible. This account is used for electronic mail messages as well as data analysis and other uses. This is your info-line of communication from the faculty, fellow students and the Graduate Studies Office. New email accounts will be assigned before or during the Foundations course and a general information session on computing provided.
System and software requirements
Library access off-campus
"Connect from Home" is a means of making your home (off-campus) computer appear to be on-campus. Use it to prove that you are affiliated with UWaterloo; you will then be able to use online library resources (research databases, electronic journals, etc.) from off-campus. You can only use “Connect from Home” service if you are a current student, faculty, or staff member at UWaterloo and have registered your WatCard with the Library. Distance education students will register while on campus for the Foundations of Public Health course when they get their WatCard.
Click on the Connect From Home link on either the Library Homepage or the MPH Passport to the Library website. Login using your WATCARD barcode (2118700...) and last name.
You will know you are connected when you see ".proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca" in your URL, as shown below.
If you use bookmarks or manually enter a URL, you will be disconnected. If you do not see ".proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca", you are no longer connected.
Warning: If you sign onto the proxy from a shared or public computer, it is important that you close the Web browser after you finish. This will prevent non-legitimate use of these resources or services in your name.
You can find more information on using the “Connect from Home” feature on the University of Waterloo’s Library website.
Other important policies and regulations
Degree time limits and extensions
All requirements for the MPH degree at the School of Public Health Sciences must normally be completed within the following time periods (beginning with the term of initial registration), as stipulated by the University Senate:
Master's - Full-time: 6 terms (2 years); Part-time: 12 terms (4 years).
You will receive notification if you are nearing your time limit and must complete a "Request for Extension of Time Limit" form indicating your plan of completion. This form must be signed by you, the Associate Director of Graduate Studies, and in some cases the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Applied Health Studies. You have until the registration deadline to complete this form. Students who register, but fail to have their extensions approved may be asked to withdraw. Students who have been granted an extension of time limit are considered to be on probation and can be asked to withdraw from the program if progress is not deemed to be satisfactory.
Note: Count each active term of registration as one (both full-time and part-time students). Do not be confused by 0.5 on the registration record for part-time students.
Student advising and monitoring of progress
There are a number of people in the School of Public Health Sciences that are happy to assist you with any questions you may have throughout the program.
If you are seeking advice regarding career possibilities, your practicum placements, or your Capstone project, the Associate Director of Graduate Studies, Samantha Meyer is available.
If you are seeking advice on program trajectories, course schedules, or program policies, you can direct your questions to the Professional Graduate Programs Coordinator, Melissa Santo. You can contact her by email, over the phone or in person. She will also be at the Foundations course for you to meet her as the program begins. You can also contact the Professional Graduate Programs Assistant, Eden Mekonen, for general program administration questions.
Annual progress reports
According to the Faculty of Health Graduate Faculty Policy, the progress of graduate students is to be monitored and evaluated annually during the Spring term. The mechanism for this is an annual progress report in which you will summarize your progress to date and state your plans for your remaining milestones. The annual progress report presents an opportunity for you to meet (virtually or otherwise) with your academic advisor to review your progress and develop a plan with projected timelines for the realistic completion of all degree requirements, including discussion of practicum queries. Feedback from your advisor/program leader is intended to assist you in completing your degree as efficiently and realistically as possible.
Early in the Spring term, you will receive an email from the Professional Graduate Programs Assistant with the form and the due date to submit your report. You should then draft your report and submit it to the MPH Information Site in Waterloo Learn.
The Committee will review all the reports and, if there are any concerns about your progress, you will receive a note from the program indicating what they are and suggesting you contact your advisor/program leader to discuss your options and develop a plan for successfully completing the program.
Integrity in research and scholarship
The school is committed to the highest standards of integrity in research and scholarship by faculty, students, and staff. Please refer to the University Policy on Intellectual Property, Policy #73 for more information on ownership of scholarly work.
Maternity, adoption and parental leave
Graduate Students who wish to take maternity, adoption, or parental leave may register for inactive (full leave) or part-time (partial leave) status. Inactive status must be approved by the Associate Director of Graduate Studies and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. The choice of registration status depends primarily on the amount of time you expect to be able to devote to your academic program during the leave and must be made in consultation with the Associate Director. Where external agencies are involved (as with visa students or those holding external scholarships), you should consult these agencies before applying for part-time or inactive registration. If you are approved to register “inactive”, you pay no tuition fees; if you register part-time, you pay part-time tuition fees. During an inactive term, your degree time limits are extended appropriately.
Full-time graduate students are eligible to receive a Bursary during a full or partial maternity or adoption leave, provided that they have been registered as full-time graduate students at UW for at least two academic terms prior to the start of the leave. Part-time graduate students are eligible to receive a Bursary during a full four-month maternity or adoption leave provided that they have been registered as full- or part-time graduate students at UW for at least two academic terms prior to the leave, and are receiving financial support (TA, preceptorship, scholarship, or bursary) during the academic term preceding the leave.
Students are advised to consult the Parental Leave Advisor in the Graduate Studies Office at an early stage in planning for a maternity/adoption/parental leave. Please refer to the University policies found in the Graduate Calendar.
Policies on student grievance and academic disciplines
A student who has a question or complaint is advised to follow normal administrative channels:
- Professional Graduate Program Coordinator: Melissa Santo
- Associate Director, Graduate Studies: Samantha Meyer
Do not go directly to the School Director, the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and/or Dean of Graduate Studies. The Associate Director will consult these individuals as required, using the school graduate affairs committee for advice as needed. Student appeal procedures are set out in the Student Grievance Policy # 70.
If you have a grievance or question about an academic decision, you are strongly encouraged to first speak informally with the course instructor and/or Associate Director within the school.