Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions can be found below.

If your question is not listed below, please click here to see how you can connect with an Academic Advisor.

General Questions

What is Academic Advising?

The Academic Advising team helps students to navigate their undergraduate degree programs and provides information on how to reach their academic goals. This may include, but is not limited to, assistance with planning for degree programs, selecting courses, and clarifying academic procedures or regulations. 

What is the Academic Calendar?

The Academic Calendar is the official source of academic information on undergraduate and graduate programs offered at Nipissing University. This is where you will find information regarding the required courses for your program, degree framework, academic standing and progression, policies and regulations, and important academic dates.

Access the current Academic Calendar here   

Typically, students follow the Academic Calendar for the year in which they were admitted to the university, although if there are program changes in subsequent years, students can follow the new program rules. For example, if you began your studies at Nipissing in 2019, you will likely be following the Academic Calendar for the 2019-2020 year. Students must follow all the degree and program requirements from a single Calendar year.

Access Academic Calendar archives here   

What services does Academic Advising offer?

In addition to assisting with course selection, the Academic Advising office provides additional services that can be explored at this link.

I'm a new student. Where do I start?

If you are a student that is just beginning your post-secondary studies at Nipissing University, we recommend viewing our New Student Resources page.

If you already have any post-secondary experience, we recommend getting in touch with the Academic Advising team directly. 

How do I contact Academic Advising?

Current students can contact the Academic Advising team through e-mail and a live chat feature through Microsoft Teams. 

Connect with an Advisor   


How do I know which program I am in?

To confirm which program you are enrolled in, begin by logging into your WebAdvisor account, select the "Students" menu followed by "Search & Register for classes". Your current program should appear at the top of the page.

What is the difference between Honours Specialization, Specialization, and Major?

Generally, the different Degree Frameworks provide more or less specialization in a specific topic. For example, an Honours Specialization program requires students to take more courses in a subject compared to a Specialization program.

Students in the Concurrent Education program must be enrolled in an Honours program.

To learn more about Degree Frameworks, please visit the Academic Calendar website at this link.

What is the difference between a program average and cumulative average?

For each student, a program average and a cumulative (overall) average will be calculated. These averages will be used to assess a student’s eligibility to proceed.

Program averages will be based on the calculation of all attempted credits used to fulfill program requirements, as well as all failed credits in a program.

Cumulative averages will be based on the calculation of all attempted credits.

Average calculations include failed grades. All final grades below 50% are considered failures. Final grades below 40% will be included in average calculations as 40%. Final grades from 40-49% will be included in average calculations as the actual grades assigned. All final grades will be recorded on official transcripts as assigned.

Averages are rounded up for progression purposes (i.e. a 69.5% will be rounded up to 70%).

Can I switch to a different program?

As long as students have the proper admission requirements for their selected program, (e.g. 12U Biology or equivalent), they can change from one program to another. Students who intend to change their program should speak with an Academic Advisor to discuss new requirements and timeframe for finishing the degree.

Students looking to change or declare their program of study must inform the Registrar's Office by emailing

How can I take courses towards a Minor?

Students have the option of including a Minor in specific areas as part of their degree. Completing a Minor within a degree allows students to study a subject that academically complements or is completely separate from their program of study. A Minor consists of 18 credits as designated by the relevant discipline.

Successful completion of a Minor will be recorded on Nipissing’s official transcript. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for a Minor at the time they apply to graduate. A student cannot become eligible for a Nipissing Minor after graduation. Please note that if a Minor requirement is already being used to satisfy a program requirement, additional courses in the Minor must be taken to meet the required 18 credits for the Minor; for example, if a Criminal Justice program and a Sociology Minor both require SOCI 1016, a student may use this course to satisfy both the program and Minor, however, they must present 18 additional credits in SOCI to satisfy the SOCI minor requirement. Please refer to the appropriate discipline for specific minor requirements.

For more information on Minors, please visit this link. Program requirements for Minors can be found in the Academic Calendar.

What do I do if I want to take a break from my studies?

Nipissing students wishing to take a break from their studies can do so for up to an 18-month period, however, if the break between courses exceeds 18 months, they will be required to apply for readmission before they will be permitted to register and will be required to follow the degree and program requirements for the calendar year in which they resume their enrollment. 

If you are hoping to take some time away from your program, simply do not register in courses for those semesters. If you are a student in a program with an upcoming placement, it is recommended that you contact the program department to organize the placement for when you return. 

What do I do if I want to come back to finish my degree?

Previous Nipissing students who have not registered in courses for more than an 18-month period are required to apply for readmission before they will be permitted to register. Registration information will be provided once they have been re-admitted to the university.

