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A) How do I add or drop a course?
Courses are added and dropped using Quest. To add a course, ensure that the course fits your schedule and that it has space available. Space availability (including reserves) in all courses can be seen on the schedule of classes.
Students having trouble with their enrolment, look at the enrolment problems and course overrides page. There is information about the common error messages, how to solve them, as well as who to contact for an override.
Students who want to take a course at Laurier, must complete a cross-registration form, available from the Registrar's Office forms page. Cross-registration at Laurier is meant to provide additional course options for electives, where similar courses or subjects are not available at Waterloo. Normally, students must take their required courses at Waterloo. However, from time to time, severe scheduling conflicts or course offerings may be reasons to consider Laurier for required courses.
Effective Winter 2015, these Laurier chemistry courses will not be given equivalence to specific Waterloo chemistry courses:
- CH 202 is not equivalent to CHEM 266, CHEM 266L
- CH 204 is not equivalent to CHEM 266
- CH 203 is not equivalent to CHEM 267, CHEM 267L
- CH 205 is not equivalent to CHEM 267
These courses will be treated as 200-level chemistry courses, anti-requisite for the Waterloo courses.
Note: be sure to check the calendar for deadlines for adding and dropping courses.
B) Course Selection vs. Enrolment?
Course Selection occurs about six months before the start of term and allows students to select the courses and provide demand data for campus-wide scheduling activities. Course selection is usually one week, without specific appointment times. For Fall, course selection is in early-March; for Winter late-July; and for Spring, early December. There are no class times, rooms or instructors listed, just the available courses. Selecting courses benefits students since Waterloo identify the course demand and sometimes increase limits to accommodate more students. This process informs the next one - actual enrolment, where students receive an actual timetable.
Hint - If you don't use course selection, Waterloo has no way of knowing the actual demand for courses, and this could result in students not getting into popular courses, or in some cases, courses not being offered in the first place. Some departments on campus will only assist you with enrolment if you’ve participated in course selection, which only takes about 10 minutes!
Enrolment begins about one month before the start of the term and is called the drop/add period. In the previous months scheduling staff and software have worked to fill as many course requests as possible. At the start of drop/add students can see how many course selection requests were filled and, students can add or drop courses and adjust course schedules where space and time permits. By this point, though, it is unlikely that more sections for courses can be added to accommodate late enrolment requests. Students may have to choose alternate courses.
C) What happens if I repeat a passed course?
When students repeat a previously-passed course, the repeated attempt will appear on the transcript. If the second attempt is successful, the repeated attempt will not count for credit, nor will the passing grade be included in any averages. If the second attempt is not successful, the repeated attempt will be recorded as a failure, and the failing grade will be included in all averages.
For example, students may choose to repeat a passed course if they need a higher grade for an application to a professional program. Students looking to increase their averages should not repeat a passed course since a second passing grade will have no impact on any averages.
D) Can I take a course for the third time?
A third attempt of a previously failed course, or it's equivalent (antirequisite), is allowed in some Science plans but not all. Students should verify the rules in the Science plans section of the undergraduate calendar, and consult with the program advisor, especially if considering a move into or graduation from another Science plan.
Two previously failed attempts at a course suggests that there is significant difficulty with the course or subject materials. Students should consider an alternative course choice. A third (or second) attempt of a course on-line, which was previously failed and taken on-campus, is normally discouraged. A fourth attempt of any course will not be allowed in any Science plan.
E) How do I take a course at another university?
F) What are the important dates for course selection?
There is a list of important dates that outline each term's dates for for adding/swapping courses, WD drop deadlines, WF drop deadlines, fee due dates, and many more helpful dates.
2. Missed exams/classes and Verification of Illness Forms
A) What if I missed a test/assignment/lab due to illness?
