May 19, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021 
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Open Studies


Open Studies students are students registered in selected credit courses and/or courses for audit but who are not in a specific degree or diploma program.

Admission and Registration

Admission and registration in Open Studies are administered by the Office of the Registrar and the Dean of Students.

Application and Admission

  1. Application: Applicants may apply for admission using the online or PDF application at the Office of the Registrar website. A nonrefundable fee must accompany each application. Documentation of past education is usually not required; see (2) below.
  For registration in Applications must be received by
  Fall Term August 25
  Winter Term December 15
  Spring Term April 30
  Summer Term June 30
  1. English Language Proficiency: See Language Proficiency Requirements  for further information. For admission purposes, documentation may be required to confirm that English Language Proficiency has been met.
  2. “Required to Withdraw”: Students who have been required to withdraw from Open Studies at the University of Alberta may not apply to Open Studies for a period of twelve months from the date of last attendance. Students who have been required to withdraw more than once from Open Studies are not eligible for readmission to Open Studies.
  3. Admission into Open Studies does not guarantee admission/readmission into other programs at the University of Alberta. Courses taken through Open Studies are not guaranteed to transfer into other programs at the University of Alberta.
  4. Students who have been required to withdraw from the University of Alberta for unsatisfactory academic performance must seek advice from their Faculty prior to registering in Open Studies as this may impact their readmission.


  1. Course Load: Maximum registration is normally ★6 per term. Exceptions to this are for the following University of Alberta initiatives:
    1. Fresh Start Program
    2. Transition Year Program
    3. Visiting Student Certificate Program
    4. Exceptional Student Athlete Applicants
      Students registered in these initiatives may be registered in more than ★6 for the period in which they are enrolled.
  2. Cumulative Course Weight: Normally, ★30 may be completed in Open Studies.
  3. Fall/Winter: The registration period for Fall/Winter begins in mid-March for continuing students and in April for newly admitted students. Please refer to the Registration and Courses menu at for details, registration information and deadlines

    Most courses can be added by using the Bear Tracks web registration system. Courses that are available to Open Studies students are designated in Bear Tracks Course Catalog by the  symbol. Some courses are available on a delayed registration basis only and are designated by the  symbol. Registration for such courses is permitted the last week in August. To browse courses that have been approved for Open Studies students, see Open Studies Course Listings on the Office of the Registrar website. Students requesting a course other than the approved courses must obtain consent from the Department offering that course.
  4. Spring/Summer: Open Studies students wishing to register in Spring/Summer should consult Spring & Summer Studies at the Office of the Registrar website and the Course and Class Information on Bear Tracks (
  5. Fees are assessed and are due and payable in accordance with the fees regulations set out in Fees Payment Guide .
  6. Open Studies students wishing to audit courses must follow Auditors . Fresh Start Program students and Exceptional Student Athletes are not permitted to register as Auditors or to change from credit to audit. In addition to instructor consent, audit registrations for Open Studies students are subject to the permission of the Office of the Registrar. Audit registrations will not be counted in the ★6 term course load maximum nor the ★30 cumulative course weight maximum. Audit registrations do not contribute to full-time student status.

Student Responsibility

Students are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their registration. They are also responsible for adjustments in registration made necessary by changes to their academic status.

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary prerequisites and corequisites for courses. Refer to Prerequisite Course Requirements  and Corequisite Course Requirements  for more information.

Changes in Registration

Changes in registration may be made without penalty until the end of the registration period. After this deadline, students who wish to add courses (if permitted), withdraw from courses, or withdraw from the University must complete the appropriate forms at the Office of the Registrar (see Major Deadlines from the Academic Schedule  for further information). Students may not abandon a course; failure to properly withdraw may result in the assignment of a failing grade.

Academic Standing

  1. Assessment of Academic Standing: Academic standing will be assessed on the basis of a grade point average (GPA). Refer to Grade Point Average (GPA)  for rules of computation of the GPA. Students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0. Students who do not maintain this level of academic performance may be permitted to continue under academic warning or may be required to withdraw. A review of academic performance is conducted for each student at the end of each Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. The assignment and reassignment of categories of academic standing are based on a student’s performance in a minimum of ★9 within Open Studies. If, at the time of the first review, the student has attempted fewer than ★9 within Open Studies, the assignment of an academic standing category will be deferred until a minimum of ★9 has been attempted within Open Studies. Subsequent assessments will be made once a further ★9 has been attempted within Open Studies and will be based upon only the courses attempted within Open Studies since the previous assessment. If, at the time of review, a student has attempted fewer than ★9 since the last assignment of an academic standing category, the review will be deferred and the academic standing assigned at the last review will remain in effect until the next review.
  2. Categories of Academic Standing:
    Satisfactory Standing: Students with a GPA of 2.0 or greater may continue in Open Studies.
    Marginal Standing: Students with a GPA of 1.7 to 1.9 inclusive will be placed under academic warning. If the student’s GPA falls below 2.0 at the time of the next review, the student will be required to withdraw.
    Unsatisfactory Standing: Students with a GPA of 1.6 or below will be required to withdraw from Open Studies.
  3. Reexaminations: See Reexaminations .


