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Late Course Drops and Retroactive Withdrawals

Please note that the following is a resource for faculty and instructors. If you are a student searching for information, please visit Current Students: Late Course Drops and Retroactive Withdrawals.

Ryerson University has the responsibility to ensure that undergraduate and Continuing Education students meet their academic requirements in a manner that is equitable to all students. As such, Ryerson adheres to university policies, procedures and deadlines to ensure fairness and equity for all students.

Ryerson recognizes, however, that students are sometimes faced with unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances beyond their control that may prevent them from meeting course drop and retroactive withdrawal deadlines.

Late Course Drop

A request to be dropped out of a course after the final deadline to drop courses in good academic standing and before the end of the exam period, or before the last day to submit a final assignment or course requirement has passed.

Retroactive Withdrawal

A request to be retroactively withdrawn from a course after the course has been completed (i.e. after the final exam or submission of the last course requirement). Fee refunds will not be considered.

With supporting documentation, a student may submit a Request for Late Course Drop/Retroactive Withdrawal Form. This should be a last resort and will only be considered where a student has faced sudden and serious life events that directly prevented them from meeting the course drop/retroactive withdrawal published deadlines.

Last updated: November 24, 2020

  1. When a student contacts you to discuss a potential late drop or retroactive withdrawal, you will need to determine if their situation warrants consideration under the outlined guidelines
    1. Consideration will not be given to circumstances that do not meet the guideline criteria
    2. Students should be advised that their eligibility for OSAP (or other loans and bursaries they are currently receiving) may be reassessed as a result of their appeal removing a course from their academic record. Once removed, courses cannot be reinstated to the academic record. Students may contact Student Financial Assistance for further details via the ServiceHub.
  2. The program chair/director should review the request from the student along with the documented evidence and consider if it falls under the scope of a late drop/retroactive withdrawal or if the appeal should be made through another route (e.g. course management policy appeal, Senate appeal, etc.)
  3. Approve, deny or defer the request:
    1. Approve: To recommend approval of the request, the chair/director must sign the appropriate section on the form submitted by the student and return the form along with the supporting documentation to the Office of the Registrar. Please mark the form “confidential" and Attn: Registrar’s Office Appeals Service (ROAS), POD 70
    2. Deny: If the chair/director decides not to recommend late drop or retroactive withdrawal, they (or their designate) must communicate this to the student via email to their Ryerson account. The form and supporting documentation should be retained in the student’s academic program department file
    3. Defer: If the chair/director is undecided, they may use their discretion to defer the decision to the University Registrar
  4. The Office of the Registrar will review the recommendation for consistency in application across the university. To protect the integrity of the university and its academic records, the student's request form and the supporting documentation will be added to the student’s permanent record

The documents a student provides along with their request must give clear evidence that a debilitation or hardship outside of their control (eg. personal, circumstantial, physical, psychological) existed during the course in question. This information is requested to understand that these limitations were the cause of course deadlines being missed.

Accepted Documentation

  • Letters from a medical doctor (M.D.) confirming dates of onset of illness, date of diagnosis, or recovery period. 
    • A PDF fileRyerson Medical Form will be required when medical circumstances form a factor.
    • A doctor’s note on prescription paper is not sufficient evidence
  • Airplane tickets (for example, e-tickets) with a passport stamp confirming the date of the student's departure and arrival. This can be used in the event of sudden departure to attend to a family death or other family emergency outside the country
  • A certified death certificate, published obituary notice, or original note from a funeral home citing the student's relationship to the deceased
  • Confirmation that medical or extenuating circumstances were present between the end of the course in question and the time of submission of the late drop/retroactive withdrawal request
    • Evidence must confirm that the extenuating circumstances impacted the student to the point where they could not be reasonably expected to attend to academic matters in that time period on the basis of compassionate grounds

Decisions are communicated to the student through their Ryerson email account. Generally, students can expect to receive a reply within 30 working days.

The following are examples of reasons why a request for a late course drop or retroactive withdrawal may be denied:

  • Not knowing or forgetting published deadlines and procedures
  • Requests to remove courses after a degree has been conferred
  • Requests to remove courses with low grades to improve grade point averages (GPA)
  • Requests to remove courses with low grades due to course management and in-course issues (for example, group work issues)
  • Requests for fee refunds
  • Requests for late drops and retroactive withdrawals that have already been considered through grade and academic standing appeals at the department, faculty or Senate level. Please refer to the Senate Appeals page for detailed information on the grade and academic standing appeal process
  • Requests for retroactive withdrawals for courses that have already been considered as part of academic misconduct appeals at the Academic Integrity Council or Senate level

Note: As an instructor or faculty member, you may wish to consider assigning an INC grade where circumstances do not warrant a late drop.

For questions about these guidelines, faculty and program administrators may contact:
 

  • Carolyn Posa, Assistant Registrar, Student Records and Legislated Reporting (x7957)
  • Shaun Cavaliere, Assistant Registrar, Student Financial Services (x544366)