Skip to main content

New & current independent students

You’re in independent studies! Now what?

You've been granted authorization to register for courses as an undergraduate independent student. Carefully read your letter of authorization, sent to you by email, to learn about what you need to do next as a Concordia student.

Don’t forget these key steps:

  • Check for possible fee exemptions
    Quebec residents pay a lower tuition rate at Concordia. If you are a Quebec resident, make sure you confirm your residency status with Concordia before the fee payment deadline to avoid extra charges.
    In some situations, non-residents qualify for the Quebec tuition rate. If you meet the criteria, apply online for Quebec residency status through your Student Centre (click “Quebec Residency Application”).
  • Avoid a permanent code surcharge
    All students in Quebec have a permanent code. Provide Concordia with your permanent code by filling out the form online in your Student Centre to avoid extra fees. If you don’t already have a permanent code, Concordia will issue one when you fill out the form.
  • Submit immigration documents, if you are an international student approved to register at Concordia.
  • Request exemptions or prerequisite waivers
    Some courses have prerequisites, which are classes required to take higher-level courses. You may have already completed equivalent courses in high school, Cegep, or other university.

Recommended courses

If you are taking courses as an Independent Student to meet the admissions requirements for a degree at Concordia, we encourage you speak with an academic advisor from your target faculty help with course planning. Some Concordia degree and certificate programs require you to take specific courses to be eligible for admission while others do not have specific requirements other than a certain cumulative grade point average (CGPA).

If this is your first time studying at Concordia and you previously took CEGEP courses, you may be exempt from equivalent courses at Concordia. 

Many of the math and science courses required for admission to degrees have prerequisites.

Reference the recommended courses for independent students and browse the Arts and Science elective courses open to independent students.

Course registration

For instructions on how to register for courses, follow our step-by-step guide.

Independent students begin registering for courses after degree program students have the chance to register. This is approximately one month before the beginning of the academic term.

Registration dates for independent students
Term Independent student status Registration start date Registration end date
(DNE deadline)*
Winter 2024 Newly authorized November 21, 2023 January 29, 2024
Summer 2024 Returning and newly authorized March 18, 2024 Dates vary
Fall 2024 Returning and newly authorized July 31, 2024 September 16, 2024
Winter 2025 Newly authorized November 19, 2024 January 27, 2025

*You must submit an Independent Student Request Form [PDF] to be considered for late registration.

International Students: You will only be able to register for courses once you have shared your Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and study permit with the International Students Office.

Independent students can register for fewer than 12 credits per academic term (Fall, Winter or Summer). If you would like to exceed this maximum and take 12 credits, you must submit a special request. Permission is given to students who have completed at least 9 credits at Concordia and have a 2.7 CGPA.

Course scheduling tips:

  • Set aside a minimum of five hours of study time each week per course (in addition to the time you spend in class). Many classes may require additional study time!
  • Consider all of your commitments as you plan your schedule to balance your academic work with any other work and/or personal commitments.

Some courses at Concordia have a prerequisite requirement, meaning that the course requires you to first take the prerequisite (first) course before you take the next course.

You may have already fulfilled some prerequisites if you previously studied in CEGEP or another university. Some high school math courses will also fulfill some prerequisites. If you want to take a course with prerequisites, you will need to show that you have already completed the prerequisite course by completing a Prerequisite Waiver Form . Prerequisite waivers can take two weeks or more, so don’t wait until the last minute to submit one.

TIP: If you have not previously completed certain prerequisite courses, it’s best to fit them into your schedule now, so that you have access to your desired course in a later semester.

“I don’t know what course(s) I should take.”

“I need help using Concordia’s online course registration system.”

“The course I want to take is full.”

  • The registration period for independent students only opens one month before classes begin, whereas students in programs can start registering months in advance. This means that sometimes the classes you want to take will already be full. 
  • Add yourself to the waitlist, if the course has one. In the first two weeks of classes, the waitlist will begin to move as students will be attending their courses and dropping them for different reasons. It’s important to watch your email and portal for updates on the waitlist. 
  • If the course doesn’t have a waitlist, frequently check the course registration numbers in case a spot becomes available. 

“The course I want to take has spots available, but I can’t enrol in it.”

  • Confirm that you have completed any prerequisite requirements for the course. 
  • There are many courses that independent students cannot take because they are reserved exclusively for students in a degree program (such as most Fine Arts and John Molson School of Business courses). 
  • Add yourself to the course waitlist if this option is available. Seats may open up closer to the start of classes. 
  • Contact the department offering the course to find out their policy for allowing non-program students to take the class. 

“The course I want to take has a prerequisite requirement, so I can’t register.”

  • Refer to the course description to check the prerequisite requirements. 
  • If you want to take a course with prerequisites, you will need to show that you have already completed the equivalent course by submitting a Prerequisite Waiver Form with your transcripts. Prerequisite waivers take up to 10 business days to process. Please take registration deadlines into consideration when placing this request. 

“I want to take 12 credits in the winter semester.”

