CS Frequently Asked Questions

Too many questions and answers to read? Try applying one or more filters. See the right-hand column.

Find an error? Didn't find your question? Email one of the CS Advisors.

1.How can I contact a Computer Science advisor?
There are several possibilities. In order of preference:
  • Drop by during office hours.
  • Email us at csadvisor@cs.uwaterloo.ca. Include your full name and student ID. Advisors strongly prefer that you email from your @uwaterloo.ca email account.
  • Make an appointment, but only if you really can't make office hours or have a time-consuming situation.
  • Phone one of us.

In general, the earlier you talk to us, the more options we have to help you.

We enjoy helping students, but please do not make extra work for us by contacting several advisors or contacting us in several different ways.

Tags: Advisors, Prospective Students, Exceptions, Transfers, Hard Times

2.I'm currently a Math student; I'd like to transfer to CS. What do I do?
The admission requirements are in the UW Calendar. If you meet the requirements, review the information on course selection in FAQ #7, fill out the top part of the Plan Modification form, and then see a CS advisor.

Tags: Transfers, Changes

3.I'd like to transfer from another UW faculty to Computer Science. What do I do?

You need to qualify for an internal transfer to the Math Faculty first. Once you are accepted into Math, you will have to meet the requirements to transfer to CS. See FAQ #2.

Note: If you're in co-op in your faculty, this doesn't necessarily mean you'll be admitted to co-op in the Math Faculty.

Tags: Prospective Students, Transfers, Changes

4.How do I get into CS xyz? Quest wants a permission number.
A permission number implies that you don't meet the prerequisites for some reason. Discuss your situation with an advisor to see if we can let you in anyway.

Tags: Courses, Quest, Adding Courses, Enrolment Blocks

6.I'm in CS 135 (CS 145) and would like to switch to CS 115 (135). How do I do this?

See 1A Computer Science course rule.

Tags: Courses, 1A Issues, Changes, Exceptions

7.Which CS course should I take next?
There are several resources that can help you determine which CS course to take next.
  • Checklists: Summarize the requirements for your degree and help you figure out which courses you need to take.
  • Suggested course sequences: Show you which courses are typically taken together in the first two or three years of the program. If you've deviated from the norm, perhaps due to repeating a course, these won't be of as much use to you.
  • Prerequisites chart for CS majors: Shows you the prerequisite course(s) you must pass before you can take a course. Note: Not all courses have a prerequisite.
  • University Calendar: Contains brief descriptions of all the courses offered by UW, including CS courses. These descriptions can help you determine if a course may be interesting to you.
  • Course descriptions: Provide more detailed course descriptions and links to CS course websites.

Tags: Courses, Selecting Courses

8.How are "non-Math" different from "elective" courses?

Non-Math courses are courses in any subject other than ACTSC (Actuarial Science), AMATH (Applied Mathematics), CO (Combinatorics and Optimization), CM (Computational Mathematics), CS (Computer Science), MATH (non-departmental Faculty courses), PMATH (Pure Mathematics), and STAT (Statistics). History, Physics, Economics, and MTHEL (Math Electives) are all non-Math courses.

Electives are a broader category of courses than non-Math. Electives are any courses, including CS or Math courses taken beyond those required by your degree requirements.

Note: Non-Math courses cross-listed with Math courses are treated as Math courses and cannot count towards the required 10 non-Math courses (i.e., PHYS 467 (cross-listed with CS 467 and CO 467) counts as a CS/Math course).

Tags: Courses, Degree Requirements

9.How do I add a Computing Technology option or CS minor?
You'll need to fill out a plan modification form. If you're a Math student, use the Math Plan Modification Form. Otherwise, use the Registrar's Plan Modification Form.

See your own advisor and a CS advisor to have the form signed.

See Computing Technology option and CS minor for more details.

Tags: CS Minor, Changes, Options and Minors

12.Who should I see to get into a CS course?
Normally, you should use Quest to enrol in CS courses.

You are strongly urged to select CS courses two terms in advance. If you don't have the prerequisites (for example, you're an Engineering or exchange student), see a CS advisor to fill out a Course Selection Override form.

