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bottom of the enrolment totem pole

After having completed my BA in a humanities field at U of T I am considering switching directions and following a social sciences path. I know returning as a non-degree student is an option, but I was wondering if non-degree students have problems getting into class with enrolment restrictions or 400-level classes? Is there a way to apply for a second bachelors or something similar?



so at U of T, we have a rule that you can’t complete a second degree in the same field as your first degree. since pursuing social sciences would give you another BA, its’s not exactly allowed. you’d have to pursue a different kind of degree, e.g. a BSc.

furthermore, it’s highly recommended that you discuss all of this with an academic advisor (registrar). you can sit down with them and have a discussion about whether or not it is practical/ necessary to pursue another degree/ more courses.

non-degree students are at the bottom of “the totem pole of priorities at U of T”, so you may end up on a waitlist/ not get into the courses you want. you’ll only be able to enrol in classes after everyone else enrols. tough, i know.

for more on how second degrees and non-degree courses work, check out this post!

i’m sorry to deliver you the cold hard truth so soon to Christmas or whichever holiday you celebrate (or not celebrate).

here’s a .gif to cheer you up.

elf buddy the elf

hope that helped. buddy the elf always makes me feel better.

stay warm,



waffling is a great word


I am a little older, and thinking of returning to do further coursework and
possibly a second bachelor’s. But am waffling between nondegree and part

For part time: is there a minimum course load per term? Or can you skip a
term or two?

For nondegree students: can you apply at some point to switch to degree


hello there!

i never knew that waffling was a word. thanks for adding that to my vocabulary!

doing further coursework?!! well, to each their own.

i’m kidding of course. there’s nothing wrong with furthering your education, i’m just jealous i don’t have that drive (or the GPA)… but that’s a story for another time

if you are thinking of pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, there are guidelines that U of T provides- found here, but honestly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

the only thing to take away from the above link is the fact that you can’t pursue the same degree, meaning if you have already received a bachelor of arts, you’d have to come back and do a different bachelors (e.g. a bachelor of science).

the process of coming back for a second degree is pretty straight-forward. you should first set up a meeting with a registrar at your college (same college you were at in your undergrad). before making any big academic decisions, i always recommend speaking with your registrar first, just so you don’t get screwed over by some random rule or exception down the road.

with the registrar, you’ll discuss if coming back for a second degree is really necessary or if there are other options that you can consider (a different career path, pursuing grad school/ a masters program). if you and your registrar come to the conclusion that indeed, coming back is a practical option, you’ll have to go through a petition process.

if your petition is approved, you’ll be granted 5 transfer credits, 4.0 at the 100-level and 1.0 at the 200-level, meaning your second degree can be completed in 3 years as opposed to 4 years.

part time students can be enrolled in anything from 0.5 FCE’s to 2.5 FCE’s per fall-winter session, meaning you could be enrolled in 0.5 credits in the fall and 0 credits in the winter, and still be considered a part time student. you can also be enrolled in 1.5 FCE’s and 1.0 FCE’s in the winter (totalling 2.5 FCE’s), and still be considered a part time student. if you are registered with osap, it might be worthwhile to double check with them what their definition of part time status is.

if you are an international student, you may run into some immigration/ visa issues, so we urge you to check with the centre for international experience before enrolling in part time studies.

non degree students are typically students who are taking courses to fulfill certain requirements (GPA cut-off, required courses) for grad school or masters programs. for example, some students may need to come back for an english requirement and therefore would enrol as a non degree student.

the question of “what’s the difference between part time and non degree” doesn’t exactly apply because you can, in fact, be a part time student AND a non degree student at the same time.

the university doesn’t give you a strict timeline in terms of how long you take to complete your courses. you can technically take as long as you want, with as many breaks in between as you want! yay!

you can definitely switch from non degree to a degree stream, but again, you’ll have to petition this process with your registrar.

hope this is enough info for the time being! if you have any follow up questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment on this post, and i’ll do my best to answer it!

good luck!




degree numero duo

Hi there,

I am alumni at U of T (having completed a BA in political science specialist). I am wanting to return to complete a BSc in psychology and human biology. I have already completed the petition to A&S. I was just wondering if you knew anything about success rates or if they are prone to not letting students come back and, if so, for what reasons?



Hey Aska,

I submitted a petition to return to complete a second degree (BSc – right now I hold a BA) almost a month ago. I called A&S and they said Woodsworth would let me know. I called Woodsworth and they said A&S is handling it. So, seems like neither is handling it? Do you know how long it will take to hear back about the petition and what the success rate is? My GPA in my BA wasn’t fantastic but I also now have no clue how or when I will hear back as I can’t seem to get an answer.

Help! Lost, frustrated and entirely confused!



hey there,

well, seeing as this answer is obscenely late (how did a month go by so fast?) i’m hoping that you’ve heard back from them at this point. if you haven’t, i would call the office of the registrar at the faculty of arts & science, let them know you’d like an answer, and tell them woodsworth isn’t giving you one. somebody should be able to let you know when you can expect to hear back from them.

i honestly don’t know the success rate for second degree petitions. lots of people are ineligible because they want the same degree (e.g. another B.A. when they already have a B.A. from uoft), so that’s not an issue for you. i imagine that if you didn’t do terribly in your first degree (no academic probations, suspension, that kind of thing), then you should be eligible, but i honestly don’t know what the rates of success are.

definitely keep in touch with the office of the registrar at arts & science, as well as the registrar’s office at woodsworth until they can give you an ETA.





I’ve graduated uni and have been working for a year now. I plan on undertaking a huge shift in my life and have decided to study again, specifically halfway across the world in UofT (hopefully). I have a Bachelor’s Degree already, but I want to continue studying another program, this time, one I’m interested in. I’m going to be 23 when I start college again should I get accepted into UofT next year. What are the major issues I may be facing since I’m older than the typical college freshman?

P.s. I’ve done a significant amount of researching about UofT, life in Toronto as a foreigner, student life, co-curriculars, academics, etc. I am really serious about wanting to study in UofT. I just want a clearer picture of what I can expect given my situation. Thanks so much for whatever help you can extend me!


hey there,

firstly, i want to assure you that you’re not the only 23-year-old person at uoft. there are people of all different ages, shapes, sizes, competencies, and life experiences at this university.

secondly, you may find that you have more in common with your fellow 17-year-old first years than you think. you’ll all be discovering uoft at the same thing, and that can be a beautiful thing to do together.

however, your previous experience at university and in life shouldn’t be discounted, and there’s no need to pretend you’re exactly the same as everyone else. for example, you may not find Orientation week worth your while the second time around (though if you do want to attend, you definitely should!).

more than other universities, i find that uoft really allows you to create your own experience. because it’s so big, there are many sub-worlds within the world of uoft.

if you find that the people you’ve fallen in with, the things you’re doing, don’t make you happy and comfortable, then you can just change who you’re hanging out with and what you’re doing. you’d be surprised at how easy it is to do.

practical examples of making this kind of change include: changing colleges, joining a new group on campus, or even just switching up which library you study at.

this is how i see it: you’ve been through university before. you’ve said that you’re coming back because you want to study something you’re interested in, this time. that tells me that you have a much better idea of what you want out of university now.

your experience may be different, but i don’t think you’ll be facing any specific issues, other than feeling a bit out of place amongst a bunch of teenagers.

however – and this is when i finally get to the point – try not to let yourself feel alienated. don’t be afraid to commit yourself, completely wholeheartedly, to what you want out of university. if that’s full immersion in what you want to study, then that’s what you should pursue. consider joining the course union for your program, get involved in your program’s academic journal (if they have one), or meeting like-minded individuals through clubs.

if you just want to meet people with similar experiences as you, you can do that too. i’ll mention the Mature Students’ Association, though i’m not sure if you would be categorized as a “mature student.” however, there’s no association for second degree students (which is closer to your situation), so it may be something for you to check out.

you may also be able to connect with people through other identity-based groups, like faith-based groups, cultural groups or sexual identitybased groups.

and hey – kudos for coming back to school! i hope uoft is everything you need and more.




*regina spektor voice* everything is different the second time around

Hi Aska

I have a horrible gpa and a useless degree in polisci, I don’t know if I can do anything with this. I want to do another undergrad in a year or two, biology next time around. What is that thing on the calender that says you can apply to do a second degree if you do it before June?,_H.B.Sc.,_BCom).html

If I apply for a second degree is an automatic get in or is it based on grades? Secondly does it have to be two majors or a major and two minor or can I just take one major or specialist the second time around? Does it have to be 20 courses the second time around? Finally how does a make-up year work?

Thank you

Confused and Scared for the future


hey there,

well, it’s not automatic, since you have to petition to complete a second degree. i’d recommend talking to the Faculty of Arts & Science now to ask about specific criteria.

you’ll have to follow the same degree requirement rules as you did the first time around – that means an appropriate number of subject POSts, 20.0 credits (though you’ll usually get 5.0 FCEs transferred over, so it’s typically only 15.0 that you have to do), etc.

a make-up year is basically like a victory lap in high school – you just take classes for one more year after you graduate. the classes will appear on your transcript and will affect you GPA (even though you’ve already got a degree). people who take make-up years are often trying to boost their GPA for grad school.

best of luck, homie,


P.S. thanks for your patience as aska took a break for the holidays – i hope the answer is still useful to you!


double the degree

Hello sir

I was wondering if it is possible at U of T to obtain a B.Com specialist and a BSc. specialist degree simultaneously.

Miss B


Hello madam,

Okay so I’ll have you know I had to talk to a lot of people to get you an answer to this question. Basically, you can only complete one degree at a time. If you’re really eager to get both a B.Com. and a B.Sc. You’ll have to finish the B.Comm. first and then apply for completing a second degree, which in total will be about a seven year process.

But if you’re truly set on completely both specialists, you certainly can. However, you’ll only be graduating with one degree, which, in this scenario, will probably be the B.Com. since it sort of trumps Science. Likewise, you’ll be paying the tuition fees for the Commerce program instead which can make things a little bit more expensive. And then your years — which will probably be extended to around six — will be terrible and tiresome. Another problem would be that Commerce students wouldn’t get priority to Science courses, so you would probably be getting by through a whole lot of waitlists.

But if you’re really set on science, you can definitely take a minor!




Tis the season to get multiple degress fa lalalala la lalala

hey aska,
can I enroll in 2 degrees at once? I am in a compsci and lifesci post right now but I really want to do philosophy as well. I know I can complete a bachelor of science and then come back for a bachelor of arts, but is there a way to enroll in and complete requirements for 2 degrees at once!?




Technically you’re completing two degrees by double majoring in compsci and lifesci.
BUT I have the feeling that you’re talking about having multiple diploma’s hanging in your, doctor’s office … computer lab … uhhh philosophy cave? And in that case, no, you can’t.
If I have you wrong and this is about the knowledge, you could major in one subject, and minor in the other two.

Love dearly,


first’s the worst, second’s the best


I’m currently finishing a undergraduate degree at U of T and I want to come back for a second degree. I plan on taking a year off to work full time.

How does it work- at u of t or elsewhere like Ryerson or York. what is the minimum average? I want to pursue my masters in the future but my current BA is insufficient. I have done poorly and the program is not something I want to pursue. Please Help!


The Arts and Science Calendar at UofT says:

Students must petition through their college by June 30 to begin a second degree. Before applying, students are urged to determine whether a second degree is actually required for their purposes; for example, a ?make-up? year as a non-degree student may satisfy admission requirements for graduate school. Students are governed by the rules of the Faculty in place at the time they commence their second degree. Students who already hold a degree from the Faculty of Arts & Science, the University of Toronto Scarborough or the University of Toronto Mississauga may complete a second degree only of an alternate type (i.e. if a student has a B.A. degree then he/she may not complete a second B.A. degree). The Faculty normally exempts students from the first year of the degree requirements (five (5.0) credits: four 100-level and one 200-level), regardless of the number of previous degrees held. Second degree candidates may not repeat courses taken in a previous degree; they may however, count such courses towards satisfying pre-requisite and program requirements, on approval of the department/programs office concerned. A new Grade Point average will commence with the second degree courses.

If I were you, the first thing I would do is contact your best friend on campus. No, I’m not talking about me, even though I am amazingly awesome and all. I meant your college registrar. If you want to do a second degree, you will eventually need to petition through your college anyway, so you might as well get your bottom over there and have a talk with someone about your future plans. Who knows – you may discover that you don’t actually need to get a second degree. There is no minimum GPA required (at least that I know of).

The second thing you must note is that your second degree must be of a different type than your first one. So if you got a BSc for your first degree, you’d have to do something else — say, a BA. Just keep that in mind.

Oh, and here’s Ryerson’s calendar… it doesn’t really say anything about second-degree students though… but you might do better to email or call their admissions office. Unfortunately, my reign of awesomeness stops outside UofT walls.


missing the boat (and common living space)

i was admitted to the innis college and was contemplating whether i should live
on residence. i have decided but its now june 23 and i want to know whether or
not it is too late now to apply?



science for dummies/babies

I’m a science student and next year I am taking two of those ‘science for dummies/babies’ courses… doesnt say anywhere in the calender that I can’ is it safe to assume I can….? (more…)


reading books will get you nowhere

i’m so sorry to ask a POSt question, really. but i’m going to anyway.
say i’ve been admitted to a type 2 POSt with a GPA requirement. if, in
subsequent years, my GPA falls below the requirement, do i get kicked out of my
post? i really don’t wanna specialize in english, man. (more…)

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