FAQ for newly admitted students

A guy smiling

You've been admitted to the Faculty of Engineering? Congratulations!

We know that the current context might generate questions and concerns regarding the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. 


Admissions & Deferrals

When is the last day to accept a program at the University?

June 1st.

Is it possible to put our offer on hold for another study term or year?

Please visit the Admissions Office web page for more info.

Are you an international student?

For all questions regarding international students and immigration, contact the International Office.


Is it possible to do a CO-OP placement through the school that is not the traditional 4 individual 4-month placements?

CO-OP students usually must complete 4 work terms of a duration of 4 months following the sequence on our CO-OP page.

To see the alternative work and study sequences available for your program of studies, select your program from the drop-down menu on this page.

What are the prerequisites for the CO-OP program? 

In most programs, you have to maintain an average of 80% (8.0) or higher in your first year (or in your first and second year for programs where the first placement will be in your third year). The admission requirements for CO-OP can be found on this page by selecting your program from the drop-down menu.

When does CO-OP start?

In most programs, CO-OP starts in the summer after your second year of studies. For Software Engineering, your first CO-OP placement will take place in the summer after your first year.

Am I able to start CO-OP summer after the first year instead of the second year?

In most cases, you can only do your first work term during the summer following your second year of university as you need to complete all your first-year course requirements, and be registered in your mandatory second-year fall and winter courses before being officially admitted in CO-OP. For Software Engineering, your first CO-OP placement will take place during the summer following your first year.

During our CO-OP, is it still possible to take classes at uOttawa?

Yes. However, you can take only one evening course at a time as long as it doesn’t prevent you from following the required course sequence in the academic session after your work term (because you’re now further ahead in the sequence or because you don’t have enough courses left to remain full time). Any exceptions to this must be approved by the CO-OP Office.

Has there been any Engineering CO-OP students who get into big tech companies like Google/ Facebook/ Amazon?

Absolutely! For example, one of our recent Alumni, Anita Popescu, has completed a work term at Apple during her studies and she is now working with them as a Photos Engineer. I would also invite you to read our CO-OP student Alexander Cremer’s testimonial on our web page as he did a CO-OP placement at Tesla.

Does taking CO-OP delay graduation for Engineering programs?

In most cases, taking CO-OP will delay your graduation by a few months. For example, instead of finishing your studies in April, you will finish your studies in December.

Does your GPA generally have an effect on your chances of being accepted in CO-OP?

Yes. In most programs, you have to maintain an average of 80% (8.0) or higher in your first year (or in your first and second year for programs where the first placement will be in your third year) in order to be officially admitted in the CO-OP program. Also, for students applying to CO-OP during their studies, admission decisions are based on the cumulative grade point average at the time of application.

Is it possible to get CO-OP outside of Canada? Do we have to set that up ourselves?

Yes! There are some international CO-OP opportunities. We already have some partnerships established but if you want to find your own opportunities, you can!

Is there a way to customize your CO-OP schedule so that I could complete multiple CO-OP terms consecutive at the same CO-OP placement?

It is possible. You can work with the CO-OP office and your employer (obviously!). You will also need to speak with an Academic Advisor at the Undergraduate Office to reorganize your course sequence.

Is there a CO-OP fee?

Yes, CO-OP fees help pay for the program’s management and services. As a student in an optional CO-OP program, you must first pay CO-OP fees during the term that precedes your first work placement. After that, CO-OP fees are due at the start of each placement. The amount is set each year by the Registrar’s Office. As a student in a mandatory CO-OP program, you pay CO-OP fees (announced every year by the Registrar) during each study term. You can learn more about CO-OP fees by clicking the “Fees” section of the CO-OP FAQ.

How does the CO-OP program at uOttawa differ from other universities? 

