Special students

A special student is someone who can register for undergraduate courses to receive university credits, but who is not seeking an undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma. Special students don’t have to apply for admission.

Information IconNotice – New special students
If you are registering for the first time at the University of Ottawa, you will need to provide us with a transcript covering your most recent period of full-time studies.


To be a special student, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • hold an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), with at least six 4U or 4M courses and an overall average of 70%, or the equivalent (this does not apply to the “personal interest” category — see below)
  • qualify as a mature student by meeting the following conditions:
    • have not been engaged in full-time studies for at least two consecutive years
    • are considered to hold promise of academic success
    • meet the requirements of the faculty you have applied to

Special students fit into one of the following categories:

  • Personal interest
  • Professional certification
  • Transfer of credits
  • Upgrading
  • Improving academic standing
  • Gifted student (see the registration process for the Head Start program)
  • Visiting student researchers (contact the Office of Undergraduate Research to register for courses)
Information IconWe reserve the right to verify your eligibility, cancel your registration or prohibit further registration if necessary. In addition, depending on your category, you must provide certain documents and meet certain conditions. See Academic Regulation 1.1 to find out more about the types of special student categories.

Registration steps

Find out when to register.
  • Fall session 2016: Wednesday, August 24, 2016
  • Winter session 2017: Thursday, January 5, 2017

For other academic dates, see Important academic dates and deadlines.

Check which courses are available to special students.

Students admitted to regular programs have priority access to credit courses. In some faculties, however, a limited number of courses are open to special students. Faculties are responsible for publishing their course lists before the start of each session.

Choose a faculty to see which courses it offers for the current session:

Prepare a list of courses you want to register for
  • Indicate each course code and section. Each section (A, B, C, etc.) is offered on different days and at different times.
  • Have second-choice courses ready in case your first choices are no longer available.

Please note that the Available places in courses – special students tool is no longer being used. InfoService officers will be on hand starting August 24 to let you know if there is space available in the courses you wish to take.

Make sure you have completed or are currently completing any prerequisite course(s).

You will have to provide an official transcript for previous studies or other documents:

  • If the prerequisites were not completed at the University of Ottawa
  • If the faculty has concerns about whether you have the skills and background needed to benefit from a course
Complete the registration form.

Please fill out the special student (undergraduate) registration (PDF) form and on the day of registration, bring it to one of the following locations, depending on your category: 

  • Personal interest and improving academic standing: InfoService (Tabaret Hall)
  • Transfer of credits, upgrading and professional certification: go to the undergraduate studies office of the faculty offering the course
Get ready before the start of the session.
  • Activate your uOttawa.ca email account and log into uoZone.
    • If this is the first time you are registering for a course as a special student, you will receive an email addressed to your personal email account within 48 hours of registering, explaining how to access uoZone and activate your @uOttawa email account. You are responsible for checking your university email account regularly. The University of Ottawa sends its correspondence to your uOttawa.ca email account.
    • If you were previously registered as a special student at the University of Ottawa, you should still have a valid @uOttawa.ca email account.
    • Check your uoZone account regularly to find your course schedule and financial statements.
If you have technical problems with your uOttawa accounts, make a Service Desk request. You will need your student number.
  • Check the Financial Resources website for more information about paying university fees, reimbursements and methods of payment. Please note that special students do not have access to OSAP or other provincial government financial aid programs. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards office.
  • Get your uOttawa card.
    • The University issues a student card to special students just as for regular students. This card is required for access to certain University services and for writing exams.
  • Learn about the academic regulations.
  • Special students are subject to the same general and faculty-specific regulations as regular students concerning attendance, assignments, examinations, supplemental examinations, grading, academic fraud, appeals, payment of fees, library privileges, etc.

Course withdrawal

If you need to, you can withdraw from a course using InfoWeb (via uoZone) prior to the withdrawal deadline shown in the list of important academic dates and deadlines. Follow these steps:

  • Log into uoZone.
  • Click on InfoWeb.
  • Click on the Registration tab.
  • Choose Drop courses.
  • Select the course(s) you want to drop.
  • Click on Drop.
  • Write down the confirmation number or print the confirmation page.
If you just stop attending a course without withdrawing from it, you are still considered registered. The University’s regulations on refunds also apply to special students.


  • If you’ve been asked to withdraw by the University, you can’t register as a special student.
  • If you’ve been asked to withdraw by a faculty, the faculty may or may not allow you to take its courses as a special student during the period you’re withdrawn.
  • If your application for admission has been turned down by a faculty, the faculty may or may not allow you to take its courses as a special student.
  • If you’re a full-time high school student, you can’t register as a special student unless you’re participating in the Head Start program.
  • Some faculties, schools or departments may have specific restrictions that apply to special students.
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