Students seeking to complete an honours upgrade must:

  • Meet the current published minimum average requirements for the degree and the major;
  • Complete all the requirements for the four-year degree program as specified in the academic calendar for the year that they are re-admitted.

What do I do if I want to leave the University?

Before deciding to withdraw from the university, students may wish to speak to an Academic Advisor about the reasons for wanting to leave. If the student decides to withdraw, it is a very good idea for them to let the Registrar’s Office know about the decision.

If classes have begun and the decision has been made to withdraw, attention should be paid to the published withdrawal deadlines. Students should be sure to withdraw from classes through Webadvisor or the Registrar’s Office. If not properly done, the grade earned will be used on the student's transcript. If all assignments are not completed or the final exam is not written, it is likely that a student's grade will be quite low. Poor grades on the transcript could impact admission to post-secondary programs in the future.

Depending on the date of withdrawal from the university, students may be eligible for a refund of a portion of the tuition fees paid. Check with Student Financial Services for more information.

Courses, Registration, and Course Loads

How do I register/drop a course?

Students who wish to withdraw from a course, add a course, or substitute one course for another, must do so through WebAdvisor*. The Important Dates section of the Academic Calendar specifies the withdrawal dates for Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer courses.

For instructions on how to access WebAdvisor, please visit this link

Discontinuing attendance at classes, notifying an instructor or stopping payment does not constitute official withdrawal from a course.

*This does not apply to practicum courses in the Schools of Nursing and Social Work or to courses in the Bachelor of Education program. To withdraw from those courses, students must receive approval for a deferral of placement or a leave of absence from their department.

When can I register for courses?

The Registrar’s office will notify students of the registration dates via their Nipissing student email accounts.

Details for the Fall/Winter terms are normally available by late May of each year, and details for the Spring/Summer term are normally available by early March of each year. Students are encouraged to consult WebAdvisor for the most up-to-date information. Course offerings and course schedules vary from year-to-year.

When is the last day to register/drop a course?

The Important Dates section of the Academic Calendar specifies the registration and withdrawal deadlines for Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer courses.

Please note that academic and financial deadlines may differ. Please visit the Financial Services website for more information regarding financial deadlines.

What are Breadth Requirements?

All undergraduate programs (with the exception of Bachelor of Commerce, Consecutive Education, Nursing and Physical and Health Education) make reference to Humanities, Social Science, Science and Professional Discipline requirements (breadth requirements). The purpose of breadth requirements is to ensure that students are exposed to different disciplines within their degree.

For details on each of the Breadth Requirement categories, please visit this link

What are Electives?

Electives are courses taken outside of the program requirements, chosen by the student. Students often use elective credits to achieve additional goals such as majors, minors, certificates and/or teaching subjects. When trying to select electives, students can look at specific courses and course descriptions using WebAdvisor or the Academic Calendar.

A course I need to take is full. What do I do?

If the course has a waitlist, students should place themselves on it and check their student email account regularly. If a spot becomes available, the Registrar’s Office will send an automated notification giving the student 72 hours to register for the course. If the offer is not accepted, it will be rescinded and passed to the next student.

If the course is required for your program, please contact an Academic Advisor and notify them of the situation. They will be able to present you with available options. 

What is the difference between Distance Learning, Hybrid Learning, and Synchronous Online Learning courses?

Distance Learning courses are delivered purely online without a scheduled time, which will allow you the most flexibility to study on your own schedule. 

Hybrid Learning courses are taught in person at the North Bay campus, however, students can participate through streamed/record lectures if they are unable to attend the lecture in person.

Synchronous Online Learning courses are live-streamed courses that have a scheduled date and time.

Can I take more than five courses in a semester?

Upper year full-time students with excellent academic records (“B+” or better) may, with the permission of an Academic Advisor, take a maximum three-credit overload during each session of the Fall/Winter Term, provided they had no failing grades on a minimum course load of 30 credits in the previous Fall/Winter Term and no failing grades in the previous Spring/Summer Term.

For more information on Course Overloads, please visit this link

Can I take a second year level course when I am in my first year?

Students can take upper-level courses (2000, 3000 or 4000 level) courses at any point during their program as long as they meet the prerequisites for that course. For example, a student does not necessarily need to be in their second year of the program to take a 2000 level course.

A list of prerequisites can be viewed by clicking the course code on WebAdvisor when viewing course options, or on the Academic Calendar website under Course Listings.

What are prerequisites, antirequisites and corequisites?

A prerequisite is a course that is required to be successfully completed before the courses listed. This prerequisite course ensures that students have the required background to complete the subsequent course successfully. An example of this would be that PSYC 1106 is a prerequisite to PSYC 1107, meaning that students must complete PSYC 1106 before they can take PSYC 1107.