If you have trouble enrolling in a CS course for the current or up-coming term:

  • See the policies and procedures regarding course selection.
  • If it's an issue with prerequisites, see an advisor during office hours. Email if you're out of town.
  • If Quest says that you need a permission number or department consent, see a CS advisor.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses

13.Who should CS majors see to enrol in non-CS courses?
Try Quest first. If it won't let you in, you'll need to see someone to either get a permission number or have a Course Override form signed.
  • For first year Math courses, go to the Math Undergrad Office or to the First Year Advising Office (MC 4023).
  • For other Math courses, go to either the department offering the course or the instructor.
  • For courses in other faculties, you'll most likely need to see the instructor. Some courses may have an advisor to see instead.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses

14.What is a permission number? How do I get one and how do I use it?
A permission number is code that tells Quest someone has given you special permission to enroll in a course. It works the same as a Course Override form. It can be used to override class limits, permissions, and prerequisites, but not time conflicts or Service Indicators.

Permission numbers are used extensively by CS advisors, but not as much on the rest of the campus.

You enter a permission number in Quest and you can only use it once.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Quest

15.I can't enrol in a course because the only available spots are reserved. What's going on?
Some departments reserve portions of their courses for specific groups of students.

For example, one Fall offering of ENGL 109 has space for 175 students. Of those spaces, 20 are reserved for MATH students, 10 for ENV students, 21 for HLTH students, and 30 for 1st year ARTS students. The remaining 94 spots are unreserved. This guarantees space for at least 20 Math students and would allow up to 114 if Math students got all of the unreserved spots. It's also possible that Environment students, for example, don't take any of the spaces reserved for them. Math students can't take them without an override from the instructor.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Quest

16.How can I take six courses?
All Math students with a cumulative average of at least 80% are allowed to take six courses. Just sign up for the course on Quest. If that doesn't work, see your advisor to have a Course Override form signed.

If you don't have a high enough average but do have a good reason (for example, it's your 4B term and one more course would allow you to graduate), you can petition the Standings and Promotions Committee. You have to complete the Petition for exception to academic regulations form and have a CS advisor sign it. The Committee meets once every two weeks.

To take 7 courses, you must petition the Standings and Promotions Committee.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Exceptions

17.Why can't I drop a course on Quest?
Quest requires an advisor's signature on a Course Override form for co-op students to go from full-time (3 or more courses) to part-time (1 or 2 courses) and from part-time to "no time" (0 courses).

Tags: Courses, Exceptions, Quest

18.Can I take courses while I'm on a co-op term?
Yes. There are a number of options:
  • All co-op students can take a Distance Ed course. Sign up for it using Quest.
  • If your job is local, you may be able to get permission from your supervisor to take an on-campus course first thing in the morning or during your lunch break. Evening courses are also a possibility.
  • You could take a course at another university (can't be CS and can't be a required course). You need to fill out a Letter of Permission form well in advance.
  • Cross Registration Forms are not needed if a UW student takes a business course at WLU, UNLESS it is Distance Education.

Don't forget about your PD (professional development) courses; don't overload yourself!

To take more than one regular course, you need written permission from both your job supervisor and a CS advisor. We don't allow two regular courses on top of a PD course while on a work term.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Co-op

19.Can someone tell me if I'm ready to graduate?

CS advisors will answer specific questions/concerns about your graduation status. However, you must prepare and bring with you the most relevant requirements checklist with the courses you've passed checked off and the courses you are currently taking (or plan to take) marked in some other way.

You should complete an intent to graduate form during your final academic semester.

Tags: Degree Requirements

20.What is the "prerequisite chain of length three" required by the elective depth requirements?
A prerequisite chain of length three is created when course Z has course Y as a prerequisite, and course Y has course X as a prerequisite.

There are examples listed at the bottom of the Depth and Breadth Requirements page.

Tags: Degree Requirements

22.CS isn't right for me; how do I transfer to something else?

Transfer decisions are made by the receiving faculty and/or program. If you want to transfer to another program within Math, check the list of Math Faculty Advisors to find the advisor of your desired program.

If you want to transfer outside of Math, go to their Undergraduate Office:

FacultyLocationExtension
Arts PAS 2439 35870
AHS BMH 3103 33663
Environment EV1-329 36088
Engineering CPH 1325D 84894
Science ESC 253 35244
Ask to speak with an advisor to discover what you need to do to transfer. Advisors often want to see a number of courses from their discipline with a specified minimum grade before they accept you. Students who want to transfer to Arts should check the on-line guidelines before asking to see an advisor.

