Internationalizing your degree
Students in the Faculty of science are encouraged to Go Abroad in a number of different ways: academic exchanges, internships, co-op jobs, summer programs, volunteer opportunities, and more. Through Waterloo Passport, you'll be able to explore the programs and destinations available to Waterloo Science students.
For more information about other international programs, such as internships and service learning (volunteer) programs, please contact one of the Global Learning Coordinators.
Why go abroad?
Still in doubt about whether you should go abroad? Here are a few reasons to consider an international experience:
- It's an amazing opportunity to be exposed to different cultures.
- You will meet people from other countries, participate in clubs and activities, and improve your interpersonal skills and your confidence to interact with a variety of different people.
- You'll be able to improve your language skills.
- An international experience can also serve as a starting point for travel to different parts of the world.
- You can study abroad for one or two terms and experience a new academic environment, take courses that are not offered at Waterloo, and use them towards your degree.
Information for going on exchange
- Minimum overall average of 70% (some universities may require an average of 75% or higher)
- Be in satisfactory standing for your program
- Be proficient in the language of instruction, if courses are not taught in English
- You must be at least in your second year when you apply, to go on your third year (completed four full academic terms at Waterloo)
- Some summer programs may be more flexible
- Exchange term cannot be your last academic term
For international exchanges, you pay your normal tuition fees to Waterloo prior to departure. There is no extra tuition charged to participate in an exchange program. While studying abroad, you're responsible for any extra studying costs (books, lab fees, etc.), travel expenses, passport and visa arrangements, accommodations, food and all other living expenses, including health care. Costs of living abroad may vary considerably but is often not significantly higher than living in Canada.
Study Abroad Programs
For study abroad programs, you pay fees at your host school. Some Waterloo programs offer a study abroad experience specific to a department or faculty.
Summer and Short-term programs
Summer and Short-term programs through the University of Waterloo vary. For some summer programs, you pay the program fee directly to the host school. For others, you pay your tuition fees to Waterloo. You can find this information, as well as the program cost, on the program's summary page in Waterloo Passport.
Exchange Scholarships and Bursaries
There are a variety of scholarships and bursaries available for students who are going on exchange.
International experience awards – one application to be considered for them all!
FSF Education Travel Award – just for Science students!
Before you apply
- Attend a mandatory info session.
- Talk with your academic advisor and the Science Faculty Exchange Representative.
- Research where you want to go on Waterloo Passport.
- Look at the courses you still need to graduate. Try to get most of your required courses out of the way before you go on exchange or have a plan of when you will take those courses when you return to Waterloo.
- Check the term dates, duration and language of instruction of the host schools to ensure they would be a good option for you.
- Check out Global Experience Certificate (GEC).
For more information, please visit the Student Success Office Go Abroad website.
How do I apply?
Once you have done your research and spoken with the right people, you are ready to apply. Applications can be found through Waterloo Passport. To be considered in the first round of nominations, applications are due November 1. Applications submitted after November 1 will be considered in the continuous round. When applying for an exchange program, you are encouraged to list up to five program choices in one application. After applying, a non-refundable fee will be required before your application can be considered.
Course selection and transfer credits
Once you know which school you will be going to, it is important to start selecting your courses and obtaining course approval. You need to look into courses early and have them assessed before you leave for your exchange so that you know what transfer credits you can expect to receive when you get back to Waterloo. Select a list of courses you are interested to take and send the course description or course syllabus to the appropriate advisors accordingly. It is important to be flexible when selecting your courses for studying abroad. We also recommend that you select extra courses as changes may occur after arriving to the partner university. If uncertain of which courses to take, you will need to discuss with your UW academic advisor which courses work best towards your degree progression.
|Course code/subject||Advisor name|
- Math: Sara O'Donnel
- Applied Health Sciences: Julie-Anne Desrochers
- Arts: Andri Efstathiou
- Engineering: Cindy Howe
- Environment: Jaime Fohkens
Make sure you have kept all the email record and forwarded them to Janessa Zheng once they are completed.
While away on exchange, you will be enrolled in the placeholder course SCI 395/396/397 Science Study Abroad Program, for the term of the exchange. Once we receive your official transcript from your host school, the placeholder course will be replaced on your transcript by the transfer credits.
Students need to obtain at least a passing grade at host university, or equivalent, in order to transfer the credit back to University of Waterloo. Refer back to the country profile for any exceptions or special notes for this rule.
The grades you achieve in your exchange courses are not calculated in your average and will only show up on your UW transcript as credit (CR) or no credit (NCR). They won’t be calculated into your UW average, however you may need to submit your exchange transcripts along with your UW transcript for further education applications.
Going abroad involves a lot of preparation. Do you have a valid passport? Will you need a visa? How much will it cost to live in a different country? What other expenses will you have?
To answer these and lots of other questions, Waterloo International has some useful information:
- How do I pay for it?: awards, scholarships, OSAP, etc.
- You Should Also Know: what you need to know before going, while you're away, and when you come back.
- Global Experience Certificate (GEC): if you're going abroad, why not work towards a certificate?
Working abroad: learn more about international co-op.
Contact us if you have questions about the international exchange or would like to schedule an appointment with the Science Faculty Exchange Representative, Janessa Zheng.