Updated November, 2017
1. Submit a Verification of Illness Form (VIF)
When students believe their illness will impact their academic studies in a course, they must:
- Contact their instructor for that course (e.g. by email) before or within 24 hours of a test, exam or due date, AND
Submit the completed Verification of Illness Form (PDF) form to the Science Undergraduate Office (SUO) within 48 hours of the missed course element, if well enough to do so (e.g. not coughing). Students should contact the SUO by phone (519-888-4567 x35244) or email if unable to meet this deadline due to continuing illness. Once the VIF has been registered with the SUO, students must meet with their instructor(s) to discuss their situation. Students whose illness delays the submission of the VIF should communicate via email or phone to avoid delays or difficulties with accommodation decisions. Students should also refer to course outlines for course-specific information or requirements.
Students should be aware that when a VIF is registered in the SUO, all of their Science instructors (i.e., courses with subject BIOL, CHEM, EARTH, MNS, PHYS, SCI, and SCBUS) will be notified. The next section below covering degree of incapacitation and misrepresentation should be noted.
Students and their instructor(s) need to come to an agreement as to how any missed mandatory class, lab, assignment, test or exam is to be handled. The VIF indicates a care provider’s (normally a physician’s) determination of the degree of incapacitation for a given period of time. Instructors will determine what accommodation, if any, they will provide. Students should note the following:
When making these decisions, instructors may consider VIF information (i.e., date; incapacitation severity and period); and the student’s actions (i.e., when the student notified the instructor and submitted the VIF to the SUO). The course outline should provide guidance regarding how missed course elements are normally addressed.
Students must discuss the VIF-specified degree of incapacitation with their instructors so that their actions are not misinterpreted or viewed with suspicion. For example:
A “severe” incapacitation indicates students are unable to engage in any academic studies during the period indicated. If they attend classes/labs, submit assignments/reports or write tests/exams during this period, they are at risk of being accused of “misrepresentation”; an academic offence, which carries a severe penalty that includes suspension.
A “moderate” incapacitation could trigger a similar allegation, if students claim to be well enough to participate in some tests, while too ill to participate in others. Thus, in these cases it is important that students discuss their degree of incapacitation with their instructors so that their actions appear credible.
Extenuating circumstances other than illness that interfere with meeting course obligations (e.g., bereavement) and their supporting documentation will be considered in a similar manner.
2. Where and how to get a VIF
Science students should be aware that the only Verification of Illness Form (PDF) that instructors will consider for accommodation for missed mandatory assessments (labs, quizzes, midterms, final exams, etc.) will be those issued by the University of Waterloo's Health Services, when this service is open. VIFs issued by walk-in clinics will not be accepted, except when obtaining a VIF from Health Services is not possible. Students should note the following when they cannot access Health Services, whether open or closed:
If students cannot be seen by Health Services during business hours they are to obtain documentation from Health Services to verify the lack of access. This can be a note from Health Services staff, written on a VIF, noting the day, time, and reason why the services were not available. Students can then take this VIF to another health care provider to be completed.
If students are sick when Health Services is closed, they are out of town or they are receiving ongoing care from a family physician or specialist, they can obtain documentation from other health service providers. Information should include:
date of physician assessment;
dates of illness;
level of incapacitation; and
whether the diagnosis was made by the physician or based on a description by the student.
If the documentation provided does not include points 1 to 4, students will need to go back and have the physician complete and sign the VIF.
If students seek medical documentation from a non-physician (e.g., dentist, optometrist, nurse), they must ensure that the health care practitioner provides sufficient information on the VIF to explain the nature of, and reasons for, the indicated level of incapacitation and, reasons why a physician was not needed nor sought. This information is important to instructors who need clear guidance on making accommodation decisions.
Students who have been absent from classes for two weeks or longer should follow-up with their individual instructors and an academic advisor in the Science Undergraduate Office as a first step to assess whether their schedule of lectures or labs is still viable. For example, some students cannot complete a lab course, no matter the circumstances, if multiple labs have been missed.
3. Incomplete (INC) grade process
An INC grade is defined in the Undergraduate Calendar. As previously noted in "Submit a Verification of Illness Form (VIF)", students need to follow-up with their instructors within 24 hours of the missed exam and present documentation within 48 hours if well enough to do so. If students cannot meet these deadlines, they must make arrangements to discuss their situation with an advisor in the SUO.
