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How Online Education Works at UW

Course Features

With Waterloo's online courses, you can interact with a variety of rich learning materials including visuals, audio, multimedia, and links to Internet resources. Through the use of online Discussion Boards, email, and other social networking options, you can also interact and work with your peers and instructors in ways that used to be limited to the live classroom. Some courses may additionally require Internet research, the use of library facilities, and/or field work. The descriptions in the online course database provide details of required course materials and computer needs for each course. Note that all courses require Internet access.

To learn more about the structure of our courses, please view our Course Features page.

Time Frames

While when and where you study are up to you, Waterloo's structured academic schedule is one reason our online education program is so highly respected. Just as in on-campus studies, there are 3 terms: Fall, Winter, and Spring. Assignments and activities are due at set times throughout the term. Final examinations are written on designated dates.

Online courses are flexible, convenient, and allow you to work around other commitments. However, they do require you to dedicate approximately 10-12 hours per course per week to your academic work (specific requirements vary by course).


You complete and submit assignments on set due dates. Some courses may also include learning tasks which are not graded, but are intended to help reinforce learning.


Final examinations are scheduled at the end of each term. Be advised that the University reserves the right to make changes to the examination schedule. Students will receive information a few weeks before the respective exam date.

Arrangements can be made for students not able to write on Saturdays for religious or other non-elective reasons.

The Centre for Extended Learning has many exam centre locations throughout Ontario and across Canada. If you live within 100 kms of an established centre, you will write your exam(s) there. Those living outside this 100 km radius will write their exam(s) with the supervision of a proctor.


For details about tuition and other fees including application for admission, course material deposits, textbooks, and shipping and handling fees please refer to the Fees, Payments, and Financial Assistance section of this website. From there, you'll also find links to information about payment methods, due dates, and refund policies.

Financial Assistance

After reviewing your education related expenses, you may find that you need additional funds to pursue your education. If that is the case, you may be eligible for financial assistance. Waterloo's Student Awards and Financial Aid Office coordinates various programs for students with financial needs. These include government and uWaterloo financial aid programs - some of which are non-repayable. For information on various financial aid monies available, please refer to Financial Assistance.

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