Special students

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

  • Personal interest
  • Professional certification
  • Transfer of credits
  • Upgrading
  • Improving academic standing
  • Gifted student (see the enrolment process for the Head Start program)
  • Visiting student researchers (contact the Office of Undergraduate Research to enrol)

To find out more about the these subcategories, see Academic Regulation 1.1

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.

Enrolment steps

Find out when to enrol.
  • Winter 2017 term: 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 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 term.

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

Prepare a list of courses you’d like to take.
  • 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.
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 or enrol online.

If you’re a new special student at uOttawa (you have never been enrolled at uOttawa or Saint-Paul University before), please begin the enrolment process by filling out the personal identification form for undergraduate special students. This will allow us to process your enrolment more quickly. Once you’ve submitted this form, we’ll email you a PDF copy of it that has your personal information already filled in, as well as instructions on how to enrol.

If you’ve previously been enrolled at uOttawa or Saint-Paul University, you can proceed directly to online enrolment. To do so, please log into uoZone and click on the Enrol application.

  • Online enrolment is not possible for students in the Transfer of credits category. If you are in this category, please print and complete the undergraduate special student registration form (PDF) and bring it with you to the undergraduate studies office of the faculty offering the course during the enrolment period.
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 within 48 hours of enrolling, 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.
  • 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.


  • If you’ve been asked to withdraw 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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