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Course Enrolment Information


Instruction for Course Enrolment Courses Offered in Other U of T Departments 
ACORN Course Enrolment  Courses Offered in Other Ontario Universities 
MSW Practicum Courses  Late Course Withdrawal (LWD)
Reading and/or Research Course Student Responsibility
Audit, Overload, and Extra Courses Declaration


Updated March 6, 2024

What is the difference between enrolment and registration? Registration speaks to your status as a student; to register, you pay fees. Enrolment has to do with your courses; to enrol, you add courses.

The academic year is divided into three sessions: 

  • Fall (F) session (September to December) 
  • Winter (W) session (January to April) 
  • Summer (S) session (May to August) 

For clarification, while the University and SGS use the term “session”, this is often interchangeable with “term” or “semester”. 

Graduate courses have course codes consisting of: 

  • a prefix associated with the academic unit or program (three letters); 
  • a four-digit course number; and 
  • a suffix associated with the course weight (alpha character) measured in full-course equivalencies (FCEs) and is indicated using a Y or H suffix: 
    • Y (full course): 1.0 FCE, normally taken over two sessions 
    • H (half course): 0.5 FCE, normally taken over one session 

Course Loads

Maximum course loads for FIFSW students are as follows:

  • Full-time studies:2.5 credits (FCE) in each of the Fall and Winter sessions; and 1.0 credits (FCE) in the Summer session
  • Part-time studies (for MSW Advanced Standing only):1.0 credits (FCE) per session

Except for the summer session, course loads include practicum courses enrolled within the same academic session (ie. SWK4701H taken in the Winter session but may continue on into May of that year would not count toward the Summer session load).  All course loads are determined to allow for program completion following the SGS calendar Program Length.

Course Delivery Mode

Beginning with the Fall 2024 session, FIFSW will be completing our transition to our programs being fully in-person (with the exception of the MSW ITR field). Completing this transition is in line with the University’s priority to be the site of excellent in-person educational experiences.

In-person programming reflects lessons learned from the experience of, by necessity, delivering online learning during the public health crisis. We are moving forward with a clearer understanding of the importance of in-person engagement for quality of student experience.

The Indigenous Trauma and Resiliency Field of Study will retain its hybrid design, as it was created with an in-person/online mix that supports the components of the program that take place in communities across the country and the world.

Instruction for Course Enrolment

MSW Two-Year Program – First-Year Courses

As the courses in the first year of the program are all required, students need to only select which section to enrol. Students beginning the MSW Two-Year program in 2024, will rank order their section preferences for each of the required courses in the Fall, Winter, and Summer session of the first year of studies. Selections are made through a Microsoft Office Form that will be sent to eligible incoming students starting in early June once the admissions deposit has been received.  Courses will appear on their ACORN record approximately two weeks after the form closes.

Reducing course load in first-year

While the MSW Two-Year program is offered only on a full-time registration basis, students who wish to lessen their courseload in the first year may do so by selecting to complete two of the courses in the Summer, rather than the Fall and Winter sessions:

  • SWK 4602H Social Work Practice with Groups
  • SWK 4510H Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice

It is important to note that taking these required courses in the summer will count toward the maximum course load, and affect the number and sequence of courses in the second year of study.  It may also mean delaying graduation to November in the second year of study.  However, there would be no additional fees for the Summer courses as degree students who pay the full-time fee for the previous Fall or Winter session do not pay fees for the Summer session.

MSW-AS; ITR; PhD, and Upper year MSW Two-Year Courses

Students in these cohorts/programs enrol in compulsory and elective courses through ACORN on a first come first served basis beginning mid-July for Fall and Winter courses, and mid-March for Summer courses. These dates will be posted on the FIFSW Dates and Deadlines page.

While FIFSW attempts to offer elective courses and spaces to accommodate students’ academic requirements, space to elective courses is limited. Should courses be full, you may add yourself to the waitlist, also on a first-come-first-served basis. Students will be notified if enrolment limits are raised or if a course is cancelled because of low enrolment. For advice in selecting courses contact your faculty advisor or Registrar, however, it is important to note that course instructors are unable to make changes to waitlists.

Changes to course enrolments can be made until the Add/Drop deadlines if space is available in the course.

Courses are offered in the Summer Session at FIFSW and other graduate departments. Students who were registered in the previous Fall and Winter sessions will not have to pay an additional Summer session fee while completing degree requirements.

Courtesy Enrolment Period

The first few weeks of each enrolment period is known as the Courtesy Enrolment Period.  During this time enrolment into courses required for Fields of Study will be restricted for students in the respective Fields. Students who require only one more session to complete their program requirements will also be given priority access to elective courses. Following this period, the restrictions will be removed to allow for all FIFSW to enrol, pending space.


