Open Studies

Notice: We have detailed information about how Open Studies will manage academic standing for the 2019-2020 academic year available here.


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. Courses are offered from a wide variety of subject areas and disciplines. 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.

How to apply

  1. Check the admission requirements and application deadlines.
  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.

Before you apply for Open Studies, please review the regulations of the faculty(s) offering the courses you wish to take.

For more details, see the University Calendar»


Courses that are available to Open Studies students are identified by the phrase "Open Studies" (or the symbol in Bear Tracks). In the Fall and Winter terms, some courses are available on a delayed registration basis only and are identified by the phrase "Delayed Open Studies" (or the symbol in Bear Tracks). Registration for such courses is permitted the last week in August (see the Academic Schedule for more information). Courses that are not pre-approved may also be available-students must first obtain permission from the teaching department.

Spring / Summer

Open Studies students wishing to register in the Spring and Summer terms should consult the Bear Tracks course listings for information on approved open studies courses.


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 UAlberta 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.