Special Graduate Student

*Applicants interested in the University of Alberta’s MN program, please read to the end of this page.

“Special Graduate Students” may take courses (normally a maximum of six-course weights or credits) at the University of Alberta as a Special Graduate Student. Transfer credit can be obtained (with approval from the department), provided the courses have not been counted toward a previous degree or program nor included in the GPA calculation to satisfy admission requirements.

IMPORTANT: Students applying for Special Student Status must be aware that “Special Student” application fees are non-refundable, status is valid for one year and the student is not guaranteed class availability. Students taking courses outside of a program are not guaranteed admission to that program.


  • Fall term: Aug. 1
  • Winter term: Dec. 1
  • Spring term: April 1
  • Summer term: June 1

Special Graduate Students will be registered in courses no earlier than two months prior to the course start date to ensure that current program students have registration priority.

Getting started with an application

Please begin by reviewing the following sites/documents to help you choose a course:

  • Current Graduate Course Timetable (found on the Faculty of Nursing Forms and Guidelines page)
  • Bear Tracks: sign in as a guest if you are not a University of Alberta student. This site shows planned course offerings for upcoming terms and the number of open seats available for each course. Special students are not eligible for advanced nursing specialty courses with clinical components but a number of core and elective courses are available if space permits.

Submitting an application

To submit an application to the Faculty of Nursing for admission as a Special Graduate Student, please apply as per the instructions below. 

Requirements for admission to the Faculty of Nursing as a Special Graduate Student are as follows:

  • online application and $135 application fee 
  • current Curriculum Vitae
  • official or certified true transcript/mark sheets and degree certificates from all institutions attended, regardless of the number of courses taken or the amount of time spent there. Transcripts uploaded to your online application.
  • minimum GPA of 3.0/4.0 on the most recent 60 credits

Once all supporting documentation has been uploaded and the online application has been submitted, the associate dean of Graduate Studies reviews the application package and determines eligibility for admission. If admission is recommended, the Graduate Office or applicant will complete a Courses to be Added/Deleted form, pending available space in the class. The form will be sent, with the application, to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) for final approval. The FGSR will complete your admission and registration. Fees will be assessed; financial information can be accessed on Bear Tracks.

If you are interested in taking courses prior to applying to the University of Alberta’s MN program

Course registrations in the MN program are often filled to capacity. As course enrolment is typically filled by students who have competitively gained either part-time or full-time admission to the MN program, it may be difficult for special graduate students to find availability in most courses as a non-program student. The program receives many requests from prospective MN applicants interested in getting a head start in this program by taking courses as non-program students. Although this may be possible, we encourage applicants to apply to the MN program part-time as an alternative to applying as a Special Graduate Student. The MN Course Layout document lists the required courses for the University of Alberta Master of Nursing program.