Declined Admission FAQ
This page provides an overview of common reasons for declined admission and some pathways forward. Note that your decision letter will note the principal reason your application was declined but more factors may have contributed to the decision. If you are thinking of reapplying, in addition to reviewing the information below ensure you check for the most recent admission requirements (both general and by program) before submitting a new application.
Basic Requirements Not Met
- For domestic applicants, an application declined for failing to meet basic requirements occurs when the applicant does not meet the minimum required GPA (3.00/3.33).
International applicants must meet a set of basic admission requirements by country. Detailed information can be found on our website. Some examples of an admission declined for failing to meet basic requirements might include:
- Failing to meet the minimum required grades/degree level (such as a second class lower division degree from Nigeria).
- Failing to meet the required credentials needed. For example, some countries require an applicant to hold both a Bachelors and Masters degree for admission to a Masters degree in Canada (such as Bangladesh).
- Failing to meet the minimum required English Language requirement. For example, a TOEFL or IELTS score that does not meet the minimum score required. More details can be found here.
If you have been declined for not meeting minimum GPA/Degree Requirements...
Having a minimum required GPA is mandatory for consideration for admission. GPA requirements can be found in our Academic Calendar (regulation 1.3 for Masters degrees and 7.1.2 for Doctoral degrees). As you consider your next plans, it is important to understand that meeting a minimum GPA requirement is necessary to be considered for admission but merely meeting the GPA will not guarantee you will be admitted. Many of our programs are highly competitive and you’ll want to focus on making your application as strong as possible. With that said, this section includes some general guidance on what you might do to be reconsidered for admission.
Domestic students may choose to take additional upper level (300/400) coursework as an interest only student to raise their GPA. As we calculate GPA for admission based on the most recently completed 60 credits at a Canadian institution, newly completed coursework will be used in the GPA calculation. In selecting courses, your application will be more competitive if you take upper-level coursework in fields directly related to your intended area of study or which focus on addressing any gaps in knowledge required to succeed in your intended program (for example research methods or mathematics).
International students face more complexity in this area.
We cannot consider a degree that has not been awarded with the minimum required academic standing or an applicant who does not hold sufficient level credentials. For example, absent completing a second credential, you are unlikely to meet the requirements for a program that requires an Honour’s Degree for admission with upgrading your coursework.
However, if you have the appropriate degree (such as where the minimum requirement calls for completion of a Bachelor’s degree) but have not met the minimum GPA requirement for admission, taking additional upper-level coursework and/or seeking enrolment into an undergraduate program and upgrading your credential might be the best path forward.
In considering coursework for upgrading, you will want to be strategic. Programs will be looking at your performance in coursework directly related to your intended field of study. If you have key gaps or courses where you have performed less strongly, focus on those first. For example, students intending to complete their studies in Economics will want to ensure strong performance in Micro and Macro Economics coursework. Students interested in English Literature who hold a Linguistics degree will want to take upper-level literature coursework.
There is no set minimum number of courses you should take to be considered admissible if you’ve been declined for not meeting GPA requirements, and each situation is unique. You’ll want to think about where your weak spots are, what your goals are and come up with a plan to meet them.
Note: International applicants are required to meet the minimum GPA by country, based on the cumulative GPA for the total credential required for admission.
If you have been declined for not meeting minimum English Language requirements...
Minimum English Language Requirement scores must be met to be considered for admission. Applicants are invited to reapply if scores improve.
Application Not Competitive
Meeting the minimum requirements for admission is not a guarantee that you will be admitted. At UNBC, an admissions committee comprised of Faculty members reviews the full application package for applications. There are often more applications than available spaces and some programs are very competitive for entry.
If your application has been declined as not competitive for admission and you wish to reapply, strengthening your application may mean writing a stronger statement of interest or having additional related experience. You can contact the program directly for advice.
No Supervisor Available
Some programs require an applicant to have a faculty member agree to serve as their supervisor before they can be admitted. However, it is important to understand that a faculty member may have many applications they are considering and limited capacity to take on new students in a supervisory capacity.
If you applied without first contacting a faculty member to see if they would be willing to consider serving as your supervisor, it is unlikely your application will be successful.
If you are an applicant who had initiated contact prior to application but was declined admission for lack of a supervisor, it is likely that your application was one of many under consideration and ultimately unsuccessful.
Having the agreement of a faculty member to review your application as a potential supervisor is a competitive advantage in submitting an application. If you did not take this step and wish to reapply, we strongly recommend finding an interested faculty member who will consider your application after it is submitted. Start with searching our Find a Supervisor directory to find a faculty member whose research focus aligns closely with your area of interest.
Faculty members receive a lot of inquiries from potential students so you will want to make your initial inquiry relevant, concise and specific. Here are some tips on approaching a potential supervisor:
- Research the faculty member first. Review their published work and, if they have one, their profile or website. Make sure you understand their research and areas of interest.
- Be specific in your email. Choose a subject line that is clear and concise (e.g. "Prospective Applicant Inquiry - MSc NRES"). In order to stand out, instead of writing "Dear Professor", address the faculty member by their title (e.g. "Hello Dr. Smith"). Faculty members receive unsolicited emails sent to multiple people at one time and this can make it difficult for them to prioritize a serious inquiry.
- Be brief in your introduction. Provide a quick summary of who you are and your academic qualifications. Highlight a couple of your areas of strength/features as a prospective student.
- Connect to their research. In your email approach, you should demonstrate you understand their active areas of research and briefly outline how this fits with your intended area of research.
- End on a thank you. In concluding your email, thank the faculty member for taking time to review your request.
- Be patient waiting for a reply. Start this process early. It may take time to hear back and you don't want to leave this to the last minute.
- Ask permission. After you have engaged in a dialogue, ask if they would be comfortable with you referencing them as a prospective supervisor in your application. Remember - a faculty member's agreement to consider your application is not a guarantee of admission.
There are a lot of great resources on the web about how to approach a prospective supervisor as well that you may wish to consult.
Waitlisted (program is full)
Some programs may fill their admission for a given intake and choose to offer select applicants a space on the waiting list. This is done only for competitive entry programs with limited available spaces (such as the MScN FNP Nursing). If you are waitlisted, you will be notified if a space becomes available. This usually occurs when an applicant offered admission changes their mind or declines their offer. Being added to a waitlist is a decision the program makes at the time of application review and is not something an applicant can request consideration for. Most programs do not have a waitlist option.