Frequently asked questions

How to enroll in courses?

Course enrolment is the process of making course requests for a future term using Quest, completed in a block of time (approximately one week in length) before open class enrolment begins for that future term. Faculties will make teaching plans using this course demand data. Visit the course selection offerings list for undergraduate students to view the available future term courses.

Remember to:

  1. Refer to your Undergraduate Calendar (Health Sciences or Public Health) or your individual course sequence to determine required and/or restricted elective courses for the specific term.
  2. Check the course descriptions to ensure you meet the prerequisites for the course.
  3. Check the Schedule of Classes to ensure you meet the reserves for the course.
  4. Set the appropriate priority level to each course selected.
  5. Submit a SPHS Department Consent Form for courses that requires department consent.

What to do if students can’t get into a required and/or restricted elective course in the scheduled semester?

If you are unable to enrol in a course using Quest, there are a few things you should consider.

  • Do you have the necessary pre-requisites? Check course descriptions.
  • Is the class full? Check the Schedule of Classes.
  • Are there reserves (seats held for specific groups of students)? Check the Schedule of Classes.
  • Do you have a “Hold” on your Quest account?
  • Are you scheduled for an academic term or co-op term?
  • Did you set the appropriate priority level for the course(s)?

In some conditions, you may contact the instructor after the first week of add/drop period to request permission to enrol. If they approve, you need to complete a Course Override Form for the instructor to sign and send to the Registrar's Office for processing.

Note: If the instructor does not agree to allow an override, you can watch enrolment numbers on Quest during the first week of classes. If a seat suddenly becomes available, you should be able to grab it.

Please contact a SPHS undergraduate academic advisor for advice on your academic course sequence.

What does WD/WF on a transcript mean?

WD: Withdraw, no credit granted

WF: Withdraw/Failure, no credit granted, value 32

For a list of non-numeric grades and designations, see the transcript legend.

What happens if a student doesn’t achieve the minimum academic average requirement by the end of the term?

Please refer to academic standing for minimum academic averages for each program. Check your unofficial transcripts at the beginning of each term for transcript text and your overall academic standing. This standing will be based on your cumulative average and your major average of all of the courses (passed or failed) that you have taken at Waterloo while enrolled as an undergraduate.

Students who receive a Conditional standing in their first term are strongly advised to meet their academic advisor for plan-specific advice. Please see program requirements for more details.

Can students take less than 100% course load? Will it affect anything? Can they take more?

For SPHS students, 100% course load usually means 5 coures per term. To have full-time status, you must be enrolled in at least 1.5 units in a term. Please contact Student Awards & Financial Aid for implications on OSAP & government aid if you take less than the minimum 1.5 units.

Consult with your SPHS academic advisor if you require changes to your course sequence. Reducing course load or withdrawing from required/restricted elective courses may affect your academic term/level of study, your ability to get into upper courses and your degree progression.

Students can take a maximum of three units (six courses) per term. Students who are taking a course load over three units should be mindful of WD dates found on the Calendar of Events and Academic Deadlines.

Information on adding a minor, option and/or specialization

To declare a minor, option and/or specialization submit a completed Plan Modification Form and have the appropriate department approve your request. Read and follow the instructions on the form, then submit it to The Centre for processing.

Check the faculty/department in the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar for the minors and options that are available to you which include requirements and when to declare them. Below is a list offered by SPHS (for the following, please submit Plan Modification Form to

Note: Be aware of the double counting of courses.

Can students triple count courses to meet cluster requirements? Can they double count?

Courses may only be counted once in your major/degree. Bachelor of Science, Honours Health Studies and Bachelor of Public Health Honours require successful completion of 20 units (40 credits). Review the curriculum for specific required and restricted courses. Double counting of courses applies to two different plans, however, when a course is listed as a requirement in both the major and its associated specialization, it is considered a single use of the course. So you can double count a course towards the following, but not triple count.

  • Degree (major and/or specialization) and minor or option
  • Minor and option (cannot declare Gerontology Minor and Aging Studies Option)
  • Between two minors

What is HLTH 432 A/B Honours Thesis course and who can enrol in it?

According to the calendar course description, HLTH432 is:“An independent research project on an approved topic, supervised by a faculty member. Includes an approved proposal and completion of -- introduction, review of literature, methods, data collection, data analysis and presentation of results in thesis form. Recommended for students planning graduate studies.”