Students must follow these steps outlined by the Registrar's Office. In addition, have a discussion with the instructor about reasons and supporting documentation for missing the final exam and/or having other course elements unfinished, as well as engagement in the course.
Students should also note:
- Make-up tests are considered formally scheduled events and must occur within one year of the official grade date for that course. If students experience a situation that caused them to miss a make-up exam, they must meet with the Student Success Officer or Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, who will review the documentation. An alternative make-up exam is not automatic.
- Multiple VIFs submitted for a term could result in a meeting with the Student Success Officer to discuss and resolve barriers to academic success.
- Failure to write scheduled make-up tests or submit outstanding course work by the end of the instructor-specified lapse period will result in a final course grade being posted to Quest that is the earned grade, based on all completed course element(s). If the course outline specifies that the missing coursework is required to pass the course, the lesser of the earned grade or 4% less than the passing grade will be posted to Quest.
- All documentation must be submitted in-person, by the student, and no one else. Following Policy 46, advisors in the SUO cannot engage in the detailed discussions that are required with anyone but the student. Appendix A of Policy 46 provides guidance for next steps when students cannot visit or contact the SUO.
- If students cannot directly submit their VIF or other documentation within 48 hours, a copy of the document should be submitted by email, until the original can be submitted.
Instructors have their own administrative steps that they need to follow in order for an INC grade to be posted to Quest.
B) What if extenuating circumstances caused me to miss a test/assignment/lab?
Updated November, 2017
Official documentation is necessary before any action can be taken. For extenuating circumstances that are not related to illness, other official documented proof of the incident or circumstances will be required. Examples are:
- plane/train/bus tickets
- court documents
- police reports
- death certificates/obituaries/letters from funeral directors
- counsellor letters
Students should contact their instructor(s) notifying them of the situation. Original copies of the documentation should be brought in the Science Undergraduate Office when the student is able to do so. Students should be aware that when documentation is registered in the Science Undergraduate Office, all of their Science instructors (i.e., courses with subject BIOL, CHEM, EARTH, MNS, PHYS, SCI, and SCBUS) will be notified. The following points should be noted:
- When making accommodation decisions, instructors may consider the circumstances as well as the timing of students notifying them of their situation. The course outline should provide guidance regarding how missed course elements are normally addressed.
- If the documentation suggests a severe set of circumstances, this indicates students are unable to engage in any academic studies during the specified period. Thus, if students attend classes/labs, submit assignments/reports or write tests/exams during this period, students will be accused of “misrepresentation”; an academic offence, which carries a severe penalty that includes suspension.
Students that have been absent from classes for two weeks, or longer, should follow-up with their individual instructors and their academic advisor, to assess whether their schedule of lectures or labs is still viable. For example, some students cannot complete a lab course, no matter the circumstances, if multiple labs have been missed.
3. Transferring between faculties
A) How do I transfer to Science from another faculty?
B) How do I transfer from Science to another faculty?
For students considering transferring from Science into another Faculty, it's in your best interest to speak with an academic advisor from the new faculty. They can advise you regarding how to transfer, which courses to choose that will count for transfer assessment, and when you can expect an answer to your request. To begin the process, you will need to complete a Plan Modification/Internal Transfer Form and file this request for your next term with the new faculty. A decision will be made once your current term grades are available. You will then be notified of the decision and can proceed, if approved, to chose your courses during your enrolment appointment.
Transferring to Arts
Please see the Arts Undergraduate Transfer Policy for more information.
We highly recommend discussing your course selection with the advisors in the Faculty of Arts. Contact the Arts Undergraduate Office (ext 35870) or stop by the AUO, in PAS 2439.
Transfer requests to the Faculty of Arts must be submitted at least two months prior to the term in which you wish to enrol. (i.e. Oct. 31 for Winter admission; Feb. 28 for Spring and June 30 for Fall). A brief half to one page statement explaining why you believe you have encountered academic difficulty in your Science program and why you believe you will be successful academically in an Arts program must be included with the Plan Modification/Internal transfer form. Normally, decisions are made in the first week of the requested term.
4. My current program
A) How do I switch my science program?
