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Program and Course Selection

First-Year Programs (Regular and Co-operative)

The normal minimum course load for a full-time student in Year One Science is five lecture courses plus required labs per term. At least two of these must be lecture credits from the Year One offerings in two different disciplines from the Faculty of Science.

Students are encouraged to select an Arts elective (preferably English or Psychology). Students whose secondary school OAC average was 70% or better may select six lecture courses if they wish.

Courses should be chosen either with a specific Year Two goal in mind or to prepare for Year Two programs. The required and recommended Year One selections for Year Two Honours programs and Optometry can be found in the table "Year One Science Program Selections".


Course and Program Changes

  1. Students may add or drop courses during the first two weeks of the Fall, Winter and Spring terms upon having the appropriate change form completed.
  2. Courses may be dropped after the normal two weeks change period with adequate cause but not after November 1, March 1 or July 1 for Fall, Winter and Spring courses. The permission of the instructor and the appropriate Undergraduate Officer or the Associate Dean must be obtained. Courses which have not been dropped officially will receive a DNW grade.
  3. Students may not drop a laboratory course without written clearance from the lab supervisor (faculty member or senior demonstrator). Students not checking out of such courses remain liable for the full value of the locker kit issued to them.
  4. Students may withdraw from the University as late as the official course drop date without penalty on their record. If however, a student chooses to withdraw to avoid a number of failures, he or she will likely be disqualified for re-admission. Students who voluntarily withdraw prior to or during the full refund period will not have the term recorded on their academic record. Students who voluntarily withdraw from their studies after the first three weeks of classes and before any deadlines set by their faculty, will have this noted on their transcripts with the statement "Voluntary Withdrawal From Term (effective date) - No Academic Penalty". See "Withdrawals" for details.


Eligibility for Courses

Students must ensure they have the appropriate course prerequisites and where applicable corequisites stated in the course descriptions in the Calendar.

Overlap Courses

Where substantial overlap exists between two courses, credit will be granted for only one even if they are not listed as antirequisites.

Some Science Departments offer both Honours and General equivalent courses. It is the student's responsibility not to duplicate subject matter. Credit will only be given for one of such overlapping courses (e.g. CHEM 266 or 264; PHYS 111/112 or 121/122.

This rule also applies to courses offered by various Departments throughout the University which sometimes deal with similar subject matter (e.g. STAT 204 or PSYCH 200). ECON 211 overlaps any First Year Calculus or Linear Algebra course).


Distance Education Courses

Only in exceptional cases should Distance Education courses be taken by students in a term in which they are full-time students. Regular and Co-op students during their terms off-campus may take distance education courses on a part-time basis. Only in exceptional cases can Honours students take a core course by distance education.


Letters of Permission

Students in good academic standing and whose total number of transfer credits is less than the maximum permitted may be allowed to take an elective course at another university during a term off-campus to count as credit towards a degree. A student wishing to do so must complete the 'Letter of Permission' form available at the Registrar's Office (for a fee) and have it authorized by the Associate Dean or an appropriate Undergraduate Officer. The Letter of Permission must be obtained before taking the course.

In General Science and Honours Science - Program 1 degree programs, courses at other universities equivalent to courses offered by the Faculty of Science, or required mathematics courses, are not elective courses, and may not be taken on a Letter of Permission.

A course taken on a Letter of Permission will be given credit as long as the mark obtained is 60% or better. No grade will be assigned.



The Faculty of Science neither records nor recognizes Audits for students in Science or any other Faculty.

Enrolment in a Graduate Course

Normally, a student may obtain credit toward a graduate degree in the Faculty of Science for not more than a one term graduate course taken during the fourth year of an undergraduate program provided this course is not used for credit toward her/his undergraduate degree. Prior approval of the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee must be obtained for students wishing to do so.

Credit for the graduate course toward a graduate degree will not be given unless the student attains an A average in her/his major subjects in the fourth year.


Reduced Program

The General Science and most Honours degrees (with the exception of co-op programs) may be taken on a reduced program basis.

A student in good standing who "stops out" of any program for more than a year must have departmental approval before returning to that program.

Students are cautioned, that carrying a reduced course load might jeopardize the possibility of further professional studies.


Upgrading of BSc Degree

Normally a student may not upgrade a General BSc or its equivalent to a Waterloo Honours BSc. However, from time to time such conversion privileges may be allowed in exceptional cases on the recommendation of the department(s) concerned and with the approval of the Examinations and Standings Committee. Rulings of the Committee in any particular case on the conditions to be met for such conversion may include time limits.

Teacher Certification In Ontario

The Ontario Teacher's Certificate may be granted by the Ministry of Education and Training after the successful completion of a program taken at an approved Ontario Faculty of Education. The Faculties of Education require that applicants hold an acceptable university degree (BA or BSc or equivalent, three- or four-year General or Honours).

Those students interested in seeking admission to a Faculty of Education should contact the appropriate University.


Future Regulations

Normally, students will be given advance warning of changes in regulations, but the Faculty reserves the right to make changes without notice where necessary.

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