Current Student FAQs

Academic and Graduation

1. What are the differences between a Certificate, Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor's Degree?

Certificate is generally a 30 credit program that takes 6-12 months of full-time studies to complete. A Certificate prepares students for a wide variety of employment categories. Some of KPU's certificate programs also allow students to progress into diploma and degree programs.

Diploma is generally a 60 credit program that takes two years of full-time study to complete. A diploma enables graduates to pursue many different careers or progress into a Bachelor’s Degree program.

Associate's degree consists of 60 credits of study prescribed by the Ministry of Education in arts or science. Most BC universities will grant 60 transfer credits to holders of an associate's degree, even if all the courses taken towards the associate's degree do not transfer individually to the receiving institution. For more information, please visit the BC Transfer Guide.

Baccalaureate (or Bachelor's) degree combines academic theory and applied skills development in a curriculum that will provide the foundation for a career or graduate studies. It is made up of approximately 120 credits and takes four to five years of full-time studies to complete.  Students who have met the GPA requirements and wish to continue studies at the graduate level may apply for admission to Master's degree or Doctoral degree (PhD) programs after completing the Baccalaureate Degree.

2. What is a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma?

This is an academic program designed for those who already have an undergraduate degree or the equivalent. This is a focused addition to an undergraduate degree, to help enhance employment opportunities or prepare for graduate-level work. They are more advanced than a bachelor's degree. Length of program varies.

3. What is the University Calendar?

The University’s official publication of academic programs, courses, and regulations. It includes all the academic programs at KPU, the requirements for admission, the curricular requirements for graduation, the dates of the academic terms, the fees, and University rules and regulations. It is published annually by the University Registrar and found online at:

4. What is the Academic Year?

The academic year in KPU is the period from September 1 through to the following August 31. The Academic Year begins with the Fall Semester from September through December, followed by the Spring Semester from January through April, and lastly the Summer Semester from May through August.

5. What is an elective?

An elective is a course which is freely selected by a student to fulfill degree requirements. All degree programs include some required classes and some electives. Electives may or may not be transferable to the chosen institution.

6. What is a major and minor?

Major is the principal subject or discipline of study within a Bachelor's degree, and Minor is a secondary subject or discipline of study within a Bachelor's degree.

7. What is a prerequisite?

A pre-requisite is a course that must be successfully completed previous to registering in a given course. For example, a student must successfully complete ENGL 1100 before registering in ENGL 2300. A prerequisite course must be completed with a minimum grade of C unless otherwise stated. Pre-requisite requirements can be found in the Course Description section of the University Calendar.

8. What is a co-requisite?

A co-requisite is a course that must be taken at the same time, or previous to, a currently registered course (If taken previously, a minimum final grade of C is required to fulfill a co-requisite.)

9. Can I substitute a required course with another course?

In some cases, you may be able to substitute a course required for your program for another course with the same learning outcomes. We recommend that you consult with an advisor prior to submitting the Course Substitution Request form, please see this website on how to connect with an advisor.

10. What is a credit/credit hour/semester credit hour?

A specific numerical value assigned to a course, generally corresponding to either the number of contact hours per week throughout the semester or to some other metric of student engagement. Most courses at KPU are 3 credits. Credit values for courses are used in the calculation of GPA and fees, as well as in the evaluation of credits required for a credential. A student that has accrued fewer than 30 credits is classified as a first-year student; a second-year student is one that has accrued between 30 and 59 credits; a third -year student is one that has accrued between 60 and 89 credits; and a fourth-year student is one that has accrued 90 or more credits.

11. What's the difference between lower division courses and upper division courses?

Lower division courses are often referred to as the 1st and 2nd year requirements and the course numbers are usually 1100 and 2000.  Whereas, the upper division courses are referred to as the 3rd and 4th year requirements and the course numbers are usually 3000 and 4000.

12. What is an Academic Standing?

KPU students must maintain an Institutional CGPA of at least 2.0 (C average) in order to stay in Good Academic Standing. Students who fall below 2.0 CGPA may be placed on Academic Warning and then Academic Probation before being “Required to Withdraw”.

Academic Standing will also impact the assignment of a student's registration date and time. For further details, please refer to the Priority and Scheduling of Registration Procedure Policies.

13. What is a GPA? How is GPA calculated?

A weighted average calculated by multiplying the grade points for a course by the number of semester credit hours assigned to that course, adding those values for a set of courses, and dividing the result by the total number of semester credit hours for those courses. Separate GPA calculations are made for each academic level.

  • Institutional Cumulative Grade Point Average (Institutional CGPA) The GPA calculated for all courses taken at KPU.
  • Program Grade Point Average (Program GPA) The GPA calculated for all courses applicable towards graduation with a specific credential.
  • Term Grade Point Average (Term GPA) The GPA calculated for all courses taken at KPU in a specific term.
  • Transfer Grade Point Average (Transfer GPA) The GPA calculated for all transfer and PLA courses.
  • Overall Grade Point Average (Overall GPA) The GPA calculated for all courses.

