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Information for non-degree special students

Non-degree special students are those who choose to take coursework and are not registered in a program of study that leads to a degree.

Applicants should note that special students sometimes encounter difficulties gaining access to courses. This is because degree students receive first priority in course enrolment, and some courses are not open to special students. For example, Counselling and Clinical Psychology courses are open only to students in the program, and some doctoral courses are open only to EdD or PhD degree students. Please consult the course schedule and obtain the instructor’s permission when required. 

Application and admission 

The School of Graduate Studies establishes the minimum academic requirements for admission, as well as the English language proficiency requirements. We require minimum scores for all tests and Academic Division Social Sciences for TOEFL. 

As a non-degree special student applicant, you are required to:

Application deadlines

April 1, 2021 (for 2021 Summer Session, First Term – May)
May 1, 2021 (for 2021 Summer Session, Second Term – July)
June 25, 2021 (for 2021 Fall Session – September)
October 1, 2021 (for 2022 Winter Session – January)


Online admissions application

Non-degree special students must apply using the School of Graduate Studies online admissions application.

Descriptions about the information you must enter in the application are available via the system’s help featureWe offer supplemental guidelines on the following select fields:

Graduate Unit 
Select “Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)” from the pick list.

Select “Non-Degree/Special Student” from the pick list.

Degree Program
Special students are based in one department; select the most suitable 
from the pick list.

Part-time special students are not required to submit letters of reference (enter “n/a”); full-time special students must designate two referees.


Supporting documents

Your complete application must include:

For the 2021-22 year, OISE is suspending the requirement for official transcripts at the time of application. An electronic or scanned transcript is required. An official transcript will be required if you are offered admission.

For more information about these supporting documents, see Step 3: Prepare supporting documents

Notification of results

When a decision on your application has been made you’ll be provided with notification of results, such as an Offer of Admission, via the online admissions application. Admission is valid only for the beginning date specified on the offer of admission in the section "Program Begins". Results are typically provided within three weeks from when you submit a complete application.

Fees and registration

Fall and Winter Sessions

Full-time special students pay annually the one year full-time academic fee plus Incidental Fees. Part-time special students pay the academic fee for each half-course plus Incidental Fees. The current total tuition fee (domestic students) for one half-course is $2,405.63.

Summer Session (first term and second term) 

Special students registered in the Summer Session pay tuition on a per course basis. If you register full-time you can undertake a maximum of the equivalent of two half-courses in each term. If you register part-time you can undertake a maximum of one half-course in the Summer Session (one in May/June or one in July/August).

Other information

  • If you have received an offer of admission to an OISE degree program you’re not permitted to enroll as a special student.
  • If you’re a current student you may not need to be a special student; students registered in a degree program at another Ontario university who want to undertake OISE courses for credit to their home university program can do so via the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Agreement (OVGS) program.
  • Special students must be enrolled in at least one graduate course.
  • Courses undertaken as a special student are not appropriate for upgrading purposes regarding future admission to an OISE degree program.
  • Special students are expected to complete all course requirements for grading purposes otherwise the earned grade of a failure will be recorded.
  • Special students are not permitted to use the web-based student record system (ACORN).
  • Special students are not eligible for OISE graduate assistantships or the OISE Graduate Funding Package.
  • Once registered special students may obtain a University of Toronto student card (TCard).

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a special student and a regular student?

Can courses I complete as a special student be credited to a degree program? And fees I pay?

Is online learning or distance education available at OISE?


Contact information

Admission inquiries


Registration and course enrolment inquiries

Danielle Meade
Registration Specialist, Office of the Registrar and Student Services