Academic Advising FAQ

Students reading at a table

Disclaimer: The information posted on our website is accurate at the time of posting.  Please note that Academic Policies are subject to change.  It is the responsibility of the Student to consult the Academic Calendar to review these Academic Policies as well as the Degree and Program requirements.  The calendar is located on the Registrar’s website. When in doubt, students are always encouraged to ask questions.


Can I retake a course that I passed if I'm not satisfied with my grade?

Effective September 2023, the Second Attempt for Credit policy allows students to retake one (1.0) credit of previously passed courses. The first attempt becomes an extra course (EXT) and is not factored into GPA calculations or credit totals. The second attempt counts for credit and contributes to the GPA and credit count.

There are a number of considerations to keep in mind:

  • Academic standing from previous sessions will remain unchanged.
  • This policy does not apply to courses taken as a second attempt before September 2023.
  • It is not available for non-degree students.
  • Academic departments can opt out of allowing the second attempt to be used for program admission requirements or program requirements. It is advised to consult with the Program Advisor/Supervisor for specific information.

The 2-step process* for requesting to take a course as SAC is done via e-Service

  1. The first step is to request to re-take a course you have previously passed. If this request is approved, you can proceed to the 2nd step.

  2. To request that the second attempt count toward your CGPA by making a Second Attempt for Credit (SAC) request. View the request periods in the Academic Dates

*Note: Students with questions about cross listed courses (indicated by “Same as…” in the calendar description) should first contact the Office of the Registrar at

After fully utilizing the Second Attempt for Credit policy, any additional retaken courses will be labeled as "extra" (EXT). These courses will appear on your transcript, but the grades are not included in your GPA, nor do they count towards credit totals. They may still fulfill program course requirements, but not necessarily the admission requirements for Limited Enrolment programs. Again, it is advised to consult with the Program Advisor/Supervisor for specific information.

If you fail a course, retaking it will result in both the failed and new grades being calculated into your GPA and appearing on your academic transcript.

I need a course for my program and it's full; what should I do?

If the course you need has a waitlist function, be sure to take advantage of it. Waitlists enable you to reserve a space that may become available in a lecture section that is currently full. If space becomes available and you are next on the waitlist, you will automatically be enrolled in the lecture section. Waitlists do not guarantee you a space in the lecture section, but allow you to wait for a space if one becomes available. Check the Registrar's Office website for the waitlist procedure.

If you are still on a waitlist by the start of classes, you should create a back-up plan. Ask yourself: Are there any other required courses I can complete this semester? Can I take a breadth requirement or elective now and complete the required course at a later time?

If the course does not have a waitlist function you will need to check ACORN on a regular basis to see if a space opens up. If you are in your final year of study and need a specific course to complete your program requirements, you should talk to your Program Advisor as soon as possible about the possibility of being added to the course. If you're still not sure, visit the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC)  to discuss your options.

I want to take a course on the St. George or UTM campus. How can I do this?

You can enrol in courses on the St. George or UTM campuses the same way you enrol in UTSC courses, by logging onto ACORN and entering the appropriate course and section code. If you wish to see which courses are being offered on the other campuses, consult the (St. George or UTM) course calendars and timetables. You must ensure that you have completed any prerequisites for this course or you may be withdrawn.  Course enrolment for UTM and St. George courses typically begin at a later date on ACORN.

Students are permitted to complete up to 10.0 credits on another campus. If the course you wish to take at the St. George or UTM campus is a program requirement, then you need the Program Advisor’s approval. Check the academic calendar for the name and contact information of the Program Advisor.  If the course is an elective, you do not need permission, but you are still required to have taken the prerequisite(s).

If you would like to take a St. George or UTM course and have it count towards one of your breadth requirements, complete and submit a Breadth Requirement Category Request Form to the Registrars Office. If approved, completed assessments will be noted in Degree Explorer.

How do I know whether to drop a course or not? What is the deadline?

If you think there is a good chance this particular course will compromise your GPA and you are unsure whether you can boost your grade by the end of the semester, you may consider dropping the course.  Before making a decision, you are welcome to consult the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) to discuss your options. 

Midterm performance is generally indicative of final performance, so look to your midterm mark as an indication of your final mark. If you are unsure where you stand in the course, connect with your TA or course instructor.  

Before dropping the course, find out if it is a prerequisite for a required course. Check to see if you can retake it in a future semester so that it will not delay the completion of your program requirements and graduation.  Dropping courses can also impact financial aid, co-op work terms and/or study visas, so you may want to connect with the Registrar’s Office, the Arts & Science or Management Co-op Offices or the International Student Centre, respectively.

Courses can be dropped on ACORN. You have two opportunities to drop a course from your transcript before you have to petition it. Click here for more information regarding withdrawal from a course.

Please note that students cannot drop a course while being investigated for academic misconduct in that course.

How many courses am I allowed to take in a given semester?

A standard courseload is 5 courses or 2.5 credits per semester, although a student is considered full-time if they take 1.5 credits or more per semester. If you would like to enrol in a 6th course, there are specific dates when you are allowed to do so. We encourage you to make this decision carefully, as even one extra course can greatly increase your workload, which could result in a lower GPA. Sometimes it is wiser to spread out your remaining courses over two semesters in order to maintain your GPA (and your health and wellbeing!)

Students newly placed on probation or returning from suspension are limited to 4 courses or 2.0 credits in the subsequent semester.

Is there is a limit on the number of first-year courses I can take?

At UTSC, there is no limit on the number of A-level (introductory) courses you can take. There is a policy on the U of T St. George campus limiting the number of first year courses you can take, but UTSC does not have this policy. Therefore, you can take as many first year (A-level) courses as you like. However, if you intend to apply to graduate school or professional school, it is advisable not to take too many introductory courses in your final years of study. They may interpret this as an attempt to increase your GPA by giving yourself an "easy" course load - whether the courses are easy or not! This may also impact your ability to complete your program requirements and to graduate on time, so we encourage you to keep this in mind as you choose your courses.

How many C and D-level courses do I need to take in order to graduate?

In order to graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Science (HBSc), an Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA), or the Bachelor of Business Administration degree (BBA), of the required 20.0 credits, at least 6.0 credits must be at the C- and/or D-level, with at least 1.0 of these 6.0 credits being D-level credits.  Please see the calendar.

The most common scenario is for students to complete 5.0 credits at the C-level plus 1.0 credit at the D-level, although taking more than 1.0 credit at the D-level is allowed (e.g., 4.5 credits at the C-level plus 1.5 credits at the D-level.)  Often students are able to meet these requirements through their program requirements alone, but elective courses may also be used. 

I want to take a course but I don't have the prerequisite; can I still take the course?

It is always advisable to complete the prerequisites, as they provide the foundation needed to succeed in your courses. However, under some circumstances, you can ask the instructor for permission to take the course without the prerequisite. The instructor may agree to waive the prerequisite to allow you into the course. There may be other viable options if you are not granted permission to take a course without the prerequisites. Consult with your Program Advisor if you have questions.

I want to take a course that is required for my program, but it has an exclusion for a course I took last year. Does that mean I'm exempt from having to take the program requirement?

Courses that are exclusions to each other may or may not be equivalent to each other. You cannot assume that you are exempt from the program requirement; you must confirm this with your Program Advisor.

Transfer Credits

Visit the UTSC Admissions website for details as to how these are determined, how they may be used and timelines for processing your transfer credits.


How do I choose my program?

Your program should be in keeping with your future career plans and interests. Review the Program guide on the Academic calendar to see what programs are offered at UTSC. If you are not sure which program to choose, review the Program Pathways to see career options and resources for individual programs. You can also attend the Choosing Your Program Fair, Program Information Sessions and visit the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) to discuss your program and career options.

Can I change my program?

Yes, but changes become more difficult the further into a program you are and if the programs are vastly different in nature. It is important to pursue a program that’s a good fit for you, but you will want to be sure you understand your options and the impact of those options.  If you are concerned about changing your program, be sure to speak with the staff in the Academic Advising & Career Centre. Programs can be changed on ACORN. Refer to the Registrar's website for the application procedure and deadlines and check out the Choosing your program resources.

What are the different kinds of programs at UTSC? How do I enroll in these programs?

At the point where you have earned or will be earning 4.0 credits at the end of your current semester, you must declare your program(s) on ACORN. Programs can be categorized as Specialists, Majors or Minor programs. Programs can also be further categorized as unlimited or limited. An unlimited program has no enrolment specifications and can be added at any time. A limited enrolment program is one where students compete for a place in the program on the basis of courses, grades and other criteria and can be requested only at certain times of the year. For instruction on how and when to apply, check the Registrar's website.

I really want to get into a limited enrolment program at UTSC. How can I make myself competitive to get in? Can I apply again if I don't get in the first time?

Generally, it requires a relatively high GPA (2.5 or higher) to get into limited enrolment programs, and the GPA cut-off for programs tends to change from year to year. There may be required courses you have to take and a minimum number of credits you must earn in order to be considered. These requirements are listed in the academic calendar under the appropriate program. If you are applying to a co-op program you need to submit supplementary information. Check the Management Co-op and Arts & Science Co-op websites.

You can apply to limited enrolment programs more than once. There are two enrolment periods per year; one in March-April and one in June-July. However, there may be a limit on the number of credits you can earn before being restricted from applying to these programs. For example, for management programs, students who have completed more than ten full credits cannot apply.

My parents are pressuring me to stay in a program that I don't like because it will help me get a good job when I graduate. What should I do?

Talk to your parents and be honest with them. Perhaps they do not realize how unhappy you are in your current program. Doing research into employment opportunities may help them understand that other programs can also lead to great careers. If you need help making an informed decision regarding your programs and to discuss career options, visit the staff in the Academic Advising & Career Centre. Additionally, you can check the Program Pathways for more information on program related careers.

What programs do I need in order to complete my degree?

It depends on your degree. If you intend to graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Science or Honours Bachelor of Arts, you must complete the following: (a) one Specialist program, or (b) two Major programs, or (c) two Minor Programs and a Major program.

If you intend to graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration, you must complete the following: (a) the Specialist program in Economics for Management Studies, or (b) one of the Specialist Programs listed in the Management section of the Calendar.

Earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 1.85. A student whose cumulative grade point average (CGPA) is at least 1.60, but less than 1.85, may request to graduate with a BA or BSc. Pay careful attention to the program requirements, as some programs require a higher CGPA to be able to graduate with that program.

I have received some transfer credits. Will these courses count toward my program?

If you received a specified transfer credit that is equivalent to a requirement for your new program, then it will most likely count toward your program. However, it is still important to confirm this with your Program Advisor. If you received an unspecified transfer credit (e.g. MATA***), consult with your Program Advisor to determine if the unspecified credit meets prerequisite or program requirements. Check the Registrar's website for more information on transfer credits.

How do I know if a co-op program is right for me?

Co-op programs offer students an excellent opportunity to gain practical skills in work-related situations specific to their program(s) of study. If you are interested in gaining 8 to 12 months of work experience during your university degree, and you possess a strong GPA and excellent time management skills, a co-op program might be right for you.

I've selected two major programs but some of my courses overlap. Is this allowed?

When combining programs, you are allowed some overlapping courses. However, there is a limit on the number of courses you can overlap between programs. According to the Honours Degree requirements listed on your Academic Calendar, you must include twelve distinct credits among your programs. For example, if the requirements for your two major programs total 14.0 credits, you can overlap up to 2.0 credits. Use the 12 Distinct Credits Tipsheet to assess how many credits you can overlap. For more information, consult with the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC) and/or your Program Advisor.


What is a petition and how do I submit one? What are my options if my petition isn't granted?

A petition is a student's formal request for an exception to the normal rules and regulations at UTSC. You must make this request by the published deadline on an online petition form, explaining the reasons that support it and submitting any relevant documentation separately. Petitions are submitted through the eService portal which is available on the Registrar's website. To use this service, you need a valid UTORid.

Please carefully review the Registrar's web page on Petitions for specific instructions. It is advisable that if you are considering submitting a petition that you discuss your situation with the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC). They can help you to determine if this is a viable option for you and assist you in understanding the overall process.

If your petition is refused, you may appeal the decision. For more information on appeals check the Registrar's website.

I missed a final exam because I was sick. What do I do now?

Occasionally, students encounter circumstances where it is impossible for them to write the exam. If you are ill or other circumstances prevent you from attending a final exam(s), you may petition to defer the exam until a later date (in most cases until the next final exam period). There are a number of very important considerations you need to be aware of before making your decision.  Please review these considerations on the Registrar’s website.

Probation & Suspension

How does probation work?

If you have been placed on academic probation, it means your cumulative GPA (CGPA) has dropped below 1.60. Probation is a warning from the university that you must improve your grades. Once your CGPA reaches 1.60 or above, you will return to good standing. Boosting your CGPA will require increased effort on your part. It may also require a change of program, a reduced course load, and/or a change in lifestyle. To help get back on track you can create an academic plan with an Academic & Learning Strategist in the AA&CC. The UTSC calendar provides additional information on academic standing including the specific requirements for returning to "In Good Standing" status.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Your grade point average (GPA) is the average of the grade point values that you have earned in the credit courses you have taken while a student at UTSC. You can use the GPA calculator or review the How to Calculate your GPA worksheet.

I've been suspended, what should I do?

Suspension occurs when a student who is already on probation has a sessional GPA (SGPA) of less than 1.60. If this is your first suspension, you will serve a four-month suspension. To register in courses after serving your suspension, you need to complete a re-enrolment form and submit it to the Registrar's Office. Please visit the Registrar’s website for details on the process.

Am I allowed to take courses at other post-secondary institutions while I'm suspended?

Some students apply to study at a college while suspended from university. This may help refine your academic skills, but you cannot earn credit towards your UofT degree while on suspension. In most cases, other universities will refuse to register you in courses while you are on suspension. We strongly recommend that you take this time to reflect upon the factors that led to your suspension and to meet with an Academic & Learning Strategist to create an action plan to improve your academic standing upon your return to your studies at UTSC.


How can I change my degree? For example, I want to complete an Honours Bachelor of Science, but I’m currently enrolled in the Honours Bachelor of Arts.

You can request a "Degree POSt Change" through the "eService Portal" on the Registrar's website. To use this service, you need a valid UTORid.

Can I upgrade my 3-year degree to an Honours degree?

UTSC has discontinued the three year degree. Students who began their degree program at UTSC prior to the 2004 Summer Session may still choose to complete a three-year degree.  Please see the Academic Calendar.  Details on how to re-enroll may be found on the Registrar’s website.

I want to know if I have all of the requirements needed to graduate. Who should I talk to?

If you want to confirm you have met all of the requirements for your program(s) and degree, the first place you should check is Degree Explorer. Use your student number or UTORid to log in. For more information on how to obtain a degree and program assessment, review the Degree Explorer instructions.

If there are any discrepancies or if you have any concerns with the Degree Explorer assessment, you should consult your Program Advisor(s). If you have questions about meeting degree requirements (such as questions about electives or meeting the required GPA), you are welcome to speak with staff at the Academic Advising & Career Centre (AA&CC).