14. What grade do I need to pass a course?

The minimum passing grade for a course in which letter grades are assigned is a D grade. However, you will need a C or higher to be able to use the course as a prerequisite.

15. What is a W and will W affect my GPA?

It is to formally remove oneself from a class via the online registration system. If this is done prior to the posted deadline, a 'W' will be shown on the transcript, and the course will not be used in the calculation of the grade point average (GPA).  For the withdrawal deadline, please see

16. How do I repeat a course?

You may repeat a course once and would need permission to register a third time. Please refer to the Request to Repeat a Course form for further instructions. We normally recommend students to submit this request form 2 weeks prior to your registration time so the request can be processed in time when it's your turn to register. The deadline to submit this request is the last Friday before classes start. 

17. What is waitlisting and how does it work?

If the section of a course you wish to register is full and waitlisting is available, you will then be given the option to add the status of “Waitlist/waitlisted”. You can click here for detailed information.

18. How do I find out if I got a seat offered from the waitlist? How much time do I have to accept a waitlist offer?

Seat notifications are sent out as soon as a seat becomes available. They are sent out based on the priority of the students on the waitlist. Each student will be given 24 hours to register. If you do not respond, you will be removed from the waitlist and the seat will be given to the next student on the priority list. It is critical that you check your KPU email account on a consistent basis in order to ensure that you do not miss an email notification.  For more information, please visit this website.

19. How many courses do I have to take to be considered a full-time student?

A student who is enrolled in nine or more credit hours in a semester is considered to be full-time at KPU. At KPU, a student who is registered in less than 9 credits hours of study in a semester is considered a part-time student.  For more information, please see this website.

20. What is an appropriate course load for each semester?

The maximum course load is normally restricted to 17.5 credits per semester; however a student's average course load is typically 3 – 5 courses per semester (9-15 credits). Some programs may require a specific course load.

21. How many times can I transfer the same course?

A student has only one opportunity to transfer the same course to KPU. When a student has completed courses at multiple institutions and the courses articulate to the same KPU course, KPU will grant transfer credit only to the first course transferred.

For more information, please click here.

22. What is a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

This is a process used to grant credits towards a certificate, diploma, or degree in recognition of learning gained through previous work, training, or informal experience.

23. Can I take a test to register in an English and/or Math course at KPU?

KPU offers both English and Math tests which evaluate your skills and place you into upgrading courses. You can view the type of tests offered at KPU.

24. Does KPU provide support to improve my academic performance?

We have the Learning Centres in each of our four campuses where you can find individualized learning assistance and assessments. The Learning Centres help students with study skills and learning strategies, and provide free one-on-one and small group tutoring in a range of areas such as writing and math. English language tutoring is the most popular subject among international students.
There are over 100 peer tutors and academic coaches to support students transitioning to university life. For more information, please visit here

25. How do I get help with my English writing skills?

The Learning Centre provides a number of writing support services!

  1. You can meet with a writing peer tutor. Writing tutors can help you understand your assignment instructions, generate ideas, create an essay outline, organize your paragraphs, and much more. Writing tutors can support you in writing assignments for any class you are taking. While writing tutors do not edit or proofread your work, they will give you strategies for improving your writing and conquering common mistakes. To book an appointment, go to (search for Writing as the subject).
  2. You can also work with an online writing tutor! In online writing tutoring, you upload your assignment, and in about two days, you will receive feedback from a writing tutor that indicates the strength of your writing, and 2-3 key areas to guide you in improving your draft. There are two online services available to KPU students:
    • AskUp: go to and select Upload an Assignment for Review
    • Submit a paper to Write Away. Visit
  3. Attend a writing-focused Academic Skills Workshop. In these workshops, you will work with a Learning Strategist and a small group of students to address common writing concerns. Topics include:
    • University Essays: First Steps
    • Quote, Paraphrase, and Summarize
    • Self-Editing Strategies
    • Visit for a current workshop schedule.
  4. Attend a First-Year English Writing Lab. The Writing Lab sessions are for students currently registered in first year English courses, and are organized by the English department every semester. For additional information, and to register for a session, visit here.

26. How to apply for graduation?

Please make sure you apply for graduation early and according to the deadlines posted by the Graduation Office.  To apply for graduation, please refer to for information.  

If you have questions regarding your courses and have not applied for your credential, international students are encouraged to book an appointment with International Academic Advisor during their last semester to do a graduation check for further assistance. Please view Policy AR16 regarding specific graduation requirements.

