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4.0 General Regulations and Definitions

4.1 The Comprehensive Regulations

4.1.1 The Senate of Carleton University may at any time require a student to withdraw from the University if his or her conduct, attendance, work or progress is deemed unsatisfactory.

4.1.2 Registration in courses does not exempt the student from any academic or University regulation.

4.2 Regulations Governing a Student's Program

Curriculum and regulations are subject to change as the University updates and improves its undergraduate programs. These changes may include alterations to course offerings, program requirements, and academic regulations. In establishing transition policies that determine how these changes will impact in-program students, the University is guided by the intent that students retain the same or improved overall opportunities to succeed.

The following policies are in effect:

4.2.1  When a degree student is admitted to the University, the regulations and  program requirements for their credential are those in effect at the time of admission. If a student changes program elements in a calendar year subsequent to the term of admission, their program will be governed by the calendar requirements in effect when the change is approved. The general academic regulations governing the student, however, will continue to be those in effect at the time of admission to the University. 

4.2.2  If, in subsequent years, the student is readmitted to the same or another program, the academic regulations of the University and the program requirements in effect at the time of readmission will govern the student.

4.2.3  As curricular or regulatory changes are introduced in subsequent years, in-program students may choose to complete their studies under the new academic regulations of the University, and/or new program requirements. Students who wish to change their calendar year to that which is currently in effect should contact the Registrar's Office.

4.2.4  Notwithstanding 4.2.1, when circumstances prevent continued application of regulations, program requirements or courses of a previous Calendar, appropriate replacement policies guiding students in adapting to the new situation will be developed and communicated to students.

4.2.5  The web version of the Calendar is the official version. Changes approved after the publication date will be posted on the Calendar website.

4.3 Absence from the University

Normally, a student is considered to be present at the University in a term in which they have remained registered in a course until after the last day for withdrawal with a full fee adjustment. A student who is not present at the University is considered to be absent from the University.

Degree students who have not been present at the University for more than nine consecutive terms must apply for readmission through Admission Services.

Students who have completed the requirements for the degree and program in which they are registered will be automatically considered for graduation after three consecutive terms of absence from the University.

4.3.1  Voluntary Withdrawal from Program

Undergraduate students who wish to voluntarily withdraw from their program, without academic penalty, may do so by contacting the Registrar’s Office prior to the deadline to withdraw from courses (see Academic Year). The notation “Voluntary Withdrawal from Program” will appear on the official transcript.

4.4 Student Categories

Undergraduate students are grouped in four broad categories: Degree Students, Certificate Students, Special Students, and Non-credit Students.

Within the Degree Students category, a further subdivision is defined as Degree Students Admitted with Additional Requirements. This subdivision includes:

  • students admitted with conditions
  • students readmitted with conditions
  • credit ESL students

Students admitted with Additional Requirements who fail to meet these conditions may not continue at the University for a period of one year and must then apply for re-admission if they wish to return.

The category of Certificate Students includes all students registered in the certificate and diploma programs identified in 11.0 Certificates and Diplomas. Those registered in other non-credit professional or development certificates offered by the university are not included. A student may be simultaneously both a Degree Student and a Certificate Student.

4.5 Types of Programs

The undergraduate programs of the University are divided into the following categories:

Honours Programs

Honours programs require a minimum of 20.0 credits. Honours programs are usually completed in four years (assuming 2.5 credits per term of study). Honours programs demand a higher academic standard than General and Major programs.

General Programs

General programs require 15.0 credits. General programs are usually completed in three years (assuming 2.5 credits per term of study).

Major Programs

Major programs require 20.0 credits. Major programs are usually completed in four years.

Engineering and Design programs

These accredited programs offered by the Faculty of Engineering and Design are in Engineering, in Industrial Design and in Architecture. These programs require at least 20.0 credits and with a normal course load and full time study require four years for completion.

All of the above programs may include additional elements.

4.6 Program Structure

Program Elements

The courses that make up a program are separated into certain standard categories that give the program its structure, allow effective assessment of the student's progress and permit the inclusion of additional notations on the transcript and diploma.


In most programs certain course credits are identified as constituting the Major. The Major specifies the required course credits in one or more defined disciplines, themes, or fields that are the principal focus of a student's program. The Academic Performance Evaluation described below makes use of this distinction by calculating a Major average as well as an Overall average. A Combined Honours program may be structured with two Majors, one in each contributing discipline or, in some cases, as a single Major. A multidisciplinary program is structured as a single Major drawing together courses from several disciplines.

Note that the use of the term Major as a program element, above, is distinct from the degree program called Major (e.g. B.Sc.Major).


Some programs specify a limited set of credits that constitute a Core. These are courses of special importance to the program and are subject to specific CGPA requirements.

