Social Development Studies (SDS) is a Bachelor of Arts degree available through the University of Waterloo, though the department is housed in Renison University College. Due to the varied admission pathways into this program, at any given time our cohort consists of students coming straight from highschool, transferring from another internal UWaterloo program, transferring from an external college or university, or starting their first degree many years after highschool.
We welcome all new transfer students to SDS! You'll experience very similar things to non-transfer students, but the initial course enrolment process will be unique. This page provides a guideline for planning your first term in SDS, whether you're coming from another UWaterloo faculty (internal transfer) or from a different school (external transfer).
To get you started
Please keep an eye on your UW email for helpful SDS newsletters (sent biweekly through MailChimp, be sure they're not going to spam).
Students switch faculties for a number of reasons and it's called an "internal transfer". Successful courses from any faculty are eligible to transfer and "count" toward your new Arts degree.
Step 1: Review your Arts admission information
You will receive an email noting admission into the Faculty of Arts. It should outline:
- What program/plan year you are now following and the term in which you will begin studies as an Arts student
- If your file is pending an admission decision to a different program/plan (e.g. Arts and Business, SDS major, etc.)
- How your previous courses are assessed (may include references to “clearing your average”). Some of your past courses may now show as IXFR, which is a code for internally-transferred credits.
See the Faculty Transfer to Arts website for more information.
Step 2: Learn about your new degree and connect with your advisor
In some cases, internal transfer students are admitted to Liberal Studies to start. Some choose to continue with this flexible Arts plan and others choose to work towards entry into an Arts major like SDS. What you need to complete the new degree will depend on your plan and admission timing.
- If you are new to Liberal Studies or want to stay, learn about the program and connect with Shari Schultz if you have questions.
- If you're planning a shift into SDS or are directly transferred, learn about the program, explore the current website, and connect with your new SDS academic advisor.
NOTE: If you have been a UW student for a while and already completed the English Language Proficiency Requirement (ELPR) *or* finished a different's faculty's communication requirement, you do not have to take ARTS 130 and ARTS 140. Confirm with your advisor.
Step 1: Review your transfer credits
Pending admission timing and complexity of past schooling, you may receive a transfer assessment within a few weeks of an admission offer - however it can sometimes take longer to finalize, especially during peak admission timing. It is better to start planning courses early, even if you don't yet have this assessment. Schedules can be adjusted once your transfer credits are finalized.
See the Transfer Credits from University and College website for more information. If you have any questions about the transfer credits you received or status of an assessment, please contact the Transfer Team.
Once you receive a transfer assessment, you may see a mix of specified and unspecified transfer credits awarded.
- Specified transfer credits look like a regular course code + number (e.g., SOC 101R). These are given if the overall scope of content covered in previous course(s) matches a certain amount of content in a specific UWaterloo course, so you cannot take the UWaterloo version.
- Unspecified transfer credits do not have a specific course number but are assessed at the associated level (e.g., PSYCH 1XX, ENGL 2XX).
Transfer credits can help you satisfy other course prerequisites and year-level enrolment requirements.
- Prerequisites: If you have specified transfer credits you can use them to satisfy Waterloo and Renison course prerequisites.
- For example, if you received a transfer credit for SOCWK 120R, you would be able to take SOCWK 220R, 221R, 222R and more.
- Year-level requirements: Both specified and unspecified transfer credits can help you satisfy year-level enrolment requirements for courses. These requirements are there to ensure your success in higher-level courses.
- For example, if you were given enough transfer credits to reach level 2A, you would be able to take SDS 367R (Aging and Social Development) as the course requires students to be in level 2A or above.
Step 2: Choose your courses
As a Renison student, you have the ability to choose courses from both main campus and any of the affiliate colleges. The opportunities are endless! For a full how-to/overview, see "Making your Schedule" on our Enrolment FAQ website.
Explore the Undergraduate Calendar when you find a course that sounds interesting to you. It will tell you the overall topic/content, any requisites, and whether it is available online. Unfortunately not every course is offered each term, so be sure to check the courses listed on the Schedule of Classes. This schedule shows what was offered in the most recent past, current and future terms (e.g. 1229 = Fall(9) 2022(22) term). It is updated a few months before the future term.