If you have already been asked to leave the Math faculty due to low marks or failures, you have more work to do because the other faculty is unlikely to admit you. You may petition the Math Standings and Promotions Committee and ask for a "non-degree" term. A non-degree term allows you to continue studying for a term -- but not taking Math courses. It's your opportunity to impress the faculty you want to transfer to. Make the most of it!

Tags: Transfers, Changes

23.I'd like to transfer from CFM or SE to CS; what do I do?
See a CS Advisor. Some of the basic conditions:
  • If you fail or exclude too many courses, you aren't admissible. See FAQ 81.
  • We'll also look at what would have happened if you had been in CS. If you would have been forced out at any time (for example, due to low averages), you aren't admissible.

Tags: Transfers, Changes

24.I need an elective; can you recommend a good one?
What constitutes a "good" elective is very dependent on your interests. Suggestions:
  • Scan the course description in the UW Calendar. What looks interesting?
  • Talk to your friends. What have they enjoyed and profited from?
  • Consider your career goals. Are there related courses that might be beneficial?
  • Consider activities and hobbies you enjoy. Are there courses that might support them in some way?

Tags: Courses, Selecting Courses

25.Can I take some time off from school?
Yes. You can be gone from studies for up to four consecutive academic and/or co-op terms. If you're gone for more than four consecutive terms you will need to reapply. If you're in co-op, you should file a Sequence Change Form.

Note: International students should contact the Student Success Office about taking more than one term off per year because of visa restrictions.

Tags: Exceptions

26.How can I change when my co-op work terms are?
You need to file a Sequence Change Form. Notes:
  • Your first work term should be taken "on schedule". You're welcome to adjust your sequence after your first work term.
  • The sequence change must be approved by a Co-op advisor.
  • Co-op requires changes to be made at least 30 days before the start of the first affected term.
  • We strongly prefer to see co-op terms spaced roughly equally throughout your academic career. We do not want to see most of your work terms before 3A, for example.
  • We prefer not to see three or more consecutive full-time academic terms. You need a break!

Tags: Co-op, Changes

27.I'd like to drop out of co-op; what do I do?
That's a sticky issue. If you haven't really gotten started in co-op, fine. Go see a CS advisor with a Plan Modification Form. They'll talk with you about it and then send you to a co-op advisor.

On the other hand, you might be thinking "I've had some decent jobs and made some new contacts, who needs co-op anyway?" In that case, we think you're trying to bail out on your responsibilities and your part of the co-op agreement. Arranging employment for co-op students is much more difficult and expensive when you are inexperienced. To keep the co-op program viable, that needs to be balanced out by experienced students who are more readily employable. Furthermore, co-op employers take chances with inexperienced students knowing they'll turn into more valuable, experienced, upper-year students. They train students who don't have a lot of experience so they can get access to experienced students in a coordinated fashion in their senior work terms. By bailing on the system prematurely, you undermine both the co-op program and the employers.

Tags: Co-op, Changes

28.Do I need to do six work terms?
We like to see co-op students complete all six work terms to maximize their experience. In some cases that's hard. Perhaps you couldn't get a job in one of your early terms or you needed to catch up with some courses. In those cases, five terms is acceptable. If you wish to substitute a work term with an extra academic term, just fill out a Sequence Change Form, see a Math co-op advisor.

To graduate with Co-op designation on your degree, you must submit at least four approved/successful work reports.

In very unusual situations, it's possible to graduate with the co-op designation on your degree with only four work terms. That, however, requires a petition to the Standings and Promotions Committee.

Tags: Co-op, Exceptions

29.How can I add a minor, option, joint or double major to my CS major?
You'll need to fill out a Plan Modification form. If you're a Math student, use the Math Plan Modification Form, otherwise, use the Registrar's Plan Modification Form. See a CS advisor to get the form signed.

Tags: Degree Requirements, Changes, Options and Minors

30.Which undergraduate calendar do I use for my degree requirements?
You need to choose one undergraduate calendar for your degree requirements. The default is the one in effect when you started your program, although you can choose a more recent one.

