Dropping or withdrawing from a course

When should I drop or withdraw from a course?

Drop it as soon as you know you don’t want to take it. Your fellow students are waiting for the chance to grab an open seat.

Be aware of drop/withdrawal deadlines. The drop deadline allows you to drop without financial penalty or any notation on your transcript. After that, you may withdraw up to the withdrawal deadline. You’ll have to pay for at least part of the course, and will see a ‘W’ on your transcript.

As drop/withdrawal deadlines approach, assess your ability to meet your obligations. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be wise to adjust your course load, or at the very least access UBC’s support services.

Note: If you are required to maintain a minimum course load due to housing, varsity sport, funding or other circumstances, make sure you are aware of how many credits you must be registered in before you think about withdrawing from a course. See Credit Limits. If you are on student loans, speak with your Enrolment Services Professional (ESP) about any potential financial implications of dropping or withdrawing from a course.

Students on financial hold (or any hold) need to contact Enrolment Services to drop a course.


Do I have to pay for the course?

In some cases, yes. The amount that you have to pay for a course depends on when you withdrew from it. See Refund of Tuition Fees in the UBC Calendar.

What if I missed the deadline?

You are not permitted to withdraw from a course after the withdrawal deadline unless you qualify for academic concession. If you’ve been struck by illness or tragedy, or are experiencing unforeseen circumstances that have impacted your studies, contact Arts Academic Advising as soon as possible, and prior to the deadline to submit academic concession requests.

If you remained registered in the course past the withdrawal deadline, and do not qualify for academic concession, you have committed to completing the course.

What does a “W” mean academically?

A withdrawal does not detract from your academic record, but does result in a “W” standing. A ‘W’ on your transcript indicates that you have attempted a course and have chosen to withdraw from it within university guidelines. A ‘W’ is not calculated into your overall GPA or continuation evaluation.

If you are concerned about the impact of a “W” on your academic history and are applying to other schools or graduate programs, you should contact the respective organization for information on how they might regard a ‘W’ on a transcript. Note that several UBC Faculties, graduate and professional programs have been surveyed about how they view a “W” on a student’s application to their program, and all have provided a similar response: A “W” on a student’s record conveys no useful admissions-related information. These programs are interested in the courses you’ve actually completed and the grades you actually earned – not the courses you didn’t complete.