Course withdrawals

After the Course Change (Add/Drop) Period, there is a period of time during each term when you may still withdraw from courses on Minerva without academic penalty. You may withdraw from your courses in any given term using Minerva up to the course withdrawal deadline. There are two deadlines to withdraw—one that will allow for a full tuition refund, and a later one with no refund. Withdrawing from your last course in any given term constitutes a University withdrawal.

Non-attendance at classes does not constitute a withdrawal. It will result in a grade of "J" (failure due to absence).

Deciding whether to withdraw

You may wish to withdraw for a number of reasons, which may include illness, financial difficulty, or other personal issues, as well as recognizing that you do not like the course, or that you are not going to do well in the course (see the Grading tab on the Methods of Evaluation page).

If you are not sure whether to continue in or to withdraw from a course, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I understand the material?
  • Am I keeping up with the reading?
  • Am I passing the course?

To have your Fall or Winter course fees refunded, you must withdraw from the course by the end of the week following the Course Change Period. You have until the Course Withdrawal Deadline to decide if you want to stay in a course, or if you want to remain at the University. See Withdrawal Deadlines for more information. For Summer studies, you have until the eighth scheduled day of class to withdraw.

You alone are responsible for your academic record. If you are thinking about withdrawing and do not take action, you may experience potentially serious problems. Be proactive, assess your situation, inform yourself of deadlines and rules, seek advice and help in your decision making. There are many resources available to help you.

Grades of "W" are not "bad" for your record; they have no effect on your CGPA and a few over the course of your academic career should not affect future studies or career goals. However, when there are numerous grades of 'W' on your record, some explanation may be required. A W does not necessarily mean you were failing the course; you are free to register in that same course at another time if you wish.

If you are thinking about withdrawing from a course, please consult a Faculty adviser in Arts OASIS, Dawson Hall, or an ASAP student adviser before you make your final decision.

What happens when you don't withdraw from a class you stopped attending?

If you miss a final exam, or fail to submit required coursework, you will receive a "J" instead of a "W" for a final grade in the course. A "J" grade is equivalent to a zero in the course and will count as such for your CGPA. A "J" grade remains a permanent part of your record; you will not be able to erase it. You could go into probationary or unsatisfactory standing as a result of a "J" grade.

Missed the deadline?

Permission to withdraw from a course after the withdrawal deadline may be granted for serious and well-documented extenuating circumstances such as an illness or death of a family member. If you wish to request permission to withdraw late from a course, you must appeal in writing to Service Point, and attach the appropriate documentation to your request.

Myths about Withdrawals

  1. You can withdraw from a course by simply not going to lectures.
  2. A professor or other University staff member can withdraw you from a course.
  3. A W looks bad on your record and damages your average.
  4. You can withdraw after the deadline with the professor's permission.
  5. Ws on your record prevent you from entering graduate studies, medical school, or finding a job.
  6. A W means you were failing the course.
  7. A W means you cannot take the course again.

University withdrawals

Withdrawing from all your courses in any one term constitutes a University withdrawal.

It is your responsibility to initiate the withdrawal process, non-attendance at classes does not constitute a University withdrawal. To view the University's Regulations Concerning University Withdrawal, click here.

You should determine the impact that a university withdrawal will have on the timely completion of program requirements, your academic goals and access to any university services. If you are considering withdrawing from the university, you may wish to consult with the following services before making your final decision:

  • Students receiving financial aid should contact the Scholarship and Student Aid Office regarding whether their aid status will be impacted. Tel: (514) 398-6013
  • International students should contact McGill International Student Services regarding whether their student visa will be impacted. Tel: (514) 398-4349
  • Students in living in residence should contact the McGill Student Housing Office to determine the impact this decision will have on their housing arrangements. Tel. (514) 398- 6368
  • Students should verify whether a university withdrawal will impact any external services they receive. (i.e. private health insurance provider or bank account plan)

Withdrawal Prior to the Deadline:

To withdraw from the University, you must withdraw from all your courses on Minerva BEFORE the deadline for University Withdrawal.

Withdrawal After the Deadline:

Withdrawal from the University after the University withdrawal deadline may be granted only under serious, well-documented circumstances.

Circumstances which can affect your ability to complete your studies, and which may constitute a valid basis to grant a University withdrawal past the withdrawal deadline include illness, unforeseen financial hardship, or serious family issues.

If you wish to withdraw from the University after the University withdrawal deadline, you must submit your request with appropriate supporting documentation and the University Withdrawal Form to Service Point.

Service Point
McGill University
3415 McTavish St.
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y1

Your Record

If you withdraw from all your courses on Minerva BEFORE the deadline for University Withdrawal,  you will not have a record of study for this term and your student record will remain inactive. 

If you were granted a University Withdrawal after the deadline, your record will indicate "Withdrew from the University" and the date on which your withdrawal became effective.

If you withdraw in the Fall term, you are considered withdrawn from the entire academic year and your Winter term is deleted.


Should you wish to return to McGill in the future, please see the Seeking Readmission webpage and its possible impact on tuition fees.