Double-Honour degree students can use different calendars for each degree.

Tags: Degree Requirements

31.How does course X count in the Breadth and Depth requirements?
To fulfill the Breadth and Depth requirements, you'll need to take courses in certain subjects, such as "1.0 units from the humanities". For information on the subject areas, see "Elective breadth requirements" in the calendar. There is also a helpful chart.

You can count a non-math course towards both Depth and Breadth requirements. For example, if you pass ECON 101 and 201, you've satisfied 1.0 units of the Social Science Breadth requirement. If you take ECON 301 after, then ECON 101, 201, and 301 satisfy the Depth requirement.

Tags: Courses, Degree Requirements

32.I failed a bunch of courses; what should I do?
See an advisor. They'll explore the reasons for the failures with you and suggest next steps. It could be that petition to the Standings and Promotions Committee is appropriate.

Tags: Advisors, Hard Times

33.How late can a 1A student drop or withdraw from a course?
Dropping and withdrawing are two different things. Dropping happens within the first three weeks of the term. A dropped course doesn't appear on your transcript. After the third week of the term you may withdraw from a course. Withdrawn courses appear on your transcript with a grade of WD. Ordinarily students may only withdraw from a course until the end of the tenth week of the term. After that "withdrawing" gives you a WF--Withdraw Failure. That is probably always the wrong thing to do.

There is a special rule for 1A Math students to withdraw from their entire first term, which can be done up to noon on the last day of lectures. See FAQ 76 for details.

For more information on dropping or withdrawing from a course, see FAQ 41.

Tags: 1A Issues, Exceptions, Hard Times

34.What's the passing mark, 50 or 60?
The mark required to pass a course is always 50. However, to take the next course you sometimes need a higher mark, commonly 60. For example, you need 60% in CS 135 to take CS 136.

For more information, see University Calendar's course description. Look under the prerequistes for CS 136, for example. The prerequisites are also summarized on the Math Prerequisites for CS Students chart.

Tags: 1A Issues, Courses

35.How does course selection work?

Students who participate in course selection are automatically enrolled in courses before the drop/add period begins and have the greatest chance of actually getting into the courses they want. If they miss course selection, they can only choose from the left-over courses.

  1. One term in advance, students select courses on Quest so UW knows which courses they want to take. Unfortunately, students entering 1A and Exchange students don't have a chance to select courses at this time.
  2. Students are enrolled in their courses (provided there aren't conflicts and they meet the prerequisites).
  3. Drop/add period begins and Quest is open for everyone to adjust their courses-if anything is left.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Quest, Selecting Courses

36.What are the CS degree requirements?
The official degree requirements are in the University Calendar. They are also available as checklists.

Tags: Degree Requirements, Selecting Courses

37.What is the difference between a BCS and a BMath (CS) degree?
One good way to answer this is to compare the checklists for each degree. This table highlights the differences.

BCS

BMath (CS)

Computer Science 15 courses

Requires two from CS 340-398; 440-489

15 courses

Requires CS 360/365 and CS 370/371

Math 7 courses 12 courses

Requires Math 235, Math 237, and 3 other math courses

Electives 8 courses 3 courses
Non-Math 10 courses 10 courses
Software Engineering option Available Not available

Both are excellent degrees. Which you take depends on how you see your future unfolding.

If you'd like to have the flexibility of combining CS with another area of study (for example, by taking one or two minors) or you'd like to broaden your knowledge by taking courses in interesting subject areas, consider a BCS. With a BCS degree, you also have the freedom to take extra CS courses to increase your CS knowledge even more. If you believe your future will include lots of math (graphics of any sort, crunching numbers, probability, stats, etc.) or grad school in a wide range of subject areas, consider a BMath (CS) degree.

To switch from BCS to BMath/CS and vice versa, complete and submit a Plan Modification form to a CS Advisor for approval.

Tags: Degree Requirements

38.I've been told to withdraw from Math; now what?
You were likely asked to withdraw because you've accumulated too many failures and excluded courses or you've used up too many course attempts relative to the courses you've passed.

