About the University of Waterloo
The best and brightest are drawn to the University of Waterloo for its renowned academic programs, its world-leading co-operative education program, and its teaching and research excellence. The university embraces the opportunity to collaborate with — and be elevated by — a world-class peer group.
The University of Waterloo champions a culture of curiosity, exploration, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, global stewardship and leadership. Waterloo brings bold ideas and brilliant minds together, inspiring innovation with global impact today and in the future.
University of Waterloo facts — computer science
- Waterloo is ranked number one for computer science for the third year in a row based on program and research reputation according to the Maclean’s 2023 university rankings, and among the top 25 internationally for computer science according to the 2023, 2022 and 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds worldwide university subject rankings.
- Nationally and internationally recognized faculty — the Cheriton School of Computer Science is home to eight Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, eight Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery, seven Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, three Canada Research Chairs, two NSERC Industrial Research Chairs, and 17 Ontario Early Researcher Award winners; find out more about our award-winning faculty.
- Waterloo is the only Canadian university to win the International Collegiate Programming Competition, taking the prized title in 1994 and again in 1999. Since 1993, Waterloo has qualified for the ICPC World Finals 28 times, been ICPC World Champions twice, and ICPC North American Champions seven times. Learn more about our history at the ICPC.
- Cheriton School of Computer Science faculty have launched more than 50 companies and start-ups, among them Axelar, Bioinformatics Solutions Inc. (BSI), Inductiv, Maplesoft, OpenText, Rapid Novor, RapidMind, and RSVP.ai.
- Waterloo’s youngest graduate student, Erik Demaine, was just over 14 years old when he enrolled in computer science at Waterloo. He completed his PhD by age 20 under the supervision of Cheriton School of Computer Science Professors Anna Lubiw and Ian Munro. Erik Demaine is now a professor in computer science at MIT.
Cheriton School of Computer Science doctoral students have become professors at universities across the globe, including at MIT, Harvard, Cornell, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford, the University of Alberta and UBC.
Cheriton School of Computer Science undergraduate alumni excel in graduate programs around the world, and are sought after by tech giants, innovative startups, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Cheriton undergrads have founded multi-million dollar companies, among them Wish and Maluuba.
University of Waterloo facts — general
- Waterloo’s co-operative education program — the largest of any university in North America — allows students to explore different careers and sectors, and to earn money to pay for their education while building their network and gaining relevant employment experience
- 36,600 undergraduate students, 6,230 graduate students
- 1,355 full-time faculty and more than 2,620 staff
- As of the Spring 2021 Convocation, more than 220,000 alumni will have convocated
- A 1,000-acre main campus, 100+ buildings with six faculties
- Waterloo is the only university in North America to have an entire faculty devoted to the study of mathematics and computer science
Beyond Tradition — A documentary about the University of Waterloo and its early days in CS research and application
Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ken McLaughlin has spent his career uncovering and shaping the stories of our local communities into urban portraits that breathe with the life of great biographies.
Take a walk through time as he uncovers Waterloo’s historic legacies, including the introduction of co-operative education, early entrepreneurial ventures that lead to revolutionary spin-off companies, and the integration of computers and computer science in the post-secondary world.
The video captures key moments of Waterloo’s history, and starting at ~6:40 it recounts our early days in computer science research and application, pioneered by Wes Graham, a professor and the first director of the university’s computer centre.
About Waterloo Region and the City of Waterloo
Waterloo is a dynamic urban centre well known for its cultural diversity and high-tech savvy.
Often rated as one of the top 10 cities to live in Canada, Waterloo attracts business talent and students from around the world, advancing its reputation as one of the country’s smartest communities.
The cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge are known as the tri-cities. Over time, they have grown so that their borders are no longer distinct and they now share several services, such as bussing, through the larger Region of Waterloo.
The City of Waterloo’s population in 2020 was about 150,000. The Region of Waterloo — made up of the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and four surrounding townships — is the 10th largest community in Canada with a population of 620,000. The region is targeting to reach a population of 740,000 by 2031.
