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Waterloo University

Waterloo University was founded with co-operative education at its very foundation and has the world’s largest co-op programme, allowing students to work and learn in a way that perhaps is not as incentivised at other Canadian universities. Nowadays, it ranks #1 as most innovative university in Canada and also as Canada’s #1 university for experiential learning (Maclean’s, 2022)

Engineering played a large part in the early days of the university and continues to do so, boasting an excellent faculty of engineering which is in the top 40 in the world (QS, 2021) and high employment rates for those who graduate in engineering. Waterloo also has an excellent computer science programme that ranks first in Canada (Maclean’s, 2022) and fourth in Canada for environmental sciences (QS, 2021). 


The university consists of a main campus based in Waterloo, about 110km west of Toronto, with three satellite campuses:

  • Cambridge Campus - School of Architecture, 30km from main campus. 
  • Kitchener Campus - School of Pharmacy, 6km from main campus. 
  • Stratford Campus - Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, 45km from main campus.

The main campus is mostly pedestrianised, with gardens and patios creating a friendly and relaxed learning atmosphere. Overpasses connect areas on campus to keep students warm in the winter months. The layout of the campus means that the faculties are grouped neatly together meaning commutes are never long and the relevant academics are never far for support or advice. 

Startup Business Support

Waterloo University backs their students to come up with exciting new innovations and business ventures through their variety of incubators:

  • Velocity - early-stage startup incubator that helps users globalise.
  • Concept - experiential programme for students to gain attributes to commercialise their ideas. 
  • Greenhouse - support towards environmental and societal change. 
  • Grebel Peace Incubator -  tailored towards understandings and practices of peace locally and globally. 

Consistent throughout all of these incubators is high-calibre expertise and mentorship to help students achieve their entrepreneurial goals. The university is also committed to students retaining the rights to their intellectual properties, showing that they truly care about the progression of their students’ skills. 

Research And Development

Research plays an enormous part in Waterloo University’s everyday activities, reflected in their membership within the prestigious U15 research group and being voted #1 comprehensive research university in Canada (Research InfoSource, 2020). 

Great amounts of research output come directly from the Science Teaching Complex and Balsillie School of International Affairs as part of a partnership between Waterloo University and Wilfrid Laurier University, and the Engineering 7 building is home to research on mechatronics and disruptive technologies. 

In 2019-20, the university attracted more than C$247 million in research funds and those funds are directed back into academics and researchers who want students from all faculties to take part, as they offer support in writing proposals, acquiring funds and more. 

Job Placement

Since Waterloo University was built on the concept of co-operative education, it understandably is in very good standing in terms of job placement; by combining classroom education and a year or more of paid work experience, students come out of the process with a much higher percentage of employability and usually get higher starting salaries. 


Waterloo was voted #1 for employer-student connections and #2 for partnerships with employers (QS Graduate Employability Rankings, 2020), and the university’s 7,100+ co-op employers across 60+ countries make it an attractive prospect for any prospective student who wishes to increase their chances of finding work in a field relevant to their studies. 

The Centre for Career Action (CCA) are also on hand to answer any queries you may have about employment during and after your time at the university.

Student Life

Waterloo has a close knit community on campus with over 200 clubs and societies for students to get stuck in with. The varsity team, “The Warriors”, battle in a range of sports including football, hockey, volleyball, golf, and more. Students showing their WatCard will also gain free entry to Warriors home games. 

The city of Waterloo has plenty to offer with the Earth Sciences Museum, the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery and the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest brings the German festive spirit to Canada. Toronto, Hamilton, and Mississauga are also just a train or bus ride away, as are the beautiful Niagara Falls, the world-famous landmark on the border of the USA.

Why should you choose this university?

Waterloo University is an incredibly admirable institution that really has put the betterment of its students at the forefront of its ethos. The research opportunities here are numerous and exciting, particularly in the faculties of engineering and sciences where the facilities are famed and contemporary. Students undoubtedly leave Waterloo with degrees that employers find very appealing because of the hard-working nature of the university, and the schemes to produce entrepreneurial talent are impressive in their variety. The strong international community at Waterloo makes it an exciting, multicultural hub of learning that is warm and welcoming, even through the winter months. 


Waterloo University competes with many institutions in neighbouring cities and the location is so central that it makes travelling domestically and internationally relatively easy. It is certainly worth consideration from any ambitious student. 


Ranking BodyYearRanking Number
World University Ranking (QS)2022149
World University Ranking (QS)2021166
World University Ranking (QS)2020173
World University Ranking (QS)2019163
World University Ranking (QS)2018152