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When you think of Waterloo, you probably think of co-op. We operate the largest post-secondary co-op program of its kind in the world with more than 6700 employers hiring nearly 20,000 students for work terms every year. But what if your chosen program at Waterloo doesn’t offer co-op? Or, what if you’re transferring from Seneca and you are receiving so many transfer credits that you can’t fit co-op work terms into your degree?

The good news for you is that the value of experiential learning is “part of our DNA” at Waterloo and there are lots of different ways to get hands-on, practical experience as part of your studies.

Here’s the Top 5:

1. The Global Experience Certificate (GEC)

This combination of for-credit courses, an international experience, and a cross-cultural volunteer experience showcases your capacity to be a global citizen and demonstrates your adaptability, cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural communication skills.

Completion of the GEC results in both a Certificate as well as notes on your official transcript.

2. Student Leadership Program (SLP)

The Student Leadership Program (SLP) is a broad-based, experiential series of 12 workshops available to all current University of Waterloo students. The workshops help you to explore and enhance your leadership capabilities, gain knowledge, and develop skills in leadership on campus and within the community. Topics include Conflict Management, Motivating Others, Presentation Skills and Principles of Leadership.

Completion of the SLP grants you an E-Certificate.


EDGE is an opt-in experiential education certificate program for undergraduate students in traditional (non-co-op) programs of study. Students who complete EDGE will develop their professional skills, explore their career options, and learn how to market themselves to employers. Students complete six milestones as part of the EDGE certificate: a skills identification and articulation workshop; a career development course; three work or community experiences; and a capstone workshop.

Completion of EDGE grants you a Certificate.

4. Maximize Potential Certificate Program

Maximize Potential is a certificate program that offers sessions in Waterloo residence from six unique pillars. Each pillar emphasizes skill development, resources, or knowledge sharing to help residents get the most out of their experience. To complete the program and earn a certificate you must attend one session from each pillar. These pillars are: Community Living, Health and Wellness, Professional Development, Diversity and Inclusivity, Academic Development and Personal Development.

Completion of the program earns you a certificate and makes you eligible to receive the Jessica Lang Residence Student Leadership Award. It is also a great prelude to getting involved in Housing's upper year leadership opportunities such as becoming a Don or a Peer Leader.

5. Service Learning

Students at Waterloo are part of many communities, both on and beyond campus. Bringing your academic learning and personal experience to these communities in service learning is an amazing way to get practical experience while making the world a better place. Our service learning opportunities include:

  • Beyond Borders is an academically centered international service-learning experience at St. Jerome’s University. The program consists of two half-credit courses and a 90-day placement with a grassroots development organization abroad.
  • SJU in Peru is two-and-a-half-week immersive experience, where students learn from and work side-by-side with various partners in Lima; a coffee co-operative (Café Femenino in Chiclayo) and a shelter for young women (Pura Vida - in Cusco).
  • Beyond U pairs responsible and passionate upper year students with a local organization for a multi-component experience, exposing them to non-profit work and local social justice causes. A Beyond U Program Participant (BUPP) works within a community-based organization to gain a thorough understanding of how they function, the populations they serve and the values they set as their foundation.



Contact Us!

Did you know that Waterloo has a dedicated transfer team to help you through the admissions and transfer process? Connect with us today, we’re here to help!