In addition, if you have completed courses at another post-secondary institution and are requesting Transfer Credit, it is your responsibility to ensure that all documentation has been submitted and assessed prior to applying for graduation. If you have any questions about the status of your Transfer Credit you may check your student records online through your Online Self-Service account or contact Transfer Credit Evaluation Office by email (

If you have spoken with an Advisor and still have concerns regarding graduation, please contact the Graduation Office at

27. What is convocation?

This is the graduation ceremony where students are awarded and conferred credentials by the Chancellor of the University.  For more info, please visit the Convocation website at

28. Plagiarism – What is it?

As per KPU's Policy, "Plagiarism occurs where a student represents the work or ideas of another person as his or her own." 
Some examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • not citing the sources you used
  • not identifying direct quotes properly
  • paraphrasing or summarizing information from a source without acknowledgement
  • patchwriting
  • submitting a paper as your own that was done entirely or partially by someone else
  • paying someone to write your paper

29. What happens if I plagiarize?

The consequences for plagiarism are outlined in KPU's Procedures for Dealing with Academic Integrity Violations.

30. How can I learn more about plagiarism?

KPU's Library has compiled a resource centre and an online tutorial on plagiarism, which you are encouraged to complete to demonstrate your awareness.     

Study and Work Permits

31. When should I renew my study permit?

KPU students are encouraged to renew their study permit three months prior to the expiry date. Please see the detailed instruction on this website (select "Study Permit Extention Letter").

32. How KPU can help me extend my study permit?

KPU students will need a study permit extension letter issued by the International Advising Office to renew the study permit. To request a study permit extension letter, please click here for the form. 

33. Can I take a scheduled break?

Please click here for more information.

34. My study permit is lost/stolen, what should I do?

You may request a replacement of your study permit if it is lost or stolen. You need to contact RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to get a file number. You must provide the police report number to prove that your current study permit has been lost or stolen. Please follow the instructions from IRCC.

35. How can I get a Co-op work permit?

A Co-op work permit is different from an off-campus work permit and you may hold both if you meet the criteria for each. Work cannot be more than 50 percent of the total program of study. Submit your application online for faster processing times. Make sure you:
1. Attend a Co-op information session. Pre-register online.
2. Obtain a letter from the Co-op office which confirms your Co-op/Internship is part of your program of study.
3. Visit the IRCC website to learn more on the Co-op work permit application procedure.
4. Once you have obtained your Co-op work permit, visit Services Canada to obtain your Social Insurance Number (SIN), if you have not yet obtained one. To learn more about how to apply for a SIN, please continue to read Question 41 in this FAQ.

36. How many hours can I volunteer with my study permit?

Volunteer work would be when the person is not remunerated.  Visit the IRCC website to learn what kind of volunteering activities would not be considered as work and do not required a work permit.  To learn more about volunteer opportunities available at KPU, please go to here.

37. Can I work while studying? Do I need a work permit?

International students may wish to explore the opportunity of working either on- or off-campus while studying at KPU. 

Please review the following websites to find out if you meet the eligibility requirements to work on-campus and off-campus with your study permit.

38. Who can't work off-campus?

Not all students may meet the criteria to work off-campus, please review the IRCC website to find out whether you are eligible to work off-campus. 

39. How many hours can I work while I study?

Please review the following websites to find out how many hours you can work on-campus and off-campus.

40. When can I work full time?

Please review the following websites to find out when you can work full-time on-campus and off-campus.

41. What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and how can I apply for a SIN?

Students need a social insurance number (SIN) to work in Canada.  Please review the information on the Service Canada website to learn about how to apply for a SIN.  

42. Can my partner work while I study in Canada?

Your spouse or common-law partner may apply for their own open work permit, for more information, please review the IRCC website.     

43. I want to work after graduation. What should I do?

To work in Canada after you graduate, you may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), which enables students to work in Canada for up to three years. To find further information, please review the IRCC website.

An International Academic Advisor can provide you with a post graduate work permit letter to submit to IRCC as a supporting document for your application. You no longer need to submit a request for a Post-graduation Work Permit letter, this process will be automated if you have submitted a graduation application and are approved to graduate.  Your PGWP letter will be issued to your KPU email account within 10 business days after you have been approved by the Senate to graduate.  For more information on the PGWP letter, please see this website and select "Post-Graduation Work Permit Letter".

Travel, TRV, and eTA

44. What is a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV)?

A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), also referred to as a visitor visa, is an official document issued by a Canadian visa office that is placed in your passport to show that you have met the requirements for admission to Canada as a temporary resident (either as a visitor, a student, or a worker). You must obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) before your departure. You cannot obtain one upon arrival in Canada. Citizens of some countries require a TRV to visit Canada for temporary purposes. Please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website to find out whether you need a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada.  For more information, please refer to this IRCC website.

45. How can I apply for a TRV in Canada?

Please click here (and select "Temporary Resident Visa") to find out how to apply for a TRV inside Canada.  

