Transferring to Science from college or university

Important Information for Fall 2022: 

The most important information we can give new students is that we're here to help you navigate the below process - so don't hesitate to email Andrea Neumann in the Science Undergraduate Office.

Please continue to monitor the University of Waterloo's Coronavirus page for updates.


Here at the University of Waterloo, we acknowledge that students have worked hard toward their goals at their previous institution. This is considered when assessing the courses they have previously taken at their college or university.

The transfer process to Waterloo Science is described below, which covers and summarizes the information found on the Registrar Office's Transfer Credits from University and College page.

If you are currently a student at University of Waterloo and are looking to transfer into Science, please visit the Internal Transfer page.

Step 1: Ensure final transcript(s) and/or documentation has been submitted

The transfer credit assessment process may be delayed when transcript(s) or additional documentation has not been submitted. Please ensure that you have submitted these documents as it can delay course enrolment.

You may be provided with conditional transfer credit(s) in the meantime if documents are not available to be submitted. This typically happens when students are completing a course at their current institution, or have completed courses but have not received their final grades/transcript, or still need to submit course outline(s).

Step 2: Review your Transfer Credit Assessment

Once you have accepted your offer of admission, the transfer credit assessment process begins. The transfer credit assessment outlines the credits you will be receiving from your previous institution(s) and your academic advisor will take these approved credits to support you through course selection and enrolment.

There are two types of transfer credits:  

  1. Specific transfer credits are courses from a student’s previous institution that are equivalent to a University of Waterloo course (e.g. BIOL 150).
  2. Generic transfer credits are courses from a student’s previous institution that does not have an equivalent Waterloo course. When this occurs, the generic transfer credit will be indicated as the subject, the level in which the course is weighed, and “XX” (e.g. BIOL 1XX).

The transfer credits which have been approved in the assessment are final. The Registrar’s Office will not be making any further changes to courses which have been awarded to a student. Subject matter experts fully review the content covered in course outlines from other institutions and they determine if there is sufficient overlap to approve an equivalent Waterloo course.

Science Credits

There are two different types of credits, or units, under the Faculty of Science:

  • 0.5 lecture unit
  • 0.25 lab unit*

*Note: Some labs can be 0.5 unit, though most are 0.25 unit. 

Step 3: Select/Enrol in to your Fall courses (begins early July)

After you receive your approved list of transfer credits, you will be in contact with your academic advisor who will help you select your required courses for the Fall term. Your advisor will contact you with a list of courses that you will need to take in your first term and will include required, and suggested courses. 

Depending on your program, there may or may not be a need to select any elective(s). For information on course requirements, the Undergraduate Calendar provides details regarding Science programs.

If you have been admitted into a co-op program, you should refer to the traditional sequence for your academic plan. 

Please contact your program academic advisor in late September to prepare your next steps of what your Winter courses can look like. 

Step 4: Review/revise Fall course schedule

You will receive access to view your schedule on Quest before the enrolment period, known as the “add/drop period”, to allow for any necessary adjustments. The Schedule of Classes may be a helpful tool to look up course information, courses available per term, number of sections offered, enrolment capacity, time and place of the class, and the instructor(s).