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, paying close attention to the pre-requisite requirements. The Glossary of Terms can help if you’re not sure what something in the undergraduate calendar means.
  2. Review the undergraduate schedule of classes (paying close attention to the search code at the top) to make sure the course will be offered during your enrollment term. 

  3. Review the list of restricted courses (courses not available to exchange students) prior to making course selections.

  4. List ten courses in order of priority, allowing for a couple of “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.  

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. Many departments may have this information available to students through Learn (which is a learning management system) once they are registered in the course. However, it is primarily up to the respective professor if they will post the information online. Some professors only provide students with this information during their first class.

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.