Academic Advising FAQ


Can I retake a course that I passed if I'm not satisfied with my grade?

While it is permissible to retake a passed course, such courses will count as “extra” (EXT). This means the course and its grade will appear on your transcript, but the grade is not included in your GPA, and the course does not count as a credit towards degree requirements. Such courses may be used to meet program course requirements; it is recommended to consult the Program Supervisor/Director or a program advisor regarding your situation.
If you failed a course then you can retake it for credit. The failed grade will not be removed or averaged; rather both the failed grade and the new grade are calculated into the GPA and included on your academic transcript.

I need a course for my program and it's full; what should I do?

If the course you need has a waitlist function, be sure to take advantage of it. Waitlists enable you to reserve a space that may become available in a lecture section that is currently full. If space becomes available and you are next on the waitlist, you will automatically be enrolled in the lecture section. Waitlists do not guarantee you a space in the lecture section, but allow you to wait for a space if one becomes available. Check the Registrar's Office website for the waitlist procedure.

If you are still on a waitlist by the start of classes, you should create a back-up plan. Ask yourself: Are there any other required courses I can complete this semester? Can I take an elective now and complete the required course at a later time?

If the course does not have a waitlist function you will need to check ACORN on a regular basis to see if a space opens up. If you are in your final year of study and need a specific course to complete your program requirement, you should talk to your program supervisor as soon as possible about the possibility of being added to the course. If you’re a first year student and the program requirements for the first year courses are full, you can go to the Registrar's Office to see if you can be added to that lecture. If you're still not sure, visit the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) to discuss your options.

I want to take a course on the St. George or UTM campus. How can I do this?

You can enrol in courses on the St. George or UTM campuses the same way you enrol in UTSC courses, by logging onto ACORN and entering the appropriate course and section code. If you wish to see which courses are being offered on the other campuses, consult the (St. George or UTM). course calendars and timetables. You must ensure that you have completed any prerequisites for this course or you may be withdrawn.

Remember that students are only permitted to take up to 5 full credits in other Arts & Science divisions of the University of Toronto. No more than 1.0 of a student's first 4.0 credits at UTSC may be taken on another campus. If the course you wish to take at the St. George or UTM campus is a program requirement, then you need the program supervisor's approval. Check the academic calendar for the name and contact information of the program supervisor. If the course is an elective, you do not need permission, but you are still required to have taken the prerequisite(s).

How do I know whether to drop a course or not? What is the deadline?

If you think there is a good chance this particular course will compromise your GPA and you're unsure whether you can boost your grade by the end of the semester, you may consider dropping the course. Before making a decision, we encourage you to come to the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) to discuss your options.

Midterm performance is generally indicative of final performance, so look to your midterm mark as an indication of your final mark. Before dropping the course, find out if it's a prerequisite for a required course. Check to see if you can retake it in a future semester so that it won't delay the completion of your program requirements and graduation. If you are a Co-op student, or enrolled in any limited enrolment program, you should consult with your program supervisor before making a decision.

Courses can be dropped on ACORN. The deadline for dropping a course without academic penalty is listed in the Calendar under sessional dates. Financial deadlines differ and can be found on the fees website.

I need 5.5 credits in my last year in order to graduate. Can I take an extra course in my last semester?

If you would like to enrol in a 6th course, you can add it in August (for fall/winter) or in April (for summer). Check the Registrar's Office for specific dates when you are allowed to register in the 6th course. We encourage you to make this decision carefully, as even one extra course can greatly increase your workload, which could result in a lower GPA. Sometimes it’s wiser to spread out your remaining courses over two semesters in order to maintain your GPA (and your health and wellbeing!).

Is there is a limit on the number of first-year courses I can take?

There is a policy on the U of T St. George campus limiting the number of first year courses you can take, but UTSC does not have this policy. Therefore, you can take as many first-year (A-level) courses as you like. However, if you intend to apply to graduate school or professional school, it is advisable not to take too many introductory courses in your final years of study. They may interpret this as an attempt to increase your GPA by giving yourself an "easy" course load - whether the courses are easy or not! This may also impact your ability to complete your program requirements and to graduate on time, so we encourage you to keep this in mind as you choose your courses.

