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University of Waterloo

Canada Canada


THE World Ranking: 201



The city of Waterloo, Ontario, is home to over 100,000 people, the world’s largest Oktoberfest event outside of Germany, an annual not-for-profit LGBT pride event and the University of Waterloo. Students will get to know and love the city when they study at this university, as the main campus is close to all the action, near uptown Waterloo and Waterloo Park.


There are also three satellite campuses: Cambridge, Kitchener, and Stratford. Four federal institutions are also connected to the University of Waterloo: Conrad Grebel University College, St Jerome’s University College, St Paul’s University College, and Renison University College.


The student community at Waterloo is filled with people from lots of different backgrounds. 22 per cent of undergraduates and 40 per cent of postgraduates enrolled are international students. This means there’s a chance around every corner to learn and grow, and it also means that the university has been able to develop some very strong support services and scholarship options for international students. Nobody is left behind at Waterloo, and financial struggle should never stop success.


Enjoy learning from talented, award-winning lecturers and studying in modern facilities at one of Canada’s best universities. Tutors and other faculty members really care, and they’re always focused and professional in class. Class sizes are small, and every student can feel like they matter and are being heard.


Choosing to study at Waterloo is choosing to study at an institution that cares about its students, delivers great teaching standards and puts a lot of focus and energy into research and development. Across the range of programmes and courses, things are always well-organised, and students are always well-prepared for the working world by the time they graduate with a degree.


Explore more about studying at Waterloo:


Teaching quality

Entry requirements

Scholarships & funding

University structure


Student support

Graduate outcomes


Teaching Quality

Waterloo currently has over 42,000 students enrolled. Over the five decades that the university has been around, it’s been able to develop a huge 220,000-person alumni network across 151 countries. New generations of leaders and thinkers grow up at the University of Waterloo, and they graduate and go on to be successful thanks to high quality teaching and plenty of practical opportunities.


For every full-time tenure and tenure-stream faculty member at Waterloo, there are about 31 students. Thanks to this great ratio, every person studying at this special institution can get the attention they deserve. And to set the standard for staff members and teaching quality? One of the professors at the University of Waterloo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2018, becoming the third woman in history ever to receive the honour.


Out of every institution in Canada, Waterloo is ranked number one for experiential learning and employer-student connections. No other university in the country can match up to how the academic staff treat their students, who enjoy quality teaching in every lesson and lecture.


In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Waterloo ranks in the top 250 universities in the world, and in the QS World University Rankings it ranks in the top 175. It places seventh overall in Canada. Maclean’s recently named Waterloo the most innovative university, as well as ranking it first place for computer science.


Waterloo has earned these exciting rankings and continues to improve them each year. The university has also earned its reputation for new and important research efforts. Recently funded projects include research into experimental therapies for autoimmune disease and research covering subjects like environmental inequality, economic sustainability and reintroducing Indigenous languages.


Entry Requirements

To get into the University of Waterloo, students must meet some general university entry requirements. This applies to domestic and international students, though international students will need to work out relevant equivalents to find out if they’re eligible to apply. Essentially, every undergraduate applicant will need to be qualified up to grade 12/their equivalent. And every postgraduate will need to share previous university qualifications.


Beyond these entry requirements, there will then be other programme-specific requirements that might hold applicants to a higher standard than the general university requirements. The University of Waterloo recommends that all applying students do lots of research to be certain they are right for the courses they plan to attend.


Waterloo’s admission averages are in the low 80s to mid–90s range. Figures can change depending on the total number of applications received in a year, the grades of applicants and how many spaces are left in each programme.


English Score Required

At Waterloo, teaching happens in English. To study at Waterloo, students all need to have a certain level of understanding of the English language. If a student hasn’t spent their last four years of full-time education in an English school system and their first language isn’t English, they’ll need to share some evidence that they can speak, hear, read and write English to the right standard.


This evidence is shared in the form of a test, and there are lots of different options accepted by the University of Waterloo. Two of the most common choices are the TOEFL and the IELTS. International students will need a TOEFL score of 90 overall, with 25 in the writing and speaking subsections. They will need an IELTS overall band score of 6.5, with 6.5 scores in the writing and speaking bands and 6.0 scores in the reading and listening bands. Any figures below these won’t meet the English score needed.