Likely options include:

  • Appeal the decision to the Standings and Promotions Committee if there were extenuating circumstances. Talk to an advisor about it.
  • Attempt to transfer to another program, either at Waterloo or another school. The Centre for Career Action may be a good resource to help identify your next best option.
  • Drop out of school. At some later point you might consider appealing or transferring.

If you want to transfer to another program at UW, you may have trouble getting accepted given the failures and/or course attempts on your record. The Math Faculty offers a "non-degree term" to allow you to get some courses on your transcript that can help your transfer. See Required to withdraw - may not continue in Faculty and talk to an advisor.

Tags: Changes, Hard Times, Exceptions

39.What is a "non-degree term"?

A non-degree term is when the Math Faculty allows you to take courses for one additional term after you have been withdrawn from studies. This is done purely as a favour to you to give you a chance to make your transcript look more attractive to a program outside of the Math Faculty. See Required to withdraw - may not continue in Faculty for more details.

If you are currently enrolled in Honours Math or CS courses, you won't be able to use them towards a Math Faculty degree, so you may as well drop them ASAP and take something that will contribute to another degree.

Students who are considering transferring to Arts should consult the Arts Internal Transfer Preparation Form.

Other students should follow these steps:
  1. Visit an advisor for the faculty you would like to transfer to. If they'll accept you right away, great! If not, fill out a Plan Modification Form transferring to Math Non-Degree. Identify the courses that will help you get into the new faculty, and have that faculty's advisor sign it.
  2. Complete a Standings and Promotions petition, indicating your reasons for the transfer, what steps you are taking or will take to ensure your future success. In this case, the form does not need a Math or CS advisor's signature.
  3. Submit the transfer and petition forms to the Registrar's Office at least one month before the start of the target term.

Tags: Hard Times, Changes, Exceptions

41.What is the difference between a drop, a WD, and a WF?
For the purposes of getting out of a course, a term is divided into three parts:
  1. During the first three weeks, you may drop a course. It won't show on your transcript.
  2. During the fourth through tenth weeks, you may withdraw from a course. It will show on your transcript with a grade of WD. It's not a failure but you are limited to at most 10 "unproductive" course attempts (failed courses, withdrawn courses, repeated courses). A WD does not affect your averages.
  3. After the tenth week of the term you can still "withdraw", but the grade will be a WF (Withdraw Failure). WF shows on your transcript, counts as a failure, and contributes a grade of 32 to your averages. You should talk with an advisor before you withdraw after the tenth week. It's seldom a good idea.

Tags: Courses, Degree Requirements

42.What is an excluded course?

Prior to fall 2013, you could exclude courses from your averages under certain conditions. Beginning in fall 2013, you can no longer exclude any courses; previously excluded courses will remain excluded.

Tags: Degree Requirements, Hard Times, Exceptions

43.What is the Standings and Promotions (S&P) Committee? How can I petition to S&P?

The Standings and Promotions Committee ("S&P") is the committee that decides when exceptions to the usual rules are appropriate. Examples of the kinds of exceptions they consider:

  • Taking a sixth course when you have an average less than 80%.
  • Re-admission to the Faculty after an absence of more than four terms.
  • Zero-credit weighting courses you failed because you were ill or had other significant factors beyond your control.
  • Dropping or adding courses after the relevant deadlines.

You'll need to complete an S&P petition form, include relevant documentation, and see an advisor before you submit the form.

Meeting dates are posted online.

For more information, visit Standings and Promotions.

Tags: Exceptions, Hard Times

44.How do I finish an INComplete?
In most circumstances you simply write the final exam the next time the course is offered and no later than 8 months after the INComplete was assigned.
  1. Talk to the current course instructor early in the term to make sure the course hasn't changed dramatically.
  2. Talk to the instructor again a week or two before the final exam to make sure there is a place and an exam for you.

Tags: Courses, Exceptions

45.What are some of the reasons for changing my co-op sequence?

Students are encouraged to consider changing the timing of their work terms (after the first one) for any of the following reasons:

  • If your sequence includes a double work term (sequences b, c, and d), consider:
    • moving the double work term earlier if a suitable employment opportunity presents itself
    • splitting the double work term with an academic term if you're struggling academically
  • You may benefit from a double school term if you want to
    • focus on academics for a term until seeking employment
    • catch up academically
    • create a better record to show prospective employers
    • retain work terms for your senior years when you have more to offer employers and will potentially be looking for prospective full-time employment upon graduation

Note: You must be enrolled in a full-time term (3 or more courses) the term prior to your work-term.

