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Taking courses at another institution

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/04/2014 - 7:05pm

There may be occasions when taking courses at another institution could add value to your academic program. Whether you wish to attend an institution in the city of Calgary, in Alberta, in Canada or abroad, permission from the Faculty of Arts must be sought prior to registering as a Visiting Student. The following information outlines the limitations on taking courses at another institution and the process that needs to be followed.

Why would I want to take courses at another institution?

Reasons for taking courses at another institution are varied and depend on the personal circumstances of each student. Most commonly, students may decide to take courses elsewhere due to:

  • Living outside of Calgary during the spring and summer semesters
  • Missing an important prerequisite course that will hinder completion of degree requirements
  • Having interest in a particular course that is not available at the U of C in a desired semester
  • Leaving Calgary for an extended period of time in which case taking courses elsewhere may help keep degree programs on track for completion.

Can I take courses at another institution?

Students may be authorized to complete course work at another institution if their registration as a Visiting Student is acceptable to that institution. Permission must be obtained from the Faculty of Arts in the form of a Letter of Permission (LOP) prior to attendance at the destination institution. Students with poor academic performance, such as being on probation or having a large number of withdrawals, and first year students will normally not be allowed such privileges. If you find you are in one of these situations, you will need to submit a request to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs via the online webform at

What should I consider prior to applying for a Letter of Permission?

All courses taken outside of the University of Calgary are considered transfer courses. The only exception generally applies to University of Calgary Group Study programs organized through CISSA where University of Calgary course credit is obtained at another institution. The following are important factors that should be considered prior to applying for a Letter of Permission. It may be best to consult with a program advisor in advance of your application.

  1. Do I currently have transfer credit? 
    There are limitations on the amount of transfer credit that students may have in their degree program. In the Faculty of Arts, students are limited to 10.0 full courses of transfer credit in total with a maximum of 4.0 full courses within the major field. For some minor programs, there are also restrictions regarding transfer credit amounts. If you are planning on taking courses elsewhere, they will be classified as transfer credit. You need to be aware if the new transfer credits will exceed the limitations of your degree and potentially result in loss of credit.

  2. How will planned courses transfer back to the University of Calgary?
    It is a good idea to check in advance how your planned courses will transfer to the University of Calgary prior to applying for a LOP. Keep in mind program limitations such as junior courses, and the number of courses within your major/minor field. If you are taking a course at an Alberta institution, you may wish to consult the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer. Additionally, you can consult with a program advisor at the Student Success Centre. Your approved LOP will state how the course currently transfers back to the University of Calgary.

  3. Is the course I am considering close in content to one I have already completed?
    If you have courses that are similar in content, only one of those courses may be used for credit in your program.

  4. When was the last time I took a course at the University of Calgary?
    While taking courses at another institution can sometimes help your program along, you need to be aware that if you are not taking courses at the U of C, you are not maintaining your student status. Students are allowed a maximum of seven consecutive sessions away from the University of Calgary. If this time is exceeded, then student status is forfeited and you must reapply to the University.

What are the steps involved in applying to take courses somewhere else?

  1. Determine which institution you would like to attend, when you plan to attend and what you plan to take. If you are attending an institution in Alberta, you can reference the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer website to see if there is already a transfer agreement in place that will allow you to see how your course will transfer back. If you are not attending an institution in Alberta, your LOP will state how the course will transfer back to the University of Calgary.

  2. Apply for your Letter of Permission (LOP) through your Student Centre. This step must be completed prior to attending another institution.

  3. You will receive your LOP via email within approximately 2-3 weeks. Since you require your LOP prior to applying to the destination institution, it is your responsibility to plan ahead and apply early. Once you receive your LOP, you may register in the courses you wish to.

  4. Once you have completed the courses, it is your responsibility to request your official transcripts be sent to the University of Calgary Admissions Office. No credit can be applied to your program until this step is complete.


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