Students who require accommodations for course enrolment should contact the Registrar’s Office in advance of each enrolment period.


You can change courses through ACORN  until the Add and Drop deadlines if space is available in the course. These dates change annually and can be found on the SGS sessional dates page.

Compressed/Modular Courses: Courses which have variations in timing have add and drop dates that can differ from the sessional dates, and are set on a course by course basis. For these courses the add/drop dates are individual and based on the following SGS principles:

  • Add deadline: no more than 15% of the course has been completed
  • Drop deadline: no more than 50% of the course has been completed

E.g., for a 1-week (5 day) compressed course, the add date should be no later than the second day of classes and the drop deadline should be no later than the third day of classes.  If you cannot use ACORN to drop a compressed course, submit a course drop form.

Dropping courses may have implications for your progress in the program.

Should you require withdrawing from a course after the deadline date, see the Late Withdrawal After the Drop Date (LWD) section below.

After the first week of classes each session, MSW Two-Year students in the first year of study will remain in their current course sections.

It is important that students attend the course and sections for which they are enrolled into on ACORN.  Attending alternate classes will affect your academic record.


Much care and planning are taken when creating our course/section offerings to ensure the correct amount of spaces are available for students to meet degree requirements, however, this may mean that students may not always get their first choice.  If a course section is full, you can add yourself to a waitlist if it is available. ACORN will automatically enrol you in the course if a space becomes available and you are next on the list.

Instructors are unable to change waitlist order. For accessibility-related considerations please contact the Registrar’s Office rather than the instructor.

Things to consider:

  • ACORN will inform you of your place on the waitlist for your category (not necessarily on the whole waitlist) and how many spaces are allotted for that course. Some courses have multiple waitlists due to multiple enrolment categories (x spaces for this group of students and y spaces for this group of students). You would only see where you are on the waitlist that applies to your category.
  • You can waitlist a maximum of 1.0 credit per session for Fall and Winter, and 0.5 credit for the Summer session.
  • Waitlisted courses count toward your total course load registration for that session. If you no longer want to take a course, be sure to remove yourself from the waitlist.
  • If you re-add yourself to the same waitlisted course, you will be placed at the end of the list.
  • Some courses have multiple sections. Enrolling in one section will prevent you from waitlisting for a different lecture section for the same course. Doing so will remove you from the original section.
  • Spaces that open up from students dropping the course are available on ACORN on a first-come, first-served basis until the last day to enrol in courses. At this point, the waitlist will be removed from that course.
  • Your position on the wait list will change only if other students ahead of you become auto-enrolled or remove themselves from the waitlist. Therefore one student cannot normally move ahead of another student on the wait list.

Timetable Conflicts

After enrolling into courses, you can view your timetable through ACORN.  However, ACORN does not take into consideration any scheduling conflicts (eg. it will not drop any course activities on your behalf). It remains the student’s responsibility to resolve any conflicts.  For sessions where you will be enrolled into Practicum courses, you must also consider working hours. FIFSW have days designated for classes and practicum. If there is a conflict between academic classes and practicum, please contact the Practicum Office. You may consider enrolling in alternative courses or sections if available.

ACORN Course Enrolment 

New students at U of T must enable your JOINid and have a valid UTORid and password to access ACORN. The T-card office has created an online process to facilitate activating your UTORid.

The How-To page under the Course Enrolment heading provides written and video instructions, and tips, notably: 

  • Add a course to the enrolment cart 
  • Enrol in a course form the enrolment cart 
  • Enrol in a course from search 
  • Drop a course  
  • Enrol on a waitlist from search 

Students enrol in courses through ACORN at 8:30 am at the opening of the Enrolment Period (in June for Fall and Winter courses, and mid-March for Summer courses) on a first come first served basis. The enrolment functions are managed through the ACORN system.

Students will receive emails from the Registrars’ Office prior to each course enrolment period with reminders and instructions.

MSW Practicum Courses 

The following courses will be added to students’ schedules by the Registrar’s Office prior to respective enrolment periods.   Therefore, students will NOT need to add these courses to ACORN. Except for the Summer session, Practicum courses count toward the course load affecting course enrolments through ACORN:

  • SWK4701H Practicum I: first-year students of the two-year MSW program for Winter session of the first year.
  • SWK4702Y Practicum: students in the advanced standing MSW programs and students in the second year of the two-year MSW program for the Fall and Winter sessions.
  • SWK4516H ITR Practicum I:first-year students of the MSW ITR field for Winter session of the first year.

All MSW-ITR students must add their Year 2 Practicum Course, SWK4703 MSW-ITR Practicum III through ACORN. Students have the option to enrol from September – April or January – August of their second year.

