What courses can I take via the Western Deans agreement?

Registration is possible in courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and in credit courses offered through distance education or other means, subject to approval by the host institution. Check with the host institution for guidelines on what can and cannot be approved.

To be eligible, courses must be an integral part of the applicant's graduate degree program. Typically, students cannot take coursework via the Western Deans that is offered at their home institution. There may be exceptions to this rule. For example, a course may be listed in the catalogue but not offered during the duration of the student’s degree program or within the timeline the student needs to take a class in order to progress through their program. If you want to take a course that is offered at your institution, you should first contact the Faculty of Graduate Program office (or equivalent) to discuss your options.

Fee waiver is not permitted for audit or non-credit courses. You must be a student in good standing and cannot owe fees to your institution.

How do I apply to take coursework via the Western Deans?

Students apply by submitting a form found on the application process page. Western Deans requests must first be reviewed and approved by the student’s home institution. Processing units will vary but typically this will be done through the Graduate Programs office. 

Do not submit requests directly to the institution you would like to attend (host institution). Directly submitted forms will not be processed.

What is the deadline to submit a request to take coursework via the Western Deans?

Host institution deadlines vary by institution and these are posted with details on our Host Institution Specific Details page. We recommend you start planning well in advance of the start of the course you wish to take. In particular, processing time at Athabasca can take a couple of months and some institutions require a form be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the semester. Late forms will normally not be processed.

When considering the host institution deadline, you must ensure you allow sufficient processing time at your home institution to ensure the form can be submitted to the host institution by the deadline. You should check with your home institution for their deadline to submit a request and ensure you’ve left enough time to have your request reviewed by your department and the Graduate Programs office.

Registration into coursework via the Western Deans is at the discretion of the host institution. We recommend you submit your request as early as possible (once registration is open at the host institution). Applications are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis and institutions may elect to prioritize enrolment for students enrolled at their institution.

Fee waivers cannot be processed retroactively.

How long will it take to process my request?

Processing time varies at an institutional level. There are two stages to processing a Western Deans’ request. First, you must have the request approved by your home institution at the department/program level and then submit it to the processing unit for graduate programs. Following final review and approval, the form is sent to the host institution for processing. The host institution is responsible for coordinating the same approvals. Given the multiple touchpoints to have a request approved, we recommend you submit your form as early as possible.

Are there fees to take coursework via the Western Deans?

The Western Deans' Agreement provides an automatic tuition fee waiver for visiting students. Graduate students paying normal required tuition fees to their home institution will not pay tuition fees to the host institution. You will still pay tuition at your home institution.

However, students may be required to pay student, activity, application, or other ancillary fees to the host institution, according to general policies in effect at the host institution. Some of these fees may have an opt-out procedure (such as health insurance). If you are wondering about a particular fee, please consult the host institution website and follow the instructions on opt-out procedures. Pay careful attention to deadlines as fees cannot be retroactively reversed.

Is there a limit to the number of Western Deans courses I can take?

Students are subject to regulations of the home institution governing credit for the courses to be undertaken. You should review the rules in place at your institution. Additionally, host institutions may limit the number of courses they permit a student to take via the Western Deans, particularly if the student has accessed that institution in the past.

You must list all previously completed Western Deans coursework on your application.

Can I take a Western Deans course in my first semester?

Whether or not this is permitted will vary at each institution. You should contact your home institution well in advance of starting your first semester to plan for this.

How do I confirm completion of a course(s) to my home institution?

Once you have received a grade for your course(s), you should immediately arrange to submit an official transcript to your institution following the procedures in place at the host institution.

How do I withdraw from a course I have registered in?

Prior to requesting to take coursework via the Western Deans agreement, you should be sure that you are able to take the course(s). However, if an exceptional situation arises and you need to drop a course, you must contact the host institution and follow their procedures for course drop (including adhering to registration change deadlines). You must inform both the host and home institution. The process for course withdrawal is different at each institution so you will need to ensure you follow procedures and adhere to deadlines. Failure to drop coursework by the deadline may mean that any assessed fees are still owed and you may receive a failed grade.