Tags: Changes, Co-op

46.I withdrew from CS135. What happens now?

You have two options:

  1. Take CS135 again in a future term.
  2. Take CS115 in a future term.
If you're a CS major, you should take CS135 again unless you think getting 60% in it is unlikely, even the second time. Taking CS115 will set you back even further. Instead of doing CS135 followed by CS136, you would end up doing CS115 → CS116 → CS136. That likely lengthens your time at UW by a term and uses up one of your electives (CS116 is an elective for CS majors).

Other students should consult with their plan's advisors.

Tags: 1A Issues, Courses, Hard Times

47.Am I in danger of failing out?
There are several reasons you may be asked to leave CS and possibly the Math Faculty. The official policies are in the UW Calendar. In summary:
  1. Failing or excluding too many courses. See FAQ 81.
  2. Having more than 10 unproductive course attempts (failed or excluded courses (including WFs and DNWs), repeated courses, WDs, CLCs, etc.).
  3. Failing too many courses in your 1A term (you must pass at least two courses unless the one course that you do pass is a Math course and your mark is 60% or higher).

If you're reading this, you should probably be talking to an advisor.

Tags: 1A Issues, Degree Requirements, Hard Times

48.How does adding a course affect the fees I pay?
Take a look at the fee schedules. Each program lists a per-course fee for the first four courses taken in a term. The fifth course is often less expensive. There is an overall cap on the tuition fees for each term.

Tags: Adding Courses

50.What is the Communication Skills Requirement?

The ability to communicate in English is fundamental to your success in academic and business environments. To meet the Communication Skills Requirement, you must complete two communications courses. The first course must be completed prior to 2A. Students who do not meet the Communication Skills Requirement will have restrictions on their course enrollment.

For more information, see Communication Skills Requirement.

Tags: Degree Requirements, Enrolment Blocks

51.What should I do if I don't find a co-op job?

First, be persistent and be flexible. Stretch your geographic comfort zone and keep looking for an official job until the end of the first month of the actual work term (available positions are posted on WaterlooWorks (WW) until that time). Remember, 12 weeks of full-time employment is the minimum amount of time needed for credit so you can still arrange a job right up until the end of the first month of the work term. Don't give up too soon ... and submit a Job Information Form to CECS a.s.a.p. if you get a job outside of the WaterlooWorks (WW) process.

If you run out of time and cannot secure official employment, the next best thing is to try and arrange a job that gives you some work experience and pays you a salary, so you can continue to develop your skill set and earn some cash to pay for your tuition.

In the worst case scenario, you may not be able to arrange any suitable employment. If this is the case, make as much use of your term off as you can. Brush up on existing skills (e.g., accounting skills, computer languages, software development, etc.) or prepare for your upcoming school courses.

While sequence changes are not permitted for students seeking their first work term, it may be possible for others to change their work term sequence if the courses needed are available in the term in question. This process must be initiated at least 1 month before the switch takes place so you'll need to be proactive if you think this approach might work for you.

Tags: Co-op

53.How do I transfer from regular to co-op?

The steps you need to take are in Transferring from Regular to Co-op.

Tags: Changes, Co-op

55.Why can't I swap courses?

Swapping courses will not work if the course you are trying to swap with is full, conflicts with another course in your schedule, or if the course-add deadline has passed.

Tags: Courses, Selecting Courses

58.Can I have two or more options on my diploma?

There are two kinds of options. The first is an option that can be part of any degree (for example, a Teaching Option (Faculty of Mathematics), Management Sciences Option (Faculty of Engineering), or Society, Technology and Values Option (Faculty of Arts)). You can have up to two such options.

The second kind of option is attached to a specific degree (for example, Computer Science Software Engineering, Business, Bioinformatics, and Digital Hardware options). You can only have one of these options. However, you can add a minor or unattached option.

Tags: Degree Requirements, Options and Minors

60.What is the difference between an option and a minor?

Minors usually require eight to ten courses, while options usually require six. The term "minor" is more widely recognized than "option".

Tags: Degree Requirements, Options and Minors

61.Where are the work report guidelines for CS co-op students?

See the Math Faculty web site for the current guidelines.

Tags: Co-op

62.A CS advisor emailed me a Permission Number, but it is not working.

The permission number will not work if there is a block or Service Indicator (SI) on your account. If your account is blocked due to

  • unpaid fees, contact the Registrars' Office and the accounting department.
  • total course failures (MTEX), contact an advisor.

The permission number also won't work if you have a time conflict in your schedule. Only in very exceptional circumstances will advisors allow class overlaps by signing a Course Override form.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Enrolment Blocks, Exceptions

63.There's space in a course I want. Why can't I get in?

There are several possible reasons:

  • The course might be closed (requires "departmental consent").
  • Some departments reserve portions of their courses for specific groups of students. For example, a section of a CS course may be reserved for Software Engineering students. If you're not in SE, you won't be able to add the course.
  • There may be a course conflict with a course already in your schedule.
Check Quest's error messages for concrete clues. If you still can't figure out why you're being denied, check with a advisor (bring the error message).

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses

64.I'm a CS major and took CS 116, but it's not in the CS part of the degree requirements checklist. How do I count it?
CS 116 counts as an elective.

Tags: 1A Issues, Courses, Degree Requirements

65.I'm working on a Computing Technology option and took both CS 116 and CS 136. How do they count towards the option?
Both courses can count towards the Computing Technology option.

Tags: Options and Minors

66.Does PD1 count as one of the five courses I can take in an academic term?
No. Co-op students should take five academic courses plus PD1.

Tags: Co-op, Courses, Selecting Courses

68.Who can I complain to about something?

Who you should complain to depends on what you want to complain about. One of the academic advisors is a good place to start. If you want to complain about a particular advisor, talk to Lori Case or the current Director for Undergrad Studies (DUS). The DUS is also a good person to talk to about teaching complaints.

Tags: Advisors

69.Quest will not let me into a Math course. What should I do?
  • If the course is full, go to the Math Undergrad Office (MC 4022) and ask what to do.
  • If you don't meet the prerequisites but feel you should be able to take the course anyway (for example, you have an equivalent course from another faculty or institution), see the Math advisors.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses, Exceptions, Selecting Courses

70.What do all those codes on my transcript or in Quest mean?
See the following:

Tags: Degree Requirements, Exceptions, Quest

71.Can I substitute Math 106 for Math 136 in the CS degree requirements?
Math students who perform poorly in Math 136 are sometimes told to take Math 106 instead. For BMath (CS) students, this works. For BCS students, it does not. Why? BMath students will take more algebra, thus ensuring a uniform endpoint in their studies. BCS students will not take more algebra and the endpoint of Math 106 isn't considered suitable for the degree.

Tags: Courses, Degree Requirements, Selecting Courses

72.How do I pay my tuition fees if I can't get into a course until after the deadline?
Schedule of due dates implies that you should pay the fees you know about by the deadline. If you sign up for an additional course after the fee deadline, simply pay as soon as you can.

Tags: Adding Courses

73.How are failed courses calculated in my averages?
Prior to fall 2013, failed courses were automatically excluded from Math Faculty averages. Beginning in fall 2013, that is no longer the case. Failed courses will be included in averages just like any other course except that marks less than 32% (equivalent to F-) will be included as 32%.

Students need to have a 60% average to graduate, but won't be removed from the Math Faculty for lower averages before graduation.

Tags: Courses, Hard Times

74.What happens if I didn't select courses a term ahead?

If you didn't select CS courses a term in advance, you won't be enrolled into the courses and CS advisors won't give you course overrides related to space. Hopefully there will be some space left for you! You'll need to keep checking for space during the Drop/add period.

For future terms, you'll need to select courses (one term in advance) based on the courses you've already taken or are enrolled in.

To find out when course selection is, visit: Important Dates.

Tags: Adding Courses, Changes, Courses, Selecting Courses

75.What resources does uWaterloo provide to help me through hard times?
  • Academic advisors: Help with issues related to courses and programs.
  • Counselling Services: Help with stress management and other issues. Friendly and experienced counselors provide confidential appointments.
  • Health Services: Provide physician and dietician appointments and a range of health services for students.
  • AccessAbility Services: Provide services and support for students who have a permanent or temporary disability.
  • Student Success Office: Help with study and time management skills, access to success coaches, and more.
  • Center for Career Action: Help with career strategy, job search tactics, grad school preparation, personality tests to help identify possible career paths, etc.
  • Tags: Changes, Hard Times

76.Can I withdraw from the entire term?