The University of Ottawa CO-OP program has been running for over 40 years, and it is now the second-largest university program in Ontario and the fifth-largest in Canada. Our CO-OP program boasts a very high placement rate (96.1% placement rate for uOttawa engineering students in 2018). Also, since Ottawa has the #1 highest concentration of scientists and engineers in Canada (#2 in North America after Silicon Valley!), there are many different work opportunities in the public or private sector in the region! I would like to invite you to watch the video and to read the student testimonials on our CO-OP page to get a better idea of the different advantages that our CO-OP program has to offer.

What type of CO-OP jobs are available during the CO-OP program for software eng?

You can see a list of past employers and of examples of tasks at work for the Software Engineering CO-OP program here.

For students in a different program than Software Engineering who would also like to see a list of employers and examples of tasks at work can do so by selecting their program of studies from the drop-down menu on this page.

Are CO-OP placements paid? 

Yes! All of our CO-OP placements are paid placement. Your hourly rate would depend on the program and the company that will hire you.

What does the CO-OP sequence look like for 5-year programs?

To see the work and study sequences available for your program of studies, select your program from the drop-down menu on this page.

All frequently asked questions can be answered by visiting the CO-OP page.

Course Registration

If we encounter issues during course enrolment, who can we contact to help?

If you need help with course enrolment, we have regional mentors that host the Enrolment Help Centre to help you with course selection Check out this page to see all the listed videos:

  • Video - Pre-enrolment
  • Video - Course enrolment where to start
  • Video - Advanced standing units and exemptions at uOttawa
  • Video - Understanding your academic requirements
  • Video - Registration to your course understanding the waitlist and swap options
  • Video - Reserve seats, reserve capacity and waitlist

There are also YouTube videos to help students with course registration.

Do newly admitted students choose their courses on their own?

Yes! Consult the important academic dates and deadlines and your course sequence for which courses you will need to choose.

I would like to know about the enrolment vocabulary, the difference between LEC, LAB, DGD and TUT?

To better understand the course enrolment terminology, visit this page. The following information will allow you to be better prepared to enrol in your courses. You may also want to see the Student Enrolment Guide tutorial (PDF), under the Enrol application in uoZone.

There are some courses with no information about professors. Will we have this information before the enrolment date (May 19th)?

Probably not. Rest assured a professor will teach this class. The hiring process is ongoing during the summer months.

When can we start choosing our courses?

You can enrol for your courses starting May 25th. Consult the Academic Important Dates and Deadlines for more information.

Are we allowed to take courses during the summer before our first year to get ahead of our studies?

As indicated in your offer of admission, if you have any makeup courses to take, you can take them in the Summer before your first year begins. Otherwise, you will begin your studies in September. Always follow your course sequence.

How many students should I anticipate to have in general courses for the first year at the University of Ottawa (Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, etc.)?

It depends entirely on the course, but typical class sizes in first-year courses range from 200 to 400 students.

What is the passing grade for courses?

For most first-year Engineering classes a passing grade is above 50% or D. However, to remain in good academic standing, your CGPA must be 5.0 and above. 
We invite you to consult the Academic Regulations.

When is the last day to accept my offer to the University? And when can we start choosing our courses?

June 1st. Course registration starts May 19th

If I take an elective course and I do not pass, does it affect my average?

Yes, the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) represents the student's performance over all courses taken (successfully or not) by the student. It includes all courses taken at uOttawa for which you’ve received credits and an alphanumeric grade. Find more information here.

Is it possible to take courses which are on another engineering program course sequence

Unfortunately, this is not possible. It is best to follow your course sequence per term per year.

I come from the CEGEP in Gatineau and have some credits. However, I would need to take more courses for 2 or 3 sessions if I want to do my degree in 3 years. Can I do that and how can I make it viable?

If you want to make modifications to your course sequence, speak with an Academic Advisor at the Undergraduate Studies Office during your term. 

Is there a way to finish your degree in a shorter time by taking more courses each semester?

It is always best to follow your course sequence. If you need more advice during your actual term, you should speak with an Academic Advisor.


Video: Advanced Standing Units and Exemptions at uOttawa (10 minutes) 

Can I enrol in 7 courses? Or can you put me on the waiting list for the 7th? Because I might get equivalencies and I will be short on courses.

