Student Success Centre

Course Load & Financial Information

Structuring your studies and figuring out how much it all costs can be a daunting task. Fortunately, we can help. On this page you will find information about part-time studies, distance and evening studies, credit and non-credit courses, financial assistance, and awards for mature students.

Part-time vs. full-time studies

The primary difference between part-time and full-time studies is the amount of courses one takes. Part-time students take 3.0 or fewer courses at one time. Full-time students, on the other hand, take between 3.5 to 5.0 full course equivalents during the fall/winter. Five is the standard full-course load. Full-time tuition applies to all students taking between 3.5 to 5 courses.

If I am a part-time student, may I qualify for OSAP?

As long as you are taking 3.0 courses in each of the fall and winter terms, you may apply for OSAP. Consult Student Financial Services about OSAP to cover spring/summer courses.

If I start studies on a Part-Time basis, does this mean I must always remain a Part-Time Student?

If you are admitted part time, you would remain a part-time student for your first year of registration. Then you may change your course load for the future.

I am a Part-Time Student and wish to become a Full-Time student. How do I go about doing this?

Normally, this request is made by completing an "Intent to Register" form in February/March showing your desired course load as full time. As long as you have maintained a reasonable academic average, you will be considered for full-time status. Consult your academic counsellor for more information.

I'm unsure of how to choose a reasonable workload. How much time should I expect to spend on university courses?

For every hour you spend in class, we suggest that you allocate two to three hours for study time outside of class. For example, in courses during the fall/winter that meet for three hours a week, you should expect at least another six to nine hours of outside of class study time on top of class time. That means for every course, you should count on approximately 12 hours per week per course after adding class time and study time together. Courses with additional requirements such as laboratories or tutorials will require additional time.

What course load is best to start with?

Many students choose to begin their degree on a part-time basis to give themselves more time to adjust to the workload and personal changes they will experience. Three courses during the fall/winter, the maximum allowed for part-time students, will be a workload of approximately 34-40 hours per week (class time and study time), whereas a full-time course load would be 55-60 hours per week (class and study time).

You could consider doing your first year on a part-time basis, for example, doing 3.0 courses during the fall/winter and 2.0 in the spring/summer, and then move into full time for second year. You will not be adding to the length of your program this way. 

A beginning student often takes more time on studies than an experienced student. Allow for extra time to seek assistance with your studies, such as time to speak to your professors, tutorial assistants, librarians, and to utilize the valuable learning skills and writing support services through Student Development Centre.

A research study conducted through Western shows that part-time, mature students do a little better academically than full-time students. We understand this to mean that having a lighter workload allows for more time to ease into the academic demands.

Evening and Distance Studies

We have an information sheet on available modules for students studying during the evening and/or distance studies. See the link “For more details for part-time students, click here for information on available degrees” under the title “Taking Distance Studies at Western” on the Distance Studies website.

Credit/Audit/Non-credit registration in degree-credit courses

  1. Credit. Most Western students study on a “credit” basis, achieving credits toward a degree program. To receive credit for courses, students must be admitted to the University. See the Admissions site for links to application forms.
  2. Audit. Audit students must also be admitted to the University. See the following site for links to application forms: This entitles the student to attend classes but does not entitle the student to have assignments evaluated or otherwise make demands on the course instructor. A grade of audit, which implies no credit, shall be recorded by the Registrar on the recommendation of the course instructor. No course may be changed from audit to number/letter graded or pass/fail graded after the last date for adding a course, or from number/letter graded or pass/fail to audit after the last date for dropping a course. Students who register as Audit shall be so designated on the class lists prepared by the Registrar, but no distinction shall be made between students registered for credit, either as number/letter graded or pass/fail. Students must receive permission from the instructor/Department to audit a course.
  3. Non-Credit Registration: A student who wishes to sit in on a class in a degree-credit course for interest only, may do so with written permission. To register in courses, a non-credit registration form is available from the Western Centre for Continuing Studies. The form must be signed by the course instructor or appropriate Department. Non-credit registrants do not require admission to the University, no records are kept, and no credit will be granted. There is a fee incurred; the Senior Citizen’s bursary does not cover this fee.

Financial Information

It is no secret that university can be an expensive investment. See the information below for help with planning your finances throughout your studies.


  • Part-time students (who take 3.0 courses or less at one time) are assessed tuition based on the number of courses taken, i.e. if you take 2.5 courses, tuitions fees are based on 2.5 courses; if you take 1.0 course, you are assessed tuition on 1.0 course
  • Full-time students (who take 3.5 to 5.0 full course equivalent from September to April) are charge full-time fees

See the Registrar's website for tuition fee schedules.


Budget approximately $300 per course. Students may purchase books from any retailer. On campus, we have The Bookstore at Western which provides personalized book lists, as well as online and in person shopping.

Bus Pass

If you are a full-time student, a mandatory London Transit bus pass is included in your fees.


You can pay for parking each time you park on campus or buy a permit for the academic term. A variety of parking permits are available; see

Personal supplies

Paper, pens, whatever else you need are the typical supplies. A laptop computer is not required. There are many places to access computers on campus, for example, computer labs and libraries.

Supplementary Health Insurance

Mandatory to full-time students unless you are covered under an equivalent extended benefit health care plan in addition to your standard provincial coverage; see the following link for details on this coverage:

Need help with knowing if you can cover the financial expenses?

Seek out assistance from Student Financial Services.

Telephone Helpline 519-661-2100 (
Information Services - Room 1120, Western Student Services
Website: (lots of valuable information here!!)

Investigate online resources, such as “The Debt Free Graduate” at or