Special Student

The category of special student is intended for those who wish to take certain graduate courses without intending to complete a graduate degree and without being subject to the requirements of a particular graduate program. Special students may enrol in graduate courses provided they obtain the approval of the academic unit concerned. They must comply with regulations pertaining to the courses for which they register, such as attendance requirements, assignments, examinations and passing grades.

Special students may enrol for a maximum of two three-credit courses or the equivalent per session, and will be enrolled on a part-time basis.

In the event that special students later apply for admission to a graduate degree program, they may request and, if the request is approved, receive credits for a maximum of two graduate three-credit courses, taken at the University of Ottawa or elsewhere, provided they meet the admission requirements.

Students whose undergraduate qualifications do not meet the admission requirements for a graduate degree program, and who wish to obtain the required qualifications, must register at the undergraduate level.

Policy for Graduate Course Enrollment for Special Students and Students Registered in other Graduate Programs

Students may be permitted to register for some graduate psychology courses without being formally accepted into or subject to the requirements of the Ph.D. program in psychology at the University of Ottawa.

The policies and procedures are as follows.


  • for transfer of credit to another university;
  • for professional certification and/or postdoctoral training in clinical psychology;
  • for upgrading purposes;
  • for personal interest.


  • those with an Honours B.A. in Psychology or its equivalent;
  • practicing professionals, such as lawyers, nurses, or social workers;
  • graduate students from another discipline at the University of Ottawa;
  • students registered in a graduate program in psychology at another university;
  • those who are enrolled in postdoctoral training.


Students must obtain the signed approval of the professor responsible for the course, and the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee, before registering for courses. Ordinarily, students will not be permitted to enroll in graduate courses in which 15 or more students in our doctoral program have enrolled by the regular deadline for registration for each term. Accordingly, requests are to be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee well before the beginning of registration, and approval may be conditional on the number of enrolled students in the doctoral program.

Compliance with Course Requirements:

Students must comply with the requirements of the courses for which they register, i.e. course prerequisites, attendance, assignments, examination, etc.

Number of Courses:

Students may register for a maximum of two 3-credit courses per term. The maximum a student is permitted to take is normally limited to five 3-credit courses. In accordance with graduate policies of the University of Ottawa, a maximum of two 3-credit courses or the equivalent may be recognized for advanced standing in the case where future admission into a graduate program in Psychology is obtained.

Restricted Courses:

With the general exception of postdoctoral clinical students, special students and students enrolled in other graduate programs are not permitted to enroll in practicum, internship, or course-related practica. However, students are permitted to enroll in courses even though they are not permitted to enroll in the practica for those courses.

A current list of restricted courses may be obtained at the graduate office of the School of Psychology. A course may be placed on the restricted list on the basis of such considerations as the following: (a) decision of the Graduate Studies Committee, (b) recommendation of the professor teaching the course, including a consideration of the degree to which the course provides clinical skills and competencies, as well as other considerations for including the course on the restricted list.

The list of restricted courses is reviewed annually (during Winter term) and submitted to the Executive Committee.

List of Restricted Courses

Application for Registration as a Special Student

Back to top