46. What is an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

An Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is an entry requirement for visa-exempt foreign nationals travelling to Canada by air. The eTA is electronically linked to your passport and is valid up to five years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.  If you get a new passport, you need to get a new eTA.  You do not need an eTA for travel within Canada.  For more information, please refer to this IRCC website.

47. Who needs an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)?

Please visit this IRCC website to find out if you need an eTA or TRV to enter Canada.

48. How do I apply for an eTA for travel to Canada?

Applying for an eTA is a simple online process, please visit the IRCC website for information on how to apply for an eTA.

49. How should I do after I have applied for an eTA?

Please visit this IRCC website for information on what to do after you have applied.  

50. Tips on what to bring with me when returning back to Canada from my trip?

If you plan to travel outside of Canada while you are a KPU student, below are some tips on what you can bring with you when returning to Canada.

  • Make sure you have a valid TRV/eTA
  • Bring photocopies of your identity documents with you, including your passport, BC ID, study permit, etc.
  • Print a Confirmation of Enrolment letter or course schedule from online self-service and bring it to the border with you.
  • Make sure you are covered for basic medical insurance while outside of Canada:
    • If you are enrolled in BC MSP and you travel outside of Canada, you will not be covered for basic medical insurance. You will need to seek travel insurance which includes basic medical insurance.
    • KPU's Temporary Medical Insurance plan may include coverage outside of Canada, please double check from you travel.
    • Keep your emergency contact information up-to-date in KPU's records, using online self-service

51. What should I do if I want to visit the United States?

Please visit this website (and select "US Visa") for more information.

52. I would like to invite my family to visit me in Canada. What should I do?

Please visit this website (and select "Invite Family or Friends to visit you in Canada") for more information.


53. Are international students eligible for scholarships and awards?

International students are eligible to apply for certain awards available at KPU. We suggest that you speak with a Student Awards and Financial Assistance Office staff to learn which award you may be eligible to apply and the application procedures. International students cannot apply for any bursaries or awards based on financial needs, as they are required to demonstrate sufficient funding before being issued a study permit by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Additional information is available here.

54. How do I file my Income Tax return?

As an international student, it is important that you understand what your rights, entitlements, and obligations are under Canada's tax system. It is your responsibility to file your tax each year to report your income, you may also use this opportunity to claim eligible tuition, education, and textbook amounts for non-refundable tax credits.  Even if you do not have to pay tax, you may be able to carry forward all or part of your tax credits from tuition, education, and textbook, to use in a future year.  For detailed information, please click here.

To claim eligible tax credits from tuition, education, and textbooks, you would need the Tuition and Enrolment Certificate (T2202) which is available in the KPU Online Self-Service system. Each tax year, the new slip is available before the end of February deadline.  You can follow the instructions on this website to download your T2202A around late Februrary each year.

Please read through the instructions from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to learn how to file your income tax return.  This website contains information, resources and services to help newcomers to Canada understand how the tax system works and how to file taxes.

Videos and Recorded Webinars

  • An online video gallery of tax related videos and recorded webinars can be viewed here.
  • If you are new to Canada and hope to learn more about taxes, you can click here to watch a video on this topic.
  • You can also visit the CRA's YouTube Channel for tax-related videos. If you prefer to view the videos in a language other than English, the Google automatic translation feature is available for you to translate the Closed Captions into a language of your choice.

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)

  • CVITP is a collaboration between community partners and CRA, they provide Tax Clinics to eligible individuals to complete and file their tax returns for free.
  • To find a free tax clinic in your area:
    • Go to here and click 'Find a free tax clinic in your area'
    • Select your province and city, and click 'Search'


If you have any questions about temporary medical insurance, the British Columbia Medical Service Plan (BC MSP), how to opt out of temporary medical insurance and the opt-out deadline etc, please visit here.

55. What if I don't feel well and I need to see a doctor?

To find a direct billing clinic, visit the GuardMe website and select "Find a Canadian Clinic."

56. If I feel home sick or stressful, who should I speak to?

Please visit this website (and select "Emotional Support") for more information.


57. What is KPU's emergency contact number when I need help on campus?

In case of emergency on campus, you can call 911 for Police or KPU Campus Security/First Aid at 604-599-2676.

KPU Security has an app! With KPU Safe, you can:

  • Contact security and emergency services
  • Access support resources such as counselling services and first aid
  • View interactive campus maps
  • Arrange for an escorted walk on any KPU campus, or share your location with a friend
  • Get help if you have car trouble on campus, such as a flat tire or dead battery
  • And much more!

Download the app here.

Can't find what you are looking for? Ask a Question.

Disclaimer: KPU strives to provide the most up-to-date information. However, the KPU International FAQ page is not a legal document, and the information therein is subject to change without notice. Please ensure to visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most updated information: