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Examinations and Standings

The following regulations govern the practise of the Faculty of Environmental Studies in regard to final examinations, standing, and make-up examinations. These regulations also apply to part-time students and special programs. Further details concerning University Examination Regulations can be found in "Examination Regulations".

A maximum of 13 first-year term courses will be counted towards a BES. For other requirements, see the program section for the Department/School.

Students should note that the Faculty of Environmental Studies operates under a "term course system", except in Architecture, in which student progress is measured by term courses successfully completed rather than by years. A term course is a course with a credit weight of 0.5. Students who have passed fewer than ten term courses will be considered Year One students; those who have passed at least ten but fewer than 20 will be considered Year Two students; those with at least 20 but fewer than 30, Year Three; and those with 30 or more, Year Four.


Final Examinations

  1. In all courses each student is required to submit (in such form and at such time as may be determined by the instructor) evidence of satisfactory participation in term work. The marks obtained from work during term are used in part in determining standing. At the discretion of the Chair of the Department or the Director of the School concerned and of the Dean, a student may be barred from the final examination if the course requirements are not completed to the satisfaction of the instructor.
  2. Failure to write an examination is ordinarily considered a failure to pass (F-). A student who defaults a final examination, except for a properly certified reason, shall have no make-up examination privileges and may be required to repeat the work in class. If a student fails to write for medical reasons, a Doctor's certificate covering the precise period of absence must be filed in the Registrar's Office within one week of the set examination date.
  3. A student will be eligible for make-up examinations only when failure to pass is attributable to extraordinary circumstances. In addition, students:


Petitions, Re-assessments and Appeals

A PETITION involves instances where a student seeks relief from normal Faculty or University rules and regulations because of special circumstances normally beyond his or her control such as illness or bereavement. Petition forms are available at departmental offices and the Registrar's Office. Appropriate supporting documentation must accompany all petitions.

A request for RE-ASSESSMENT or a re-read may be initiated by a student who is convinced that the grade received in an examination, essay, or other piece of academic work is unreasonable. The first step in this process is for the student to approach the course instructor and attempt to work the matter out informally. This initial step must take place within four months of the receipt of the grade. If the problem cannot be resolved in this way, the student may submit a Request for a Formal Review to the Faculty's Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. A student who believes that an error in academic judgment or procedure has occurred may initiate an APPEAL. Whenever possible, an informal approach to the person whose judgment is being questioned should precede a formal appeal. Failure to reach a mutually satisfactory solution at the informal level may result in the student submitting a Request for a Formal Review to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. A formal appeal must be submitted within six months following the action being appealed.

At the informal and formal level students are encouraged to seek advice and assistance from the Undergraduate Associate Dean, Assistant Registrar, University Secretariat and/or the Ombudsperson.

See the Student Grievance Policy (UW Policy #70) for more information.


Submission of Course Material

In situations where a student wishes to submit a body of material to satisfy the requirement of more than one course, the student must notify the instructors of both courses of her/his intention where the courses are concurrent so that they may each decide what is appropriate for their own course.

When one of the courses has been taken in a previous term, the current course instructor must be informed by the student of her/his intention of submitting the same course material. The current instructor has the final decision on the extent to which the material is allowed.

Failure of a student to comply with the above regulation constitutes an academic offence.