Procedures exist to enable Open Studies students to appeal certain decisions regarding academic and nonacademic matters. Formal appeals are often avoidable and students are therefore encouraged, in the first instance, to seek advice from the Office of the Registrar at Student Connect located on the main floor of the Administration Building. See Inquiries  for Student Connect contact information.

  1. Grade Appeals: Students who wish to appeal a ruling relating to a grade, examination result or standing in a particular course should consult the appeals policy of the Faculty offering the course.
  2. Discipline Offences: Students who wish to appeal a discipline offence ruling (plagiarism, cheating, etc.) should follow the procedures stated in the Code of Student Behavior (see Code of Student Behaviour ).
  3. Academic Standing: Open Studies students who wish to appeal a decision affecting their academic standing as described in Academic Standing should direct their appeal in the first instance to the Assistant Registrar, Records, Registration and Fees. Copies of the Open Studies academic appeal procedures and regulations are available from the Office of the Registrar at Student Connect located on the main floor of the Administration Building. See Inquiries  for Student Connect contact information.

See also Appeals and Grievances  for a discussion of General Faculties Council policies regarding appeals and grievances.

Fresh Start Program

The Fresh Start Program makes it possible for students in participating Faculties to remain on campus while attempting to re-establish satisfactory standing and regain eligibility for readmission to the Faculty in which they were originally registered or to another Faculty.

Students may not apply directly to Fresh Start, they must be recommended by their Faculty. Participating Faculties include Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences; Arts; Education; Engineering; Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation; Faculté Saint-Jean; Native Studies; Nursing; and Science.

Students who were registered in a first qualifying year within the Faculty of Engineering (students directly from high school or with less than 15.0 engineering units of transfer credit) may be recommended to Fresh Start.

Students in these participating Faculties will be admitted to the Fresh Start Program if they

  1. are recommended for admission to this program by their Faculty,
  2. have taken less than ★60, including the work completed during the academic year under review,
  3. have a GPA of 1.3 - 1.6 at the end of the Fall/Winter term,
  4. are assigned unsatisfactory standing and are required to withdraw (RTW),
  5. have not been previously required to withdraw from any postsecondary institution, and
  6. agree to comply with the requirements of the program.

Requirements of the Fresh Start Program

  1. The Fresh Start Program runs each Fall/Winter and is completed at the end of Winter Term.
  2. Students with a GPA of 1.9 or greater may be permitted to register for classes during Spring Term to re-establish satisfactory standing. Students who achieve the minimum GPA but, do not complete the required credit load in Fall/Winter may be permitted to register for Spring Term courses to make up the credit load deficiency. All Spring registration must be approved by the Fresh Start Academic Advisor and will be handled on a case by case basis.
  3. Students recommended for the Fresh Start Program must meet with the Fresh Start Academic Advisor to receive information concerning the program’s policies, procedures, requirements, application form, and to plan their individual Fresh Start Programs.
  4. Students admitted to the Fresh Start Program will be permitted only one registration in the program.
  5. Students are required to enrol in the Fresh Start Program in the academic year following assessment of unsatisfactory standing and being required to withdraw from a Faculty unless other arrangements are made in advance with the Dean of that Faculty.
  6. Students normally take a reduced course load with no more than ★24 in one Fall/Winter. The Faculty from which the student was required to withdraw may specify a minimum and/or maximum number of courses to be taken in a given time period.
  7. All students are required to take either a workshop entitled “Cognitive Strategies for Academic Success” from the Academic Support Centre (for which a fee will be assessed) or EDU 200 (regular University fees apply). Remedial instruction or other assistance such as math help, effective writing, time management, study skills, EAP courses, etc., may be required as assessed by the Faculty from which the student was required to withdraw, the Fresh Start Program Academic Advisor and/or the Academic Support Centre.
  8. In order to prepare the student for readmission, the recommending Faculty may provide a list of courses that the student should take while enrolled in the Fresh Start Program. Students who do not wish to reenroll in the program from which they were required to withdraw should, with the help of the Fresh Start Program Academic Advisor, select courses relevant to the program to which they wish to apply upon reestablishing satisfactory academic standing.
  9. Students may not take more than a total ★24 in the Fresh Start Program.
  10. Upon completion of the Fresh Start Program, consideration for admission or readmission to any Faculty requires Satisfactory Academic Standing (see Academic Standing).

Academic Standing

Assessment of Academic Standing is conducted for each student at the end of Fall/Winter regardless of whether the student was registered in one or both terms.

