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University of Waterloo 2020-2021 Admissions: Entry Requirements, Deadlines, Application Process

Supriya Sarkar Supriya Sarkar
Study Abroad Expert

Regarded as one of the top 10 National Universities, University of Waterloo is considered one of the hardest among all the Canadian schools to crack, and demands demonstration of strong reasoning and intellectual skills while offering admissions. 

Providing around thousands of diverse courses to international candidates of over 140 countries across the globe, the university opens its applications for undergraduate admissions during the seasonal intake of September. Its graduate courses are, however, available for various intakes in the academic sessions of Fall, Winter and Spring.

Admission to the University of Waterloo is guided by various parameters inclusive of stellar grades, extracurricular activities, interview and incredible personal essays, among others. For instance, there is a common belief that seeking enrollment during winter term is slightly more competitive than the fall. 

Where the general acceptance rate of the institute touches around 53%, the individual acceptance rate for admission into its renowned programs like Computer Science, Engineering, Maths and Co-op courses is merely 4.3%. Straight A’s or 90% plus are considered a good enough entrance average score for the university with the safe SAT and ACT score of 1,300+ and 30, respectively.

Candidates must note that UWaterloo, in regard to other Canadaian universities, has a maximum number of hires in big tech global companies and is the only Canadian university with graduates placed in smaller startups in the United States. LinkedIn, in fact, ranked the institute at top nationally for Software jobs after graduation, making the pursuit of this highly coveted higher education institute of Canada a worthwhile dream.

Waterloo program-wise acceptance


Application Fee125 USD (basic + international)
English language proficiency accepted testsTOEFL/ IELTS or equivalent
TOEFL (iBT) minimum score90 overall
GMAT/GREMandatory for some programs
Application SeasonSeptember
Acceptance Rate53%
Employment rate99% (undergraduate co-op employment rate; as per 2018 employment report)
Financial Aid for International StudentsAvailable as Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries
Work-studyAvailable on campus
Student’s HelplineEmail: or


The university offers different programs which sometimes follow their own application deadlines. A table depicting some of the upcoming deadlines for undergraduate admission intake of September sessions are as follows:

CourseApplication DeadlineLast date to submit documents
Most programsMarch 27, 2020April 3, 2020
Accounting and Financial ManagementJanuary 31, 2020February 28, 2020
Faculty of Engineering programs, including ArchitectureJanuary 31, 2020February 28, 2020
Faculty of Mathematics programs, including Computer ScienceJanuary 31, 2020February 28, 2020
Conditional Admission to PharmacyJanuary 31, 2020AIF: March 2, 2020;
Other documents: April 3, 2020

Note: Deadlines for graduate courses vary and are available in 3 sessions of fall, winter and spring, depending on the type of program. 

University of Waterloo International Admissions

University of waterloo

Admission Portal: Apply online at the official website using OUAC 105 application.

Application Fee: 125 USD (includes 8 USD International Student Fee).

Basic Academic Requirement: Higher Secondary School Certificate.

Admission Process

Application process at the University of Waterloo is straightforward and well defined. Candidates do get complete guidance on how to apply to the university.

The process of admission, right from submitting your application to accepting the offers, looks like this: 

  1. Apply through a OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Centre) after ensuring you meet the basic admission requirements.
  2. Within 2 weeks of receiving your application, the university will send further instructions via email from the address
  3. Applicants must use the information received for creating a Guest Account and use it for uploading documents and tracking application status.
  4. An ‘Application Information Form’ can also be filled for further strengthening the chances of admission.
  5. Complete the final step of admission process by uploading official transcripts and submitting the English Proficiency Test Scores.
  6. Selected candidates will be sent an offer of place on their university accounts which shall be accepted within the specified period of deadlines.
  7. Students can then proceed with submitting their tuition fee and applying for residence and study permit.

Admission Information Form at University of Waterloo

For seeking enrolment at the university, a candidate’s Admission Information Form (AIF) can play a significant role by adding value to the individual’s application.

Precisely, the form is given to the candidate by the institute where-

  • Candidates can introduce themselves in a personalized and better manner.
  • Candidates can mention about their extra-curricular activities.
  • Candidates can also mention some other factors which they want to highlight during their evaluation.

The form, later on, acts as an important document for availing faculty scholarships as well.

English Proficiency Requirements

Being a university in Canada, English is the only language that is used for academic and official purposes at the institute. Therefore, a candidate desirous of studying at the institute must be proficient in the language.

International candidates can prove their efficiency in the English Language by achieving good and acceptable scores in various English Proficiency Tests. Some tests acceptable as language proof at the university as as tabulated below.

Acceptable ExamsScore
Internet-Based TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language90 overall; writing 25; speaking 25
IELTS Academic – International English Language Testing System6.5 overall; writing 6.5; speaking 6.5
PTE Academic – Pearson Test of English63 overall; writing 65; speaking 65

Visa Application Process

International aspirants seeking enrolment into a program of duration of 6 months and more requires a study permit and visa to study in Canada. Visa can be obtained from the nearest Canadian Embassy and should be applied for as soon as you receive the offer of place.

