Non-degree special students can be defined as students 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 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 & 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:

Completing Your Application

Non-degree special students must use the School of Graduate Studies online admissions application to apply for admission. Specific application guidelines for non-degree special students are listed:

Application Type

For 2024 Winter or Summer Session, select “Fall 2023 - Summer 2024”

For 2024 Fall Session, select “Fall 2024 - Summer 2025” 

Application Deadlines

  • October 2, 2023 (for 2024 Winter Session – January)
  • April 1, 2024 (for 2024 Summer Session, First Term – May)
  • April 29, 2024 (for 2024 Summer Session, Second Term – July)
  • July 15, 2024 (for 2024 Fall Session – September)

Graduate Units

Select the OISE Department to which you want to apply (usually the Department associated with the course(s) you want to undertake):

Attendance Type

Your attendance type can be either full-time or part-time, and it is specified in an offer of admission. Restrictions may apply if this needs to be changed. There are also different minimum academic requirements for admission and required supporting documents that may apply. 

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 reference. 
  • One professional reference.

Supporting Documents

Your complete application must include:

  • An unofficial electronic transcript of the 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.
  • Learn more about Preparing Supporting Documents.

Fees & Registration

Fall & Winter Sessions

Full-time special students pay the one-year full-time academic fee plus incidental fees annually. 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 & 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).

Notification of Results

When a decision on your application has been made, you’ll receive a notification of the results, such as an Offer of Admission, via the online admissions application. Admission is valid only for the date specified on the offer of admission in the section "Program Begins".

Results are typically provided within three weeks of submitting a complete application.

Other Important Information

  • If you have received an offer of admission to an OISE degree program you’re not permitted to enrol 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).

Contact Us

You can get in touch with our team if you need support with admissions, registration or enrolment. We are here to help.