This page provides an overview of all the information you need to know about the University of Waterloo’s graduate planning programs and student life.  Whether you’re still deciding if Waterloo is the place for you, or are already planning on joining us, we hope this information helps guide you.  Please feel free to contact any of the AGP executive with questions about the programs, student life, or Waterloo in general.  We’re here to help!

For more information, check out the University of WaterlooFaculty of Environment, and School of Planning pages.

Jump Ahead!

Waterloo Campus
Living in Kitchener-Waterloo
Relevant Organizations


The three different programs offered at the Master’s level are the Masters of Environmental Studies (Planning), Masters of Arts (Planning), and Masters of Applied Environmental Studies (Planning).  The MA and MES programs are two year thesis degrees, while the MAES is a one year course-based degree for students with work experience in a planning-related field.  The Doctor of Philosophy program is a four year thesis-based degree. Click here to learn more


Within the School of Planning, several different fields are covered by faculty that can be divided into physical/natural environment and human/built environment planning.  Such disciplines as biology, ecology, water/wetlands, watershed planning, forest and park planning are represented as part of the physical/natural planning focus, while urban design, social/demographic planning, economic development, regional planning, heritage planning, and health planning are some of the fields in the human/built environment focus.  Check out faculty listings to read more about research interests, or professors’ publications to read some of the research completed by School of Planning faculty.

Role of your Advisor

Your thesis advisor is meant to help direct you in your thesis progress.  They can help point you toward readings and thesis topics, and act as a sounding board for your ideas.  They should be kept up to date on your progress and will be involved in your thesis proposal preparation and presentation at the end of 710.  See the faculty listings for an advisor who is interested in your field of study or who is otherwise qualified to help you through your graduate career.

Click here for more information. Or, for information including requirements for each degree see the Graduate Studies Calendar.

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EV Buildings

The Faculty of Environment is located in three linked buildings, EV1, EV2 and EV3 on the west side of campus.  The School of Planning is currently located on the third floor of EV3. The faculty is very proud of the newly completed EV3 building which recently achieved LEED platinum certification and includes a stunning two-storey bio wall, a constructed wetland, green roof, and café.

Study space

There are currently two study rooms available for use exclusively by graduate students located in EV1 (EV1 355 is a group study room and EV1 357 is a quiet study room).  Both rooms require an access code to enter.  There are lockers, computers, a printer and couches in the group study room.  There is also a student lounge on the third floor of EV1 containing couches, a microwave and fridge. Graduate students in the School of Planning also have access to the Planning Kitchen which looks out onto the green roof terrace. The kitchen has a kettle, microwave and tables.

Click for more information about the campus!

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This is your student identification card at UW.  It is needed to access library resources and the regional transit system (GRT), and can be used to make purchases on campus using flex dollars (though it cannot be used at the Grad House).  When you first arrive at UW getting your WatCard should be one of your first steps.  You can either e-mail a photo or have one taken at the WatCard office in the SLC.  You will need government issued photo identification to pick up your WatCard.  See WatCard for more information.

UW E-mail

Once you accept an offer of admission, you will receive a nexus e-mail account.  This is accessed using your WatIAM user id and password.



This site acts as your UW account, where you can find financial information (such as fees owing) and where you register for classes.  It is accessed using your WatIAM user id and password.  Login here.


Waterloo LEARN

LEARN is the main online course management interface you will use for your courses.  It is where professors post lecture and assignment materials, where you submit some assignments and through which you will receive course e-mails.  It is accessed using your WatIAM user id and password.  Login here.


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Living in Kitchener-Waterloo

Around Town

Kitchener-Waterloo offers several amenities accessible to students.  Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener are central hubs for shops, restaurants and activities. Conestoga Mall in northern Waterloo andFairview Park Mall in Kitchener are both readily accessible by bus or car.  There are also two large farmer’s markets nearby, located in St. Jacob’s, north of Waterloo, and in Downtown Kitchener.

Social Life

There’s a lot going on here! In Uptown Waterloo, the new public square has year-round programming that includes a farmer’s market, yoga classes, concerts, movies, roller derby and bike polo. Check out The Jane Bond and Starlight for a full calendar of concerts and DJs, as well as Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch which is a craft fair held twice a year featuring local artists. If you’re looking for a lecture-type event, TEDxWaterloo and Ignite Waterloo are innovative events where you can meet people from the KW community that are making a difference.


Graduate students have several housing options.  On the main campus, St. Paul’s University College offers apartments and suites for grad students, while Columbia Lake Village North provides townhouses for singles and families with a more residential community feeling.  There are also several off-campus housing options.  The university offers listings of off-campus housing, while more options can be found on such sites as Kijiji, Craigslist, and ApartmentInfo.  Because several students at Waterloo are co-op students, lease terms can start in May, September or January.


Grand River Transit: The GRT is the transit system serving the Region of Waterloo.  It provides bus service to the Region with hubs in Uptown Waterloo, Downtown Kitchener and Downtown Cambridge.  Your WatCard will act as a bus pass for any GRT route.  Each GRT stop sign has a designated 4-digit identifier which can be either texted to or called into the GRT (57555 or 888-585-7555) to receive the next scheduled bus times for that stop.  The GRT also has a trip planner on their website, and their bus times and routes are programmed into Google Maps (as part of the Directions function).  For more details, seeGrand River Transit.

Greyhound: Greyhound buses serve the University of Waterloo directly, stopping at the Student Life Centre.  Greyhound also serves the Charles St. Transit Terminal located in downtown Kitchener.  See Greyhound for more information.

GO: GO buses also leave directly from the University of Waterloo at the Davis Centre bus stop on Ring Road.  GO trains will also soon be serving the VIA train station in Kitchener.  More information can be found at GO Transit.

VIA Rail: VIA Rail has a train station located in downtown Kitchener.  Youth (ages 12-25) receive a discount on train fare.  Check out VIA Rail to see more.

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Relevant Organizations

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

All graduate students at the University of Waterloo are represented by the Graduate Student Association, which represents graduate student interests to the University administration and government, provides student services, and organizes student events.  The executive of the GSA are elected directly by graduate students.  The GSA also runs Grad House and administers fees (including health and dental insurance) to students on tuition statements (viewable on Quest).  More information can be found on the GSA website.

Graduate Student Endowment Fund (GSEF)

The Graduate Student Endowment Fund is administered by the GSA with an independent board of directors.  It provides funding to projects proposed by graduate students that enhance the graduate student experience through an application and review process.  The money is gathered through refundable contributions from students charged to tuition statements each term.  GSEF also runs the Graduate Student Research Conference each year, where students can present their research to peers.  See GSEF or for more details.

Waterloo Environment Student Endowment Fund (WESEF)

WESEF fulfills a similar role as GSEF, though the committee is comprised of elected environment graduate students.  Again, the focus is on funding student projects that improve the experience of Faculty of Environment students.  Currently, WESEF is holding a “$100,000 in Change” competition for larger student-run projects.  See WESEF for more details.

Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI)

The OPPI is a not-for-profit organization that represents practicing planners in Ontario.  The planning program at the University of Waterloo is accredited by the OPPI, so that as a student here you can register as a student member of OPPI and gain many of the benefits of practicing planners.  More information can be found at OPPI.

Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP)

The CIP is the national equivalent of the OPPI; being a member of the OPPI also makes you a member of CIP.  Check out the CIP website for more information.

Canadian Association of Planning Students/L’Association Canadienne desÉtudiants en Aménagement et en Urbanisme (CAPS-ACÉAU)

CAPS represents planning students all across Canada.  It is completely student run and holds an annual conference to showcase student research.  In 2011, the CAPS conference was held at the University of Waterloo.  See the CAPS-ACÉAU website for more details.

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Scholarships/Financial Aid

There are several funding opportunities for graduate students at the University of Waterloo.  Two of the largest are the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program and Tri-Council Scholarships (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada,Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research).  Many other more specific funding and scholarships are available and can be viewed on the Grad Studies Scholarships and Financial Aid webpage.  For students requiring financial aid, the Ontario Student Assistance Program is also available (more information can be found here).  You should begin looking for funding as soon as possible.

Teaching/Research Assistantship

Graduate students in the MA, MES, and PhD programs are offered paid teaching or research assistantship positions from the School of Planning (details in your acceptance package).  TA positions may be offered for courses outside the School of Planning, while RA positions are based on the needs and resources of your advisor.  More information can be found on the GSA and Graduate Studies (School of Planning) websites.

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