I want to take a course but I don't have the prerequisite; can I still take the course?

It is always advisable to complete the prerequisites, as they provide the foundation needed to succeed in your courses. However, under some circumstances, you can ask the instructor for permission to take the course without the prerequisite. The instructor may agree to waive the prerequisite to allow you into the course. There may be other viable options if you are not granted permission to take a course without the prerequisites. Consult with your Program Supervisor or Program Advisor if you have questions.

I want to take a course that is required for my program, but it has an exclusion for a course I took last year. Does that mean I'm exempt from having to take the program requirement?

It is likely that your program requirement and the exclusion have very similar content. However, you must confirm this with your program supervisor. You cannot assume that you are exempt from the program requirement.

Transfer Credits

When will my transfer credits be assessed?

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details about timelines for processing your transfer credits.

Who completes my transfer credit assessment?

  • For International Baccalaureate, French Baccalaureate, G.C.E. Advanced Level or US Advanced Placement, course credits are evaluated by the University of Toronto, Enrolment Services, 172 St. George Street Toronto, Ontario M5R 0A3; 416-978-2190.
  • For all other post-secondary studies, transfer credits are evaluated by UTSC Admissions, 416-287-7529

What if I have received a transfer credit payment form?

This form must be completed and returned with payment immediately. Please be sure to read the accompanying Transfer Credit Processing Information Sheet carefully.

How will my transfer credits be determined after completing a Transfer Credit Application?

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details about eligibility for transfer credits.

What is the maximum number of transfer credits that I can receive?

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details about the maximum number of transfer credits.

How much of my degree and program(s) must I complete at UTSC?

Visit the Registrar’s website for degree and program requirements.

Will my grades be transferred to my UTSC record?

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details about transfer credits and grades.

How are non-university courses assessed?

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details about non-university course assessments.

What is a specified transfer credit?

  • Credit (0.5 or 1.0) is granted when a course taken at another institution or U of T faculty is considered equivalent to a specific course at UTSC.
  • Your transcript will indicate specific UTSC courses you have received credit for.

What is an unspecified transfer credit?

  • Credit (0.5 or 1.0) is granted when a course taken at another institution or U of T faculty is considered similar, but not identical, to a course at UTSC.
  • Students awarded this type of credit may be excluded from enrolling in similar courses (see details below).

Can my unspecified credits be used as prerequisite or program requirements?

This may be possible. To determine if unspecified credits can be used to meet prerequisite or program requirements students must obtain permission from the appropriate Program Supervisor/Advisor. Check here for the contact information for Program Supervisors/Advisors.

What are the "exclusions" on my transfer credit assessment?

  • Students may not register for credit in courses that are listed as exclusions.
  • If you receive exclusions for program requirements, you must consult with the Program Supervisor/Advisor to determine how to select your courses in order to complete your program. 

Will I be required to select my program(s) immediately?

  • Students who receive 4.0 or more full transfer credits must formally enrol in their programs of study on ACORN.
  • For more information, review the choosing your program page.
  • For assistance, particularly if you wish to be admitted to a limited enrolment program of study, consult with the staff in the Academic Advising & Career Centre.

What if classes are beginning and I haven't received my transfer credit assessment?

Students who have not received the assessment by the beginning of classes should contact UTSC Admissions; 416-287-7529.


How do I choose my program?

Your program should be in keeping with your future career plans and interests. Review the program guide on the academic calendar to see what programs are offered at UTSC. If you are not sure which program to choose, review the career options by program tipsheets to see careers options and resources for individual programs. You can also attend the Choosing Your Program Fair, Program Information Sessions and visit the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) to discuss your program and career options.

Can I change my program?

Yes, but changes become more difficult the further into a program you are and if the programs are vastly different in nature. It’s important to pursue a program that’s a good fit for you, but you’ll want to be sure you well understand your options and the impact of those options.  If you’re concerned about changing your program, be sure to speak with the staff in the  Academic Advising & Career Centre. Programs can be changed on ACORN. Refer to the Programs & Degree POSt sections of the current Registration Guide for the application procedure and deadlines.

What are the different kinds of programs at UTSC? How do I enroll in these programs?