Satisfactory Standing: Awarded to a student who obtains a GPA of 2.7 or greater on a minimum of ★18 or a GPA of 2.0 or greater on a minimum of ★24. In addition, all students must have successfully completed “Cognitive Strategies for Academic Success” or achieved a grade of D or greater in EDU 200.

Unsatisfactory Standing: Students who do not maintain satisfactory academic standing will be required to withdraw and will not be considered for readmission to the University of Alberta.

International Visiting Student Program

The International Visiting Student Program (IVSP) is a unique program which allows international students the opportunity to enroll for up to one calendar year at the University of Alberta. Students in this program receive intensive English instruction and register in regular academic courses alongside Canadian students.

Requirements of the International Visiting Student Program

  1. The International Visiting Student Program is offered through the Office of the Registrar, Open Studies in concert with the University of Alberta International, Visiting Programs. The Visiting Programs unit will assist in the program’s administration, student recruitment, ongoing student advising, and support services.
  2. Students in the International Visiting Student Program are bona fide students of other universities or colleges who have been permitted to take one or more courses for transfer credit to their own institutions. The Institutions will have agreed in advance to such an arrangement.

    Document Requirements:
    1. Completed UAlberta online application; Program Participation Consent Form signed by an official of the student’s home institution;
    2. An official transcript (in English translation) of all completed course work;
    3. A recommendation letter from a professor or official at the student’s home institution;
    4. English Language Proficiency Test Score (e.g. IELTS or TOEFL) score (Optional)
  3. The International Visiting Student Program is designed to accommodate the participation of international students whose home university academic calendars are not synchronous with the University of Alberta’s Calendar. Students can commence their studies in May, July, September and January. Start dates are based on the University of Alberta academic schedule.

    Note: The application deadlines are January 15 for a May start, April 15 for a July start, June 15 for a September start and October 15 for a January start.
  4. Students participate in Academic Foundations (AF) or English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at the English Language School in the Faculty of Extension during the first two to four months of the International Visiting Student Program.
  5. After the initial period of participation in intensive English language instruction, students move to regular academic work for either credit or audit depending on their performance in the English Language School courses and the assessment of the Academic Advisor. Students may take up to ★9 in each subsequent academic term. If students have successfully completed EAP 145  they can take ★15 in each subsequent academic term.
    1. If EAP 140  is successfully completed, the student would earn ★3.
    2. If EAP 140  and EAP 145  are successfully completed, the student would earn ★6.

Subject to the approval of the academic advisor, International Visiting Student Program students enrolled in EAP 140  or EAP 145  for credit can take up to ★6 additional academic credits during that term. Students may also earn credits during each of the subsequent academic terms.

  1. Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing as specified in Academic Standing while registered in the International Visiting Student Program.
  2. Students receive a Certificate of Participation in the International Visiting Student Program and a U of A transcript. Transfer credit to their degree is granted by their home institution.

    To receive a Certificate of Participation, students must complete the required English Language School Courses, take at least one regular academic course for credit or audit, demonstrate satisfactory attendance in all classes, maintain enrollment for the duration of their program, complete all assignments and exams, participate in an extracurricular commitment, attend all mandatory IVSP appointments and seminars, and have no outstanding fees or fines to the University of Alberta.

Exceptional Student Athlete Applicants

Prospective students who do not meet the normal admission requirements for entrance to degree programs may be considered for admission under this category. Successful applicants will be approved to register as Open Studies students in a maximum of ★12 per term. If granted, this approval will be permitted for a maximum of one Fall and Winter term only, after which students must apply to a degree program in order to continue.

Admission Requirements for Exceptional Student Athlete Applicants

  1. All applicants must meet the admission criteria for Open Studies as stated in Application and Admission, as well as that for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) eligibility, and must consult with Faculties that they intend to apply for following their Open Studies registration.
  2. All applicants must display a level of sport performance that
    1. can be documented objectively by an independent external source (i.e., league commissioner, national team coaching staff) and possess athletic prowess that would be acceptable to any CIS participating institution
    2. requires a minimum annual average of 15 training/competition hours per week in the year immediately before application to the University of Alberta.
  3. All applicants must submit an application for admission to the Office of the Registrar together with all high school and postsecondary transcripts.
  4. In addition to (3), all applicants must file additional documentation to the Exceptional Student Athletes Admission Committee in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. This documentation will attest to their eligibility as an exceptional athlete (see (2) above). This documentation is then screened by the Committee to ensure the above eligibility criteria have been met. Applicants from non-CIS sports will not be considered.
  5. The application for admission and all relevant material must be submitted no later than August 1.

Transition Year Program

The University of Alberta encourages Aboriginal students to apply for entrance to its degree programs through the normal admission categories as detailed in Admission Requirements by Faculty . Prospective students who do not meet these requirements may be eligible for admission by successfully completing the Transition Year Program. See Transition Year Program for Aboriginal Applicants .