There is a chance, if an applicant does meet the academic standards at the University of Waterloo but doesn’t quite get a high enough English score, that they’ll receive a conditional offer of admission at BASE (Bridge to Academic Success). Having completed this programme, they can submit a new English language score.



A student’s admission journey will look slightly different if they are only applying to the University of Waterloo than it will if they’re applying to multiple universities in Ontario. One application can go directly through the university, but multiple applications in the area should be applied for via the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).


When information has been provided and the OUAC 105 for full-time studies has been filled out, the OUAC will share student information with universities in the area, including Waterloo. Students can also use the Admission Information Form (AIF) to add extra detail to their university admission application about who they are and what activities they enjoy. Students are not encouraged to add letters of achievement or recommendation letters to their applications, as these won’t be considered.


Once an applicant has chosen their desired programme and applied, they will also need to provide any supporting documents that the university asks for. To review an international student’s application, the university will need transcripts from their previous/current schools (translated into English if they were in another language).


More detail on what documents to send for each situation and how to send them is available on the University of Waterloo’s website. Applicants should follow every instruction the institution shares as well as they can, as this will grant them their best chance at student admission.


Scholarships & Funding

Scholarships at the University of Waterloo aren’t just a way to help students who struggle with fees or need help with funding. They also recognise and celebrate students who are doing well academically. Waterloo is an encouraging learning community, keen to reward success when it happens.


The President’s Scholarship, for example, is for students with an early May admission average of 90 per cent to 94.9 per cent. It’s worth CAD 2,000. Then there’s the Merit Scholarship for admission averages between 85 per cent to 89.9 per cent, worth CAD 1,000.


Students with early May admission averages above a 95 per cent value are granted a special university scholarship called the President’s Scholarship of Distinction. This scholarship’s CAD value is the highest, and it also comes with a CAD 1,500 International Experience Award and/or a CAD 1,500 Research Award.


There are also university scholarships just for international students, called International Student Entrance Scholarships. These are worth CAD 10,000 and anyone who is eligible will be automatically considered for them without having to apply.


Beyond scholarships, funding support is available through financial aid programmes and bursaries. If a student suddenly ends up in a situation of hardship, there are several places they can turn to at Waterloo for help. All the information needed is on the university’s website.


University Structure

For over 50 years, the faculties at this university have been providing students with the resources needed to create their own paths. To receive a quality education and develop personally and professionally at the same time. There are over 50 academic departments at Waterloo, 12 schools and 100 unique programmes of study. It’s all organised into six large faculties:


  • The Faculty of Arts
  • The Faculty of Engineering
  • The Faculty of Environment
  • The Faculty of Health
  • The Faculty of Mathematics
  • The Faculty of Science


Under these faculty umbrellas, with the departments and schools, there are also over 30 great research laboratories, institutes and centres that let students get involved and produce some great work. This is definitely the perfect learning institution for curious people who always want to discover something new. To give an example of how the faculties break down, The Faculty of Science contains:


  • Cross-faculty bachelor programmes in science and business and science and aviation
  • The Department of Biology
  • The Department of Chemistry
  • The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • The Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • The School of Optometry and Vision Science
  • The School of Pharmacy


Students are encouraged to research fully any faculty or department that interests them, following links on the Waterloo website to hear about each element in more detail. There’s no better way to find out about an ideal course of study.



From student recreation centres like indoor sports courts and fitness gyms to student activity centres like restaurants and cafes, there’s never a boring moment for people who are learning and living at the University of Waterloo. Anyone looking to keep fit during their studies will spend lots of time enjoying the Physical Activities Complex (PAC). There’s even a climbing wall inside.


When they’re tired of getting active, students can stop by the Faculty of Engineering doughnut shop for a sweet treat or check out a familiar chain like Starbucks or Tim Hortons for a great cup of coffee. Between and after classes, they can eat at a few special spots across campus like the Eye Opener, ML’s Diner and Ev3rgreen.


On the academic side of things, there’s more than one library at the university. Each library is a different kind of student life centre, a quiet and calm study space with Library Accessibility Services available and lots of resources (both print and digital) at students’ fingertips. There are even dedicated study rooms in the Davis Centre and the Dana Porter Library for assignments that need a student’s full focus.


The lecture theatres are also very well equipped. The Theatre of the Arts in the Modern Languages Building, for example, has an amphitheatre stage and a capacity of 400 people. The venue is used for performances and theatre classes and is definitely one of Waterloo’s most impressive classroom settings.




The University of Waterloo’s great facilities also include multiple on-campus student accommodation options. Waterloo understands how important it is that students find the university residence that feels right for them. They’re not just choosing a place to stay, they’re choosing their home for the next year. And for international students, this home might be all the way across the world from their last home.


That’s why there are so many university accommodation options. There are eight residences in total:


  • Village 1
  • Ron Eydt Village
  • Claudette Millar Hall
  • Mackenzie King Village
  • UW Place
  • Columbia Lake Village South
  • Columbia Lake Village North
  • Minota Hagey


Village 1 was the first ever residence built for students at this university, and it’s now able to house over 1,300 residents. It’s a residence for first years only, with single, double and interconnecting room options available. Utilities are included, and there is a 24/7 helpdesk at the front of the residence, so support with any issues is never far away.


Ron Eydt Village is also for first years only and large enough for almost 1,000 students. Only double rooms are available. Again, utilities are included, and there’s a 24/7 helpdesk.


On the other side of the accommodation spectrum, students will discover the student house communities of Columbia Lake Village South and Columbia Lake Village North. The South Village is a mix of first years, upper years and postgraduates. The North Village is all graduate students and students with families (available furnished for grads, unfurnished for families).


Students can view the other housing options and explore each one in detail on the Waterloo website. Off-campus life is also an option, and there are lots of rental opportunities in the fun city of Waterloo. The university recommends that students benefit from its partnership with Places4Students if they do plan to rent outside of campus.


Student Support

There are lots of student support services at the University of Waterloo. These student services cover academic struggles, financial problems, personal issues and general student wellbeing. Overall, the university wants to keep every student happy, comfortable, and able to focus on their learning.


There’s an on-campus Student Medical Clinic for physical health services and a dedicated Counselling Services department at Waterloo for student support with any mental health needs. One-on-one counselling sessions can explore concerns, whether university-related or connected to a student’s personal life, and trained professionals can then make sure that student is getting the care they need. Plus, skills seminars and group therapy options are available, too.


International students can turn to the International and Canadian Student Network (ICSN) if they’re struggling to feel at home. This network connects local students, international students and exchange students with fun weekly events and chances to meet.


Academic support services include peer mentoring, career coaching, online resources, study skills workshops and more. The Waterloo student support programme can offer a helpful student guide, a useful worksheet or a shoulder to cry on. In other words, the programme covers everything a student could need.


Graduate Outcomes

Everyone at this university can be excited about their job prospects. Guided by award-winning teachers on a beautiful campus with lots of career services to set them on the right path, students should feel confident about joining the long list of successful University of Waterloo alumni when they graduate.


The university provides all students with excellent career services. The Centre for Career Action, for example, has advisors and career guides available who can prepare students for summer and co-op jobs and help with plans beyond graduation.


There are employment services at Waterloo for each part of the process from exploring career options and job prospects and becoming more employable to actively searching for a job, writing a strong resume, and doing well in an interview. No student at Waterloo needs to graduate feeling anxious about their next steps. Instead, they can start their postgraduate planning with the help of trained professionals.


There’s a University of Waterloo CareerHub, which is full of useful resources. There are workshops and drop-in sessions. There’s a full and updated list of job postings on campus. There’s nothing the University of Waterloo could do to help students start their careers that it isn’t already doing.


Anybody enrolled at Waterloo has a bright future ahead of them. In the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022, the university was deemed number one in terms of graduate employment rate in Canada. Of all universities in the country, this is the one to attend for students who are hoping to move right into a promising career in their chosen field after they graduate.



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*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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Key facts and figures at University of Waterloo


Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Source: THE


QS World University Rankings 2023
Source: QS


Academic Ranking of World Universities 2022
Source: ARWU


Student life in numbers










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