Come to Waterloo - undergraduate course selection

If you are coming to Waterloo on exchange, you will be required to complete course selection for your first term of study as part of your application. Prior to filling out the application, ensure that you follow these four steps:

  1. View course descriptions through the undergraduate calendar.  
    • Keep in mind that this is a list of courses that have been taught at UW. It does not show whether a course will be offered during the term you plan to study. The Understanding course description listings can help if you’re not sure what something means.
    • It is best to find 10 – 15 courses you are interested in.
  2. Review the undergraduate schedule of classes to make sure the courses you hope to take will be offered during your first term of study.  
  3. Review the list of restricted courses
    • These are courses that are not available to exchange students and should not be listed on your application.
  4. List ten courses on your application in order of priority
    • We will attempt to enroll you in your first five approved courses. Listing ten allows for “back-up” courses in the event that restrictions or scheduling conflicts arise. Additional courses will not be reviewed until after you are admitted.  

You'll be able to see what courses you have successful been enrolled in approximately 1 month before classes start.  

What do course codes mean?

Course letters - The subject is the area of study and is designated by a subject code (e.g., ECON or MSCI).

Course numbers - A three- or four-digit number that identifies a particular course (e.g., AFM 121). It sometimes has one or more letter(s) as a suffix (e.g., FR 192A).  

100-level courses are usually taken by first-year students. 200-level courses are introductory-level courses. 300-400 level courses are taught at an advanced level. The majority of 300-400 level courses have a pre-requisite. Exchange students can request a variety of levels so long as they meet the pre requits for the course. Please note we can never guarantee enrollment in any course.  

Course restrictions

Please note that some courses may be restricted (not available) to exchange students. You should review the list of restricted courses prior to making your course selections. These restrictions are determined by the respective academic department/faculty. 

Course descriptions

Please note that full course descriptions (including notes on textbooks, marking schemes, assignments, tests, midterms, exams, etc.) are usually provided to students during their first class and will not be provided beforehand. 

Credit system

At the University of Waterloo two terms of study are equivalent to a full academic year, although we operate on a trimester system with fall, winter, and spring terms.

The full-time course load is 5 courses per term (equivalent to 2.5 units) with a minimum of 3 courses per term (equivalent to 1.5 units). Most of our courses are assessed as a unit of 0.5 and are approximately 39 teaching hours per term. One undergraduate course at 0.5 units is equivalent to 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). Details of specific unit weights and teaching hours per course are available via our undergraduate schedule of classes.

In addition to maintaining full-time status in undergraduate level courses, a student may enrol in a maximum of one graduate course during their exchange at Waterloo. For students participating in an exchange longer than one term, a maximum of two graduate courses may be allowed. 

Please refer to our undergraduate calendar for information regarding our grading system.