Please refer to HLTH432 Honours Thesis Information Guide for more information.

What is HLTH472 Independent Studies course and who can enrol in it?

According to the calendar course description, HLTH472 is forstudent who desires to pursue a particular topic in depth through guided independent research and/or reading. An SPHS faculty member must approve and supervise a student's project prior to registration. May be repeated in subsequent terms. Depending on student demand and availability of teaching resources, special topics may be presented to small groups in a lecture format. Such topics have included pharmacology, behavioural immunity, nutrition, and the health care system.

Please refer to HLTH472 Independent Studies Enrollment Form for enrollment information.

Adding or dropping co-op

Change from Co-op to Regular

You will need to submit a completed Plan Modification Form and a proposed course sequence/plan to complete your degree to SPHS department. The SPHS advising team will review and approve or decline with recommendations regarding your request.

Note: Normal processing time is two weeks, but may be subject to a review of your academic performance in the current term. Allow for processing time during course selection or add/drop dates.

Co-op fee inquiries can be addressed with co-op advisors.

Students are permitted to transfer from Co-op to Regular provided they have not committed themselves to a job.

Change from Regular to Co-op

You will need to complete the SPHS Co-op Application form, an updated résumé, and a proposed course sequence/plan to complete your degree to SPHS department by the end of your first year, on April 30.

Students who have accepted an offer of transfer into our SPHS programs from another post-secondary institution and have received 4 credit courses or more are not eligible for co-op. We encourage these transfer students to explore The EDGE certificate to enhance their academic experience and acquire new skills.

Please refer to SPHS co-op procedures for more information.

Requesting a Co-op Work-Term Sequence Change

Students requesting a change in their work-term sequence must:

  1. Devise a modified and appropriate program sequence.
  2. Discuss their plans with a SPHS advisor to determine feasibility of their modified sequence and any concerns.
  3. Submit a completed Request for Academic/Work Term Sequence Change form to for review/approval before submission to CEE for approval and processing of the student’s request.

Requests for work-term(s) sequence change is not automatic upon submission of a modified program sequence and Request for Academic/Work Term Sequence Change form.

NOTE: Students are expected to mindful that some courses are offered in specific terms. Courses offered in different terms based on academic levels may be in conflict when requested in one term.

It is the responsibility of SPHS students to meet all the major (degree), additional plans and co-op requirements upon graduation.

How many courses can students take during co-op?

The course load page states that co-op students on work terms are limited to one course (0.5 unit), unless they have written support from their employer to take two courses (1.0 unit). You will need to provide the employer’s written support via email to in order to request a unit load approval from SPHS academic advisor. The email should come from the company's email address, clearly stating your name, your student number, your UWaterloo email address, and the employer's permission for you to take a second course. 

Based on SPHS practice, all course override shall not be provided until one week after the add/drop period. Therefore, upon receiving confirmation from your employer, the SPHS advisors will contact the Registrar's Office after the first week of the add/drop period of each term and process the request. Once processed, you will receive an email from the Registrar's Office confirming your increased unit load, and then you will be able to enroll in a maximum of two courses (1.0 unit) yourself, subject to course availability and pre-requisites.

Process for changing programs

Transfer to another academic program outside SPHS

Consult with the Student Success Officer (located in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Health) and find out the transfer requirements. Upon approval, you will need to submit a completed a Plan Modification Form, if transferring to another program in the Faculty of Health, or a Faculty Transfer Form, if transferring to another faculty, to the academic advisor from the program you are about to enter.

Transfer within SPHS

You will need to submit an application for completing a Qualifying Term to transfer to another program within SPHS. Qualifying Term is usually only offered once a year in the Fall term. Please refer to Transfer to School of Public Health Sciences for more information.

Where to go for career advising?

Taking a course at another University

If you are in "good" academic standing, you may request permission to take course(s) at another university for credit toward your degree at the University of Waterloo. A maximum of five units can be obtained in this way. Please refer to Enrolling in courses at another university page.

International Exchange (requirements and eligibility)

Transfer to the Faculty of Health

If you are currently an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo and wish to apply to any program within the Faculty of Health, you will be applying for an internal transfer into the Faculty of Health.

To transfer into the Bachelor of Honours Health Studies or Bachelor of Public Health program, please refer to the Transfer to School of Public Health Sciences page for information including deadlines and online form submission.