  • Independent students can take courses on a part-time basis, which means fewer than 12 credits per term in the fall and winter and a maximum of 12 credits over the summer terms.
  • If you want to request an exception to this rule to take 12 credits in the fall or winter semester, you can request a course overload by submitting a Student Request Form to undergrad.independent@concordia.ca

Academic regulations

As an independent student, you follow the same Concordia rules and regulations as certificate or degree program students. You can find the academic regulations in the undergraduate calendar.

Once you’ve been granted authorization to register for courses as an undergraduate independent student, this is valid for 3 years. This means that even if you don’t register for any courses in the term you first applied to, you can register for courses for up to 3 years without submitting a new application. You will only need to submit a new application after three years of not taking any classes.

The Independent Student Request Committee reviews exceptions to academic regulations, or related matters. You may submit an Independent Student Request Form and supporting documentation directly to the Independent Student Request Committee. Decisions are normally made within (30) working days of receiving the request and will be final.

Types of exceptions include:

  • Late withdrawals
  • Registering for 12 credits in one term
  • Taking a course for a third time

It is your responsibility to officially withdraw from a course. There are two main ways you can withdraw from a course in your Student Centre during the academic term.

Not attending classes or telling an instructor you want to withdraw is not the same as officially withdrawing from a course. If you do not officially withdraw before the deadlines below, you will automatically receive a failing grade and are still responsible for full payment of tuition and other fees.

Did Not Enter (DNE)

  • Withdraw from courses with no academic penalty
  • Receive a full tuition refund
  • Did Not Enter" (DNE) courses will not appear on your transcript and will not affect your grade point average (GPA)
DNE deadlines*
Summer Term Dates vary by session
Fall Term
(and two-term courses)
September 18, 2023
Winter Term January 29, 2024

Non-standard term dates 
Not all courses fall within the standard term dates and deadlines. Please refer to term dates and deadlines.

*After the DNE deadline, you must submit an Independent Student Request Form if you want to withdraw from a course with no academic or financial impact.

Discontinued (DISC)

  • Withdraw from courses with no academic penalty
  • Must pay all tuition and course fees (including winter-term tuition for year-long courses)
  • Discontinued (DISC) courses will appear on your transcript, with a grade of “DISC”
  • Discontinued (DISC) courses will not affect your grade point average (GPA)
     
DISC deadlines*
Summer Term Dates vary by session
Fall Term December 5, 2023
Winter Term
(and two-term courses)
April 17, 2024

Non-standard term dates 
Not all courses fall within the standard term dates and deadlines. Please refer to term dates and deadlines.

*After the DISC deadline, you must submit an Independent Student Request Form if you want to drop a course.

  • Courses you take as an Independent student may count towards a degree program or certificate, if you achieve a minimum grade of C-.
  • The acquired credit and final grade transfer to the degree program, if eligible. 
  • Up to a maximum of 30 credits earned as an independent student can transfer to a degree program. This will be determined once you are admitted to a degree program.

Failed standing
For Independent students with the following message on their record:
“Assessed — May Not Register Without Special Permission” or “Assessed — May Not Re-Register”

Resources for academic success

While independent students are not admitted to a particular faculty, you can meet with academic advisors in each faculty for academic advising!

Type of inquiry Info to consult Person to talk to
Don’t know what courses to take Contact an academic advisor from your target faculty.
Help using the system to register for courses Read through the course registration How-To guides Contact the Welcome Crew Mentors.
Experiencing academic difficulty Check the learning and study skills resources and events offered by the Student Success Centre. Contact an academic advisor from your target faculty.
Placed in failed standing
  • Students in failed standing must apply for readmission.
  • Follow procedures outlined in the failed standing letter.
Advice about applying to a degree or certificate program and your eligibility   Contact an academic advisor from your target faculty.
General questions about admission requirements for a degree or certificate; assistance with making applications Check the admission criteria for each program and minimum program requirements. Request a meeting with an admissions information officer in the Welcome Centre.

Faculty/School Telephone number Advising email address Building address Academic departments
Arts and Science
Student Academic Services
514-848-2424, ext. 2104 sas.fas@concordia.ca AD 202 (LOY) Arts & Science department advisors
Fine Arts
Student Academic Services 
514-848-2424, ext. 4612 finearts.sas@concordia.ca EV 2.705 (SGW) Fine Arts departments
Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science
Student Academic Services 
514-848-2424, ext. 3055 steve@encs.concordia.ca EV 2.125 (SGW) Gina Cody School department contacts
John Molson School of Business
Undergraduate Student Affairs Office 
514-848-2424, ext. 2721 steve.clark@concordia.ca MB 4.201 (SGW) Undergraduate Student Affairs Office

Advisors can also be reached at the Student Service Station every Wednesday at 11:30 on Zoom.

The Student Success Centre offers academic, personal and professional support throughout your Concordia education. They provide many resources that are helpful to independent students, including:

...and many more!

All of the Student Success Centre’s programming and resources are available to independent students.

© Concordia University