Full-Time vs. Part-Time

As a university student, you may be considering pursuing studies on a full-time or a part-time basis. It is important that you know what that means!

You may choose to study on a full-time or part-time basis for a number of different reasons. Regardless of those reasons, it is imperative that you know whether you are considered a "full-time" student or "part-time" student as it can impact you in different ways. It is also important to understand the difference between what it means to be considered full-time by Lakehead University, and what it means to be considered full-time by OSAP - in general, the answer is different.

Full-time at Lakehead

When it comes to being considered full-time by Lakehead, based on the definition within the Academic Calendar:

  • A full-time undergraduate student in the Fall-Winter Term is one who is registered in more than three and one-half full course equivalents (i.e., someone who is registered in more than 3.5 FCEs). The normal course load is five full course equivalents (or higher). (Please refer to the specific program requirements in this Calendar.) 
  • part-time undergraduate student in the Fall-Winter Term is one who is registered in three and one-half full course equivalents or fewer (i.e., someone who is registered in 3.5 FCEs or less).

Students required to register for single terms in programs that do not follow the academic year format are also considered to be full-time students provided that they register in all the courses prescribed for that term by their program. Where the normal load for the term is five half-courses or the equivalent, students may carry the equivalent of four or six half-courses if they have the approval of their department and the faculty Dean. A part-time student in this context is one who is registered in the equivalent of three or fewer half-courses.

A student who has maintained at least a 'B' average in his/her last five (5) courses, may take three (3) full courses in combined Spring and Summer Sessions. This constitutes the equivalent of a full-time program. No more than two full course equivalents may be taken during the Spring Session. No more than two full course equivalents may be taken during the Summer Session.

Full-time with OSAP

When it comes to being considered full-time by OSAP,

  • A student is considered to be full-time by OSAP when they are registered for at least a 60% course load. At Lakehead, during the Fall/Winter terms, this is equivalent to 3.0 FCEs over the Fall and Winter terms, or 1.5 FCEs per term. No averaging of course loads is permitted (i.e. you cannot take 0.5 FCEs in the fall and 2.5 FCEs in the winter - in this case, a student would only be considered full-time by OSAP for the Winter term). For students with a permanent disability, they must only be registered in at least a 40% course load to be considered full-time.
  • A student is considered to be part-time by OSAP when they are registered for less than a 60% course load, or 40% course load for students with a permanent disability.