For students in the other MSW fields who wish to start this practicum in the Summer session or Winter session, they must contact the Practicum Office first. Practicums during the Summer session will not count toward course load affecting course enrolments through ACORN.

Reading and/or Research Course

Also known as an independent studies course, Reading and/or Research courses are typically taken within the Faculty. It may be possible to negotiate to take a graduate-level reading course elsewhere in the University of Toronto with the approvals of the Program Director, and the host department. If so, the reading course number will be assigned by the host department.

This designation refers to a course which is intended to meet particular needs or interests unavailable in other graduate courses offered at the University. It may include either a student meeting individually with an instructor for independent study or can be offered as a special studies course on a specific topic not covered in other approved courses at the Faculty. We encourage student initiative in identifying the need for this type of course.

Reading and Research courses are limited by faculty resources and time constraints of potential instructors. Students are requested to contact instructors directly. A reading course that is individually developed, with one or a few students within the Faculty should involve as much reading and written work as a regular course, and the frequency of meetings with the instructor should be consistent with other courses. The instructor must hold an appointment to the Graduate Faculty at Social Work. Course Instructors (including PhD students) and Sessional Instructors cannot supervise a directed reading course. A maximum of two 0.5 FCE courses can be accepted toward degree requirements.

Students enrol by:

  1. Completing an SGS Request for Reading and/or Research Course form (PDF)
  2. Complete an SGS Add / Drop Course(s) (PDF) adding the Directed Reading course code on form:
  • MSW: SWK4801H Special Studies 1 or SWK4802H Special Studies 2
  • PhD: SWK6501H Special Studies 1 or SWK6502H Special Studies 2
  1. Include with the forms the following supporting materials:
  • Course description
  • Course objectives
  • Description of assignments
  • Course schedule
  • Reading list
  1. Submit the completed forms with instructor and Program Director signatures and supporting materials to the FIFSW Registrar before the SGS deadline to add courses in a session.

Audit, Overload, and Extra Courses 

FIFSW students may enrol in an Audit, Overload, Extra course provided:

  • there is space available, no wait list exists
  • the course is at the graduate level.
  • during the electives phase of their program, typically starting in the summer after their first year.
  • the student is in good academic standing, without any incomplete or failed courses within their current degree.
  • permission is obtained from the program director, and instructor for auditing (refer to the process below)

Given that graduate fees are assessed as a program fee rather than course fees, there are no additional fees for Audit, Overload, or Extra courses provided degree requirements have not yet been met. There are no additional tuition fees for audit, overload, and/or extra courses provided they are completed during, or prior to, the student’s final required session of study.


FIFSW students may audit graduate classes with the instructor’s permission as not all courses are suitable for auditing. Auditing permits attendance at classes only. No work will be evaluated, and it will not be noted on the transcript. Students are eligible to audit a maximum of one elective course per session. 

Students are not able to take for credit any courses that they have previously audited and must attend a minimum of 70% of all classes.  


There may be reasons when a student may wish to enrol into more courses than the standard course loads. If such additional courses are part of the degree requirements, they are known as “overload”. Students are permitted to overload a maximum of one course per session (take more than the regular course load per session) if all the provisions are met as outlined above.

Overloading involves increased workload. It is important to manage your course load appropriately, especially during the Summer sessions.  Given the shortened time period of the Summer session, this would be equivalent to taking double the courses of a regular session (such as Fall or Winter).

By enrolling in the Overload course, understand that you are doing so at your own risk and are fully aware that special considerations are not provided due to heavy workload. You will continue to be responsible for observing the academic deadlines for dropping courses.

As per SGS policy, if an overload course accelerates the completion of your program requirements, you will be put forward for graduation immediately following the session in which those requirements have been met; registration in any further sessions will not be permitted.

Consider the following implications of early program completion:

  • You will be unable to register and enrol into courses for any future sessions.  For example, if you finish all your degree requirements in the Summer session, you will be unable to take further courses in the following Fall session.
  • School of Graduate Studies program fees are assessed on a program basis rather than on the number of courses taken. The minimum degree fee is the academic fee associated with the program length for each graduate master’s program and represents the minimum amount of academic fees that every student, regardless of registration option or status, must pay upon completion of the program prior to graduation. Students who have not paid the minimum degree fee for their program will be required to pay the outstanding balance known as Balance of Degree Fee (BOD).  More information about these fees regulations can be found on the SGS Calendar.
  • OSAP and other student loans: future instalments and repayment dates will be affected as they are tied to your registration status.
  • Access to U of T and FIFSW resources: these will be adjusted to reflect your registration status.
  • Health insurance coverage: coverage will end for those without registration.
  • Study permits and visa: for international students there may be implications for theses documents. Students should refer to CIE for guidance.

Extra courses 

If students wish to take courses in addition to the degree requirements, these courses are known as “extra”. During the electives phase of the program, students are permitted to take one extra course (exceeding the number of elective courses required for their degree).  

Extra courses:

  • appear on a student’s academic record with a final course mark and are noted as “EXT”.
  • are subject to the same regulations as courses required for the degree (i.e. withdrawal deadlines, failure (FZ), etc.)
  • See section 6.2.6 Extra Courses Not Required for the Degree on the School of Graduate Studies (SGS)
  • do not count towards degree requirements nor are they included in GPA calculation.
  • cannot be converted to credit courses (or vice versa) towards the student’s degree after the Add/Drop period has passed for the current session. Similarly, retroactive attendance status (credit/extra) for previous sessions cannot be made.
  • may be transferred to other graduate degrees, pending approval.
  • FIFSW students may take one extra course per degree.

Process to request Audit/Overload/Extra course 

Course enrolment priority is given to students who require such degree in order to graduate within the SGS calendar Program Length.. Audit/Overload/Extra courses require approval of the Program Director (and the instructor for Auditing), and as such may not be enrolled using ACORN. Rather, they are requested following this process: 

  1. Complete the SGS Add / Drop Course(s) (PDF) Although there is not a field available on the form, indicate at the bottom that the add request is an Audit, Overload, or Extra.
  2. Submit the form to the SSR, who will obtain the Program Director’s approval.
  3. If approved, the SSR will forward to SGS for final approval and processing.

Requests may be submitted at any time up to the deadline to add a course. However, all requests will be reviewed, in order of date received, only beginning two weeks after the final date of the  Courtesy Enrolment Period  of the relevant session.

Adding Graduate Courses Offered in Other U of T Departments 

Students are permitted to take elective courses in other graduate departments with the approval of your Program Director and with permission from the course instructor and host department.

This process is also for PhD Students seeking to take an MSW course.

Complete the SGS Add / Drop Course(s) (PDF) form.

Obtain signatures on the form from the course instructor, and from the FIFSW Program Director.

The completed form is submitted to host department for processing to your academic record after all signatures have been obtained.

Note: Students who are graduating at the next convocation must inform the instructor from the outside department that a grade needs to be reported by the SGS deadline for graduating students. Refer to the SGS sessional dates.

For students in other U of departments requesting to take FIFSW courses, please visit your home department for instructions.  Requests to take FIFSW course will be reviewed, in order of date received, only beginning two weeks after the final date of the Courtesy Enrolment Period of the relevant session.

Adding Courses Offered in Other Ontario Universities 

The procedure for University of Toronto Graduate Students outlined by the School of Graduate Studies (SGS): 

  1. Complete the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Agreement form (OVGS). Submit the form with the syllabus from the host university to the Program Director for approval. 
  2. SGS seeks approval from the host university. 
  3. Notice (either approval or not) is given to SGS. 
  4. If approved, SGS processes the enrolment and notifies the FIFSW/home department and the student. 

Late Withdrawal After the Drop Date (LWD)

The FIFSW with the School of Graduate Studies has a mechanism to assist students to remedy situations where personal or other circumstances mean they are irretrievably behind in a course. Students who have fallen behind with assignments in one or more of courses can contact their SSR to discuss a Late Withdrawal After the Drop Date (LWD) from the course.

Withdrawals approved under this procedure will be noted on the transcript with LWD. This course status will have no effect on the Grade Point Average (GPA) or other elements of the academic record.

Students seeking to avail themselves of this remedy will be expected to work with their Program Director to analyze what led to their situation, to discuss what steps they can take to prevent it from happening again, and to learn from their experiences.

Note that the option for Late Withdrawal is not available if an allegation of academic misconduct is under investigation. If LWD was previously granted in the course, it will be revoked and the percentage grade will stand as the course grade.

Student Responsibility

While academic advisors, faculty and staff are available to assist and advise it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to always keep their personal and academic information current and to follow all University, SGS, departmental and program regulations, requirements and deadlines. The SIS makes it easier for students to check and correct this information. If questions arise about requirements, policies and procedures, students are responsible for seeking answers for these questions from staff and advisors.


By enrolling in courses you agree to abide by all of the academic and non-academic rules and regulations of the University, the School of Graduate Studies and department in which you are registered and assume the obligation to pay academic and incidental fees according to the policies and requirements of the University of Toronto.  

The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and other university offices will send important information to you by email. Please make sure that you have a University of Toronto email address recorded on ACORN as well as your current mailing/permanent address and telephone number.