According to the Waterloo Region Association of Realtors, in December 2022 the following were the average prices for housing in the area:
- Detached home — $825k Cdn
- Semi-detached home — $617k Cdn
- Townhouse — $609k Cdn
- Condominium — $461k Cdn
The University of Waterloo is within commuting distance of several nearby towns and cities. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to drive across Kitchener-Waterloo. Based on Google Maps, the following are approximate drive times to nearby cities and points of interest:
- Pearson International Airport: 60 minutes
- Toronto, Ontario (provincial capital): 90 minutes
- Niagara Falls, Ontario: 90 minutes
- Buffalo, New York: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Detroit, Michigan: 3 hours
- Ottawa, Ontario (capital of Canada): 6 hours
If you are interested in moving to Waterloo, the following links give insight into what the city offers. Some of the links are to realtor or commercial business sites. These resources have been marked with an asterisk. This is not an endorsement or recommendation, but the information may be useful.
General information about the region
Why Waterloo is a great place to live
- City of Waterloo Open Data, a free and open data sharing portal where anyone can access and use data relating to the City of Waterloo
- The 2018 Waterloo Economic Development profile document of the region: Executive summary, with infographics and the full report
- Maclean’s Best Community Rankings allows you to compare Waterloo to other communities, and see individual rankings
- Why Waterloo, a website maintained by Communitech, the technology incubator
- New to Waterloo, an overview of the city written with the newcomer in mind
- Crazy Tourist: 15 things to do in Kitchener
- Crazy Tourist: 15 things to do in Waterloo
- Waterloo Region Living*
- Waterloo Region Visitor’s Guide
Neighbourhoods, schools and multicultural services
Kitchener-Waterloo is made up of several distinct neighbourhoods. The following links will help you understand the neighbourhoods and find ones that are best for you.
Ontario has two publicly funded school boards — the public school board and the Catholic school board. In addition to these boards are a variety of private schools that may meet your family’s educational needs.
- Region of Waterloo: Education and Schools
- Waterloo Region District School Board
- Waterloo Catholic District School Board
- Listing of private schools
Waterloo is proud of the diversity of its population. The following sites can help you find a community within your new community.
- Immigration Waterloo Region
- Directory of Ethnocultural Groups Waterloo Wellington
- Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre
Getting around the Region of Waterloo
Waterloo Region has invested heavily in alternative modes of transportation. From the new Ion Light Rail system to get you around the city, a GO station to help you commute to Toronto, and a network of well-maintained bike trails, Waterloo wants you to get around in the way that best suits your needs.
- Ion Light Rail information
- Grand River Transit
- GO Train
- Waterloo Region Cycling Guide
- Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF)
If you are moving to work at the University of Waterloo, the following sites may be great resources to help others who move with you to find work.
- Work in Tech
- Indeed Jobs: Kitchener-Waterloo
- Glassdoor: Kitchener
- Glassdoor: Waterloo
- University of Waterloo staff postings
Entertainment, children’s activities and restaurants
From the world-class exhibits that come through THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener to the art-house movies shown at the Princess and Apollo Cinemas, the region offers a wide range of entertainment.
If you are interested in live entertainment, the Centre In The Square has one of the best acoustic performance areas in the world and is home to the KW Symphony. The Aud in Kitchener is home to the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers and, like the Centre In The Square, also hosts a variety of music and entertainment acts.
Waterloo Region is a great place for families. From nontraditional camps to house-league sports, you can find an activity to suit anyone’s interest.
- KW Kids
- Stuff to do with your kids in Kitchener Waterloo
- Trip Advisor: Things to do in Kitchener with Kids
- Waterloo Region Living: Family and Children’s Activities*
- Waterloo Recreation and Leisure
- Kitchener Activity Guide
Looking to try a new place to eat? The following links are a good start to learn about the variety of dining options in the city.