University of Waterloo: In-Depth Guide for 2024

The University of Waterloo is a public research university in the city of Waterloo, Ontario.The institution that started in 1957 with 74 engineering students and a focus on cooperative education is now one of Candas’ top-ranked universities.

Waterloo has achieved impressive rankings across multiple categories. According to the QS World University Rankings 2024, it is ranked 112 in the world.

Maclean’s 2023 has recognized this university as the most innovative in the world and Maclean’s 2024 rankings awarded the University of Waterloo’s computer programme the first rank. Finally, the PitchBook University Rankings 2022 has named it the top university in Canada for entrepreneurs. These accolades reflect the university’s commitment to excellence and its ability to provide its students with a high-quality education and a range of opportunities to excel in their chosen fields.

Waterloo is known for attracting top scholars, including a Nobel Laureate, and for offering many work-integrated learning opportunities with over 7,100 active co-op employers.

The University of Waterloo is renowned for fostering innovation to tackle global issues, such as climate change and social inequity. Waterloo’s well-developed research infrastructure supports its acclaimed academics, ensuring students are able to access best-in-class resources and facilities.

University of Waterloo ranking and brief information

Source: University of Waterloo 

Waterloo’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community is reflected in its international student population, with 22% of undergraduate and 40% of graduate students hailing from outside of Canada in 2019-20.

The university’s global reach extends beyond its student body, with 10,067 donors from 39 different countries contributing $46 million in 2019-20. Waterloo students also have access to an extensive network of employers, with 22,440+ work terms available in over 60 countries through partnerships with 7,182 active employers in 2019-20 making it one of the best universities in Canada.

Some of the other important highlights include:

  • – The university has over 244,000 alumni spanning 156 countries, showcasing the global reach and influence of the University of Waterloo’s graduates.
  • – It has a diverse and vibrant international community with 19% of undergraduate and 41% of graduate students coming from around the world in the 2022/23 academic year.
  • – A rich array of academic and cultural exchange opportunities, including 100+ student exchange programs, fostering a global perspective and enriching the student experience.
  • – A commitment to physical well-being and teamwork, with 32+ varsity teams providing students with opportunities to excel in competitive sports.
  • – A thriving campus life with over 200 student clubs, pitch competitions, and hackathons, encouraging students to explore their interests, develop leadership skills, and innovate.

From: the University of Waterloo blog

Some of the key highlights of studying at the University of Waterloo are:

Student quote:

When I first came to Waterloo, I thought I wanted to be a mechanical designer of some kind. But my experiences in co-op have shaped me into who I am now and showed me what kind of opportunities I want to pursue as a career.

Co-op sparked an interest in me that they don’t teach in school. Co-op teaches you something different. You have no idea whether you like sales, coding or some other business just from courses. You only know when you experience it. When you go into the real world, you will see there are many more possibilities around you than just focusing on your major.
Saurav Gurhale, fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student
Some of the key highlights of studying at the University of Waterloo are:

Access to an Innovative Co-operative Education Programme

Waterloo’s cooperative education programme provides students with scholarships and work-based learning opportunities. Students typically graduate with up to two years of paid work experience, with earning potential ranging from $8,400 to $18,000+.

Excellent Job Opportunities

Upon graduation, 96% of co-op grads employed six months after graduation worked in positions related to skills they acquired at Waterloo. QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022 has ranked the university as the number one in Canada for graduate employment rate, further demonstrating the success of the co-op programme.

Entrepreneurship and Start-up Culture

Waterloo’s vibrant community of students, faculty, alumni, and staff have founded more than 1,000 ventures, demonstrating their commitment to tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges head-on.

Among its entrepreneurial pillars, Waterloo proudly houses Velocity, which has been instrumental in nurturing and supporting over 400 companies since its inception in 2008. 511 entrepreneurs have collectively raised $17 billion USD collectively and have created over 5000 jobs.

Additionally, the university boasts the presence of the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business and the GreenHouse Social Impact Incubator, further catalyzing the development of innovative ideas and socially responsible initiatives.

How is Campus life at the University of Waterloo Canada?

Situated in the city of Waterloo, Southern Ontario, the main campus is located approximately 100 km west of Toronto. With six faculties and over 30 senate-approved research centres and institutes dedicated to furthering knowledge in various fields, students are provided with ample opportunities to explore and develop their skills.