This is usually done near the end of the academic year in March or April. Program changes will not be considered before completion of the first year. However, co-op students moving from one program to another can request a plan modification prior to enrolment for their next term. You will need to fill out a Plan Modification Form prior to enrolment for your next term. Before doing this you should consult with an academic advisor for the plan you want to transfer to in order to make sure that you are eligible. If there is any doubt of your eligibility for a transfer, you are strongly advised to not submit a Plan Modification Form. Decisions are usually made once term grades are available. If approved, the Registrar's Office will then change your program on Quest. You can then choose your courses during your enrolment appointment. You won't see that your program has been changed until you add your first course on Quest.
B) How do I switch from regular to co-op?
Students must first make themselves aware of how co-op works, the assessment of the co-op fee, and, that relocation to another city, province, or country is sometimes required in order to secure employment for a work term. Co-operative Education and Career Action maintains its own section of the Undergraduate Calendar.
After reviewing the general information, students must:
- complete Plan Modification Form and bring it to an academic advisor for the co-op program you are requesting. If possible, obtain the approval signature.
- submit, along with a current résumé, to the Science Undergraduate Office, specifically to Stephen Woods. If obtaining the academic advisor signature is not possible, the form may be submitted unsigned.
- note that the deadline is May 31 - or the preceding Friday if May 31 falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
There should be no incomplete (INC) courses, and preferably no failed required courses. Decisions will be made in June after the winter term (1B) grades are official and winter academic standings are available. Normally, averages (overall, science, subject) of 80% or higher are needed. This is because there are normally more requests than available spaces, and this raises the averages required for a successful request. Students must be at the 1B term-level at the time they apply, and students beyond 1B will be considered on a case by case basis as there is a need to ensure a viable work and study sequence.
C) How do I declare or change my specialization?
Students in programs that have a variety of specializations (e.g., Science and Business - Biology Specialization; or Honours Biology - Animal Physiology Specialization) and those wishing to change their specialization or option should use a Plan Modification Form. These changes can be done anytime and can be approved immediately.
D) How do I earn a minor?
This can be done at anytime using a Plan modification Form. Before submitting the form, you will need to receive approval from an academic advisor in the department in which the minor is being taken. Typically, a minor requires ten courses in that department, with different requirements in the level or type of course. See our list of available minors for Waterloo students.
5. My academic standing
A) What does "Academic Standing" mean and where do I see mine?
Each term an "Academic Standing" is assigned to your transcript. This is based on your program and the averages you received, both cumulative (all terms) and in the current term.
It is your responsibility to know what your academic standing means. You can find it by going on to your Quest account to "Academics" and to "View Unofficial Transcript" to find your academic standing and term average. Also under "Academics" be sure to go to "View My Grades" to find your term average and your cumulative overall average (CAV). Your Major Average (MAV) is also very important, but is not displayed on Quest. This average refers to the grades for courses in your "Major", and that average must also be maintained at a certain level, depending on your program. Contact the Science office if you have questions about any of your averages - make sure you understand them. At the end of each term your Academic Standing will be available once term grades become official. See the important dates for each term for when this is available.
B) What does "Conditional Standing" mean?
Normally students are allowed to be in "conditional standing" for one term during their undergraduate program. The reason a student might be in this standing is because one or more of their required averages is below the minimum as stated in the undergraduate calendar.
Conditional standing is normally the result if a required average falls no more than 1.5% below the required average(s). Any average(s) that fall more than 1.5 below the minimum may result in a student being moved to a different program for which they do have the appropriate average(s). For example, a student in Honours Science must maintain an overall and a Science average of 60%. Should one or both of these averages fall below 58.5% they could be moved in to General Science, which requires a minimum overall and a minimum Science average of 55%. However, students in Conditional Standing who raise their average(s) to the appropriate level in the next academic term, will have the Conditional Standing removed and will again be in "satisfactory, or better standing".
If a student is moved to a different program and then raises their average(s) to the appropriate level, in the next term or two they can file a Plan Modification form to move back into their original program. In most cases this will be possible. However, because some programs have limited enrolment and/or students may be too far along in their academic career to be reconsidered for co-op we cannot guarantee readmission to the original program. Please email the Science Undergrad Office or call (519) 888-4567, Ext. 35244 if you have any questions.