An antirequisite is a course that cannot be taken for credit before, after, or at the same time as the course which is listed. This means that if a student takes a course when they have already completed an antirequesite for that course, they will not be able to retain credit for both. An example of this would be that a student would not be able to retain credit for PSYC 2020 if they had already taken PSYC 2006 and/or PSYC 2007 previously.

A corequisite is a course that is required to be taken concurrently with the course with which it is listed as corequisite. This means that these two courses must be taken simultaneously. It is common to see corequisite courses in the Nursing programs.

You can find out if a course has any prerequesites, antirequesites or corequisites by viewing the course on the Academic Calendar website or by clicking the course description on WebAdvisor.

I don’t have a prerequisite for a course. Can I still register?

Students can, with the permission of the professor, take a course for which they do not have the prerequisite. Students who wish to do so must have the Prerequisite Exemption form filled out by their professor and submit it to the Registrar’s Office.

How many times can I retake a course?

Students may only make two attempts to complete a course. When a second attempt on a course is made, the higher grade obtained of the two attempts will be used in the calculation of averages. If a student fails the course on a second attempt after first passing, then the credits obtained on the first attempt will be kept. A student may attempt a course for a third time, only with departmental approval.

How many first-year courses can I take?

The maximum number of first year (1000 level) courses in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce is 42 credits. (Except in the Child and Family Studies program and Bachelor of Arts (Liberal) where the maximum is 48 credits at the first year level).

The maximum number of first year level courses in Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and Bachelor of Science is 48 credits.

We recommend reviewing the Degree Requirements section of the Academic Calendar for more details.

Academic Standing, Progression, and Probation

Do I need a certain average to continue in my program?

In order to graduate from an Honours degree, students must achieve a minimum cumulative average of 60% and minimum program average of 70%. 

Students in an Honours Specialization, Honours Major, BFA, or Bachelor of Social Work may not progress into the fourth year if they do not have a 70% average in their honours program.  In addition to this, students in Criminal Justice will require a 70% program average to progress into the third year of the Criminology, Corrections, Policing, or Legal Studies & Administration Stream.

In order to progress in a program and to graduate from a 3-year or 4-year bachelor's degree without honours, students must achieve a minimum cumulative average of 60% and a minimum program average of 60%.

What is Academic Probation?

Your Academic Standing is determined after a minimum of 18 credits have been attempted, at the end of the Fall/Winter term (May). If your cumulative average is between 50% - 59% you will be placed on academic probation.

Please view our webpage on Academic Probation for more information.

How do I apply to graduate?

Students must complete and submit an Application for Graduation by the deadlines specified below in order to be considered for graduation. An online application is available through WebAdvisor. Applications for Graduation received after the specified due date will be applied to the next graduation period.

For more information on graduation, please visit this link

Transfer Credits and Transcripts

How do I find out which transfer credits I received?

Once your transfer credit is processed, you will be able to view it on WebAdvisor under Summary of Transfer Credits (under Prospective Students menu) or under Unofficial Transcript which contains more explanation (under Students menu - available after June 30 only). 

If this summary section is blank, and you feel you should be receiving transfer credits click "Return to Menu" and then on “Important Documents Outstanding/Received” under Communication to check on the status of any required documents. Any questions should be directed to the Registrar’s Office at

Can I take a course through another university?

Students may be permitted to take a course at another university for credit. A Letter of Permission to undertake such courses must be obtained from an Academic Advisor before registering at the other university.

For more information regarding a Letter of Permission, please visit this page.

I want to transfer to another university. Can Academic Advising help me?

An Academic Advisor can provide general information about transferring, however it is always best to speak with the intended institution about the transfer process with regards to the admissions process, possible transfer credits, new degree requirements, etc.

I dropped a course and have a “WDR” on my transcript. What does this mean?

A WDR will not have an effect on a student's overall cumulative average. The class which was dropped, however, will remain on the transcript alongside a WDR. This WDR will be visible on the transcript, however, it might be a better choice than having a failing grade on the transcript which will affect the student's Nipissing average.

International Exchanges

I’m considering an International Exchange. What are my next steps?

Nipissing University students should discuss their plans for international exchange with an Academic Advisor before they submit their application. An Academic Advisor at this initial appointment will go over the international exchange process from an academic standpoint. The Academic Advisor will explain how credits will be transferred over and will help find ways to ensure that degree requirements are met while on an exchange. 

Students are encouraged to contact Academic Advising in their first year, as exchanges are normally open to students during the second or third year of their program. Students in their graduating year will be considered on an individual basis.

Please visit this webpage for more details on International Exchanges: