Dropping/withdrawing for undergraduate students

Before making the decision to drop or withdraw from courses (or the university entirely), it’s important to understand the academic and financial implications. For example, dropping a course after the last day for enrolment and course changes may satisfy an academic need, but carry financial implications that impact aid and awards as well as your McMaster student account.

Before dropping or withdrawing from a course, you should:

  • Discuss the pros and cons with your academic advisor in your faculty.
  • If you are an OSAP student, find out how this will impact your OSAP assessment.
  • Review the cancellation schedules for financial consequences.

Note: As the Academic Calendar indicates, after the last day for enrolment and course changes, you can withdraw from courses until the last day to withdraw without failure by default . Withdrawn courses will be shown on your transcript with a grade of W. After the last day to withdraw without failure by default, you will remain enrolled, whether or not you fulfil any further academic obligations, and a final grade will be assigned. If you have any questions about withdrawing late from a course, please contact your academic advisor.

Dropping vs. withdrawing from a Course(s)

Understanding the difference between dropping a course and withdrawing from a course is financially critical. You can find the deadlines for dropping and withdrawing in the sessional dates.

Dropped courses

  • Any course dropped before the last day for enrolment and course changes (drop & add) within a session.
  • Dropped courses are removed from your student record. While associated tuition fees are also removed, there may still be financial consequences, such as impacts to OSAP or loss of an entrance award.

Speak to a Student Services Professional about how dropping a course may impact your OSAP by joining our online chat. A change request form may be required.

Withdrawn courses

  • Any course withdrawn after the last day for enrolment and course changes (drop & add) within a session. Please note the last day for withdrawing from courses in the Sessional Dates.
  • Withdrawn courses remain on your student record as “withdrawn” (W), are subject to cancellation fees (refer to cancellation fee schedule on the right side of this page), and may have other financial consequences, such as impacts to OSAP or loss of an entrance award.
  • If you have decided to withdraw from a session or from the university entirely, you must first remove your courses from Mosaic (otherwise charges will remain).
  • We recommend contacting your academic advising office if you have any questions about withdrawing late from courses.

Withdrawing from McMaster

You may need to withdraw from McMaster for varying reasons. We encourage you to first connect with supports on campus to explore options that can help during your studies, including but not limited to:

There is no form or permission needed to voluntarily withdraw, nor is it notated on your transcript. If you have made the decision to withdraw, use the step-by-step guide below to guide you through the process:

  1. We recommend speaking with your faculty office’s advising team if you have any academic concerns related to withdrawing. If you are absent for longer than 5 years OR attend another university or graduate from a college program during your absence, you must reapply to return to studies.*
  2. Drop your courses on Mosaic by the deadlines outlined in the sessional dates. Please refer to the fee cancellation schedule on this page to determine how your tuition fees are reassessed. If you are unable to withdraw from your courses yourself, please contact your faculty office.
  3. After dropping your courses, pay off any outstanding balance on your student account. If your withdrawal results in a credit on your student account, you can request a refund.
  4. If you are an OSAP student, please ensure you close your application. If your application has already been processed, update it with the withdrawal information by completing an OSAP Change Request Form and uploading it to the optional documents section of your OSAP application. Review OSAP Repayment for more information. If you have questions or concerns about your OSAP, please contact Student Services.
  5. Return your student card to the Registrar’s Office in Gilmour Hall 108 in person or by mail
  6. If you are living in residence, please contact Residence Admissions and refer to their withdrawal policy.

*Students in the School of Nursing must reapply regardless of the length of absence. Contact your program office for more information.

Important to know

  1. The PDF schedules on this page represent how tuition is reassessed. Supplementary fees are non-refundable. The course cancellation fee schedule is located in the sidebar of this page.
  2. If at any time during the academic year you are registered in 18 units or more (including cancelled courses), you will be assessed MSU Supplementary Fees. These fees are non-refundable after the add/drop date, even if you drop back under 18 units (or part-time status) at a later date.
  3. Changes in course load will reflect in the tuition on your Account Summary. These fee changes will be reflected in real time.
  4. Refunds: Credits for dropped/cancelled courses are first applied toward other balances owing to the university (Residence, Meal Plan, Miscellaneous charges, Campus Store purchases, etc). Credits will appear as a negative balance on the student account. Any unapplied credit amount can be refunded. Learn how to request a refund here.

Undergraduate students studying with a study permit may request an authorized leave to pause their studies for a defined period of time.  You can begin the application process by connecting with International & Exchange Student Experience (IESE) at international@mcmaster.ca.

Approval from the student’s Faculty or program office and subsequent arrangements should be finalized prior to the start of the authorized leave.  More information about an authorized leave is absence is available here.


Guide to AwardSpring – Your scholarship and bursary platform

Guide to AwardSpring – Your scholarship and bursary platform Event

What is AwardSpring? The AwardSpring platform is where McMaster students go to find and apply for internal scholarship and bursary...

Your guide to applying for full-time OSAP

Your guide to applying for full-time OSAP Event

Are you eligible for full-time OSAP and need help applying? Then this guide is for you! Read on to learn...

Webinar: Help applying for OSAP

Webinar: Help applying for OSAP Event

Join Student Services for an online webinar that offers new students and their families, information and guidance on how to...

Intro to OSAP

Intro to OSAP Event

View our video tutorial above for the common practices on applying to OSAP. To calculate your course load, you can...