C) How do I calculate my 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 overall average includes all courses you've taken. The Science average includes all Science courses (BIOL, CHEM, EARTH, MNS, PHYS, and SCI), except for SCBUS courses. The Biology average include all BIOL courses, the Chemistry average includes all CHEM courses, and so on.
Be sure to check the Undergraduate Calendar to find the required averages for your major.
D) What happens if I am "Required to Withdraw"?
Students who are unsuccessful at attaining any of the minimum averages required for their current program may be moved into another program, for which they qualify, for example, Honours Science or General Science. In many cases, students may continue taking courses which shadow their original program until they raise their averages to the required level and then may file a Plan Modification Form to return to their original program. In other cases, this may not be possible, particularly if you no longer are eligible to take certain courses, for example the Science and Business workshop courses, which are only available to students in that program. Note that a student who is moved from a co-op plan into a regular program is not guaranteed that they can return to a co-op program even if the average requirements are met.
Students who fail three or more courses in one term may be Required to Withdraw, even if their averages are above the required minimum. The minimum averages can be found in the undergraduate calendar (found within the individual departmental links). Note: The cumulative average is calculated using all courses ever taken (passed or failed), and the Major average is calculated using all Major courses (e.g., Honours Science student - all "science" courses taken or Honours Biology - all Biology courses taken, etc.). Any questions about course grades earned should be directed to the instructor of the course.
Why were you unsuccessful?
After the completion of first year, students are advised to consider the appropriateness of their current program with respect to the difficulty of the courses and how prepared they are to succeed in more advanced courses that build from the first year curriculum.
Possible reasons why you may not have been successful could include:
- Your high school background did not prepare you
- You were not prepared for the structure and freedom of University
- You did not attend lectures or found it difficult to learn from lectures
- You did not manage your time effectively
- You did not know where to turn for help
- Your study skills were not sufficient to allow you to keep up to the fast pace of your courses
- You tried to memorize instead of learning concepts
- Your notes were incomplete
- You did not enjoy your courses (wrong choice of Major)
If you had personal or medical concerns you may wish to speak with a Counsellor at Counselling Services. You may call (519) 888-4567, Ext. 32655 for an appointment. Also, the University offers workshops for students to develop appropriate study habits and note taking. If you have not taken advantage of these workshops you may wish to consider enrolling so that you are prepared for your future studies.
What happens next if I'm "required to withdraw"?
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 Stephen Woods or Gwen Graper. 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 (see list of important dates).
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 stay out of school for the two next terms and then apply for re-admission. Re-admission will be into the Three-Year General Science program in "Conditional" Standing.
The normal conditions are as follows:
- In your first five course attempts or two terms, whichever comes first, you must maintain a 55% cumulative overall average and a 55% Science average.
- You must do a minimum of two approved Science lecture courses, plus any related labs where applicable, each term.
If, during your conditional term, you raise your averages to the appropriate level, we could possibly return you to an Honours program.
2. Do you want to change to a program that is not in the Faculty of Science?
If you want to prepare to enter another program at University of Waterloo that has no Sciences or Math requirements (usually Arts), you can do so by filing an Application for Re-admission 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 referred to earlier.
Transfer to Arts: Please see Frequently asked questions "How do I transfer from Science to another faculty?"
E) How can I petition a grade or academic decision?
Petitions are appropriate when you are seeking exception from faculty or university regulations or policies that you accept have been fairly applied. Petition decisions cannot be appealed. More information about petitions can be found in the ‘Petition’ section of Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) and the Science Petitions webpage.
Grievances are appropriate when you believe that you have been negatively affected by an unfair and/or unreasonable academic decision. The grievance process must begin informally with the person making the decision (e.g., instructor); a formal grievance is pursued only when the informal process does not result in a mutually acceptable solution. In the subsequent formal stage, you will need to submit a completed Notice of Challenge (Form 70B) or Notice of Reassessment Challenge (Form 70C), depending on the nature of your grievance. Grievance decisions can be appealed. The 70B challenge is submitted to your associate dean (undergraduate studies) while the 70C challenge is submitted to the chair/director of the department/school hosting the challenged course. The processes for these different types of grievances are described further in the ‘Grievance’ section of Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances).