  1. Standing in an individual subject is determined by combining the marks assigned for term work with those obtained in the final examination. For the purpose of grading, the University Grading System described in Chapter 1 will be used. The letter grade system is used in the calculation of averages in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. The assigned letter grade is given a numerical common weighting factor as per the table in "Grading System". The credit weighting of courses is also taken into consideration in average calculations.
  2. Except in Architecture, all courses taken from May 1984 to the present whether passed or failed are included in the cumulative overall and major averages except for repeated courses in which case only the latest course attempt and grade are included. The first grade will, however, remain on the student's record. Students (except those in the School of Architecture) should note that their major average is determined by the cumulative average of grades assigned for all courses taken in the student's major program including those with the Environmental Studies (ENV S) designation. In Architecture, ENV S courses are included in the overall average calculations.
  3. Students receiving an incomplete (INC), or no mark received (NMR) standing in any course will be allowed four months from the completion date of the course to clear such standings. Any such standings not cleared within this period will automatically be converted to a grade of F-. In the School of Urban and Regional Planning, this grade cannot be changed without a student appeal to the School. The mark of "IP" or "In Progress" may be assigned temporarily to the first half of what is essentially a year course which is listed as two term courses (i.e. PLAN 490A and 490B). The mark indicates that the course is "In Progress" and that when completed, a final grade will be assigned to both the 'A' and 'B' halves of the course (usually the same grade). The mark "IP" will automatically revert to F- after eight months, if a final grade is not submitted.
  4. Some courses which are listed under separate labels or numbers have overlapping content. Only one of these courses may be taken for credit. These are designated with notes after the courses which would indicate one of the following:
  5. To be considered in good standing in the Honours programs, a student must maintain a cumulative overall average of at least 65.0% and a cumulative major average of at least 70.0%. If an Honours program candidate's average falls below the prescribed minimum, the individual can be given conditional standing for two consecutive academic terms if in the opinion of the School or Departmental Promotions Committee the person can attain Honours standing before graduation. If not, the student, upon request, may be considered as a candidate for a degree in the General Geography program and the regulations in #7. below will apply.
  6. To be considered in good standing in Honours Co-operative programs, in addition to maintaining the required minimum cumulative averages, students must complete and submit satisfactory Co-op work reports at the completion of their first four Co-op work terms. A minimum of four satisfactory work reports are required for the Honours Co-operative degree.
  7. To be considered in good standing in the General Geography programs, a student must maintain a cumulative overall average of at least 60.0% as well as an average of at least 65.0% in Geography. If at any time a student's cumulative overall average falls below 60.0% or the average in the major subjects below 65.0%, the individual may be granted conditional status for two consecutive academic terms during which period he/she must obtain good standing or he/she will be asked to withdraw.
  8. There are three-year programs in the Department of Geography and the School of Architecture. The latter is a Pre-professional program, on a Co-operative basis, which prepares for and leads into the two-year Professional BArch program.
  9. Full-time students may be enrolled for additional or fewer courses than the normal course load as required in each program only after obtaining the approval of the appropriate Undergraduate Officer.
  10. Even while otherwise in good standing, a student who fails more than four term courses or the equivalent over the academic year or who, in the opinion of the School or Departmental Promotions Committee, is deemed not to be profiting from university studies may be required to withdraw regardless of her/his cumulative average.
  11. If a student receives a "Required to Withdraw" or a "May Not Proceed" decision, he or she must withdraw from that program for two academic terms; that student is entitled to apply to any other program; if the reasons for withdrawal include disciplinary problems, a statement will be placed in the student's file.
  12. Generally, students wishing to graduate with a University of Waterloo Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) undergraduate degree must spend a minimum of two years or their final year in residence (full-time on campus). Architecture students wishing to graduate with a University of Waterloo BES degree must spend the equivalent of four terms of full-time study in residence including the final two terms. Architecture students wishing to graduate with a University of Waterloo BArch degree must spend the last two terms in residence. This does not preclude special studies approved in advance. Architecture students who choose to undertake alternate studies to the Waterloo 3B term may not graduate with a BES (pre-professional) degree because of the residence requirements. Students who do not have a BES (pre-professional) degree from Waterloo and wish to return to continue studies here in fourth year will be considered as external applicants.


Dean's Honours List

In order to officially recognize students who have attained a consistent high degree of academic excellence during their studies in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Faculty awards the distinction of 'Dean's Honours List'. This distinction is awarded to selected students at the completion of each academic term and appears on the Student Examination Report and on the Official Transcript as part of the academic decision. Students who graduate with Dean's Honours List distinction will have it noted on their diploma.

To be eligible for this distinction, students must:

  1. have completed a minimum of ten UW courses which count in the cumulative overall average,
  2. in Environment and Resource Studies, Geography and Urban and Regional Planning, have a cumulative overall average of 83.0% or higher if admitted in the Fall term 1993 or later. Those admitted prior to Fall 1993 will continue to require a cumulative overall average of 80.0% or above. In Architecture, students must be in the top 5% of the class.
  3. have no marks of INC or NMR or failing grades in their last term.

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