Exchange Study Abroad

Last updated 2018-Oct-12

Exchange study abroad can be a rewarding experience. An important part of planning your exchange study abroad is course selection. The UWaterloo Engineering Exchange Office has a new web page listing courses that students have taken at foreign universities, which is a great resource.

This page contains some information from the UWaterloo side about specific courses that SE students are required to take, and some options you might have for getting these courses or equivalents here at UWaterloo on a different term. If you are going on exchange, then we are more flexible about which term you take certain courses in, and whether you take the regular course with your cohort or take a local alternative.

While it's good to try to match the courses that your cohort is taking at home at UWaterloo, it might not be possible to do so, and in that case you might need to take some core courses at UWaterloo in a different term than the rest of your cohort.

List of UW SE courses, when they are taught, and possible local alternatives.
Course Terms Offered UW Alternatives
SE350 Operating Systems W CS350, ECE350
SE380 Feedback Control F ECE380
SE390 Design Project Planning F  
SE464 Software Design & Architecture F CS446, ECE452
SE465 Software Testing W CS447, ECE453
CS341 Algorithms F, W, S ECE406
CS343 Concurrent & Parallel Programming F, W  
CS348 Databases F, W, S ECE356
CS349 User Interfaces F, W, S  

Notes about some specific courses:

  • CS343 is fairly unique to UW. You are unlikely to find a good replacement course at another university. Plan to take CS343 here.
  • SE390. We often facilitate students participating in this course remotely while on exchange. Some foreign schools have acceptable alternative courses, and some do not.
  • SE464. Some foreign schools have an acceptable alternative, but some schools have a courses that are a mixture of of SE463, SE464, and SE465. We prefer that you take our UW courses instead of these mixture courses.
  • SE380. If you plan to take Advanced Technical Electives at UW that require SE380/ECE380 as pre-requisites, then you should take one of those courses here. If you do not plan to take such ATEs, then you could take a controls course at your exchange university. 


Electives that you take abroad do not have to match UWaterloo courses exactly. In other words, if your exchange university has an interesting course with no similar course at UWaterloo, that's ok: we can potentially approve it in the appropriate elective slot. Part of the opportunity of going on exchange is to study things that are not available at your home university.