F) How do I withdraw from a term?
G) What is ELPE and do I have to take this exam?
ELPE stands for English Language Proficiency Exam. As a Science student, you must satisfy the Communication Requirement, also referred to as the English Language Proficiency Requirement, before the end of your second year. You can either write the ELPE or take a communication-intensive course to meet the Communication Requirement.
Science students write the ELPE in December or April at the end of the fall and winter terms, respectively, one day prior to the start of regular exams. Please visit the ELPE dates webpage for exam dates, procedures, and preparation sessions.
6. Course load
A) What is my maximum unit load each term?
Unit loads may differ based on program and academic standing. Please see our Sixth and Seventh Course Enrolment selection of the Undergraduate calendar for further information.
B) What is the course load requirement for Dean's Honour list?
To be eligible, students must:
- complete a term of an Honours program with an overall average for the completed term of at least 80.0%
- have carried a full course load
- not have an INC, DNW, NMR, WF, UR, or failed course
A full course load is 2.5 units, exclusive of any courses with a .25 unit weight. For more information please see our undergraduate calendar.
C) What constitutes a full-time student?
Students who are in 1.5 units or more are considered a full-time student. Anything between 0.25-1.25 is considered part-time.
D) What does 'full course load' mean in regards to professional school requirements?
Normally, professional schools would like students to maintain a full course load throughout their undergraduate degree. In most cases this refers to at least 2.5 lecture units per term. Students are always encouraged to contact any professional schools they might be interested in and ask them specific questions on the matter.
E) What does OSAP consider 100% course load?
For Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) purposes, 2.5 units is normally considered 100% course load. Anytime you change your course load it may effect your OSAP payment. For more information please see the Student Awards and Financial Aid website.
7. Academic opportunities and professional schools
A) How do I find a personal tutor?
Tutoring in Residence also offers tutors for several first year courses. You don't need to be a student in residence to take part, and it is free for all University of Waterloo students. To see if your course is offered for tutoring, and where the meetings are, look at the schedule on the Tutoring in Residence site. Meetings are normally on a drop-in basis.
B) How do I become a tutor?
Visit the Student Success Office in South Campus Hall for more information or sign up here.
C) How do I find out about professional health schools such as medicine, dentistry, chiropractic, ect... ?
You should consult each professional school you intend to apply to for specific admission requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have all of the appropriate admission requirements. These can often be found on the universities' individual websites. Our Faculty of Science website has links to our School of Pharmacy and School of Optometry & Vision Science, where you will find admission requirement information. The Centre for Career Action on campus also carries reference books containing admission requirements to professional programs around the world. The OUAC website lists requirements to various professional programs within Ontario.
D) How do I find out about Optometry & Vision Science?
You will need a minimum of three years of university level science studies before applying to Waterloo's four-year Doctor of Optometry program. You should be aware that admission decisions to the program are not based on grades alone. The non-academic parts of the application process are very important and are given equal consideration.
For more information about prerequisite courses, admission requirements, and the application process...
- Visit the School of Optometry & Vision Science's website.
- Pick up an Optometry & Vision Science Admissions Handbook from the Science Undergraduate Office
- Attend an Optometry & Vision Science information session - details will be available early in the term
- Contact the Optometry & Vision Science Admissions Office at (519) 888-4567, ext. 32782
E) How do I find out about Pharmacy?
8. Work/research opportunities
A) How do I get an on-campus, part time job?
There are more than 1,200 part-time jobs available on campus each year. The Centre for Career Action is a great place to begin your search -- they have job postings, workshops, and one on one appointments to support your employment search. You can also approach individual professors about work opportunities as a lab or field researcher. They often have research opportunities available in the lab or in the field.
B) Research opportunities
Why get involved in research?
