Managing Your Course Schedule

Course Load Requirements

Minimum Course Load

Students in their qualifying year must meet specific unit requirements to be considered for admission into an Engineering program.

Once you have been accepted into a specialized program, you are not required to maintain a minimum course load, however you must complete your degree within 6 years of starting your program/discipline. You may need to maintain a minimum course load to:

Note: Students who are not planning on registering in courses for one of their scheduled academic terms should consult with an Undergraduate Academic Advisor.

Maximum Course Load

Students who wish to increase their maximum course load for a term should contact Undergraduate Academic Advising at Please ensure you include your student ID in your message. Permission may be granted based on a student's GPA in the last two academic terms and reasoning for the increase in course load. GPAs of less than 3.0 are unlikely to be approved.

Schedule Changes: Dropping, Withdrawing or Swapping Classes

Please view registration dates and deadlines on the Registrar's Office website

Dropping a Class

Each semester, students have until the Add/Drop deadline to drop classes from their schedule. Classes can be dropped using My Schedule Builder or Bear Tracks. After successfully dropping a class in Bear Tracks or My Schedule Builder, you will not be assessed fees for that course and the course will not appear on your academic record.

Swap Function

We recommend only using the Swap function available in Bear Tracks, not My Schedule Builder. If you are registered in a class and need to change your registration to a different class, please use the Swap function instead of dropping the first class before registering in the second class. The Swap function will not change your registration until it has confirmed that you will be able to register in the second class. Swapping classes can only be done up until the add/delete deadline for the term.

Withdrawing from a Class

Withdrawing from a class happens after the Add/Drop deadline and up to the Withdrawal deadline. Students who withdraw from a class will be assessed fees and the class will appear on their academic record with an assigned grade of W. Further information about withdrawals and fees is available on the Registrar's Office website. Important dates and deadlines for each term can be found on the Registrar’s Office Registration Dates and Deadlines page.

Withdrawal requests are submitted through Bear Tracks (not My Schedule Builder). Some withdrawals will be processed immediately, while others may require Faculty review. Continue to attend classes until you have confirmation in Bear Tracks that your withdrawal has been processed. For technical assistance withdrawing from a class, information is available in the Class Changes Bear Tracks Quick Reference Guide.

If you have any questions about how withdrawing from a course may affect your program, please contact Undergraduate Academic Advising at or consult with an Undergraduate Academic Advisor. Please ensure you include your student ID in your message

Failing a Course

If you're struggling with a class and need academic support, course-specific help for most first-year courses is available through the Engineering Student Success Centre. The University of Alberta Academic Success Centre also offers programs and services to help you strengthen your academic skills.

The Academic Advising team is here to provide guidance on your academic program and can help you understand how to resequence your schedule if you fail a course. Here's what you need to know:

  • You must complete all program requirements before graduating.
    • If the failed course is a core requirement in your program, you must successfully complete the course before graduating.
    • If the failed course is an elective, you may either take a different elective or repeat the same course.
  • Engineering does not enforce a limit on the number of times you can repeat a course.
    • You must complete all program requirements within 6 years after admission into your discipline.
    • There may be some Spring/Summer or online course options available to retake the course.
  • If the failed course is a prerequisite for other courses, you must complete the prerequisite course first. This may require you to resequence your schedule and extend the time required to complete your degree.

Extended Absences from Your Program

While students are not encouraged to take an extended absence from their program, we recognize that circumstances may prevent you from attending classes for a period of time. Please note that this will likely extend the time required to complete your degree. Some courses are offered only once a year, which may impact your program sequencing. 

Students who are absent from their studies for no more than one semester will maintain their enrolled student status. 

Students who are absent from their studies for more than two terms may need to reapply for admission to the Faculty of Engineering.

If you are considering taking time away from your program, please consult with an Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Last Updated: March 5, 2024