The Undergraduate Studies Office doesn’t recommend you enroll during your first term to 7 courses.  It is more important to follow your course sequence and succeed each course. It might affect your course selection for the following term. Consult the academic policies and procedures.

I have done two years of postsecondary studies in engineering. Will you consider the courses that I have completed at another university?

Yes. If they are courses in science or electives, they will be indicated on your offer of admission. You will need to request that your Engineering courses be credited through the Undergraduate Studies Office after you have accepted your offer. Your Engineering courses need to have been taught by professors who have their P.Eng. designation. The form is available here.

How can I register for my courses if I haven’t received my final transcripts and I don’t know which courses will be credited yet?

At the admission level, we can give credits on courses that are not completed.  The offers would be conditional, and the students would need to pass the course (with an average of 60% or more for university students). Check your admission offer. Follow your course sequence as much as possible. The dates to withdraw from a course without penalty can be found here.

Engineering Design/ Entrepreneurship

How are we able to join these accelerator courses?

All design courses are part of the curriculum for engineering students (GNG1103, GNG2101 GNG4120). There are other extracurricular programs and events to help grow the entrepreneurial skills and engineering design skills as well. More info can be found here and here.

How do we join the MakerLaunch program?

The MakerLaunch program is design to help startups propel their growth. This program is an application based admission. To be considered for this program, startups are required to be incorporated and must demonstrate that they have a paying customer or at least a soon to be paying customers through agreed trials, pre-orders, contracts, etc. More info can be found on the MakerLaunch website.

Do you have a relationship with the Telfer School of Management to provide exposure to business/ finance/ marketing?

Yes, we have a close working relationship with Telfer School of Management. The management option courses are taught by professors from Telfer School of Management. Also, we collaborate with Telfer on joint events and programs.

How much can you receive with a grant through the MakerLaunch program?

The grants offered in the MakerLaunch program are an initial seed grant of $50,000 earned over the course of the program based on achieved milestones. More info here.

Is there any event where business ideas are reviewed in a Dragon's Den fashion?

Yes, all our competitions are Dragon’s Den style. The competitors present their business ideas to judges. You can find more info on the CEED website.


Is there a specific Laptop required? 

Many factors should be taken into consideration when purchasing a laptop, including the weight, robustness, processing power, memory, storage, battery, warranty and - very importantly – the acquisition price. This PCMAG article may be of help.

We recommend the following minimum specifications for a student laptop:

  • Minimum of a 13-inch display
  • Intel i7 processor
  • 16GB Ram
  • SSD hard drive – 250 GB minimum

Mac, Linux and Chromebook computers are also interesting options, but students should take into consideration that many Engineering and Computer Science software titles are Windows-based. Macs and modern Linux laptops can be dual booted and can run other OS using virtualization software. We do not recommend Chromebooks, which are too limited.

All Engineering students have access to computers in public, teaching and instrumentation labs operated by the Faculty, as well as in other labs on campus.

What if I cannot afford a new laptop?

Usually, you can use one of our four computer labs on campus, open from 6 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, computer labs are currently closed to students. Therefore, if you begin your studies in September 2020, you might need to find a computer in order to do your studies online. Check out this page for more information.

Logistics - Fall 2021

For the most up to date information, consult the uOttawa official COVID-19 webpage.

How will courses be offered this year?

The university will be using a "bimodal" learning approach this Fall. Our goal is to offer 30% to 50% of our courses on campus, with the remainder online. Students who wish will be able to take at least one course in person on campus, both in the fall and winter. However, in most cases, students who wish to continue their education online for the moment will be able to do so. For more information on this matter, we invite you to visit the uOttawa official COVID-19 webpage

How will you manage online courses with the different time zones for international students?

For consistency with all courses, each class will follow the timezone of the University of Ottawa campus (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-5). Professors are encouraged to record their lectures to accommodate students that may not be able to attend during the given time.

How new students will get their textbooks and other materials if they are not able to be on campus?

