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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 be aware 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.

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, 2022 (for 2022 Summer Session, First Term – May)
May 2, 2022 (for 2022 Summer Session, Second Term – July)
July 15, 2022 (for 2022 Fall Session – September)
October 3, 2022 (for 2023 Winter Session – January)


Online admissions application

Non-degree special students must use the School of Graduate Studies online admissions application to apply for admission. Find general information and tips here. Specific guidelines for non-degree special students are:

Application Type
Select “Fall 2021 - Summer 2022” to choose 2022 Summer Session. Select “Fall 2022 - Summer 2023” to choose 2022 Fall Session or 2023 Winter Session.

Graduate Unit
Select the OISE Department to which you want to apply (normally the Department associated with the course(s) you want to undertake):
Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development
Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning
Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education
Department of Social Justice Education

Attendance Type
Attendance type full-time or part-time is specified on an offer of admission and restrictions may apply if you want to change it. There are also different minimum academic requirements for admission and required supporting documents. 

Program of Study
Select “Non-Degree Seeking Student”. 

Faculty Questions
Enter your response to each question in the text box:

  1. 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. Briefly provide reasons for wanting to study as a special student.
  2. Is there any additional information you want to share with the Admissions Committee that will inform their review of your application?

Part-time special students are not required to submit letters of reference; full-time special students must designate two referees (one Academic plus one Professional).


Supporting documents

Your complete application must include:

  • unofficial electronic transcript of appropriate bachelor's degree (i.e. admitting degree);
  • two letters of reference if applying to full-time study (one Academic plus one Professional) (reference letters are not required if applying to part-time study).


For more information about 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. Tuition fee information is available on Student Accounts and Fees: Non-Academic Incidental

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 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?


Contact information

Admission inquiries

Office of the Registrar and Student Services:

Tel: 416-978-4300

Registration and course enrolment inquiries

Office of the Registrar and Student Services: