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 Withdrawn courses will be shown on your transcript with a grade of W. After the last day to withdraw without failure by default, you will remain enrolled, whether or not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.
- 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.
- Any course withdrawn after the last day for enrolment and course changes (drop & add) within a session.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- Withdrawn courses remain on your student record as “withdrawn” (W), are subject to cancellation fees (refer to cancellation fee schedule on the right side of this page), and may have other financial consequences, such as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:
- Your faculty office for academic advising
- Student Wellness Centre
- Student Accessibility Services
- Student Success Centre
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:
- 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.*
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Click here to learn about loan repayments. If you have questions or concerns about your OSAP, please contact Student Services.
- Return your student card to the Registrar’s Office in Gilmour Hall 108 in person or by mail
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Changes in course load will reflect in the tuition on your Account Summary. These fee changes will be reflected in real time.
- 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.