If you're a legal resident of coming from countries including China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal, or Vietnam, you can also apply via Student Direct Stream (SDS) for processing your permit faster.

To qualify for SDS, following are the documents that are mandatory specifications and must be submitted. 

  1. Copy of acceptance letter.
  2. Proof of first year paid tuition fee.
  3. Proof of Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) for 7,500 USD.
  4. Medical exam.
  5. Qualifying language test score

English – 6.0 or more in each skill (IELTS)

French – TEF score equal to a Canadian Language Benchmark minimum score of 7 in each skill.

Note that candidates failing to meet SDS requirements can always apply through the regular process, either online or at Visa Application Centre.

University of Waterloo Graduate Admissions

Admission Portal: Apply online at the official website using OUAC application.

Application Fee: 94 USD.

Basic Academic Requirement: 75% or above in the last two years, in a 4-year bachelor's degree or equivalent.

Additional Requirement: Minimum 2 letters of reference (preferably academic).

Admission process:

  1. Apply at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline by creating an OUAC account.
  2. Choose your program of choice carefully and fill in the other mandatory information.
  3. Submit the completed application with the required amount of nonrefundable fee.
  4. Wait for 1 to 2 business days to receive your ID and Password for accessing your Quest account, the university’s official student information system.
  5. Use this account to upload necessary documents, admission-related updates and for accepting or declining the offer of a place. 

Program-wise specifications for graduate-level admission into diverse programs are tabulated as follows:

RequirementsMasters in PharmacyMasters in Electrical and Computer engineeringMaster of ArchitectureMasters in EconomicsMaster of Mathematics in Statistics
Minimum Average Score78%75%75%75%78%
Resume/CVRequiredRequiredRequiredNot RequiredRequired
LORs/References2 (academic)2 (at least 1 academic)2 (academic)2 (academic)3 (academic)
Supplementary information formRequiredRequiredRequiredNot RequiredRequired
Additional Requirements--PortfolioUniversity level courses like advanced microeconomics, macroeconomics, mathematical economicsInterview

How is an application considered at the University of Waterloo?

The university has not defined how an application is considered for Undergraduate Admissions. But, a very straightforward path for Graduate Admissions has been laid down.

For Graduate Admission, an application is evaluated and processed in 3 steps: -

  • The first step is the review by the academic unit (concerned faculty or school). It takes into account various factors like course taken, overall performance, references, research, etc.
  • After this, The Associate Dean’s Office reviews the application for admission requirements.
  • If approved by ADO, the application is sent to the Graduate Studies Office, where it is again evaluated. Here, activities like verifying the admissibility, evaluation departmental requirements etc. are done. If approved by GSO, an offer for admission is issued.

For Undergraduate Admissions, a general evaluation procedure will include – Checking general admission requirements, checking program-specific requirements, evaluation of academic performance and English proficiency scores.

UWaterloo while offering admissions doesn’t look out for mere bookworms and seeks competent sociable leaders in its students. To satisfy its specifications, the institute wants its aspirants to possess strong STEM credentials. 

The university also pays quite a weightage on extracurricular activities, references and essays, and encourages its aspirants to appear for an interview in order to elaborate on their strengths. This not only helps the university make a better and just decision, but it could also bring you one-step closer to landing one of the high-paying jobs in Canada within a few months of graduating from the university.


Ques 1. Is it difficult to get into the University of Waterloo?

Ans 1. The University of Waterloo is one of the toughest institutions in Canada to get in. Apart from the grades, students are assessed on the basis of their work experience, volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, skillset, and notable accomplishments.

Ques 2. What average do you need to get into the University of Waterloo?

Ans 2. An average between 80 and 90 is a decent score to get into Waterloo. However, the average score for acceptance is decided based on the number of applications received, the grades of the applicants and available seats in each program.

Ques 3. What is the acceptance rate of the University of Waterloo?

Ans 3. The average acceptance rate of the University of Waterloo is 53%.

Ques 4. Do I need to submit standardized test scores to get admission into the University of Waterloo?

Ans 4. For undergraduate courses, submission of ACT and SAT is optional, however, recommended. And for graduate courses, submission of GRE and GMAT scores are compulsory.

Ques 5. Does Waterloo look at Grade 10 and 11 marks for admission?

Ans 5. Grade 10 marks hold no importance, however, marks obtained in Grade 11 may be considered if recent marks of class 12 are unavailable.

Ques 6. How do I get scholarships for the University of Waterloo?

Ans 6. International students with 90% above marks are eligible to apply for international entrance scholarship worth 10,000 CAD.

Ques 7. Are international students eligible to apply for Co-up?

Ans 7. Yes, international students can easily apply for Co-up programs for valuable work experience.

Ques 8. Can I apply for more than one program at Waterloo?

Ans 8. Yes, you can apply for a maximum of three programs at the University of Waterloo.

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