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I have questions before I submit my application

I have just submitted my application

I am an international student and have questions about admission requirements

I am a transfer student

I have questions before I submit my application

What are the academic requirements?

Applicants for all degree programs are expected to have a formal background in the following areas of computer science:

  • Programming languages
  • Data structures
  • Operating systems
  • Algorithms
  • Computer organization (architecture)

Applicants lacking in the formal background in CS may be required to take remedial courses, in addition to the regular program requirements, or be admitted as a probationary or transitional student..

Do I need a supervisor before applying? 
Applicants do not need to have a supervisor before applying. If an offer were to be made, a supervisor would be assigned at that time.

How do I choose my referees and how many are required? 
Three letters of reference are required for both master's and doctoral applications to the School of Computer Science (completed electronically by your referees). References must be related to your academic abilities. References should be able to give us a sense of an applicant's research potential or how successful someone will be in graduate school. At least two of your letters should be from academic sources. All letters should be from former or current instructors or supervisors but not from colleagues. Please also see the reference requirements page for more information:

References from family members, friends, students, former classmates and/or teaching assistants are not accepted.

Valid institutional or organizational email addresses are preferred. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc. are not encouraged.

The University of Waterloo may use your reference form when considering you for institutional, provincial and federal awards/scholarships.

All reference letters are verified for authenticity. If evidence of misrepresentation or fraudulent or falsified documentation is found, the penalty is severe. The University of Waterloo reserves the right to revoke any offer of admission and/or financial support. The University of Waterloo may also disclose evidence of any misrepresentation or fraudulent or falsified documentation to all Canadian universities, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and law enforcement personnel where appropriate.

When is the deadline for my application documents?
All application documents are due by the application deadline date for that term. It is advisable to apply to OUAC at least two weeks prior to the application deadline date, as it will take time to receive your Waterloo ID number (two to three business days) and for your referees to submit their forms. x

When is the application deadlines?

Deadlines for MMath and PhD Only

Term Application deadline
Fall December 15 
Winter June 1
Spring October 1

Deadline for MDSAI Only

Term Application deadline
Fall January 15

Deadline for MMath in DS

Term Application deadline
Fall December 15

When is the application deadline for international students?
The application deadlines remain the same for domestic and international students. See “When is the application deadlines” or specific dates.

Do I need to submit official transcripts at the point of application?
All post-secondary institutions attended must be declared on the application and transcripts submitted for each. Unofficial copies of actual transcripts may be submitted and uploaded at the point of application. They must clearly show your name, the institution and the degree.

Can I apply or submit application documents past the application deadline? 
There is a small window of flexibility if one or two items are uploaded a little past the deadline (i.e., not usually more than 2 weeks). However, if you have not taken your GRE or English language test before the application deadline and cannot submit a score close to the application deadline, you may wish to apply for a later term. Once the application deadline is reached, applications that are complete move forward for review and the decision process begins for a limited number of spaces.


I have just submitted my application.

I need to make a change to my application, how do I do this?
Once your application has been submitted, it cannot be changed. Applicants will receive a warning regarding this before submitting. Please ensure your application materials are complete and correct before submitting.

My referee(s) did not receive an email or I need to change my referee. 
Please contact and they will be able to assist you. Please include your full name and your University of Waterloo ID number (eight-digit number beginning with 20).

I am having difficulty with the Quest online application system. 
Please contact for assistance. Please include your full name and your Waterloo ID number (eight-digit number beginning with 20) if available.

I have not received my Waterloo ID number.
It normally takes three business days after applying to OUAC to receive your Waterloo ID number.

How can I check to see if all the application materials have been received?
Applicants can check for any outstanding application materials in the Quest system. If unofficial GRE or English language scores have been uploaded, these requirements will show as complete in Quest. Unofficial scores issued by the institution are fine for the application reviewing process; however applicants should also arrange to have the official copies of these scores sent directly from the issuing institutions to the Graduate Studies Office in order to avoid any delay if an offer were to be made. Due to the volume of applications, we cannot check individual files to confirm that the official copies have been received at the point of application. If an official score is missing at the point of offer, the applicant will be notified at that time.

If I apply to the master's thesis program and am unsuccessful, will I automatically be considered for the master's coursework program? 
Please apply to the program(s) you wish to be considered for. Applications that are not successful are not automatically considered for another program.

When will I receive a decision on my application?
The reviewing process can take two to three months. Once a decision has been made, you will be notified via the Quest online system.

I am an international student and have questions about admission requirements

I am an international student. Do I need to submit a GRE?
The GRE General test is required of all applicants to the School of Computer Science, who have not completed a four-year undergraduate degree from a Canadian or US university where English is the primary language of instruction. Students may upload unofficial copies of their GRE to their online application while waiting for official copies to be sent by ETS. Canadian citizens and permanent residents are not exempt.

What are the TOEFL and GRE codes for ETS? 
The institution code for both is 0996. The department code for TOEFL is 78 and for GRE the department code is 402.

When are the GRE and English language scores due?
All required application materials should be submitted by the application due date posted on our admissions page

Can I update my GRE or TOEFL score after the application deadline? 
Please submit only the score(s) you wish to have considered with your online application.

What are the required scores for the TOEFL and IELTS?

Main accepted English language examinations

Required scores.                                                         
Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) 100 overall; 26 writing; 26 speaking
IELTS (academic) 7.5 overall; 7.0 writing; 7.0 speaking

See the graduate studies calendar  for other accepted English language examinations and their required scores. Note that Computer Science uses the alternative higher scores.

How can I be exempt from the English language requirements?
You are exempt from submitting an English language proficiency examination score if any one of the following conditions is true:

  • You have completed three or more years of post-secondary education or completed a graduate degree at a North American institution or university
  • Within the last 24 months at the time of your application submission, you have completed three or more years of post-secondary education or completed a graduate degree at a university at which English was the primary language of instruction, as indicated on our ELP exemption list 
  • You have been employed for at least three years in a position in which English was the language of business in a country listed on our ELP exemption list 
  • Your country's official language is English and is listed as "all exempt" on our ELP exemption list 

​Please note, students who are ELP exempt may still require a GRE. Check GRE exemption requirements by reviewing the required documents for admissions.


I am a transfer student

Can I have credit for past courses?
Academic credit for graduate courses taken at another institution may be awarded provided that proof can be shown that the courses have not been used for credit toward a previous degree. Normally, at most one half of the required courses can be transferred from another institution. For transfer consideration, the student must submit their course descriptions and their official transcripts to the Computer Science Graduate Office for review at the time of departmental recommendation for admission.

For more information see our credit transfer page