Open Studies

Through Open Studies you can take university-level credit courses on a part-time basis without being admitted or committed to a degree or diploma program. Open Studies students can take up to six credits in each term (normally two courses) and up to an overall maximum of 30 units of course weight. Courses are offered from a wide variety of subject areas and disciplines.

Who takes courses as an Open Studies student?

People of any age and varied educational backgrounds choose this route. You may want to take credit courses for:

  • professional development
  • upgrading post-secondary qualifications, or
  • general interest.

Any courses you take through Open Studies are credit courses. This means they may be considered toward a future degree or diploma.

What other options are available?

Applicants with a background limited to high school Most students applying from high school want to apply for a degree/diploma program. If you begin your post-secondary studies as an Open Studies student, and wish to apply into a degree program in the future, please review the University Calendar pertaining to the admission regulations for post-secondary students.
Current UAlberta students If you are eligible and wish to continue in your current program it is probable that you do not need to submit an application to Open Studies. Changing your program unnecessarily will result in you having to apply for readmission to resume your current Faculty program. This can be a common mistake made by those interested in attending Spring and Summer terms. Be sure to check with your current Faculty to see if you are eligible to continue in your current program to avoid submitting an unwarranted application.
Students that are completing their program or have an undergraduate degree If you are interested in continuing in full time studies you might consider applying as a Special Student. As an Open Studies student you are able to take a maximum of 6 units of course weight per term. Term limit overrides will not be permitted.
Auditing - taking courses for interest only If you do not wish to take courses for credit, you can attend the University as an auditor. Auditors pay half of the course tuition fee and do not have to submit an application for admission. Review the procedures for auditing courses. Please note some courses do not permit auditors.

Apply to Open Studies

Students interested in taking courses through Open Studies should check the admission requirements and application deadlines. Once satisfied that Open Studies is the right choice; interested applicants must complete and submit an undergraduate application for admission.

Because admission to Open Studies is not competitive, transcripts and documents are normally not required. However, some courses may have prerequisites. 

Open Studies applicants are also expected to meet Language Requirements. You may be required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency.

Before you apply for Open Studies, please review the regulations of the faculty(s) offering the courses you wish to take. For more details, see the University Calendar»

Registration information

Many courses — though not all — are accessible through Open Studies. You can browse course listings in Bear Tracks, even as a guest user. 

Preapproved courses available to Open Studies students are designated in the Course Listings with the  symbol. In the Fall/Winter 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 (see the Academic Schedule). Courses that are not preapproved may also be available — students must first obtain permission from the teaching department.

If a course is closed to web registration, all students must obtain assistance of the teaching department to register.

Students can register in a maximum of six units of course weight (e.g., two courses of three units of course weight) in each term, and a maximum of 30 unites of course weght in total.

Withdrawal information

Open Studies students can now request to be withdrawn from classes using our new Online Withdrawal Form

The form allows you to submit your request for any class you are registered in for the current term. Open Studies Students in special programming (including Fresh Start, Transition Year Program, Visiting Student Certificate Program, and Exceptional Athlete categories) must meet with their program advisors before their request will be considered. Deadlines of all class withdrawals are strictly enforced.

Previous withdrawls

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.

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.

Contact Information

Office of the Registrar
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB
T6G 2M7

Phone: 780-492-3856
Fax: 780-492-7172

For in-person service, please visit Student Connect.