Exceeding the BA degree credit limit

Exceeding the B.A. degree 120 credits limit

As a B.A. student, you are expected to complete the requirements of your program and your degree within 120 credits. You will receive credit for all courses (subject to degree regulations) taken up to and including the semester in which you attain 120 completed credits. Should you remain eligible to enroll in the B.A. beyond the 120-credit limit, you must seek permission of the Faculty of Arts OASIS following the procedure listed below.

Students contemplating exceeding credit requirements should consult service providers to ensure it won't impact study permit, financial aid, health insurance, or other services.

Permission for exceeding the credit limit will be considered based on the following scenarios:

  • Scenario A: Students with advanced standing:
    • You may surpass the 120 credit limit by up to the sum of credits awarded for your advanced standing.​​ This is the case if you were granted advanced standing at McGill through any of the following: Advanced Level; Advanced Subsidiary Exams; Advanced Placement; Bologna-compliant high school diplomas; CEGEP Diploma of Collegial Studies (DCS); European Baccalaureate; French Baccalaureate; or the International Baccalaureate
      • For example: a CEGEP student with 30 advanced standing credits can earn a maximum of 150 credits, thus reaching a total of 120 McGill credits.
    • If you wish to exceed 120 McGill credits, a formal request is required. Details for submitting such a request are provided in the Requesting Permission to Exceed 120 Credits section below.
  • Scenario B: All other students:
    • You do not need to request to exceed credits if the number of total earned credits towards your BA - as at the start of the term - shows less than 119 credits. All of your courses will continue to be included in your CGPA/GPA calculation and credit count.
    • Otherwise, you may request permission to exceed 120 credits if you were admitted to McGill based on any of the following:
      • High School diploma (without advanced standing); or with 24 or more university transfer credits; or transferred from another McGill Faculty; or changed your BA course of study.
    • Permission is granted solely for valid academic reasons, which may include the completion of remaining program requirements (pending departmental approval) and the ability to sustain full-time student status in the final semester.

Requesting permission to exceed 120 credits: 

  • STEP 1: Complete the PDF iconRequest to Exceed BA Credit Limit form.
  • STEP 2: Engage with the program adviser of each academic department listed on your Minerva record to confirm course selections necessary for meeting program requirements.
  • STEP 3: Submit the completed form to the Arts OASIS Service Portal before the start of the term in which you plan to exceed 120 credits. This allows time for approval of your credit-exceeding academic plan. 
    • Late requests will not be accepted, and will result in either your courses being E-Flagged or deregistered from all courses in which you are enrolled for the "extra" term.
  • Important note:
    • Approval to take elective courses beyond the 120-credit limit will be granted subject to departmental availability.
      • Upon permission, the course will be E-Flagged, denoting no credit value.
      • While the course and grade will be present on the Minerva student record, the grade for the E-Flagged course will not contribute to credit totals or Term GPA/Cumulative GPA calculations upon graduation.
      • Importantly, the enrollment in E-Flagged courses will not affect full-time student status.


Be aware that certain types of requests will NOT be approved:

  1. Typically, final-year students changing their declared programs will not receive approval for exceeding credit limits.
  2. Exceeding the credit limit solely to improve the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) is not permitted.
  3. Earning additional credits during a Study Away program is not allowed.
  4. Enrolling in extra courses to fulfill prerequisites for a subsequent program of study is not permitted. Consider applying for Special Student status at McGill instead.


Guidelines for checking total credits

Ensure to follow these guidelines carefully to navigate any potential credit-related considerations successfully:

  1. In Minerva, access your Unofficial Transcripts through the Student Records Menu to find your earned McGill credits.
  2. Locate credits granted for advanced standing under the PREVIOUS EDUCATION header at the top of your transcript.
  3. Review your TOTAL CREDITS at the last completed semester to determine your status. Note: TOTAL CREDITS calculation includes advanced standing credits.


For questions, book an appointment with an Arts OASIS advisor for a more in-depth discussion of your available choices, or submit your question in the Arts OASIS Service Portal.

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