Policies & Procedures

Registration & Course Enrolment


Once you are registered as a graduate student you have entered into a program of study and unlike undergraduate studies, you must register and pay fees every term, including the summer term and the term in which you will complete all degree requirements.

There are 3 basic steps to registering and enrolling in courses:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the registration information, which includes courses available for each term.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the steps to registration and course enrolment on the Office of the Registrar’s website.
  3. Connect by computer to the Registrar’s Office website and enrol in courses for each term.

Although all three actions are related and sequential, they are distinct and separate actions. All graduate students must register for the Fall, Winter, and Summer terms.

When Can I Register?

The Graduate Program Assistant will communicate to students when the access period to register will commence. Registration deadlines are also posted on the Faculty Graduate Studies website. After the posted deadline you can still register, but you will be charged a late registration fee of $200. The absolute deadline to register is always the 30th of the first month of the term. Failure to register by this last deadline can result in a student being withdrawn from their program for failure to maintain continuous registration.

Please note that the access period dates refer to the period during which a graduate student can access the Web registration and enrolment system to register, enrol in courses or drop courses. If the first month of the term has passed, graduate students are advised to check with their graduate program office to verify that courses can still be added or dropped. The system will allow graduate students the maximum flexibility to make changes online, however this does not guarantee that late additions or deletions of courses meet Faculty and/or Program requirements.

When Can I Enroll?

Once you have registered, you may enroll in courses. Unlike registration, enrollment is not a necessary action in every case. Some students may be using the term to prepare for their academic activities like their comprehensive exams. Although this is an academic activity, there is no course number affiliated with this activity.

Continuous Registration

The Faculty of Graduate Studies does not have an option whereby students can “stop out” for a term and then re-enter their program of study (except for the MBA program). Graduate students are required to register in each term until the completion of their degree as either a full-time or part-time student. A student may petition for the following other permissible categories of registration: Leave of Absence, External Leave of Absence, No Course Available, or Maternity/Paternity Leaves of Absence, Elective Leave.

If a student withdraws, or is withdrawn by the Faculty for failure to maintain continuous registration, the student will be required to petition for reinstatement (if eligible) or reapply for admision into the program and may be required to pay fees for the intervening term

Continuing Students

Only graduate students can use the automated system to register in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and enroll in graduate level courses; moreover, graduate courses are tied to specific graduate programs. In other words, only graduate Economics students can enroll in graduate Economics courses. Any other variation to this requires special permission.

Therefore, graduate students wishing to take courses in another graduate program, must first have permission from their home program and receive permission from the host program. Once both parties have given the student permission, as is indicated by the completion of a “Request to take Courses in Another Graduate Program” form, the host graduate program assistant extends permission to the student’s record to allow access to the course. Then, using the registration and enrolment system, the student may add or drop courses accordingly.


Petition forms can be picked up in the Graduate Program office and, when completed, returned to the Graduate Program Assistant. The form is then submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and requires approval of the Associate Dean. The types of petitions are as follows:

  1. Grade Change
    Removal of an F Grade from a student’s record If a student hasn’t completed course work by the end of a course, a grade of Incomplete is submitted to the Registrar’s office. If this grade is not changed by the 15th day of the beginning of the following term the Incomplete grade converts to an F grade.
    To remove the F grade or replace it with a new grade, a student must fill out a Petition Form, explaining the circumstances that led to the F grade. Students must provide satisfactory supporting documentation.
    Incomplete Grade Extension
    If you feel you will be unable to complete the course work in the time allotted, discuss this with your professor. S/he may give you an extension, which means when grades are submitted you will receive an Incomplete grade on your record. This extends the grade reporting date until the 15th day of the following term.

    • Any further extension requires a petition.
    • Please note: Students who have Incompletes on their record are not normally eligible for a Leave of Absence.
  2. Reinstatement
    Students who withdrew in good standing or were withdrawn for reasons other than academic, may petition for reinstatement within 3 terms of the last term registered.
  3. Time Extensions
    Time extensions are generally approved only on a part-time basis. A letter explaining the circumstances, a medical certificate (if appropriate) and a supporting letter from the supervisor must be attached. The supervisor’s letter should provide an academic rationale for the extension and the anticipated completion schedule. In requests for extension of full-time status, the academic circumstances that require full-time status should be outlined.

    • Part–time extensions: Candidates who have reached the maximum of 12 terms.
    • Full–time extensions: Candidates who have completed the maximum of 6 terms full-time may, under very exceptional circumstances, petition for an extension of their full-time status. Please note that Master’s candidates are allowed a further 6 terms part-time before they reach their time limit, for a total of 12 terms.

Leave of Absence

Please note that students cannot combine Leaves of Absence to equal more than 4 terms LOA.

  1. Leave of Absence (Petition required)
    Students may petition for a Leave of Absence on medical (doctor’s note required), personal or compassionate grounds for up to a maximum of three terms.

    • Contact the Graduate Program Director about the request.
    • Write a letter to the Graduate Program Director outlining the reason for the request and the time duration. You should submit this letter at least one month before the start of the term for which you want the leave.
    • Contact the Graduate Program Assistant to complete a Petition form.
  2. Maternity Leave
    You can apply for maternity leave in addition to the three terms allowed under an ordinary Leave of Absence. A Maternity LOA is regarded as an inactive term and is not included in the calculation of time limits for completion of the MSW degree. Ask the Graduate Program Assistant for the appropriate form.
  3. Parental Leave
    This one–term Parental Leave is available to students who are providing care to family members. This is additional to maternity leave. A Parental LOA is regarded as an inactive term and is not included in the calculation of time limits for completion of the MSW degree.
  4. Elective Leave of Absence
    This leave is for students wishing to take one term off, not due to compassionate or medical reasons. This leave is available under special circumstances only, and not available to full-time students. Please contact the Graduate Program Assistant for information.
    Note: Ordinarily, students who are carrying grades of Incomplete will not be granted leaves. Continuous registration must be maintained at a cost of $184.49 per term. Time limits are frozen during all leaves.

Convocation Process

Graduate students must apply to graduate. Advanced standing MSW students convocate in the October ceremony, therefore the deadline for the Convocation Form is August 30th.

The Graduate Program Assistant then performs a degree audit on each candidate and determines his/her eligibility for convocation. If a student is not eligible, s/he will be notified immediately and steps to assist the student to rectify the situation will be taken if applicable.

Students are eligible for convocation when:

  • they have completed and submitted their Practice-based Research Paper (PRP), and the paper has been approved by the two readers; and
  • all other courses are complete (including Practicum) and students have received marks in all of them.

Using the Title of MSW

The Faculty of Graduate Studies is very strict about the use of degree titles. You may only use your degree title once the degree has been conferred. It is fraudulent to use your degree title before this time. Once you have your degree in hand you may begin calling yourself “Your Name, MSW”. If you would like a letter indicating your eligibility to convocate for employment purposes, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant, who will fax one to your employer.

Membership in the OCSWSSW

If you wish a form to be sent indicating that you have received your MSW from York, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant after convocation.