Grades and academic standings

Timeline for seeing grades and academic standings

Final examination results and final grades will begin to be posted once the exam period has ended. Posted grades can be checked on Quest.

To find out when official grades and academic standings are released, please check the important dates for each term. If you believe there is an error in your grade, make sure to follow-up with your instructor immediately.


The averages you are required to meet are dependent on your program. Be sure to check the Undergraduate Calendar to find your required averages for your program.

Calculating averages

The University of Waterloo calculates averages by weighting each grade by the number of units it is worth. This means that a 0.25 credit lab course only carries half the weight of a 0.50 unit lecture course, for example.

To calculate your average, you'll need all of the grades from the courses to be included in the average, as well as the number of units that each lecture or lab is worth. To get your weighted average from these numbers, multiply each grade by its unit weight to get a point value. Add all point values to get your total points. Finally, divide your total points by the total number of units attempted. The result of this calculation is your weighted average.

For example, we can find the weighted average between five 0.50 unit lectures and one 0.25 unit lab. The grades in the lecture courses are 85, 78, 91, 74, 68, and the grade in the lab course is 75. Using the above method:

  • multiply each of the lecture grades by 0.50 (42.5, 39, 45.5, 37, and 34 are the resulting point values)
  • multiply the lab grade by 0.25 (18.75)
  • add all of these numbers together (total points=216.75)
  • divide the total points by the total number of units (2.75)
  • weighted average=78.82

The following table lists the averages you will see on your unofficial transcript, and what they mean.

Average on Quest Description
Term GPA Term GPA is average of all the courses you took in that term. This is not normally used for standing decisions.
Cumulative GPA Cumulative GPA is your overall average of all the courses you have taken so far.
Major Average If your program requires you to maintain an average for a specific subject, this will be listed under your major average. For example, students in Biology need a cumulative Biology average of 60%.
Special major average If your program requires you to maintain averages for two specific subject, the second subject will be listed under your special major average. For example, students in Biochemistry need to maintain a cumulative average of 60% in both Biology (major average) and Chemistry (special major average).
Faculty average Faculty average (also known as Science average) is your cumulative average for all your Science courses. This does not include SCBUS or ENGL/COMMST courses.
Academic standing Academic standings are the "word" equivalent of your average(s). The averages you need to maintain are determined by the specific requirements of your official academic plan.

Other averages to consider

Minor average: if you wish to complete a minor, the average of all courses completed that are applicable to that minor will be used to calculate your minor average. This will not show up on your unofficial transcript. Please visit the Undergraduate Calendar for more detailed information.

Academic standings

Academic standing decisions are made at the end of every term when you take courses, even if you only take one course. These decisions are released on your unofficial transcript once grades are official (usually three weeks into the following term).

Common standing decisions

Students should consult individual Science academic programs and plans for exceptions.

  • Excellent: cumulative overall average greater than or equal to 80%
  • Good: cumulative overall average greater than or equal to 70% and less than 80%
  • Satisfactory: cumulative overall average greater than or equal to 60% and less than 70%

Academic standings needing attention

These standings contain the words“Conditional/Must Raise...” or “Unsatisfactory” or “Failed." Meet with your advisor to discuss your options.

Conditional standings

The Undergraduate Calendar will provide details on conditional standings and what the next steps are.

  • Conditional - Must raise overall average
  • Conditional - Must raise major average
  • Conditional - Must raise overall and plan averages

Unsatisfactory Standings

Unsatisfactory standings will automatically change your degree program. Meet with an advisor in the Science Undergraduate Office as soon as you can.

  • Must change Academic Plan - Plan average(s) too low
  • Unsatisfactory - Eligible for Honours Science
  • Unsatisfactory - Eligible for General Only

Reflecting on your academic standing

If you have received a standing you are concerned about, this is an opportunity to reflect on the previous term. For first-year students, starting university is often a time of transition, and those changes may affect your academics. Here are questions to help you get started with your reflection:

  • What did you think of your classes?
  • Did you attend lectures and tutorials regularly?
  • What were your study strategies in high school and did they change during university?
  • Did you take advantage of the services available to help you with your courses (e.g. Tutoring in Residence)?
  • What are your sleep and eating habits?
  • How do you prioritize your academics with your other commitments?
  • Were there external events or disturbances outside your control which impacted your academic performance?
    • If you had personal or medical concerns, we recommend meeting with your academic advisor. A petition may be applicable. Remember there are resources on campus to support you, such as Counselling Services and Health Services.  

You may be eligible to take a course - UNIV 101: Strategies and Skills for Academic Success - to help you become a successful independent learner. It takes a modelled approach to teach learning strategies to support students in meeting the demands of a university curriculum. It is being offered in Winter 2024, and if you are interested in learning more, contact the student success officer for more information. Students taking UNIV 101 voluntarily will have their lowest 0.5 unit course cleared from their average calculations as long as they pass UNIV 101.

Failed Standings

Any of the standings below will impact your ability to continue your studies. If you receive one of the following standings, you should contact the Student Success Officer, Lori Labelle.

If you are an international student who has received a failed academic standing, you are also advised to meet with an Immigration Consultant, to discuss what needs to be done in order to comply with immigration regulations.

  • Failed - Required to Withdraw
  • Failed - May Not Continue in Faculty

Students may be qualified to enrol in a Foundation Term after a Failed academic standing in level 1A or 1B and at least one term absence from studies. To participate in the Foundation Term, students should contact the Student Success Officer, Lori Labelle.

What happens after I received a failed standing?

The Registrar's Office will send you an email informing you that you have been required to withdraw and give you a set of options. Knowing your options is extremely important. If you do not understand them please contact Science Advisor or reply to the email. Misunderstanding or ignoring this email will jeopardize any possible future enrolments.

You must ensure that the email address listed in Quest is functional, or you could miss important communications. These communications are sent, each term, as soon as grades are official (check the Important Dates calendar).

If you received a "Required to Withdraw" decision, there will usually be two options available to you:

1. Do you still want a Bachelor of Science (BSc) from Science at University of Waterloo?

If your answer is "yes", you must not take courses for the two next terms and then apply for re-admission. Additional details on the re-admission process can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar and in the official communications email from the Registrar’s Office.

If, during your conditional readmission term(s), you raise your averages to the appropriate level, there is a possibility for you to return to an Honours program.

2. Do you want to change to a program that is not in the Faculty of Science?

If you are interested in transferring to another program at University of Waterloo, you will need to connect with the advisor from the Faculty you are interested in. You will need to file an Application for Undergraduate Readmission or a Plan Modification to enrol as a non-degree Science student. Courses should be selected before or during enrolment appointments for the term. See the list of Important Dates and select “Class registration” under “Type” for enrolment periods.

Transfer to another faculty: Please see the Modifying your program page.

If you remain in your courses after receiving a failed standing and you do not transfer to another faculty, you will not be allowed continue at the University of Waterloo.