Open Learning Program

Maximum Flexibility to Meet Your Learning Needs

The Open Learning program is an open admission distance-only* mode of study that provides access to degree-credit university courses for individuals who wish to study independently but are not interested in pursuing a degree at the University of Guelph at the present time. You may register in the Open Learning program, even if you are registered at another educational institution or program. The Open Learning program extends the academic resources of the University to those interested in personal enrichment, professional updating, or eventual application to a degree program.

Open Learning program students must complete the same assignments and examinations as those in degree programs. As a learner in the Open Learning program, you will have the same workload as a degree program student, and you will be evaluated using the same standards. Upon successful completion of a course, you will receive the same credit weight as someone in a degree program.

Jump to: Benefits of Open Learning | Guaranteed Admission to a B.A. Program | When to Apply
How to Register | Continuing Education Option | Waiver of Course Prerequisite(s)
Number of Courses | English Proficiency | Tax Receipts

Benefits of the Open Learning Program


  • convenient access to university courses no matter where you live or work
  • no formal entrance requirements


  • learn according to your own schedule - you choose the time and place of study
  • participate in university courses while balancing your other commitments (family, career, volunteer work, etc.)


  • many courses integrate innovative learning designs and technologies (e.g. computer conferencing and multimedia elements)
  • you become part of a "learning community"

Tailored to your needs

  • whether accessing courses for personal enrichment or professional development, the Open Learning program helps you design a program of study that suits your personal learning needs

Guaranteed Admission to a B.A. or B.Comm. Program

English proficiency requirements as outlined in the Undergraduate Calendar apply. Contact Admissions at 519 821-2130 for details.

Open Learning program students with no previous post secondary experience who complete four courses (2.0 credits) with a 70% minimum cumulative average, may qualify to transfer into the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce Programs at the University of Guelph. Please contact Open Learning and Educational Support for information regarding these opportunities, since there are different course requirements for each program. Please note: University of Guelph admissions requirements are subject to change at anytime

When to Apply for the Open Learning Program

The University of Guelph operates on a three-semester system, and classes start at the beginning of the month as indicated below. It is recommended that you apply well in advance of course start dates, to ensure you receive your course material in time, and to avoid disappointment, as some courses are offered on a limited-enrolment basis.

The University of Guelph operates on the following three-semester system:

  • Fall Semester: September - December
  • Winter Semester: January - April
  • Summer Semester: May - August

How to Register for Entry to the Open Learning Program

  • Determine which distance course(s) you are interested in and when these are offered
  • Check to see that you meet the course prerequisite(s), if any
  • Register online at Open Learning and Educational Support website
  • Contact us for an Open Learning program registration form

Early registration is recommended, as some courses have enrollment limits.

Continuing Education Option

Those not interested in receiving credit for a course may register as a continuing education student. Learners taking courses in this way are not required to complete assignments or related exams. However, learners may participate in any related on-line discussion groups. All continuing education applicants must have the approval of the academic department and Open Learning and Educational Support. Those wishing to apply as continuing education students need to contact the Open Learning program Counsellor. A learner may change from credit status to continuing education status up until the final course drop date for the semester.

Waiver of Course Prerequisite(s)

Open Learning program applicants who lack the stated prerequisite(s) for a given course, may still apply for entry to that course. If you feel you have formal education or life experiences comparable to the course prerequisite(s), you may apply for a waiver of the prerequisite(s). Contact the Open Learning program Counsellor at 519 824-4120, ext. 56050 if you have any questions. You may be required to provide documentation, (e.g. a transcript, course outline, etc).

Number of Courses

The Open Learning program is a part-time program. Learners may register in a maximum of three courses per semester, depending on their academic experience. If you are currently working and/or balancing other commitments, we recommend that you register for only one or two courses each semester. You should expect to spend an average of 10-12 hours a week on each course. This will vary from course to course.

English Proficiency

Almost all our courses are facilitated in English. To be admitted to the Open Learning program you must meet the English proficiency requirements outlined by the University of Guelph. To review these requirements, please visit the University of Guelph admissions website.

The University of Guelph's English Language Programs offer a distinct and exciting way of learning English. For more information, contact us at 519 767-5000.

Tax Receipts

In Canada, the tuition portion your course fees is income tax deductible.

Tax receipts are issued once a year in February. It will be mailed to the mailing address provided on your registration form. If you require a receipt prior to that, please contact Open Learning and Educational Support.