Concentration or Specialization

A Concentration or Specialization is a defined set of courses which provides a student with specific expertise, knowledge and/or practice and so further distinguishes the program in a recognizable way. The credits in the concentration or specialization may or may not be part of the Major. The minimum number of credits for a concentration or specialization at the undergraduate level is 3.5. Successful completion of a concentration or specialization is recorded on the diploma.


A Stream is a pattern of courses within the program that guides the student's studies and is distinctive from other patterns, but does not result in a designation on the diploma.

Additions to a Program


An Option is an addition to a program, the pursuit of which does not affect eligibility for the degree without the Option. Registration in the Option does not change the degree requirements. An example is the Co-operative Education Option.

Other additions to a program that do interact with program requirements include: Mention : français (see the Academic Regulations for the Bachelor of Arts), concurrent certificates and concurrent diplomas.


A Minor is a defined set of courses in a discipline or field that either introduces or extends knowledge of that discipline or field. A Minor may have its own admission requirements. Minors are only available to students already registered as Carleton degree students. Each Minor requires at least 4.0 and at most 5.0 credits. In some circumstances, credits in excess of those required for the main degree may be required to complete the Minor. A maximum of two credits may count toward both the Minor and the Major or Majors of a student's program.

4.7 University Year Standing

Students in degree programs are given a Year Standing according to the number of credits completed with passing grades and counting towards the degree. The categories are as follows:

First Year:
Fewer than 4.0 credits completed successfully and counting towards the degree.

Second Year:
4.0 through 8.5 credits completed successfully and counting towards the degree.

Third Year:
9.0 through 13.5 credits completed successfully and counting towards the degree.

Fourth Year:
14.0 or more credits completed successfully and counting towards the degree and in a program requiring more than 15.0 credits.

Programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Design identify specific courses that must be completed for a particular year status in that program, which does not necessarily conform to the above formula. Refer to the Engineering and Design section of this Calendar for details.

Year standing assessment occurs regularly and as final grades are received.

4.8 Undeclared Students

Degree students are considered "Undeclared" if they have been admitted to a degree but have not yet selected and been accepted into a program within that degree. The status "Undeclared" is available only in the B.A. and B.Sc. degrees. See the Undeclared section in the Programs section of this Calendar for recommended registration information. Normally, Undeclared students are required to be eligible to enter a program within their degree before reaching second year standing. Undeclared students should consult Student Academic and Career Development Services for guidance in planning their studies prior to registration.

4.9 Changes of Degree and Program

4.9.1 Application through Registrar's Office

Application is made through Carleton Central (Change of Program Element application) for change of program applications in the following cases:

  • students who wish to change to a different program within the same degree;
  • students who wish to add, drop or change a Concentration, Specialization or Minor;
4.9.2 Application through Co-op and Career Services

Application is made through the Co-op and Career Services for admission to and withdrawal from the Co-op Option.

4.9.3 Application through Admissions Services

The following situations require students to reapply for admission through Admissions Services:

  1. currently registered students who wish, or who are required, to change their degree;
  2. students who have been suspended or debarred and wish to return to their original program after the required absence from studies at Carleton University (see Section 7.3 of the Academic Regulations of the University);
  3. students who, after completing an undergraduate degree, wish to complete an additional undergraduate degree or certificate;
  4. students who have left the university and wish to return to a different degree;
  5. students who have attended another post-secondary institution (except on a letter of permission or exchange program), and wish to transfer obtained credits to their Carleton credential;
  6. Special Students who wish to be formally admitted to Carleton University (see Section 17 of the General Admissions Requirements and Procedures); and
  7. students who have been away from the university for nine or more consecutive terms.

4.10 Types of Courses

4.10.1 Course Categories

The requirements for some programs may include specific named categories of courses. These categories are defined either in the main regulations section of the calendar or within the program description. Students should refer to the regulations and course categories for their program for details.

4.10.2 Courses Set Aside

Three categories of courses that do not contribute to the fulfilment of graduation requirements may appear on a student's degree audit report:

Extra to the Degree (ETD)
Passed credits that could have counted towards the degree but are in excess of the credits required for graduation are Extra to Degree. These credits may be considered for advanced standing in a subsequent degree. This category includes, for example, passed credits at the 1000-level in excess of the 7.0-credit limit.

No Credit for Degree (NCD)
Passed credits that are ineligible for credit in the student's program are No Credit for Degree . These credits may be considered for advanced standing in a subsequent degree. This category includes, for example, courses specifically prohibited from credit in a particular degree.

Courses that cannot be used for credit in this or any subsequent program. This category includes:

  1. repeated courses;
  2. courses considered equivalent to courses taken later in time;
  3. courses precluded for credit by courses taken later in time;
  4. courses placed in this category by committee decision;