For most students, the impact of withdrawing from an entire term is no different than withdrawing from all of your courses individually. Depending on the date, the course won't appear on your transcript at all (first 3 weeks of the term), you'll receive a grade of "WD" or "withdraw" (fourth through tenth weeks), or you'll receive a grade of "WF" or "withdraw failure" (after the tenth week).

There is an exception if you are a 1A Math student who has not previously studied full-time in university. In this case, you can withdraw from all of your courses up to noon on the last day of lectures. The courses appear on transcripts with a mark of "WD" but they do not count as course attempts (this includes any courses that you WD'd earlier, too).

However, you can't return to studies for at least eight months (to give you a chance to sort out what went wrong in the term). Co-op students can start over again in Co-op when they return.

If you want to take advantage of this, you must see an advisor.

For the complete regulation, see Extended Absences and Withdrawals.

Tags: 1A Issues, Hard Times

78.How can Engineering students get into CS courses?
Engineering students are welcome in CS major courses, but should be aware of the following:
  • CS advisors will only sign pre-requisite overrides after CS majors have been added to courses, typically the second week of term. Advisors will not override enrolment caps.
  • Students must be in 3B or higher and must have completed a data structures course and one other course with significant CS technical content. Students also need a CAV of 75% or higher.
    • Data structures courses include ECE 250, SYDE 223, and MTE 140. Since these courses include quite a bit less content than the core CS data structures course, students should proceed with caution, particularly if their marks are not high.
    • Courses with significant CS technical content include ECE 254, 351, 354, 406, 409, 417, 428, 429, 451, 452, 453, 457A, 457B, 458, 459, SYDE 322, 422, and MTE 241.
  • Engineering students should take Engineering courses where possible. This immediate eliminates CS 341, 348, 350, 450, 454, 456, 457, 458, 473, 485, 486, 490, and 492 because Engineering offers similar content.
  • Engineering students may only take one CS major course per term.

Tags: Courses

79.What's the CS Major Average?

The CS Major Average (MAV) is the average of all your CS major courses numbered CS136 and higher. That is, CS115, 116, and 135 aren't included. You need to keep your MAV above 60% to remain in good standing in CS. If it drops below 60% for more than a term, you'll be removed from CS.

The MAV is formally defined in the Calendar.

Tags: Degree Requirements

81.What is the failure limit?
  • For students starting in Fall 2014 or later (or using the Fall 2014 calendar), the failure limit is 2.0 units.
  • For students starting earlier than Fall 2014, the failure limit is 3.0 units.

Tags: Hard Times

82.I pre-enrolled for CS 245 and 246 and didn't get in.

85% of seats in CS 245 and 246 are reserved for CS students. The 15% of seats for Math students fills up quickly, so not all Math students will get into these classes even though they pre-enrolled.

Math students won't be able to add the courses during Drop/Add because they don't meet the reserve requirement of being a CS student. Also, CS advisors won't be able to override students even if they course selected or need the course to raise their average to transfer into CS.

A few days after the beginning of the term, the CS only reserve will be removed and Math students can try and add the courses on Quest if any seats are still available.

Tags: Courses, Selecting Courses

83.I'm enrolled in the enriched version of a CS course (e.g. 146, 365, or the enriched section of CS 240, 241, 245, 365). Can I switch into a regular section?

You can only switch into a regular section of an enriched course during the normal course drop/add period.

In some situations, students may switch from CS 145 to CS 135 during their 1A term. This is the only exception.

Tags: Adding Courses, Courses

117.I didn't get into co-op, what can I do?

You can gain work and job search skills through the EDGE program.

Through EDGE, you'll

  • Learn how to market skills gained inside and outside of the classroom
  • Complete a career development course where you create a polished resume and develop interview skills
  • Complete 3 work or community experiences
  • Complete a capstone workshop where you develop a job action plan

For more information, see the EDGE program components.

Tags: Co-op

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