If you are planning on, or even just thinking about, applying to a masters program or any type of graduate school, then two things you will undoubtedly need are reference letters and research experience. Working in a university laboratory can provide you with both: you will be able to meet professors who will then know you well enough to write you a reference letter, you will gain experience in basic laboratory techniques and, if you are lucky, you could potentially get your name on a research paper.
How to connect to a professor?
A fair majority of your science teachers have laboratories, and the lecture hall is a great way to introduce yourself to your professor. Ask and answer questions regularly and see the professor after class or during office hours to ensure that he or she recognizes you. Your professors see hundreds of students every day, so you must make an impression if you want to work with them. When you feel you have developed a reputation with the professor, you can approach them and ask about working with them or one of their graduate students.
The university department websites can tell you which professors are actively doing research by looking at their recent publications.
What does this research involve?
Professors are not looking for students who come and go as they please and who don’t show up for unexplained reasons. Working in a laboratory is a commitment and if you cannot make that commitment then it is a waste of valuable time and resources for you to be trained. Be prepared to commit multiple hours a week and to have regular hours so that the graduate student who you are working for can provide work for you.
What work will I be doing?
The research you work on may not be ground-breaking and most undergraduate students will likely be preparing cultures/samples, setting up experiments and maintenance, but every student must start somewhere and this will give you experience with basic techniques and procedures that will come in handy in your future.
While research and references letters are a must for most science graduate programs, if you work in a laboratory solely for this reason, the experience won’t be beneficial to either you or the professor. Take your time when looking through the research that professors are currently working on. Try and find work that interests you and that is suitable for your program. And when you are in the lab, make the most of your time. Ask questions, follow procedures and take notes.
C) How do I go about asking for a letter of reference?
This can always be an awkward question to ask your supervisor, but they recognize that you need it to further your academics! Here is some great advice for asking for a letter of reference.
9. International exchanges
A) How do I find out more about International Exchange?
We enthusiastically encourage academic exchanges abroad, where you can study in a foreign country for up to one year while working towards your degree at the University of Waterloo. The University of Waterloo has exchange agreements with numerous universities in locations such as Australia, Tanzania, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. Everything you need to know, including eligibility, financing, how to apply and a list of partner institutions.
10. Funding and awards
A) Who do I talk to about getting financial aid?
The Student Awards and Financial Aid Office offers support and financial counselling for scholarships, awards, bursaries, the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), and out-of-province student loans.
B) What types of awards are available?
11. End of term information
A) When can I expect to see my grades?
Final examination results and final grades will not be posted until after the final examination period has ended. Once the exam period has ended, grades will begin to appear on Quest under the “Grades” tab within “My Academics”. Instructors are required to submit final grades for specific courses 7 days from the date of the final examination. Grades for courses that do not have a final examination or have a final examination not written within the examination period are expected to appear 14 days after the start of the examination period. These are guidelines, and the timelines are sometimes exceeded.
Grades become official and academic standings are released on the 15th business day of the next term. If you believe there is an error in your grade, please follow-up with your instructor immediately. Do not wait. It is good to be familiar with the important dates for each term.
B) What are some tips and tricks for writing exams?
Complete a practice exam in the same type of environment you would if you were writing a real exam. No textbook, no cellphone, no computer, no music, and the same time constraints.
Get a good night’s sleep before you write the exam. Staying up all night and cramming will hinder your ability to write the exam since you’ll be tired.
Remember to eat! It’s important to eat a good meal before the exam since you’ll need the energy. You will not be allowed to bring food into the exam.
Bring the following with you:
- Your WatCard
- A few pens
- A few pencils
- A pencil sharpener and eraser
- A bottle of water with no label
- A calculator (if required or allowed)
- A sweater
Be sure to go to the washroom before the exam. It is often a hassle to go to the washroom during your exam and you can easily lose your train of thought.
You are required to stay for at least 1 hour of the exam period. If you finish before 1 hour has passed, just sit at the desk quietly as there will still be people among you writing.
When you receive the exam, look it over once before you begin writing. This will give you an idea as to where you will need to spend the most time.
Answer the questions you know first and fill in the rest as you go. This will ensure that you get the marks for questions you know instead of being stuck on a question you don’t know the answer to for a long period of time.