Many professors offer pdf versions of their notes that can help students learn. Similarly some textbooks have e-book options, or you can also have it shipped to your address either through the campus bookstore (domestic shipping only), or through other online suppliers.

In my current high school computer science class (now given online), when I am programming, I send my code to my teacher and I email the teacher any questions that I have. How would this work for a programming course at uOttawa? Would it be the same or would it be different?

This will likely depend on the course and the professor. Prior to full online delivery, some professors had online discussion forums where students could ask questions and work together. Professors and teaching assistants (TAs) are usually available for office hours to help you with your coding questions.

How exactly we will be evaluated during online/ distance learning?

There are many ways that you could be evaluated with online learning. Some courses may focus on project-based learning where you work on a project and submit a report. Evaluations can also be possible through video interviews, presentations, or discussions with the professor. Timed assignments (quizzes, midterms, final exams) can be completed in a controlled manner using our Learning Management System, BrightSpace.

Program Change

If I am in the Computer Science program, would it be possible for me switch to Computer Engineering or Data Science?

The period to request a program change occur twice a year: 

  • For the fall terms: March 1 to June 5 
  • For the winter terms: October 1 to November 30  

*Note that the Faculty of Engineering does not offer Winter admission. 

You can learn how to prepare you request by consulting the Steps to make changes to your program of studies ahead of time.  

The Program and eligibility criteria page is usually updated and available for you to consult two weeks prior to March 1st and October 1st

If we want to change programs, can we wait until September to do it?  

You are not able to change program or add an option at your arrival in September 2020.  The next time you will be able to make a request to change to an Engineering program, will be starting March 1st.  However, if your wish to make a request to change to an Arts, Science or Social Sciences program, you will be able to do so starting October 1st

Can I change my program before I accept my offer of admission?  Can I change my program after I have accepted my offer of admission? 

For both scenarios : 

  • If the program is still open in OUAC: Student must return and modify the application in OUAC. 
    • Note: Student will loose any previous course enrolment.  
  • If the program is closed in OUAC, it is unfortunately too late to change program. Student will be able to make change to a program once the platform opens for the following year.  

How do we add a complementary or mandatory option to our degree (Ex.: Engineering Management and Entrepreneurship option)?  

You can add any of the options available for your degree by completing a program change request in uoZone, under the Applications tab.  

If you don't like your course, is it possible to switch program and/or faculty? Can you add a minor or a major to your program through the year? 

If you don’t like your program of study, whether it is to change your specialization or discipline, add a minor or a major, you may submit a program change request during the defined period.   

If I make a change to my program of study, how will it impact my academic progress?  Will I have start again at year 1?  

It all depends on the changes you want to make.  Because each scenario is different, we strongly suggest you book an appointment to discuss your plans with a specialist from your faculty.  


Are there any plans regarding students living in residences this Fall despite the uncertain times due to COVID-19? If I can travel to Ottawa this Fall, will I be able to join a residence? 

Yes, you can still live in residence and take all your courses online if you wish. However, note that given the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be new criteria for staying in residence.

For any questions about residences, visit the housing website, call 613-562-5885 or send an email to residence@uOttawa.ca.

Student Experience & Other Questions

What kind of research is conducted at uOttawa Engineering?

Our professors and students work on exciting and innovative research in the following five areas:

Can I do research as an undergraduate student?

Yes! You can participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, where you can conduct research with a professor for one semester and receive a $1,000 scholarship. Find out more here.

When can I apply for OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program)?

Usually, students can apply for OSAP for the Fall session in Mid to Late May. However, those dates might be pushed back due to the pandemic. For more information, visit the Financial Aid and Awards website.

Will there still be some clubs/teams that we will be able to join in the fall, even if the semester is online?

We hope so! Depending on public health regulations in the Fall and our presence on campus, we hope that clubs will still have some activities planned (online or in-person).

More questions?

If you did not find the answers you were looking for, don't hesitate to send an email to the Undergraduate Studies Office at bacinfo@engineering.uOttawa.ca.

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