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First-year students

Welcome to the Software Engineering program!

We understand that the first year of university can be overwhelming, so we want to help make your transition as easy as possible.

The links and information contained on this page and on your class homepage are intended to get you settled in and to help you find everything you need to succeed in your first year!

If you have any questions that have not been addressed on these pages, then feel free to contact us or drop by the Software Engineering Admiministration Office (DC 2597).

In addition, both the University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Engineering offer personal and academic counselling to students.

Class enrolment

As a first-year student in the Software Engineering program, you will automatically be enrolled in your first year courses. You will be able to view your schedule and fee statement on Quest, as well as update your personal information. Starting in 2A, you will use  Quest to pre-enroll and enroll for your elective courses, so become familiar with  Quest.

Registrar's office

As a student at uWaterloo, you can use this site to

Computing on campus

As a Software Engineering student, you belong to both the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Engineering, thus you will be issued a Math student.math Unix account and an Engineering Nexus account.


You can look up your textbooks for the term through My Booklook. Once you know which textbook your instructor will be using, you can also try to find them at the Feds Used Books store - these books are not refundable so make sure you have the correct textbook and edition before making a purchase.


The WatCard is your one card to access many facilities and services both on and off campus.

Class reps

Students elect their class representatives in their concepts course (SE101) during their 1A term. New student representatives are elected each subsequent academic term.

Among other things, class reps act as the main liaison between their classmates, professors, and the SE administration. They also attend 3 meeting throughout the term and bring forward any class concerns.


English language proficiency examination (ELPE)

All Software Engineering students must write the English Language Proficiency Examination (ELPE) before the end of their 2A term; however, it is highly recommended that they write the ELPE at their first opportunity, which will be during Orientation Week. ELPE exam dates, times and locations are located on the ELPE website

Students writing the ELPE will be given fifty minutes to wirte an essay on a topic that will be assigned during the exam. The purpose of the ELPE is to assess your writing skills, so evaluators will be checking to make sure that your writing is structured, well organized, and free of grammatical errors.

Students who obtain a grade of less than 60 in the ELPE must, at the first available opportunity after their unsuccessful attempt at the ELPE, either attend the Writing Clinic, rewrite the ELPE in December, or take one of the approved English courses (ENGL 109, ENGL 129R, ENGL 210E,  ENGL 210F ESL 102R or ESL 129R) and obtain a grade of 60% (C-) or better.

Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)

All students in the Faculty of Engineering must have appropriate instruction on issues of workplace safety: Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) training satisfies this requirement. Software Engineering students will receive the appropriate level of WHMIS training in SE 101.

Mathematics Readiness Assessment (MRA)

The Mathematics Readiness Assessment is a diagnostic test based on grade 12 level math, and is written by all Software Engineering students during the first week of classes - exam details will be posted on your class homepage.

This exam is not for credit, but is rather a tool for you to identify the areas of your mathematics background that may need improvement. Depending on the results of your test, you may be invited to participate in weekly Problem Solving Lab to improve your skills. Although no special preparation is necessary, you may want to purchase the Mathematics Preparedness Manual for Post-Secondary Studies if you are concerned about your performance on this test.

Extra help sessions

First Year Engineering offers both weekly extra help session and evening help sessions. Students will be invited to attend these sessions based on the results of thier practice midterm and midterm exams.

Entrepreneurship Option in Engineering

 new in fall 2014