Exceeding the BA degree credit limit

As a Faculty of Arts 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 successfully completed courses (subject to degree and program regulations) taken up to and including the semester in which you attain 120 completed credits.

  • Note: the credit limit for the Bachelor of Social Work degree is set at 90 credits. If you have inquiries regarding surpassing the 90-credit limit, please submit your questions through the Arts OASIS Service Portal.

Some scenarios permit students to exceed 120 credits. Please review the following procedure to identify which scenario applies to you.

Students seeking to exceed the 120 credit limit should consult the appropriate authorities to ensure this will not negatively impact their immigration status, financial aid, health insurance, or other.

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

Scenario A: Students with advanced standing:

  • At the time of admission to the McGill Faculty of Arts, you were awarded advanced standing credits.
  • Accordingly, you are eligible to exceed 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 pre-McGill programs: 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.
    • Note: Although exceeding the credit limit is permitted, we strongly encourage you to meet with a Faculty Adviser to review your degree plan.
  • If you wish to exceed 120 credits in addition to the sum of credits awarded in advanced standing, a formal request is required. Details for submitting such a request are provided in the Requesting Permission to Exceed Credits section below.
    • For example: a CEGEP student with 30 advanced standing credits must ask permission to enrol in courses over and above the 150 credits maximum (eg. 120 credits + 30 credits)

Scenario B: All other students:

  • If the number of total earned credits towards your Faculty of Arts B.A. degree - as at the start of the term - shows 119 credits or less, you do not need to request to exceed credits All of your courses will continue to be included in your CGPA/GPA calculation and credit count.
  • Otherwise, you are required to 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 in U3.
  • 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 your final semester.
  • Permission to exceed the 120 credits degree maximum is not guaranteed. See below for details.

Requesting permission to exceed 120 credits: 

STEP 1: Meet with the program adviser of each academic department listed on your Minerva record to confirm course selections necessary for meeting each of those respective program requirements.

STEP 2: Fill in a Degree Planning Worksheet, ensuring to include the courses you still need to complete. Your degree plan must adhere to the B.A. Degree Requirements. Please note that the form should be in PDF format and the max file size of the document cannot exceed 100Mb. The title of the document should include your name, your McGill ID number, and what the document is (eg. "DegreePlanningWorksheet"), per the following:

  • Example(s): Amanda_Hxxxx_261XXXXXX__DegreePlanningWorksheet

STEP 3: Submit the completed Request to exceed the 120cr limit form, ensuring to upload the Degree Planning Worksheet within the form. Ensure that you submit the form 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 with you being deregistered from all courses in which you are enrolled for the "extra" term.

Important notes:

  • Approval to take courses beyond the 120-credit limit does not guarantee availability of space in those courses.
  • 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.

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

  1. Typically, final-year students changing their declared programs in their penultimate semester 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 (eg. for grad school) 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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