Special students

A special student is someone who can enrol in undergraduate courses to receive university units, 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 enrolling 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:

To find out more about the these subcategories and to see all definitions, visit Academic Regulation 1.1

  • Personal interest: For students wishing to take courses for personal interest or for students who have not been granted admission. Students can take a maximum of six units (two courses) per term and the total cannot exceed 30 units.
  • Improving academic standing: For students who have been required to withdraw from the faculty. Students can take a maximum of 12 units per term (four courses) and the total cannot exceed 30 units.
  • Professional certification
  • Transfer of units
  • Upgrading
  • Gifted student (see the enrolment process for the Head Start program)
  • Visiting research student (for more information, contact vrs@uOttawa.ca)
Information IconWe reserve the right to verify your eligibility, cancel your enrolment or prohibit further enrolment if necessary. In addition, depending on your category, you must provide certain documents and meet certain conditions.

Enrolment steps

important information

New special students – Eligibility for online enrolment

Improving academic standing category
If you would like to enrol as a special student in the Improving academic standing category, you need to contact InfoService before Friday, August 19, 2022 to create a special student file so you can enrol online as soon as enrolment opens.

All other categories
New special students (those who have never been enrolled at uOttawa or Saint Paul University) must fill out the personal identification form for undergraduate special students before Friday, August 19, 2022 in order to be able to enrol online as soon as enrolment starts. Once you’ve submitted this form, we’ll email you instructions on how to enrol.

Find out when to enrol.
  • Fall: Tuesday, August 23, 2022 (First day to enrol)
  • Winter: Wednesday, December 14, 2022 (First day to enrol)

Online enrolment begins at one-minute-past-midnight.

You can enrol in courses or make modifications to your enrolment until the Last day to enrol or change course selection date specified in the Important academic dates and deadlines.

Prepare a list of courses you’d like to take.
  • Check the list of courses on the Programs and courses website.
  • Search the course timetable to see when courses are offered.
  • 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.

Special students who are taking courses to improve their academic standing: Check the requirements for re-admission.

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
How to enrol

Online enrolment

If you’re a new special student at uOttawa, see New special students – Eligibility for online enrolment (above) first.

If you were enrolled at uOttawa or Saint Paul University as a special student at anytime since January 2017, you can proceed directly to online enrolment. To do so, please log into uoZone  and click on the Enrol application.

  • If you’re in the Transfer of units category, you cannot enrol online. See instructions on how to enrol in person below.

Enrolment in person

To enrol in person, fill out the undergraduate special student registration form (PDF)
Sign it, and, depending on your special student category, bring it with you during the enrolment period to one of these two locations:

  • Personal interest and improving academic standing: InfoService (Tabaret Hall)
  • Transfer of units, upgrading and professional certification: Undergraduate studies office of the faculty offering the course.
Get ready before the start of the term.
  • Activate your uOttawa.ca email account and log into uoZone.
    • If this is the first time you are enrolling in a course as a special student, you will receive an email addressed to your personal email account 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 enrolled as a special student at the University of Ottawa, your @uOttawa.ca email account is still valid.
    • 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.
  • 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.


An estimate of university fees for special students can be found on the Fee calculator by choosing Special student from the dropdown box.

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.


  • If you’ve been expelled by the University, you can’t enrol 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 enrol 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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