Wondering what you should take?
- ARTS First Courses: All incoming Arts students are required to take both ARTS 130 (Inquiry and Communication) and ARTS 140 (Information and Analysis). These courses are collectively known as "Arts First".
- There are two SDS-owned Arts First courses, one per code, that run online. Students are not required to take these topics.
- You can only take one course per term, but both must be complete (ideally in your first year).
- For spring term only students can course select Arts First. For fall and winter terms, either course (pending space) should be added through Quest beginning on the first open enrolment date of add/drop. --> How to Enrol in ARTS First.
- Courses that count toward the SDS major (see First Year Courses as a starting guide if not granted transfer credits for them).
- Courses that help you complete the Bachelor of Arts Breadth Requirements (all SDS students need 1 fine/performing/communication arts course, 2 humanities courses, and 2 language/culture courses; the rest are completed through our major).
- Courses that contribute to other plans you'd like to follow (e.g. minors, SDS specializations).
Step 2.5 (optional): Check-in with your academic advisor
Advisors are here to support students in understanding logistical UWaterloo processes, can recommend options toward your interests and remaining degree requirements, and refer students to other appropriate services if needed.
- They cannot tell you exactly what courses to take every term of your degree and do not enroll you in courses - enrolling in courses to satisfy degree requirements is a student's responsibility.
- However you're welcome to email any questions and/or chosen selections to your academic advisor for a quick review (not required).
Please include your Waterloo student ID number, found on your offer of admission, in all email communication to advisors. It helps verify your identity and record accurately.
Step 3: Submit your choices through Quest
If you have been admitted in time for course selection, follow this process to submit your options.
- Course selection does not guarantee enrolment, but does give you a first-chance to get a seat and is recommended when possible. You will only have the course code, title, and modality available at this time (e.g. online, in-person, blended/mix), so if schedules or needs change, adjustments can be made during add/drop (see Step 4).
If you have been admitted before or during the add/drop period, follow this process to submit your options.
- Add/drop is considered "live enroling", such that any open seats can be taken by students at any time and your enrolment result is a hard yes (enrolled) or no (not enrolled). You will have all information available, including course code, title, modality, instructor, location, time/date (if applicable), and current space after the course selections are processed.
Step 4: Review your schedule and adjust as needed during add/drop
If you participated in course selection, the system will try to enroll you in as many submissions as possible. It will also give you an initial class schedule to review. You can verify courses you got into by viewing your class schedule. Note: online-only classes are visible in list format, not calendar format.
See the Important Dates website for the specific date this happens each term.
- See all of the classes you requested? - Great, get excited! Next step is paying tuition/becoming fees arranged.
- Don’t see all of the classes you requested? - it could have been due to something on our Enrolment FAQ page and is fairly common.
If adjustments to your class schedule are needed (e.g. adding a new course, swapping a course you're enrolled in for something different, dropping some or all, etc.), the add/drop period's "appointment time" is your first chance to do so. If you did not participate in course selection, you'll create your schedule manually during this time.
You can confirm your assigned add/drop "appointment time" on the same day as above (view schedule date). Think of this as a virtual queue for concert tickets (e.g. you may not be able to purchase until X time on Y date so the website doesn't crash). Appointment times stagger initial add/drop enrolment demand for all UWaterloo students across two days. Ability to add, swap and drop then opens up equally to everyone a day later and lasts until the second week of the new term (~8 weeks).
- Appointment times are not a physical or virtual meeting with anyone but yourself and your computer!
- While there's often movement in course capacity up until the start of term, some courses do fill from the two day appointment window. It's recommended to enroll during your appointment time or at the first opportunity (pending admission timing, which may be beyond these two dates).
- See the Quest Help website for how-to guides on adding, swapping, dropping courses.
Congratulations! You've started your first term in SDS and created a class schedule. If you have any more questions or encounter issues at any stage, please contact your Academic Advisor.