At the point where you have earned or will be earning 4.0 credits at the end of your current semester, you must declare your program(s) on ACORN. Programs can be categorized as Specialists, Majors or Minor programs. Programs can also be further be categorized as unlimited or limited. An unlimited program has no enrolment specifications and can be added at any time. A limited enrolment program is one where students compete for a place in the program on the basis of courses, grades and other criteria and can be requested only at certain times of the year. For instruction on how and when to apply, check the Registrar's website.

I really want to get into a limited enrolment program at UTSC. How can I make myself competitive to get in? Can I apply again if I don't get in the first time?

Generally, it requires a relatively high GPA (2.5 or higher) to get into limited enrolment programs, and the GPA cut-off for programs tends to change from year to year. There may be required courses you have to take and a minimum number of credits you must earn in order to be considered. These requirements are listed in the calendar under the appropriate program. If you are applying to a co-op program you need to submit supplementary information. Check the Management Co-op and Arts & Science Co-op websites

You can apply to limited enrolment programs more than once. There are two enrolment periods per year; one in April and one in July. However, there may be a limit on the number of credits you can earn before being restricted from applying to these programs. For example, for management programs, students who have completed more than ten full credits cannot apply.

My parents are pressuring me to stay in a program that I don't like because it will help me get a good job when I graduate. What should I do?

Talk to your parents and be honest with them. Perhaps they don't realize how unhappy you are in your current program. Doing research into employment opportunities may help them understand that other programs can also lead to great careers. If you need help making an informed decision regarding your programs and to discuss career options, visit the staff in the Academic Advising & Career Centre. Additionally, you can check the Career Options by Program tipsheets for more information on program related careers.

What programs do I need in order to complete my degree?

It depends on your degree. If you intend to graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Science or Honours Bachelor of Arts, you must complete the following: (a) one Specialist program, or (b) two Major programs, or (c) two Minor Programs and a Major program.

If you intend to graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration, you must complete the following: (a) the Specialist program in Economics for Management Studies, or (b) one of the Specialist Programs listed in the Management section of the Calendar.

I have received some transfer credits. Will these courses count toward my program?

If you received a specified transfer credit that is equivalent to a requirement for your new program, then it will most likely count toward your program. However, it is still important to confirm this with your Program Supervisor/Advisor. If you received an unspecified transfer credit (e.g. MATA***), consult with your Program Supervisor/Advisor to determine if the unspecified credit meets prerequisite or program requirements. Check the Registrar's website for more information on transfer credits.

I was removed from management because my GPA was too low. How can I get back in?

If your GPA is too low, it may not be possible to get back into management. However, the required GPA to stay in the program is lower than the GPA to gain admission into the program. If you raise your GPA considerably, you can apply again to be considered as long as you haven't earned more than ten full credit equivalents (credits). You should consult with the management program advisor regarding this matter.

How do I know if a co-op program is right for me?

Co-op programs offer students an excellent opportunity to gain practical skills in work-related situations specific to their program(s) of study. If you are interested in gaining 8 to 12 months of work experience during your university degree, and you possess a strong GPA and excellent time management skills, a co-op program might be right for you.

I've selected two major programs but some of my courses overlap. Is this allowed?

When combining programs, you are allowed some overlapping courses. However, there is a limit on the number of courses you can overlap between programs. According to the Honours Degree requirements listed on your Calendar, you must include twelve distinct credits among your programs. For example, if the requirements for your two major programs total 14.0 credits, you can overlap up to 2.0 credits. Use the Twelve Distinct Credits Worksheet to assess how many credits you can overlap. For more information,consult with the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) and/or your program supervisors/Advisor.


What is a petition and how do I submit one? What are my options if my petition isn't granted?

A petition is a student's formal request for an exception to the normal rules and regulations at UTSC. You must make this request by the published deadline on an online petition form, explaining the reasons that support it and submitting any relevant documentation separately. Petitions are submitted through the "eService portal" which is available on the Registrar's website. To use this service, you need a valid UTOR ID. You can request your ID on the utorid management site.

Please carefully review the Registrar's web page on Petitions for specific instructions. It is advisable that if you are considering submitting a petition that you discuss your situation with the Academic Advising & Career Centre. They can help you to determine if this is a viable option for you and assist you in understanding the overall process.

If your petition is refused, you may appeal the decision. For more information on appeals check the Registrar's website.

I missed a final exam because I was sick. What do I do now?

Occasionally, students encounter circumstances where it is impossible for them to write the exam. If you are ill or other circumstances prevent you from attending a final exam(s), you may petition to defer the exam until a later date (in most cases until the next final exam period). There are a number of very important considerations you need to be aware of before making your decision.

  • You cannot enrol in any course if its prerequisite is the course in which you are sitting a deferred examination.
  • Missing a final examination may affect your ability to gain access to courses and/or to limited enrolment programs.
  • Students writing deferred examinations will have their course load in the session leading up to the deferred exam reduced by the number of exams deferred.

Petitions based on medical grounds must be supported by a completed Verification of Student Illness or Injury form. For more information on how to file a petition, check the Registrar's website. If you need assistance, consult with the Academic Advising & Career Centre.

Probation & Suspension

How does probation work?

If you have been placed on an academic probation, it means your cumulative GPA (CGPA) has dropped below 1.60. Probation is a warning from the university that you must improve your grades. Once your CGPA reaches 1.60 or above, you will return to good standing. Boosting your CGPA will require increased effort on your part. It may also require a change of program, a reduced course load, and/or a change in lifestyle. To help get back on track you can create an academic plan with an Academic & Learning Strategist, meet with a Study Skills Peer Coach, and attend the study skills workshops. The UTSC calendar provides additional information on academic standing including the specific requirements for returning to "good standing" status.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Your grade point average (GPA) is the average of the grade point values that you have earned in the credit courses you have taken while a student at UTSC. You can use the GPA calculator or review the GPA calculation tipsheet.

I've been suspended, what should I do?

Suspension occurs when a student who is already on probation has a sessional GPA (SGPA) of less than 1.60. If this is your first suspension, you will serve a four-month suspension. To register in courses after serving your suspension, you need to complete a re-enrolment form and submit it to the Registrar's Office. Students are strongly advised to apply to re-enrol by:

  • Mid-March for the Summer Session
  • Mid-June for the Fall or Fall and Winter Sessions
  • Early October for the Winter Session

We strongly recommend you meet with an Academic & Learning Strategist and a Study Skills Peer Coach, and attend the study skills workshops.

Am I allowed to take courses at other post-secondary institutions while I'm suspended?

Some students apply to study at a college while suspended from university. This may help refine your academic skills, but you cannot earn credit towards your UofT degree while on suspension. In most cases, other universities will refuse to register you in courses while you are on suspension. We strongly recommend that you take this time to reflect upon the factors that led to your suspension and to meet with an Academic & Learning Strategist to create an action plan to improve your academic standing upon your return to your studies at UTSC.


How can I change my degree? For example, I want to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science, but I’m currently enrolled in the Honours Bachelor of Arts.

You can request a "Degree POSt Change" through the "eService Portal" on the Registrar's website. To use this service, you need a valid UTOR ID. You can request your ID on the UTORID management site. All communication regarding your request will be sent to your UTOR mail account.

Can I upgrade my 3-year degree to an Honours degree?

Yes, you can. If you graduated with a three-year degree you can still choose to complete the requirements for an Honours degree. A second degree will not be conferred, but you can exchange your three-year degree for an Honours degree, and the completion of the Honours degree requirements will be noted on your transcript. You may only exchange the degree for an Honours degree of the same kind, e.g. a three-year B.Sc. can only be replaced by an Honours B.Sc. degree. You can apply to upgrade your degree using the "eService Portal".

I want to know if I have all of the requirements needed to graduate. Who should I talk to?

If you want to confirm you have met all of the requirements for your program(s) and degree, the first place you should check is Degree Explorer. Use your student number and ACORN PIN # to log in. For more information on how to obtain a degree and program assessment, review the Degree Explorer instruction.

If there are any discrepancies or if you have any concerns with the Degree Explorer assessment, you should consult your Program Supervisor(s). If you have questions about meeting degree requirements (such as questions about electives or meeting the required GPA), you are welcome to speak with staff at at the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC).