Western Deans' Agreement

This webpage is for students from outside UNBC who wish to attend UNBC through an exchange. Current students attending UNBC should follow the process here.

Information for Visiting Students


Please ensure that your Western Dean's Request (approved by the home institution) reaches our office no later than 6 weeks prior to the start of the course(s). Our contact address is grad-office@unbc.ca

Allow sufficient processing time at your home institution to ensure the form can be submitted to UNBC by the deadline. You should check with your home institution for their deadline to submit a request and ensure that you’ve left enough time to have your request reviewed by our office. Registration and fee waivers cannot be processed retroactively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Western Dean's Agreement?

The WDA agreement was established in 1974 as an expression of cooperation and mutual support among universities offering Graduate programs in western Canada. Its primary purpose is the reciprocal enrichment of graduate programs throughout western Canada. The Western Deans' Agreement provides an automatic tuition fee waiver for visiting students from member institutions. The terms of the agreement are outlined here. Please consult your graduate programs office for deadlines and procedural requirements at your home institution. In order to have your request reviewed, it needs to be fully approved by your home graduate office and submitted from their office to ours.

How do I apply to UNBC to take a course via the Western Deans?

Complete the Western Dean's Request form and submit it to your home institution for processing. Western Deans Agreement requests must first be reviewed and approved by your home institution. Processing units will vary but typically this will be done through a Graduate Programs office. Please do not submit requests directly to UNBC unless they have been approved by your home institution. Directly submitted forms will not be processed.

What is the cost to take courses via the agreement at UNBC?

Graduate students paying normal required tuition fees to their home institution will not pay tuition fees at UNBC. However, student fees will apply and total approximately $125. These fees are mandatory. There is no application fee.

What courses can I take at UNBC?

Registration is possible in courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and in credit courses offered through distance education or other means, subject to department approval and availability. UNBC's course schedule is available online here.

To be eligible, courses must be an integral part of your graduate degree program. Typically, students cannot take coursework via the Western Deans that is offered at their home institution. There may be exceptions to this rule. For example, a course may be listed in the catalogue but not offered during the duration of your degree program or within the timeline you need to take a class in order to progress through their program. 

If you want to take a course that is offered at your institution, you should first contact your Faculty of Graduate Programs office (or equivalent) to discuss your options. Fee waiver is not permitted for audit or non-credit courses. You must be a student in good standing and cannot owe fees to your home institution.

How long does it take to process a request?

Processing time varies at an institutional level. There are two stages to processing a Western Deans’ request: 

  • First, you must have the request approved by your home institution at the department/program level.
  • Following final review and approval, the form is sent to the Graduate Office for processing. We then coordinate the same approvals at the program and faculty level. 

Given the multiple touch-points to have a request approved, we recommend you submit your form as early as possible.

How many courses can I take?

Students are subject to regulations of the home institution governing credit for the courses to be undertaken. You should review the rules in place at your institution. You must list all previously completed Western Deans coursework on your application.

Can I take a Western Deans course in my first semester of study?

Whether or not this option is permitted will vary at each institution. You should contact your home institution well in advance of starting your first semester if this is something you wish to pursue.

How do I confirm completion of a course(s) to my home institution?

Once you have received a grade for your course(s), you should immediately arrange to submit an official transcript to your home institution. Instructions on how to order a UNBC transcript can be found here.

How to I drop/withdraw from a course I have registered in?

Prior to requesting to take coursework via the Western Deans agreement, you should be sure that you are able to take the course(s). However, if an exceptional situation arises and you need to drop a course, please complete a Graduate Add/Drop Registration Form prior to the deadline. At UNBC, there are two deadlines:

  • The first is the last day to revise registration without financial penalty. Meeting this deadline will remove the course from our transcript (drop) and refund any assessed fees. 
  • The second deadline is the last day to withdraw from coursework without academic penalty. If you do not meet the drop deadline but fall within the withdrawal period, your UNBC transcript will record a “W” and no student fees are refunded. 

Click here for our current semester dates and deadlines. Failure to revise registration by the deadlines explained above will mean that any assessed fees are still owed and you will receive a failed grade.

If you revise your registration, you must follow our process and inform your home institution.

If I have questions, who do I contact?

We're happy to help with any questions you may have. Email grad-office@unbc.ca for assistance.