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back 2 calc

Hi aska. I’m 5th year of my undergraduate life and have been slowly but surely been raising my pretty low GPA to get it high enough to graduate this coming June. Back in my early uni life I’ve managed to pass the 1st year calculus course but failed the 2nd 1st year calculus course twice. I never bothered doing it a 3rd time because I changed my programs but as graduation is approaching I’ve been regretting not finishing it. After I graduate is it possible to come back and just complete it?



yes it is! actually, lots of students come back after graduating to update their marks in a specific course, take a pre-req for grad school, boost their GPA, etc etc etc.

if you’ve graduated from u of t and you wanna return to take courses that are in the same faculty or division that you just graduated from, you need to visit your former registrar’s office who can help you re-register as a non-degree student OR if you need to re-apply on OUAC. check out this link for more information about non-degree registration (scroll down to “non-degree applicants”).

i hope this helps!

shiba inu dance GIF by KeepUpWithJaz




ich liebe Deutsch auch

Dear ASKA!! Can undergrad of UTSC go to school of continuing studies for the sake of a German course!? I really wanted to take GER200Y but sadly it didn’t fit in my timetable, then I found they have it as a 2-month course at downtown tho I wonder how could they compress a year course into a term course rofl Merry Christmas<3

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!




all or nothing

Hi aska! I graduated with a BA last year and am looking into applying for a MA program at UofT that doesn’t require prerequisites. I’d like to take certain recommended undergrad courses for my own benefit in preparation for the program, but I’m concerned whether they’d be counted toward my undergraduate GPA. Does UofT automatically count courses you take after graduation towards your undergraduate GPA?


hey there,

i have the weirdest feeling that i’ve already answered this question, but i don’t have any evidence that i did, so i’m just going to go ahead and answer it again (potentially?) – just in case.

the short answer to your question is: yes. courses you take as a non-degree student count towards your CGPA. there’s no way to get around that, unfortunately, since non-degree students can’t credit/non-credit courses.

the best way to mitigate this risk is to be sensible about your own abilities and time restrictions right now. if you’re working a full-time job right now, you probably don’t want to be in more than one or two courses at a time. try and find courses that make sense with your schedule. if you work a day job, courses in the evening probably make more sense. et cetera.




approaching profs doesn’t get easier with age

Hi Aska,

I recently graduated from St. George with a BA, but I wasn’t really sure at the time where I wanted to go from there. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided that I’d like to try for an MA and apply to grad schools for the 2016/2017 school year. My biggest concern, however, is not having the academic references for my applications; I’ve always been a shy person and thus haven’t really connected with my profs in as meaningful a way as other, more outgoing students. I don’t want this to be a hindrance, however, so I’m seriously considering registering for a few more courses as a non-degree student so that I can build more contacts and thus have the requisite number of referees when I’m prepping my applications. I’d also like to take courses outside of my usual comfort zone in order to have the breadth of knowledge that grad schools like to see, so it’s not all about the profs.

I’m wondering how the non-degree enrollment process works, which is why writing and seeking your sagely wisdom. If I were able to get into a 400-level seminar come mid-August, would the prerequisites that I accumulated from my BA carry over so that I wouldn’t have to worry about being removed? Will I be able to take whatever courses I’d like from the department of my old major, provided there is space in them? Or do I have to start from the drawing board and abide by the same prerequisites that first-year students are faced with?

Also, how many credits are non-degree students allowed to take in a given year? Full-time degree students take five, but is this different for non-degrees? I personally don’t know how many courses I want to take, as I have to wait and see which ones will be available in August, so I’d like to
know whether any limitations exist beforehand so I can conduct my planning accordingly.

P.S. Do you have any tips about building up relationships with profs so that they could serve as potential grad school referees? I’ve only ever gone out of my way to do this for one prof because that prof taught material that I really loved, and so it was easy for me to engage with them about it. Obviously, though, I’m going to have to get to know profs whose interests don’t necessarily align with mine if I want to have a shot at grad school, so it’d be super helpful to have some advice as to how I could go about doing that successfully. I’m determined not to let my social inhibitions get in the way of my goals, so I’m going to try very hard to make my return to the classroom worth it this time around.


hey there,

whoo, that’s a bit of reading right there. keeping my mind sharp for September, huh? i love it.

coming back as a non-degree student is super easy. if you’ve been away for less than a year, you can just sign up for courses on August 14th, make the minimum payment to register, and you’re all done! well, except attending the classes. and passing them. all that fun stuff.

if you’ve been away for at least a year, you would have to go to your college registrar’s office, fill out a form and pay $25 to get your account reactivated. then you could sign up for courses, make the minimum payment, attend classes, etc.

if you already took prerequisite courses for the courses you’re interested in, you won’t have to take them again. all courses you take at uoft work the same way, regardless of whether you’re a degree student. they show up on your transcript, even if you’re non-degree. they affect your GPA, can count towards program requirements, all that stuff. you can also take as many credits as you like in a year.

now, about graduate school: you DO NOT need to be best buds with professors to ask for an academic reference.


there is no need to feel this way about a prof. you’re asking for a letter, not a diamond ring

stay away from me

in fact, it’s okay if you feel this way about the prof, as long as you are nice and you did well in their course

in fact, if you’re looking to do non-degree just to get closer with a professor or two, you may want to reconsider and save yourself a bit of money.

in fact, profs don’t have to remember you at all to write you a recommendation letter. as long as you can prepare a really solid e-mail, you’re good. the important thing is that you ask professors in whose class you did well, and where the class is reasonably relevant to the master’s program you’re interested in.

as a general guideline, this is how you should go about crafting a request for a reference letter:

start off by introducing yourself, in case the prof doesn’t remember you. they’re busy and important! they don’t remember you! and if by some chance they do remember you, they will feel flattered by the fact that you thought they were busy and important enough to reintroduce yourself. make sure to include your name, the course you took for them, and a bit about the program you’re applying to.

then, make your request. try and be as concise as possible. explain exactly what they’ll have to do, and when. let them know why you’re asking them specifically. it’s a good idea to remind them what mark you got in the course. then, upload a copy of an assignment you completed in the class that you did really well on. that way, they have a refresher on the kind of academic work you do, and they can write a more accurate letter.

make sure to follow up with reminders (but don’t nag), and then maybe get them a box of chocolates after to thank them for taking time out of their busy busy professor life for you.

this is a lot to think about, so if you ARE still thinking of re-registering, you may want to make an appointment with your college registrar’s office to make absolutely certain, before you shell out the $25.

best of luck and i hope you get into grad school!



your degree UPGRADED!

Hi Aska,

OK I am graduating this November. I did a polisci major and a hist and anthro minor. But as I was looking through all my course to insure that I
didn’t miss a breath requirement etc I came to a realization that made me realize what a space-case I am. I only need a 0.5 400 -level history course to do a double major and a minor. Is there any way I can take one course in fall and still graduate by November? Or will UOFT let me take the course after I graduate and let me upgrade to a double major? Thanks.

Space Case.


hey there space case,

well, be grateful that you didn’t have a more serious realization than that. people discover some nasty things on degree explorer (“wait, what are breadth requirements?…OH NO.”)

there’s no way to take a course now (like, for the Fall 2014 session) and graduate by november. however, you can graduate in november and take the course as a non-degree student. the course and mark will appear on your uoft transcript once you complete it.

you can talk to your college registrar about the possibility of updating your transcript to include that extra major after you complete the history course, but the subject POSts you graduate with will be the ones on your degree.




RETURN of the STUDENT (dun dun DUNNNN)

Hi there,
U of T was the first school I attended out of high school and I dropped out in my first year. Since then I’ve attended and graduated from another school, but now I’m wondering if it’s possible for me to take some courses there again. I’m not necessarily looking to earn another degree with U of T, I’m just interested in picking up some courses on weekends and evenings to better myself in my current field. Is that at all possible? What might be standing in my way if I attempted to return? Would there be any issue with my former transcripts that could keep me from enrollment? Will they need my transcripts from the school where I earned my undergrad degree? Is the cheese pizza at the Robart’s Library cafeteria still incredibly cheesy?
Thanks much.


hey there,

it is possible! what you’re talking about is becoming a non-degree student (apply here). since you already have a degree, there shouldn’t be any problems with your returning.

if by “former transcripts” you mean the ones from uoft, i don’t think that should be an issue, unless you did really poorly in your first year. but i think the fact that you have a degree already pretty much seals the deal.

they don’t say anything specific about needing transcripts from your undegrad, but they do talk a lot about “documents,” so i’m thinking maybe. still, i wouldn’t worry too much; it’s not like you’re competing with other degree students to get in.

i confess i have not had the pizza from robarts! i’m sorry; please forgive me, and feel free to stop reading this blog if i have offended you on a moral level.




i just can’t get enough of uoft


I am coming back as a non-degree student. I was wondering if the course exclusions still apply to me? i.e. Can I take PSL201Y1 in my non-degree year when I have taken PSL300/301H1, which are exclusions for PSL201Y1, in my undergraduate years. Also, does the max of 6.0 credits first year courses still apply?




Exclusions apply to everyone, non-degree or not. Basically if you went into PSL201Y when you have an exclusion already, you may very well be automatically removed from the course, the department will do so themselves early on, or your college registrar will call you in really late into the term and tell you that you’re in an exclusion.

So can you take an exclusion? Not really.

You can appeal to the department and make sure everything is okay, in which case the course will be designated “extra” and won’t affect your cGPA.

But if there’s a lot of pressure from the faculty saying we need room in PSL201Y for the students who are actually still completing their degrees… well, I’m sure you can imagine what’ll happen to you.

Unfortunately, I have nothing to cite for you since there’s basically no written information for non-degree students.

I had to bother a bunch of sources for this question. 😉

As for taking another 100-level course — now that’s a different situation. Since that whole “you can only take 6.0 FCEs of 100-level courses” rule was a degree requirement, you can certainly take another 100-level course and have it contribute to your cGPA and not fear any removal.




me + uoft 5evaaa


So I went to this site for info on how to take courses as a non-degree student:

But I’m still confused. What do I do first? Do I just go on ROSI and select a course in mid august? Where could I find the specific date?

I don’t know if this falls in the realm of “ask a student”, but how does OSAP work for non-degree students taking a courses. Are you treated like a normal student and get a loan? Would loan repayment be deferred?

Thanks in advance (I’m glad sites like this exist for clueless kids like me)


Hey hey

Assuming you were a student at UofT, you become a non-degree student automatically following your convocation. So if you look at your ROSI right now, you’ll see some jumbled vowel-less code that essentially says your program is non-degree as opposed to HBA or whatever.

So what do you do first?

Well… you pick courses, I guess.

And, naturally, as you’ve done for the past four or more years, you find your enrolment date in the important dates section!

As for OSAP, things can get a little tricky just because typically, a non-degree student doesn’t come back for a full course load. But feel free to apply for the loans for the nth time and see if they approve it. But if you’re trying to defer your repayment, that’ll again require you being a full-time student.




difficulties for non-degree-ers?


I’m a fourth year student in life science and I already requested for graduation in June 2013, but as a life science graduate I really can’t find any decent jobs without further studies. The only place I want to go into right now is sonography and Michener is the only school around here that offers it, all the other schools are at least four hours away. That leaves me with only one option and if I do not get accepted, well I’m pretty much screwed. I was wondering if I can stay at uoft for a gap year if I do not get accepted, to boost my CGPA, or just have more time to think about what to apply to. However, if I do get accepted, obviously I would want to graduate. So should I just keep my graduation request? When is the last date to cancel the request. Would uoft allow me to stay even if I have all the requirements to graduate? Please let me know, thanks!


Hey hey!

Good news! You can definitely come back afterwards to boost your CGPA. Once you’ve gone through with convocation and all that jazz, ROSI will automatically deem you a non-degree student. Don’t worry about the title of it. Basically, you’ll be able to take other courses and such; however, what will be a bit of a pain is the issue of your enrollment time. Sadly, non-degree students are allotted unfortunate start times in mid-August, which means that the eager third- or fourth-year students might’ve already filled up the course that you want.

Now here’s one thing you can do to get around that. Say you know about this sonography program’s results in like… April, and, unfortunately, you’re back to UofT for year the five. In that situation, you can immediately apply for summer courses and be treated like a degree student simply because technically you haven’t been declared a non-degree student yet by ROSI (that happens in June). What this means really is that you won’t be totally shafted in terms of start time. But yeah, if you just want to do the September thing again, sadly, you won’t be selecting courses until much later than you’re probably used to.

But do keep your graduation request!

best of luck,



live long and forever at U of T

Hello, can you take extra courses after you graduate from a program at UofT in order to better your GPA?



sike … I’ll give you more information. You will be enrolling as a non-degree. Here’s all the bizznazz on being a non-degree student. Hohum, what else do you need to know: the marks will be calculated into your CGPA.

live, long and prosper,



Free Porn … or non-degree courses

Hi. Hope you are well. I am in my last year of university. Coming here as an international student was a hasty decision and resulted in many problems for me. In my first year i got all Ds. I went ot my registrar and asked her what to do before the finals in first year, she told me to drop 3 courses as it was before the academic deadline. However i was gonna lose 12000 dollars because of that ( international student fees ) and did not drop the courses because I already had very little money to continue studies. But i continued, i have been working 40 hrs a week consistently on campus since my second year of university. Due to the work, the stress of not being able to pay tuition my grades have been very inconsistent. I will be graduating with a gpa of about 2.2. I intend to find a job in economics, my field. Now at some point I want to return to university when i have money to do so and start studying for something i like. I need to know what will be the shortest and quickest way for me to get into a decent grad school in ontario if i come back to improve grades. Can i take non-degree courses, will I have to take courses that will add to my previous degree’s gpa? Thank you.


Why heelllllo there,

I am well thank you!

WHY you ask?

Ok fine, if you must know, i’m done all my exams. After 1 week, 600 tests/exams, 1 essay and 39 coffees, I am done.
I can now go on to my next secret identity role (cough – Santa’s head elf – cough)

Ohhh the dreaded marks from first year. Most students get a little … uhh distracted in first year, whether it’s adjusting to working and school, discovering the various ways you can make weed into a delicious snack, the easily accessible booty calls of residence, or duck taping someones entire door so they can’t get out.

But now lets focus on you. It depends on what grad school and program you want to get into. Check this out, you can kind of get a feel of the marks you need to apply to the program you want.
If you do need to upgrade marks, you can just come back as a non-degree student and the marks will be considered toward your CGPA.

Just to clarify, when you are a non-degree student, your previous marks as a U of T student are calculated in with your new marks.

Peace and love baby,

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