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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I start part-time studies at UW?
  2. If I wish to study part-time at UW, must I be seeking a degree?
  3. What if my study skills are rusty?
  4. What is a "unit"?
  5. If I want to obtain a degreein Arts, must I major in something?
  6. As a part-time student, can I take courses in the daytime?
  7. Are the standards for admission to the University as a part-time student different from those for a full-time student?
  8. Must I take 100-level courses in first year, 200-level courses in second year, etc.?
  9. As a UW part-time student, may I take a course at another university and have it count towards my UW degree?
  10. How long does it take to complete a degree when studying part-time?
  11. How much time do I need to set aside for working on a course?
  12. Will I receive transfer credit from my previous academic work?
  13. What about exams?
  14. What if I find that I'm in "over my head"?
  15. Once I have finished all my degree requirements, how do I arrange for graduation?

Answers

1. How do I start part-time studies at UW?
Begin by carefully reviewing the information in this web site. If you're not sure about which course or program to take,how to get started, or have questions about your level of preparation for university study, call the Part-Time Studies Office at 519-888-4002 or send us an email. We'll help by either by giving you the information you need or by putting you in touch with the best sources for that information.

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2. If I wish to study part-time at UW, must I be seeking a degree?
No. If you simply wish to pursue specific interests without seeking a degree, you may enrol in courses as a non-degree or post-degree student. However, you must apply for admission to the University in the usual way and pay the appropriate tuition. Normal admission requirements must be met. The courses you take on a non-degree or post-degree basis will earn credits which may be used towards a degree should you decide to, and qualify to, enter a degree program at a later date.

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3. What if my study skills are rusty?
You're not alone if you feel this way. Many adult students are concerned about their study and learning skills, feeling that they may need some brushing up because of a lack of recent practice. UW offers a number of services to help prospective students "get started again". Counselling Services offers an online Study Skills Package and regularly scheduled Study Skills Workshops throughout the year and the UW Library arranges tours and workshops at the beginning of each term. You may also be interested in the Pre-University courses offered through the Centre for Extended Learning.

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4. What is a "unit"?
A unit is the credit value associated with a course. Unit weights are used in the calculation of averages for academic standing. Most courses have unit weights of 0.5, but some have weights such as 0.25, 1.0, 2.0.

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5. If I want to obtain a degree in Arts, must I choose a major?
No. Many students do not major in a specific discipline. If you do not wish to choose a specific major, you can proceed to a Liberal Studies academic plan. If you do wish to specialize, you may wish to declare a major where more specific requirements will be set by the discipline. For more information about Arts, see the FAQs for prospective students on the Arts Mature Students Advising website.

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6. As a part-time student, can I take courses in the daytime?
Yes. Part-time students are welcome in UW's daytime courses. In fact, almost as many part-time students are studying in the daytime as in the evening. Check Enrol In, Drop, Swap Classes Online for details on how to enrol, using Quest, and how to search for courses meeting certain criteria. For example, search for courses offered at a certain time of day or for courses in a specific subject area.

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7. Are the standards for admission to the University as a part-time student different from those for a full-time student?
No. While the forms necessary for application as a part-time student are different, the admission requirements are the same.

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8. Must I take 100-level courses in the first year, 200-level courses in the second year, etc.?
While this is not necessary, it is generally required that a 100-level course be completed before moving on to a 200-level course and so on. Courses do not have to be taken in any special order unless there is a prerequisite or unless a major plan demands a certain sequencing. You may take a course at the 200 level or above as long as you have the specified prerequisite.

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9. As a UW part-time student, may I take a course at another university and have it count towards my UW degree?
Perhaps, but you must get permission first. Courses taken at another institution for credit toward a University of Waterloo degree must be taken on a Letter of Permission which must be granted beforehand. To apply, fill out a the Letter of Permission Form and send it with the non-refundable fee to the Registrar's Office. Generally, part-time students must have successfully completed four half-credit courses at UW before they are permitted to take courses elsewhere for credit.

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10. How long does it take to complete a degree when studying part-time?
Many students take 2 courses each term (Fall, Winter, Spring), completing a degree in 5 years; some take 1 course in each term, finishing in 10 years; others start as a part-time student and later finish a degree by enrolling full-time. Whichever pace is right for you, keep your other obligations in mind and do not overburden yourself to the point of discouragement. While many are keen to finish as soon as possible, it is best to proceed at a pace that allows you to maintain the average required for your program.

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11. How much time do I need to set aside for a course?
Since the number and weight of assignments and readings vary considerably among courses, the amount of time you need to spend will vary too. As well, you may find that while you already possess quite a lot of background knowledge in some subjects, you may have very little in others, perhaps necessitating further preparatory or remedial work. In making up your study schedule, you should also leave time for writing essays and preparing for examinations. Most people need about ten to twelve hours a week, including classroom time, to do the work for one course. Ordinarily, you should expect to spend more time on an advanced-level course.

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12. Will I receive transfer credit from my previous academic work?
When you apply for admission to a degree program at UW, the Admissions Committee looks at your post-secondary transcripts, not only for admission purposes, but for transfer credit as well. Individual faculty policies regarding transfer credits can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

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13. What about exams?
Each instructor determines whether an exam will be held in the course. In some courses, your grade is based on midterm and final exams; in others, it is based on essays and quizzes. Instructors may also take into account your participation in class discussions.

If you have not taken an exam in a number of years, you may wish to participate in the Preparing for and Writing Exams workshops offered by Counselling Services.

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14. What if I find that I'm in "over my head"?
If this happens, don't become discouraged, and don't lose sight of your ultimate goal. The course instructor can help with course-related difficulties. As well, mature student advising is available. Departmental undergraduate officers, Faculty undergraduate officers, and UW Counselling Services may be of help.

If it becomes necessary to drop a course that you're taking, review the "How do I" instructions on Quest. Note that if you are enrolled in only one course, and you want to drop it, you'll have to complete an Undergraduate Notice of Withdrawal form.

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15. Once I have finished all my degree requirements, how do I arrange for graduation?
For information about graduation, please see the Convocation details.

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