Open Studies

Through Open Studies you can take university-level credit courses on a part-time basis without being admitted or committed to a degree or diploma program. Open Studies students can take up to six credits in each term (normally two courses) and up to an overall maximum of 30 units of course weight. There are limitations to the courses available through Open Studies, however they are offered from a wide variety of subject areas and disciplines.

Please note: There will be no exceptions made for the course limit and appeals will not be considered.

Browse Open Studies course listings »

Why take Open Studies?

People of all ages and varied educational backgrounds choose this route. You may want to take credit courses for:

  • professional development
  • upgrading post-secondary qualifications
  • general interest

Any courses you take through Open Studies are credit courses. This means they may be considered toward a future degree or diploma. Pre-requisite requirements still apply to all Open Studies courses.

Please note: Open Studies is not recommended as a pre-professional year.

How to Apply

  1. Check the admission requirements and application deadlines.

    1. Please make sure to check the availability of a class (whether it is offered in that semester and whether or not there are still seats available) and that the course is available for Open Studies students prior to submitting your application.

    2. Application fees and tuition deposits will not be refunded due to classes being full or the class not being offered in the term you have applied for. For more information on course availability, please check the Open Studies Course Listing and Bear Tracks.

    3. If you don’t yet have an account (i.e., CCID), you can log in as a guest in Bear Tracks. If you cannot find the class you are interested in taking, please contact the department offering the course for more information. You can also visit the Course Registration page for more information.

  2. Once satisfied that Open Studies is the right choice, complete and submit an undergraduate application for admission. (If you're not sure, see "Other Options" below.)

Because admission to Open Studies is not competitive, transcripts and documents are normally not required. However, some courses may have prerequisites.

Open Studies applicants are also expected to meet Language Requirements. You may be required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency.

For more details, see the University Calendar


Students who are admitted to Open Studies must pay a non-refundable tuition deposit (if applicable) and register in a course in the semester they were admitted to in order to maintain their registration, with the following exceptions:

  • if you were admitted to the Fall semester, you can register in a course in either the Fall and/or Winter semester
  • if you were admitted to the Spring semester, you can register in a course in either the Spring and/or the Summer semester

If you do not register in the term you were admitted to or the subsequent term as listed in the exceptions above, you will lose access to registration and will have to submit and pay for another application and tuition deposit if you wish to be an Open Studies student in the future.

If, for any reason, you do not maintain registration in Open Studies (i.e., are not registered in any courses) for 12 consecutive months or more, you will be required to reapply to that program in order to continue your studies. For more information about this policy, please refer to the Registration section of the University Calendar.

Courses that are available to Open Studies students can be viewed in this list. Browse Open Studies course listings »


Bear Tracks allows you to submit your request for any class you are registered in for the current term. Open Studies Students in special programming (including Fresh Start, Transition Year Program, Visiting Student Certificate Program, and Exceptional Athlete categories) must meet with their program advisors before their request will be considered. Deadlines of all class withdrawals are strictly enforced.

Required to Withdraw

Students who have been required to withdraw from Open Studies at the University of Alberta may not apply to Open Studies for a period of twelve months from the date of last attendance. Students who have been required to withdraw more than once from Open Studies are not eligible for readmission to Open Studies.

Other Options

Applicants with a background limited to high school Most students applying from high school want to apply for a degree/diploma program. If you begin your post-secondary studies as an Open Studies student, and wish to apply into a degree program in the future, please review the University Calendar pertaining to the admission regulations for post-secondary students.
Current U of A students If you are eligible and wish to continue in your current program it is probable that you do not need to submit an application to Open Studies. Changing your program unnecessarily will result in you having to apply for readmission to resume your current Faculty program. This can be a common mistake made by those interested in attending Spring and Summer terms. Be sure to check with your current Faculty to see if you are eligible to continue in your current program to avoid submitting an unwarranted application.
Students that are completing their program or have an undergraduate degree If you are interested in continuing in full time studies you might consider applying as a Special Student. As an Open Studies student you are able to take a maximum of 6 units of course weight per term. Term limit overrides will not be permitted.
Auditing (taking courses for interest only) If you do not wish to take courses for credit, you can attend the University as an auditor. Auditors pay half of the course tuition fee and do not have to submit an application for admission. Review the procedures for auditing courses. Please note some courses do not permit auditors.