Enrolment problems and course overrides

Why won’t Quest let me enrol in a course?

When adjusting your schedule, do not drop your courses! Use the swap classes and swap components (tutorials and some labs) functions so you don't lose the spots you already have.

If Quest will not let you add a course, there might be a couple of reasons as to why there is an issue. Take a look at the common enrolment error messages web page created by the Registrar's Office for more information on what to do.

Enrolling in courses at another institution


  • Courses are expected to be taken at Waterloo if they are offered; a time conflict or scheduling issue is typically needed when seeking a course at WLU or on LOP that is offered at Waterloo 
  • Requests to take previously passed courses will not be supported and only one LOP will be considered at a time, i.e. only one LOP course is permitted at a given time
  • Year-one Science subjects must be completed at Waterloo and organic chemistry at WLU will not be given equivalence to organic chemistry courses at Waterloo
  • Students must complete at least one term at Waterloo and meet minimum cumulative average requirements for their plan
  • WLU courses are taken at WLU. Students must account for travel to and from WLU in their schedules (see WLU course search)
  • Final exam scheduling may differ and its the student's responsibility to be aware of any changes

Course Overrides

Course Override Form is used in the event a student cannot enrol themselves into a course for the following reasons:

  • Class full 
  • Reserve seat requirement not met
  • Instructor consent required/ Department consent required
  • Requisites not met
  • Time scheduling conflict

Spring 2024 Notes

  1. Overrides can be requested and approved via email without the use of the Course Override form. Emails with instructor approval, to include the student ID# and full name, should be clear as to what is being approved (i.e. time conflict), and can be sent to science.advisor@uwaterloo.ca for processing and enrolment.
  2. Courses with lab components, particularly those with in person/on campus components, are limited in size to allow adherence to proper physical safety guidelines. Overrides for enrolment in on campus courses or labs beyond the set capacity will therefore not be possible. 
  3. Online course capacities have been set at the highest practical number possible. There are factors such as number of teaching assistants, total enrolment across multiple courses (for some instructors) that are taken into consideration when setting course limits. The goal throughout this planning remains a quality teaching and course experience for students.
  4. Reserves are in use to ensure that students requiring specific courses for their program will be able to enrol in those courses. Most reserves will become inactive on May 13, therefore, overrides for reserved seats are rare. Review the schedule of classes to see if there are notes about when reserves will be removed, e.g. before May 13.
  5. Review the schedule of classes under campus location (Camp Loc) to see which courses will be offered online (ONLN) and which ones will be available on campus (UW U or STJ, REN or similar). Some courses will be blended (BLND) which indicates that some component of the course will require some attendance on campus.
  6. Access to change Science communication course ENGL 193/COMMST 193 sections is restricted, and can only be modified by the Science Undergraduate Office (requires department consent to add, drop or swap). We are limited in which changes we can accommodate, and most sections for winter term are now full. If you have questions, email science.advisor@uwaterloo.ca.
  7. Admission to Science Non-Degree, Post-Degree, or Letter of Permission studies does not guarantee access to courses. Course requisites, limits, reserves are followed, and there may be priority enrolment for students registered in University of Waterloo degree studies.

There is no guarantee that you will be granted a class full/limit, reserve, or requisite override. If you can’t get into a course, you should start by enrolling in an alternative course. By choosing an alternative course, you ensure that you at least have a “second choice” option if you cannot get an override.

For specific subject enrolment inquiries, please review the instructions below:

  • Enrolment in some courses may end before the official add deadline
  • For full courses, monitor Quest and enrol if there's an opening; overrides for full courses/labs are not possible
  • For other inquiries, contact the instructor listed on Quest
  • For lecture courses with a lab component, you should contact the lab instructor, not the lecture instructor. 
  • If no instructor is listed, contact Sue Whyte
  • If override permission is requested through email, all Biology overrides must be sent to biology.overrides@uwaterloo.ca. The email subject line must include the course being requested (e.g. BIOL 240). In the text of the email, please include ID #, name, course information and if swapping, please include all components for new and old course(s)
  • Contact the instructor listed on Quest
  • Many CHEM courses have specific add deadlines. You can view this on the Schedule of Classes
  • For full courses, monitor Quest and enrol if there's an opening
  • If no instructor is listed, contact Julie Shikaze
Earth Sciences
Materials and Nanoscience
Science & Science and Business
  • Contact the instructor listed on Quest for all full lectures or labs
Non-Science courses

Faculty of Arts courses:

Faculty of Mathematics courses: