Withdrawing from a course

If you decide you no longer want to take a course that you’re enrolled in, you must formally withdraw from it. Withdrawing from a course can affect whether you meet all your program requirements. It can also affect your access to services such as financial aid, housing, CO-OP and scholarships. Consider the consequences of withdrawing from a course carefully.

Please note that the term “course” also includes academic activities such as a major research paper or a thesis.

Withdrawing BEFORE the withdrawal deadlines

You can withdraw from a course without it affecting your overall grade point average and without having to provide a reason as long as you do so prior to the appropriate deadline.

There are two official deadlines to withdraw as stated in the list of important academic dates and deadlines : the last day to withdraw from a course or an activity (including full-year courses) and receive a financial credit (you’ll receive a refund less administrative fees) and the last day to withdraw from a course or an activity (including full-year courses) with no financial credit (you will not receive a refund). Be sure to check these deadlines before proceeding.

The deadlines in the Important academic dates and deadlines are different for each term and session. Only the deadlines for the Fall, Winter and Spring-Summer terms, as well as for some sessions, are in the Important academic dates and deadlines. Deadlines for sessions for some programs are not always listed. For more information, check with your academic unit.

How to withdraw from a course

You can withdraw from a course in one of two ways:

  1. Using the Enrol application in uoZone (quickest method)

    • From uoZone, go to Applications and click on Enrol. Then click on the Drop tab and follow the instructions. For step-by-step instructions on how to withdraw from a course, please see the How to Drop a Class tutorial, available on the Enrol application page.
  2. Submitting a modification/cancellation of enrolment form

Decision and wait times

  • If you withdraw from a course through the Enrol application in uoZone, you are withdrawn from it instantly.
  • If you request a course withdrawal using the Modification/Cancellation of Enrolment form, it may take up to two business days before you see the change in uoZone .

In general, as long as you submit your form before the deadline, your course withdrawal will be accepted.

Refunds (financial credit)

In order to receive a financial credit (less administrative fees), you must withdraw by the deadline indicated in the Important academic dates and deadlines (see Last day to withdraw from a course or an activity (including full-year courses) and receive a financial credit). If you withdraw from a course after this deadline, you receive no financial credit.

Please contact Financial Resources for more information about refunds.

Impact of course withdrawal on your other services

Financial Aid and Awards

If your academic status changes from full time to part time, you may no longer be eligible for financial aid and you may not be able to renew scholarships for the next term. For more information, please contact Financial Aid and Awards.

Housing

Dropping courses does not cancel your room reservation or residence agreement. To learn how to cancel a room reservation, or how to obtain an early termination, please consult the Housing Service website.

CO-OP program

Dropping a course could have an impact on the sequence of courses and placements that you must follow as a CO-OP student, as well as on your student status (from full time to part time). It’s important to contact your faculty to determine the impact of dropping a course on your CO-OP sequence. For more information, contact the CO-OP office.

Withdrawing AFTER the withdrawal deadlines

We understand that circumstances may arise in a student's life that make it difficult or even impossible to withdraw from a course prior to the official deadlines. We will consider your request under these conditions.

Exceptional life circumstances

Under exceptional life circumstances, you may withdraw from one or more courses after the official deadline with no financial credit. Exceptional life circumstances are serious problems that prevent you from functioning normally and meeting course deadlines, such as a physical or mental illness or the death of a family member.

There are other situations that may affect your presence in a course that you may bring to the attention of your faculty or school, such as harassment, concerns over language of instruction or concerns over quality of teaching.

We will refuse your request if you have already written your final exam. We will also refuse any request submitted for the following reasons:
  • misunderstanding of the important academic dates and deadlines
  • probable failing grade in a course
  • unsuccessful attempt to withdraw under the Enrol application in uoZone
  • financial difficulties
  • travel
  • course not meeting your needs or expectations
  • extracurricular activities
  • any other reason deemed unacceptable by the faculty or school

Supporting documentation

You must include supporting documents with your request. Requests not accompanied by documentation are considered incomplete and are automatically refused. Below are examples of exceptional life circumstances and the supporting documents that go with them.

Physical or mental illness

We require a medical certificate from your health care professional (or a letter of support from uOttawa's Counselling and Coaching Service). This document must include your name, period of absence and return date, the medical appointment date and the health care professional's signature. If there are doubts about the authenticity of your medical document, the University can require that it be validated by University of Ottawa Health Services. If you attend classes during the absence period indicated on your medical document, you can no longer submit a request based on a physical or mental illness.

Death of a family member

We require a death certificate.

We reserve the right to request a written confirmation from your professor that you didn't write the final exam or attend courses during the period you were supposed to be absent. Please note that at all times your personal information is protected and remains confidential. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

When to make your request

You must make your request for course withdrawal as soon as possible once you're aware of the circumstances causing you to make the request. However, there is no specific timeline.

How to make your request

  • If you're a regular student, send your request to your faculty's general email address or go in person to your faculty or school.
  • If you're a special student, email infoservice@uOttawa.ca or go in person to InfoService.

For all requests, you must provide the following information. If you're making a request in person, make sure you have the information with you:

  • your name and student number
  • term(s) when each course is offered (ex. Fall 2017, Winter 2018)
  • course code and course title for each course you want to withdraw from (ex. ADM 1100 Introduction to Business Management)
  • your reason(s) for asking for a course withdrawal as well as all necessary supporting documentation (see section above)
  • mention of whether you're just requesting a course withdrawal or a course withdrawal with reimbursement

Decision and wait times

The decision to accept your request for withdrawal is up to the faculty or school. Normally, the faculty or school has fifteen business days to examine your request and send you its decision, which is emailed to your @uOttawa.ca address. If the process is expected to take longer than fifteen days, the faculty or school will notify you.

Refunds (financial credit)

If you would like to be considered for a reimbursement after the deadline to withdraw with no financial credit has passed, you must mention this in the request you make to your faculty (see How to make your request section above).

Appealing a decision

If you aren't satisfied with a decision, you can appeal it.

  • If your faculty or school has refused the course withdrawal request, you can file an appeal with the Senate Appeals Committee. This needs to be done within 10 working days of the date you receive the decision.
  • If the faculty or school accepts the course withdrawal request but refuses the reimbursement, you can file an appeal with the Financial Resources Appeal Committee. You must do this within 10 working days of the date you receive the decision.
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