This section explains how UCalgary's course system works. It also has information about the types of courses that exchange students are and are not allowed to take, and instructions for how to register in courses once you are accepted to UCalgary.
The University Calendar is a compilation of courses taught at UCalgary, listed alphabetically by subject. This is a good place to start your search! However, keep in mind that this list contains all courses that have ever been taught. It does not show whether a course will be offered in your exchange semester.
The Class Search is a tool to find courses taught in specific semesters. It also shows whether courses are open for registration or if they are full. (If your exchange semester is not yet available, we recommend searching for the most recent Fall or Winter semester. Make sure to un-check the box that says "show open classes only", as otherwise no results will appear!) After your exchange application is accepted, you will have access to register in courses through the Class Search.
Most undergraduate degrees at UCalgary are 4 years long. The numbers correspond approximately to the year of study a course is intended for, with some overlap as follows:
200: for students in 1st/2nd year
300: for students in 2nd/3rd year
400: for students in 3rd/4th year
500: for students in 4th year
600: graduate courses, not open to undergraduate students
Students in older years of their degree are free to take less advanced courses. However, students in earlier years of their degree may or may not be able to take a more advanced course. It depends on the course prerequisites (see the "How do I know which courses I can take?" section below).
The letters attached to each course indicate the subject. For example, SOCI = Sociology, GRST = Greek and Roman Studies, etc.
You can find a list of all possible subject options at the link below.
Each UCalgary course is worth 3 units. Exchange students register in at least 3 courses (9 units) and maximum of 5 courses (15 units) per semester. Your home university may also have requirements for the minimum number of courses you need to take while on exchange. Please consult with your exchange advisor and make sure that you are satisfying both the requirements of your home university and UCalgary.
Most courses have 3 lecture hours per week. Some have extra components, such as labs or tutorials, for an extra hour per week. Attendance at lectures and labs is usually mandatory while tutorial attendance is sometimes mandatory; you will learn the attendance expectations in your first class. Students generally spend 2 hours studying or preparing coursework for each hour spent in class. If English is not your first language, you may need to spend more time preparing.
Courses at UCalgary run for the entire semester length. Most courses have regular quizzes and individual or group assignments throughout the semester. Most courses also have one or more midterm exam in the semester, and a final paper or exam at the end of the semester. This may be more work during the semester than you are used to at your home university! Many exchange students find it valuable to join study groups and use academic supports, such as the Student Success Centre.
One of the many benefits of going on exchange is the opportunity to take interesting courses that may not be available at your home university! However, not all of the courses at UCalgary will be available to you, so you should have flexibility in your course interests. Here are 3 course difficulties to keep in mind.
Many courses will require you to have certain background knowledge. For example, before taking FREN 211 (Beginner French II) you must take the prerequisite FREN 209 (Beginner French I). Courses at your home university won't have the same names, but you can read the UCalgary course descriptions to get an idea of whether you have taken a similar course. After your exchange application is accepted, you will complete a formal Course Approval process to prove you have the right academic background.
Some departments, faculties, and campuses are closed to exchange students, meaning that you are not allowed to take any courses within these categories. Other courses have limitations for exchange students. Please carefully read our Course Restrictions page, and contact us if you have any questions.
Other Potential Issues
Please note that exchange students cannot register for courses until after UCalgary students, which means that some courses may be full by the time you register. You may find that a course you wish to take is being offered on a campus that exchange students cannot attend, or that two courses you are interested in are being offered at the same time (you cannot attend two courses that overlap). This is why it's important to have back-up options.
In your exchange application, you are asked to provide a list of courses you are interested in taking. Please note that this list is tentative (not confirmed) - it is used simply to make sure that you are not seeking to take courses which are restricted.
After your exchange application has been accepted, you will receive an Acceptance Package with instructions to register in courses. Please see the link below for more information.
Fall and Winter Semester
UCalgary has 2 semesters that exchange students can attend: Fall (September to December) and Winter (January to April). Each semester lasts approximately 13 weeks. Fall exchange students are expected to arrive on September 1, and Winter exchange students on January 1, in order to move in to campus residence and attend orientation before classes begin.
The final exam period is the last two weeks of semester. (Not all courses have exams; you may be evaluated by a final paper or project. Your professor will explain this on the first day of class.) As UCalgary does not consider travel plans a valid reason to miss a final exam, we advise that you do not plan to travel home early. It is best to book your return flight after the last date of the exam period, which is listed in the University Calendar.
GPA and Letter Grades
UCalgary uses a 4-point scale to calculate a student's Grade Point Average (GPA). Most professors assign a percentage mark or a letter grade (A, A-, B+, etc.) which is converted into a GPA on your transcript. You can find the undergraduate grading system here and the graduate grading system here.
For information about how UCalgary course credit will transfer back to your home university studies, please speak to your home university exchange advisor. UCalgary does not determine how courses transfer to other universities; every university is responsible for having its own credit transfer system.
UCalgary does not automatically send transcripts for exchange students. You must order your own transcript.
You will be able to download an unofficial statement of grades through your UCalgary Student Centre. This may be sufficient for your personal records.
You will be able to request your official transcript through your UCalgary Student Centre. This will be required by your home university in order to transfer credit from your exchange studies back to your degree. Please note that official transcripts are only sent by mail; it is not possible to get your official transcript electronically.
The Taylor Family Digital Library (commonly called TFDL) is where students can book a workroom for group projects, browse text & media resources, try vintage gaming systems, and much more! Inside the library, you can also find services such as the Student Success Centre and the Nickle Gallery.
Late nominations/applications will not be considered. Permission to submit a late nomination/application must be sought before the respective deadline.
March 1, 2021
Priority Deadline for Fall & Full Year exchange student nominations.
This deadline gives students the best course access. However, we know this is not possible for some of our partners. We will continue to process nominations until the regular deadline.
March 15, 2021
Priority Deadline for Fall & Full Year exchange student applications.
Submitting applications by this deadline will give students earlier access to course registration. It allows students to have their course approvals in place by the registration opening date.
March 30, 2021
Regular Deadline for Fall & Full Year exchange student nominations.
April 15, 2021
Regular Deadline for Fall & Full Year exchange student nominations.
Sept. 15, 2021
Regular Deadline for Winter exchange student nominations.
Please note that we encourage our partner universities to submit their Winter nominations early. Waiting until September may mean limited courses are available to your students.
Sept. 30, 2021
Final Deadline for Winter exchange student nominations.
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