Beyond academics, the University of Waterloo offers an array of activities for students to engage in all year round. The college hosts over 1200 festivals and events and has over 40 on-campus eateries and more than 200 student clubs catering to diverse interests.

Throughout the year, students can also participate in off-campus activities, including Christmas markets, food festivals, and the world-renowned Kitchener Blues Festival, as well as one of the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, Germany.

The campus boasts state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities, including media labs, collaborative spaces, and excellent coffee shops. Notably, the university’s Environment building is LEED platinum certified, representing one of Canada’s greenest buildings, complete with a living wall, green roof, and solar panels.

Disclaimer: This video reflects details and rankings from 2023

What are the most popular courses at the University of Waterloo?

The University of Waterloo offers a broad range of academic programmes, including over 100 undergraduate and 180+ graduate and doctoral programmes in robotics, sustainability, earth sciences, humanities, health sciences, civil engineering among others. The six facilities are:

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

Here are the fee details of the courses:

Sr  No Course Fees
1 MASc Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) $7,696 per term
2 Masters in Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology $22,647 per term
3 Data Science and Artificial Intelligence $5,915 per course
4 Master of Arts in Global Governance $7,696 per term
5 Master of Mathematics (MMath) in Computational Mathematics $7,696

Course #1: MASc Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology)

MASc Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) is a two-year postgraduate programme that focuses on the innovative application of nanotechnology to solve real-world problems. This programme provides students with a broad knowledge of nanotechnology and its applications in materials, energy, biomedical engineering and other areas.

Why is this course good at this college?

The University of Waterloo is renowned for its research in nanotechnology and as such, provides a rich interdisciplinary environment to pursue graduate studies. This course is ranked among the top 100 in the world. Students can access several state of the art research labs and professors dedicated to nanotechnology providing students with excellent research opportunities.

Eligibility and Duration

To be considered for this 24-month programme, students must have:

  • A four-year Honours Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and a 75% overall standing in the last two years.
  • Two references with at least one being academic. There is a chance that the department may request an additional reference.
  • If applicable, you must provide proof of English language proficiency with a TOEFL score of 80 (writing 22, speaking 20, reading 20, listening 18) or an IELTS score of 6.5 (writing 6.0, speaking 6.0).

Fees and How to Apply?

The tuition fee for international students per term is $7,696.00, and the incidental fees, including HST, for full-time students per term is $816.17. Students can apply online and have to pay the non-refundable application fee of $125 CAD per programme.

Course 2: Masters in Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology

The Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology or MBET programme is a graduate degree that focuses on entrepreneurship. It includes a variety of courses and provides opportunities to gain practical experience in creating and commercializing ventures.

Why is this course good at this college?

MBET students gain the skills to develop and execute strategic plans for new ventures, understand customer needs, identify opportunities in the marketplace, create effective teams, develop financial plans, and grow their ventures. It is designed to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and venture capitalists who will contribute to economic and social prosperity.

Eligibility and Duration

To apply for this 12 months full-time course, international applicants require:

  • A minimum overall average of 75% (or equivalent) in an honours degree programme.
  • A minimum of one year of work experience either through co-op work terms during your undergraduate academic programme or through post-graduate work experience.
  • Three references, with at least one being academic and the other professional.
  • Proof of English language proficiency with TOEFL 90 (writing 25, speaking 25) or IELTS 7.0 (writing 6.5, speaking 6.5) scores.

Applicants must participate in an interview as part of the admissions process. If they are unable to attend an in-person interview on campus, they will be interviewed over the phone.

Fees and How to Apply?

The tuition for international students per term is $22,647.00, and the incidental fees, including HST, for full-time students per term is $816.17. Students can apply online and will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $125 CAD per programme.

Course 3: Data Science and Artificial Intelligence

The Data Science and Artificial Intelligence – MDSAI (Co-op) at Waterloo is an interdisciplinary programme that combines the fundamentals of data science and machine learning with applied artificial intelligence research.

Why is this course good at this college?

The MDSAI programme at Waterloo offers a unique combination of theory and applied research. Students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to develop sophisticated algorithms that can analyze large data sets, create models for prediction or classification, build intelligent systems, and use deep learning techniques.

Eligibility and Duration

The eligibility criteria for this 16-month programme are:

  • An Honours Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent in a related field (such as data science, computer science, statistics, or mathematics) with a minimum overall average of 78%.
  • Senior-level experience in either computer science or statistics.
  • Proof of English language proficiency with a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (including writing and speaking scores of at least 26) or a minimum IELTS score of 7.5 (including a writing score of 7.0 and a speaking score of 7.0).

