How to get into Waterloo | Ultimate University Guide

Written by Arry Pandher and Stephanie Pugh

The best and brightest are drawn to the University of Waterloo for their renowned academic programs, world-leading co-operative education and teaching/research excellence. Waterloo embraces the opportunity to collaborate with, and be elevated by, a world-class peer group.

At the forefront of innovation, Waterloo champions a culture of curiosity, exploration, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, global stewardship and leadership. They bring bold ideas and brilliant minds together — inspiring innovations with global impact today and in the future.

Quick Facts About Waterloo:

  • The University of Waterloo has 42,000 full and part-time students cumulatively between undergraduate and graduate programs (Fall 2020)
  • More than 9,000 degrees ****granted in 2020
  • 52,000+ enrolments in 2019/20
  • 1000-acre main campus, 100+ buildings with six faculties
  • 1957: University of Waterloo opens with 74 students, with engineering and co-operative education as cornerstones


  • Ranked within the top 150 universities in the world (QS World Rankings 2022)
  • #1 for employer-student connections (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020)
  • #2 most innovative (Maclean’s 2021)
  • #2 in Canada for social and economic impact based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2020)

Stand Out Programs:

  • #1 for computer science, engineering, and mathematics

Can you envision yourself attending post-secondary at Waterloo? If you can, make sure to keep reading and check out our latest Ultimate University Guide youtube video to find out how you can get in!

General Admission Requirements:

Admission requirements vary greatly between universities and types of programs. Depending on the type of the program, requirements can range from one Grade 12 English course to Grade 12 English, Chemistry, Physics, and two math courses.

Your admission average will play a big role in determining whether you’re admitted to the programs you applied to. At Waterloo, your admission average will be the average of your top six Grade 12 courses (U or M courses for Ontario students) including the courses which are required for the program you’re applying to.

  • If you take more than six Grade 12 courses, they’ll use the required courses plus your courses with the highest grades. If you’re not an Ontario high school student, the number of courses in your admission average will depend on your educational system!

Recommended courses:

  • Some programs list “recommended” high school courses along with the courses that are required for admission. These recommended courses are not required for admission and whether you take them or not will not affect your application. However, they will be helpful background for understanding some of the material in your first-year courses!

What Average Do I Need to Get Into Waterloo?

To give you an idea of the grades you might need to be considered, Waterloo provides ranges such as mid-80s, 80-84%, or low 90s alongside most of their program descriptions.

This means that most students admitted the previous year had admission averages in that range or higher. The ranges — which depend on the number of spaces available in a program, the number of students who apply, and their qualifications — vary by program and from year to year. Though each GPA requirement will vary depending on the program you apply for, we recommend aiming for an average in the 90%+ range so you can have a more guaranteed entrance!

Degree Specific Requirements:

Each university program will have a specific set of high school courses (or equivalents) you need to complete to be considered for admission. Programs will have between one and five required courses depending on the nature of the program. Waterloo requires a minimum final grade in some or all of the required courses to ensure you’re well prepared.

If you’re applying from outside Ontario, they’ll require courses that are equivalent to the Ontario courses listed. For instance, you can see some course requirements are quite broad for some programs, whilst others are very specific.

Need Support To Get Into Waterloo?

GrantMe has admitted countless students into their dream schools. If you’d like to know more about how GrantMe can support your goal of getting into Waterloo, start by taking our free quiz to see if you qualify!

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