Special Students
Special Students are those who have not been admitted to a degree program but who are taking degree-credit courses to qualify for admission, to improve professional qualifications, for transfer credit, or for personal interest.
Any person interested in pursuing learning opportunities is eligible to apply as a part-time Special student in degree-credit courses, subject to course availability and course prerequisites. A processing fee will be applied. Course availability may change from year to year.

Note: Since the language of instruction at Carleton University is English, a written and oral command of English is necessary. All special students must provide proof of English Language Proficiency.  For details, consult the English Language Proficiency section of the undergraduate calendar.

Application Process
When to apply?
Students must submit an application in order to study as a Special Student.  Applications may be submitted at any time throughout the year, but sufficient processing time should be allowed prior to registration dates. An email will be sent to you when your Carleton University student identification number has been issued and will include registration information.

How to apply?
Applications are available online or can be picked up at the Registrar’s Office, 300 Tory Building. Transcripts and/or proof of English proficiency, and an application fee must be submitted with the application. All registration material will be sent via email once your application is approved.

Course Load
Special students may normally enrol in a maximum of 2.0 credits per academic session (Fall/Winter) and no more than the equivalent of 1.0 credit (e.g. two half-credit courses) in any one term. During the Summer session, Special students may enrol in a maximum of 1.0 credit.

Deferred and supplemental (Fourth-year Engineering only) examinations scheduled during the term, as well as audited courses, are included in calculating the course load.

Special students who have completed one or more full credits with an overall CGPA of 7.0 in all credits taken at Carleton (including failures) may register in the equivalent of 1.5 credits in each term of the Fall/Winter session.

Special students who provide proof of one of the following may request up to a maximum of 2.5 credits per term for Fall/Winter and 2.0 for Summer:

  1. The student is enrolled full time in a degree program at another institution and can present a Letter of Permission authorized by an appropriate official of the institution; or
  2. The student holds an undergraduate degree from a recognized institution and wishes to pursue further study for professional development or in preparation for entry into graduate study.

Credit limit increases are not automatically renewed; increased credit limits must be requested each term.

Course Selection
Anyone wishing to be admitted eventually to a degree program is advised to note the specific Faculty requirements for course selection and the admission requirements for Special and Mature entrants as they are listed in the undergraduate Calendar. Special students who have not completed an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent may need to upgrade their qualifications by enrolling in courses at the Qualifying-University year level. For more information on admission to degree or certificate programs, please contact the Admissions Office.

Course Availability
Due to the increase in first year enrolment, there may be limited course availability for Special Students. As in previous years, degree students are given priority to the course registration system. Special Students must apply in advance so that they can have access to Web registration.  Some courses are restricted to only degree students such as First-Year Seminars, Journalism, Engineering, Architecture, Business, Industrial Design, and Fourth-year courses in all disciplines. These types of restrictions are indicated in the course calendars and the Class Schedule.
Some undergraduate and all graduate courses require the permission of the department or individual instructor.

Fee Payment
Fee payment is required to finalize your registration. Failure to pay your tuition fees by the published fee payment deadlines may result in deregistration from all courses. Non-attendance or failure to pay any outstanding fees does not constitute withdrawal from courses. Course withdrawal must be done via Carleton Central within the published deadlines.

With the permission of the instructor, students may audit courses which are not designated as having limited enrolment. Auditors receive no grade and no credit for courses audited.

New and returning Special Students should contact the Registrar’s Office for information on applying, registration, and course availability.

Special Students (who have a student identification number) may also seek advice from the Academic Advising Centre (613) 520-7850 or at 302 Tory Building.

Students interested in applying to a graduate degree program should consult the individual academic departments for information on applying and admission requirements or visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies of Postdoctoral Affairs website.

Special Student Application form
Special Student Information Brochure