Term-Based Registration

Effective Spring 2023, course-based graduate students will be switched to a term-based registration system. 

What does this mean for me?

Under the current system of annual registration:

  • You initialize your registration once a year.  

  • At registration time, you declare full-time or part-time registration status for the full upcoming year.  

  • Because the current system requires you to maintain continuous registration, you have also been required to pay general fees even during terms when you are not taking any courses.  

  • Switching between full- and part-time status requires a request form that includes several approvals.  

Under the new system of term-based registration, effective Spring 2023:

  • The new process of registration initialization only requires confirming your personal contact details. You will not be asked to declare full- or part-time status for the upcoming year.  

  • Your registration status (full-time vs. part-time) will be determined by the number of units in which you enrol during each academic term. Each course you take has a certain unit load.  

  • Most general fees that were previously assessed annually as a lump sum will now be changed to per-term fees and will be assessed only during terms in which you are registered in courses.   

  • You can move between full- and part-time status simply by adding or dropping courses.  

What are the definitions of full- and part-time status?

Under the new system it is very important that you are aware of how the number of units in which you enrol in each academic term impact your full- or part-time status. As per Section G.D.3.2 of the Academic Calendar, full-time and part-time status in course-based graduate programs is defined as follows: 

 Full-time Part-time 
Fall 6 units or more Fewer than 6 units 
Winter 6 units or more Fewer than 6 units 
Spring 3 units or more Fewer than 3 units 
Summer 3 units or more Fewer than 3 units 

The number of units for any course can be found in the Courses of Instruction section of the Academic Calendar. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Adding courses will increase your unit load (the number of units in which you are registered) and dropping courses will decrease your unit load. If you move above or below the thresholds in the definition of full- and part-time status above, your registration status for that term will change. Courses must be added and dropped by the posted deadlines for each academic term (see Academic Schedule).  

Audit courses do not count towards your unit load. 

No. If you are unsure about your required courses or the expected completion timeline for your program, contact your graduate program. 

No. This change has no impact on tuition fees. 

Tuition fees will continue to be assessed on a per-course basis. For programs that have a program-specific tuition fee, tuition will be assessed in any term that a student is taking courses. 

Under the current system, course-based students pay both annual and per-term general fees and students pay general fees even in terms in which they aren’t taking any courses.  

Most general fees that are assessed on an annual basis are now transitioning to per-term fees. This means that these fees will only be assessed during terms in which students are taking courses.  

There is no change to health and dental insurance eligibility or coverage.   

If you are a full-time student (excluding students registered in distance delivery programs), you will automatically be enrolled in the health and dental plan (with the opportunity to opt out). The insurance policy year is September 1 through August 31. The cost of your health and dental fees and your coverage period will depend on the time of year in which you first become a full-time student. For example, if you are a full-time student on September 1, you will receive 12 months of coverage (September – August), but if you are part-time in September and become full-time in January, you will receive 8 months of coverage (January – August).   

For more details, please visit: gsa.ucalgary.ca/health-dental-services

If you have any questions about your health and dental insurance, please contact Studentcare: contact.studentcare.ca/en/contact/84.  

International students should maintain full-time registration status for the duration of their study, with the exceptions of scheduled breaks or the final term in program.  

Not all graduate programs have a scheduled break. If you are unsure whether your program has a scheduled break, contact your graduate program.  

Being a part-time student in an academic term, other than the last term, may impact eligibility to work in Canada and eligibility to obtain a Post-Graduation Open Work Permit.

International students can be part-time for the final term of their program without any negative impacts to their immigration status or Post-Graduate Work Permit eligibility. If you have any questions, please contact International Student Services at issimmigration@ucalgary.ca.

Confirmed student loans: 

  • If you currently have a student loan that has been confirmed past April 30, 2023, you can expect your loan to be disbursed as per your loan confirmation.  
  • Your student centre may show the message “Confirmation at Risk due to Enrolment Status”. This message will disappear once you register for Spring/Summer courses.  

Future student loans: 

  • Your student loan eligibility for each term will be determined by your full or part-time status according to the units for the courses in which you are enrolled.  
  • You should only apply for student loans for terms in which you are registered in courses.  
  • If you take courses for your program year-round, you will need to apply twice for student loans – once for Fall/Winter and once for Spring/Summer.  

It is important to connect with your graduate program as soon as possible if you are considering taking time away from your program. Graduate students may request a Leave of Absence (see Section G.D.7 of the Academic Calendar or the Leave of Absence webpage for information). Please note that some course-based graduate programs are designed for continuous enrolment and/or may not offer required courses every term or even every year.   

International students should always consult with International Student Services (issimmigration@ucalgary.ca) before taking any time away from their studies.