Fees and How to Apply?

In each term, students must select a minimum of three courses as a part of the MDSAI (Co-op) programme. The fee for this Master’s degree is $5,915.00 per course and the incidental fees, including HST, for full-time students per term is  $816.17.
Students can apply online and have to pay the non-refundable application fee of $125 CAD per programme.

Course 4: Master of Arts in Global Governance

The MA in Global Governance integrates multiple disciplines such as economics, politics, history, sociology, and environmental studies and allows students to gain a comprehensive understanding of global challenges.
Student quote:

“Without a doubt, the MAGG programme was the perfect fit for me. The support, knowledge and welcoming demeanour of the faculty made my experience at Balsillie unparalleled. The connections I made and the knowledge I gained will undoubtedly last a lifetime and positively impact my career. Without the MAGG programme I would not be in my current position.”

—Emma Fingler, MAGG Graduate 2018, Special Assistant to the United Nations Resident Coordinator/Coordination Officer, Nepal

Why is this course good at this college?

The MA programme in Global Governance includes two terms of coursework, a third term focused on a Major Research Paper chosen by the student, and a fourth term where students work as interns on global governance topics in various organizations. This allows students to gain better insights and develop essential skills related to global governance.

Eligibility and Duration

It is a full-time 16-month course and prospective candidates would require:

  • An Honours Degree in Political Science, Economics, History or a related field with an overall average of at least 78%.
  • An introductory course in economics at the university level.
  • evidence of proficiency in the English language. Students may submit a TOEFL score of 100 with writing and speaking scores of 26, or an IELTS score of 7.5 with writing and speaking scores of 7.0.

Admissions are open to experienced professionals from both private and public sectors, but they may need to complete extra coursework.

Fees and How to Apply?

The tuition for international students per term is $7,696.00, and the incidental fees, including HST, for full-time students per term are $816.17,
Students can apply online and have to pay the non-refundable application fee of $125 CAD per programme.

Course 5: Master of Mathematics (MMath) in Computational Mathematics

Master of Mathematics (MMath) in Computational Mathematics is a 12-month professional degree programme for students interested in applying mathematics to real-world problems.

Why is this course good at this college?

Students of the MMath in Computational Mathematics benefit from the college’s cutting-edge research labs and a diverse faculty with expertise in areas like mathematical modelling, optimization techniques and numerical analysis. This course is ranked 41st in the globally.

Eligibility and Duration

Master of Mathematics (MMath) in Computational Mathematics is a full-time, one-year degree. To be eligible, international students require:

  • An overall score of 78% or its equivalent for undergraduate work.
  • A 4-year honours bachelor’s degree or its equivalent with specialization in mathematical, statistical and computer sciences.

Fees and How to Apply?

The tuition for international students per term is $7,696.00, and the incidental fees, including HST, for full-time students per term is $816.17.
Students can apply online and have to pay the non-refundable application fee of $125 CAD per programme.

What are the University of Waterloo fees for Indian Students?

The University of Waterloo charges fees based on different factors such as immigration status (domestic or international), enrollment status (full-time, part-time), programme type (coursework/research), and specialization (MENG/MMSc). They also charge additional fees for specialized programmes and online professional graduate programmes. Additionally, some programmes are course-based and a charge is applied per course. The fees are as follows:

Course Fee

  • Undergraduate programme fee ranges from $45,000 to $66,000 for two terms/eight months of school
  • Graduate Diploma fee ranges from $4,620.00 to $7,060.00 per term
  • Master’s programme ranges from $7,696.00 to $22,799.00 per term.
  • The co-op programme requires undergraduate students to pay a fee of $745 per term to cover certain costs whereas graduate co-operative programmes require a payment of $756.00 per four-month work term.
  • Each term, students must pay a full-time incidental fee of $816.17, which includes HST.


Students who stay at the university don’t have to pay for the first and last month’s rent. However, they have to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 to reserve their room. If you choose a traditional-style dorm and will be required to purchase a meal plan per term. But, if you opt for a suite-style apartment, you can choose to have a meal plan or not, as there are cooking facilities provided.

What are the career opportunities after graduating from the University of Waterloo?

Waterloo offers the biggest co-op programme for paid internships in North America that is available for Canadian and international students. According to the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022, Waterloo is the highest-ranked Canadian university for graduate employment rate.

Students who have graduated from Waterloo have gone on to become entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, academics and more. The average salary for a person working in Waterloo, Ontario is C$67k.

If you work as a Software Developer, you can earn between C$57k – C$92k. As a Marketing Manager, you can earn between C$40k – C$101k. A Human Resources (HR) Manager can earn between C$59k – C$91k.

In the university’s Centre for Career Action, expert advisors are available to assist students in learning how to improve their resumes and perform well in interviews for desired jobs.

If you’ve studied full-time in Canada (with the exception of your last term), you may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) after completing your degree as an international student. This would give you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in Canada without needing a job offer.

What are the General Admission Requirements?

The University of Waterloo requires applicants to present their proof of academic achievements, language proficiency, and other documents as part of the admission process.

Applicants must provide proof of English Language proficiency by taking one of the approved tests like IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). A minimum score is required to be eligible for admission.

Other documents include transcripts, statements of purpose, letters of recommendation, and resume/curriculum vitae as well as work experience or an interview (for certain subjects). International students who are applying from a foreign university must submit an official course-by-course evaluation from a recognized agency such as WES (World Education Services) or ICAS (International Credential Assessment Service).

Who are the notable alumni from the University of Waterloo?

For the 23rd year in a row, the University of Waterloo has been named Canada’s most innovative university. It has also been awarded “Best Overall” and recognized as the best in developing “Leaders of Tomorrow” by Maclean’s magazine’s annual ranking of universities. Some of the notable alumni include

?Kevin O’Leary

Kevin O’Leary, a former dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, graduated from UW’s Faculty of Environment and founded a successful software company, SoftKey, despite having no engineering background. SoftKey went on to become a major player in home educational software after acquiring The Learning Company and was later acquired for $4 billion.
O’Leary continues to be an investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, is an author, and co-hosted a Discovery Channel series called Project Earth about innovative solutions to fight climate change.

Marie Bountrogianni

Marie Bountrogianni is currently the dean of Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education and holds a master’s and PhD in psychology from the University of Waterloo.
Prior to her academic career, she served as an MPP in Queen’s Park for Hamilton-Mountain and held various cabinet positions including Minister of Children’s Services, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Bountrogianni also served as president of the Royal Ontario Museum from 2007 to 2011.

Heather Moyse

Heather Moyse, a graduate of kinesiology in 2000, is a successful multi-sport athlete. She is best known for winning two Olympic gold medals in a bobsleigh with Kaillie Humphries at Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
In addition to her bobsleigh accomplishments, Moyse also played high-level competitive rugby union, representing Canada at the Women’s World Cup in 2006 and 2010, as well as the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 2008 (where she was the leading scorer) and 2013 (where Canada won silver).

How to apply to the University of Waterloo?

TC Global is here to help you make your journey of applying to the University of Waterloo as seamless and stress-free as possible. Follow these 5 steps to apply:

1. Choose Programmes

Research the various programmes offered by the University of Waterloo and select the ones that align with your interests, career path, and academic goals.

Keep in mind that you are allowed to apply to a maximum of three programmes at Waterloo, with only one of them being an Engineering program. TC Global’s team of experts will help you with your programme selection.

2. Understanding Admission Requirements

As an international student, you must submit official documents such as academic transcripts from your high school or university college, proof of English language proficiency, and other supporting documents (depending on the applicant’s degree level) to apply for admission.

TC Global’s experienced counsellors are available to review and evaluate your application before you submit it. You can also view the detailed admission requirements here.

3. Submit your application and documents

Students must use the OUAC 105 application for their application. To apply to a co-op programme, you must check the co-op box on your Ontario Universities Application Centre application.

4. Fill Out the Admission Information Form

The AIF is an online form that has short answer questions to help the university’s admissions committees get to know students better. It is mandatory for all programmes in the Faculties of Engineering and Mathematics, as well as for the Architecture, Computing and Financial Management, Conditional Admission to Pharmacy, Optometry, and Pharmacy programmes.
It is also recommended for all other programmes. TC Global can help you create an impressive AIF which will make your profile stand out.

5. Pay the Application Fee

The application fee is non-refundable and is due when you submit your application. All international students applying to any programme at the University of Waterloo must pay a CAD$125 application fee.
TC Global are experts in guiding students through the application process to the University of Waterloo. So, if you have any questions or need help with your application, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are here for you!
Good luck with your application!

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