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University of Waterloo

Updated: November 17th, 2023

Studying in Canada is becoming an increasingly popular choice for many international students, with approximately 807,260 international students in the country according to Statista. The Canadian government, via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to provide a plethora of immigration pathways for prospective applicants to pursue their post-secondary education in the country's designated learning institutions (DLIs).

Take the chance to hit the books as an international student in Canada by discovering what you need to know to apply to the University of Waterloo!

The University of Waterloo (UW)

the university of waterloo

The University of Waterloo (UW), located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, was established in 1957. UW is a public research university with a main campus in Waterloo, three satellite campuses in Kitchener, Cambridge, and Stratford, and four affiliated university colleges.

Todaty, the University of Waterloo hosts more than 42,000 students each year, with approximately 30,000 international students from 120 countries worldwide according to Times Higher Education. There are six faculties at the university which include the:

  • Arts,
  • Engineering,
  • Environment,
  • Health,
  • Mathematics, and
  • Science.

Within the university’s faculties, you can choose from over 100 study programs.

Possessing a global network of approximately 220,000 alumni across 151 countries, the University of Waterloo provides opportunities with over 7,000 co-op employers-to-students programs.

Why Study at the University of Waterloo?

Choosing the right university for your higher education is crucial, and the University of Waterloo offers compelling reasons for international students to consider it their academic home. These reasons include:

University of Waterloo’s Scholarship Opportunities for International Students

Canada international scholarships lessen the financial burden of pursuing higher education in Canada’s colleges and universities, making entering Canada to study at UW accessible and inclusive for students with diverse economic backgrounds. Scholarships offered to international students at the University of Waterloo include:

  • University of Waterloo International Student Entrance Scholarship,
  • Faculty of Engineering International Student Entrance Scholarships,
  • Faculty of Mathematics Global Scholarships,
  • Mathematics International Awards: India, and
  • Faculty of Science International Student scholarships.

University of Waterloo’s Cooperative Programs

Through the University of Warerloo’s co-op placements, you have the opportunity to gain working in Canada experience, build professional networks, and apply classroom knowledge in professional settings. International Experience Canada has an International Co-op program that grants you a work permit to work in Canada if your:

  • A registered student at a Candian post-secondary institution,
  • Job offer is in an internship or work placement program in Canada,
  • Internship or work placement program is required to complete your studies, and
  • Employment is for the same employer and in the same location.

At the University of Waterloo, you will have access to North America's largest selection of cooperative jobs and experiences for university students, with over 7,500 employees according to UW’s website.

Per a four-month work term, you can generally make between 12,319,38 CAD and 29, 432.64 CAD as a participant in one of the UW’s cooperative programs. You can use the work experience gained during your co-op program to apply for a post-graduation work permit.

You can learn more about how cooperative programs work at the University of Waterloo’s website.

University of Waterloo’s Reputation for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The University of Waterloo's collaborative ecosystem allows you to engage with industry leaders, startups, and research initiatives. This helps you to foster a culture of innovation and knowledge exchange.

Entrepreneurial programs and start-ups available at the University of Waterloo to advance your entrepreneurial and innovative opportunities include:

  • Velocity Science program,
  • Medella Health,
  • Co.Lab,
  • FocusONCare,
  • Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business,
  • GreenHouse, and
  • Science Innovation Hub.

Student Life at the University of Waterloo

Beyond academics, UW offers a vibrant and enriching student life experience, characterized by a diverse range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and cultural events.

Student Clubs and Societies

Under the administrative supervision of the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, you can choose between over 200 student clubs to join, including the Dragon Boat Club, A Cappella Club, Cooking Club, and Ballroom Dance Club.

Each faculty at the University of Waterloo has a representative society that helps to advance your social and academic interests in your study field. This includes the:

  • Association of Health Students Undergraduate Members (AHSUM),
  • Arts Student Union (ASU),
  • Accounting & Finance Student Association (AFSA),
  • Engineering Society (EngSoc),
  • Mathematics Society (MathSoc),
  • Environment Students Society (ESS), and
  • Science Society (SciSoc).

Sports and Campus Recreation at the University of Waterloo

Among the institution's recreational programs, Warrior Recreation is one of Canada's most diverse campus recreation programs, offering approximately 200 programs at various levels for you to choose from.

You can access these programs at the expanded Physical Activities Complex, where you can engage in activities such as:

  • Power yoga,
  • Cycling,
  • Pilates,
  • Spin classes, and
  • Dance and martial arts.

Accomodation at the University of Waterloo

If you’re looking for accessible housing at the University of Waterloo, you can find it available in the residences run by Campus Housing for students who need support and accommodations. You can learn more about the type of accommodation available at UW’s Accessible Housing Supports web page.

Looking for a way to connect with fellow students in your academic program, you can apply for accommodation to a Living Learning Community. By obtaining accommodation at a Living Learning Community, you can receive mentorship services in the form of leadership and support programs.

Location in Waterloo

The University of Waterloo’s location in Waterloo, one of the prime cities in the most populated province of Ontario, ensures that international students in Ontario never run out of interesting things to do. Even with the pinch of Canada’s student fees, you can experience the city’s nightlife via Phil's Grandson's Place, Molly Bloom's, and Morty's Pub.

The University Shops Plaza, right next to the university, is a popular and convenient place to visit if you’re looking for a bite to eat. The Center in the Square is a great place if you’re looking for the thrill of a live performance. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can take walks in Waterloo Park, hike through the trails of Laurel Creek, or go skiing at Chicopee Ski Hill.

What Support Services Does the University of Waterloo Offer International Students?

Whart support services does UW offer international students?

International student services offered at the University of Waterloo include:

University of Waterloo’s International Peer Community

The University of Waterloo’s International Peer Community (IPC) is a peer-support program that will assist you to settle and feel at home at UW. Using community-based activities and events, the IPC will help you find a support network, learn about Canada and other nations’ cultures, and develop your intercultural skills and sense of community.

Some examples of IPC events that you can attend include:

  • Team Slam Down,
  • Bonfire Night, and
  • Meet and Greet – Mini Carnival, and
  • Outdoor Games.

International Student Advisory Committee at the University of Waterloo

The International Student Advisory Committee (ISAC) at UW plays a pivotal role in advocating for the needs and interests of international students, fostering a supportive and inclusive campus environment.

If you want to get some advice and feedback on what to expect from the international student experience at UW, you can contact The Undergraduate International Student Advisory Committee (ISAC-UG) and the Graduate International Student Advisory Committee (ISAC-G).

University of Waterloo’s UWinterloo

If you want to feel connected to Canada and other students during December, you can contact UWinterloo. Using winter-themed events, activities, and resources, UWinterloo helps international students find connections during Canada’s harsh winters.

The core services you can access by signing up for UWinterloo include:

  • Digital Connections,
  • Pen Pal Initiative,
  • Care Package: Winter Essentials, and
  • Mix and Mingle event.

University of Waterloo’s International Student Guide

UW’s International Student Guide (ISG) will provide you with valuable insights into the university’s student life, academic expectations, and support services. Using the International Student Guide empowers you to make informed decisions and effectively integrate into the university community.

UW’s International Orientation

By participating in the International Orientation program at UW, you will receive guidance on academic resources, cultural adaptation, and campus life, enabling you to acclimate to your new surroundings and form connections with fellow students and university staff.

How Can I Become a Student at the University of Waterloo?

Becoming a student at the University of Waterloo involves a systematic process that requires careful planning, documentation, and adherence to the university's admission requirements. You can expect the following admissions process at the university.

Admissions Process at the University of Waterloo

The admissions process at the University of Waterloo encompasses several key stages, which include:

Step 1: Create an Ontario University Application Center Account (OUAC) Account

Visit and then select the "Undergrad 105," application form. Once you've reviewed your form to ensure you're eligible to apply, create your account by entering your name, date of birth, and email address.

Step 2: Complete, Submit and Pay Your Required Application Fee

Once you've created your OUAC account, you can browse programs and select the ones you're interested in. Once you've made your selections, submit your application and pay the required application fee of 156 CAD.

Step 3: Certify and Submit All Required Documentation

After submitting your application, you'll receive an email with your Waterloo student number. You'll need to certify and submit all required documentation, including your official transcripts, International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English language proficiency test scores, medical exams, and any other required documents. Upload these documents to Quest, the University of Waterloo's online student information system.

You can track the processing times and chances of receiving a letter of acceptance on the OUAC site. Before you arrive in Canada, ensure to go through the document checklist needed for your stay in Canada.

How to get a Study Permit in Canada

If you plan to study at the University of Waterloo, you must apply for a study permit. A Canada study permit is a vital document that allows international students and non-permanent residents to pursue their academic endeavors in Canada at a DLI.

Learn more about how to get a Canada Study Permit.

Student Direct Stream

If you’re pressed for time and must begin your studies at the University of Waterloo as soon as possible, you can use the Student Direct Stream. The Student Direct Stream (SDS) enables prospective international students whose home country is an eligible Asian, African, and Latin American nation to apply and receive a Canada Study Permit within approximately 20 calendar days.

Find out more about Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS).

Now that you have some working knowledge of the University of Waterloo, you can begin the process of becoming a valued student at the postsecondary institution.



How do I Apply for Jobs at the University of Waterloo?

By using the University of Waterloo's career services, networking with employers, and leveraging the university's co-op programs, you can explore avenues for gaining valuable work experience and building a strong professional foundation during your academic journey at the University of Waterloo.

What Are The University of Waterloo's Admission Averages?

The admission averages for programs at the University of Waterloo vary based on the specific academic requirements and competition levels for each discipline.

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