Discovery Credits

Undergraduate Students in specific programs of study will have the option to designate a degree-credit course as a Discovery Credit effective for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Discovery Course credit option for undergraduate students encourages academic exploration without the fear of decreasing a student’s cumulative or graduating average and supports students in exploring course material outside of their area of study.

When your course is approved, the Office of the Registrar will convert the submitted grade to pass/fail for those students who have opted for that grading by the end of the drop period without academic penalty. Students may only recover the numeric grade earned in a course with the permission of the Dean or designate.  

Students requesting the Discovery Credit option are expected to fully engage in the requested course of study.  Completion of course requirements such as tests, examinations, group work, written submissions, etc. are required in order to be evaluated for a passing grade.

Discovery Credits - online application for course eligibility consideration

Important requirements relating to Discovery Credits:

Students are advised to carefully consider the impact of including Discovery Credits on their program of study at Western:

  • Grades are used within Western to determine eligibility for specified programs of study such as the Ivey Advanced Entry Opportunity (AEO). Discovery Credits will not count towards the 10.0 credits required to apply for the Honors Business Administration program;

  • Admission to graduate programs and to professional schools, in addition to certain funding options, may not be in line with the Discovery Credits framework;

  • Grades are used by many organizations outside the University to evaluate students.


Students are permitted to designate up to 1.0 Discovery Credit course (or equivalent) for pass/fail grading that can be counted toward the overall course credits required for their degree program (Honors and Four Year = 20 credits, Three Year = 15 credits). Course(s) selected as Discovery Credit(s) may not be counted towards the mandatory courses in Honors Specialization, Specialization, Major, Minor modules, or Certificates and Diplomas in which the student is currently registered. Discovery Credits may be used to satisfy course pre-requisite requirements.


Discovery Credits will have the following considerations:

  1. Pass/Fail Graded: Such registration is subject to all the rules and regulations that apply to courses taken for credit, except that the grade recorded by the Registrar will be either pass (P) or fail (F). No courses may be changed from pass/fail to number graded or from number graded to pass/fail after the last date for dropping a course without academic penalty.

  2. Conversion of numerical grades to Discovery Credits

               Pass: 50 - 100%

               Fail: 0 – 49%

  1. Eligible Students: Only students identified as Undergraduate Students registered in a first entry undergraduate degree program at Western are eligible. Programs excluded from this policy include: Engineering, Nursing, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts, Law, Bachelor of Education, Business, and Medicine and Dentistry. First-year students, Visiting Students, Special Students, and Graduate Students are not eligible to select Discovery Credit courses. Undergraduate students placed on academic probation may be eligible to participate with permission of the Dean.

  2. Program and Course Eligibility:
    1. A student looking to enter a module or program of study may use a Discovery Course credit as a required course credit in that module or program of study only with the permission of the Dean or designate.
    2. Registration in a course must meet existing course entrance requirements;
    3. Students cannot use Discovery Course credits for courses in which they have been charged with academic dishonesty;
    4. The Discovery Course credit counts towards the normal course load.

  3. Impact on Averages and Awards: Discovery Credit courses will be excluded from term, cumulative and graduation averages. Eligibility for Dean’s Honor Listing, Graduation With Distinction, University Gold Medals, and Scholarships and Awards will not be adversely impacted. Calculations will be made using remaining graded courses.

  4. Academic Record and Student Transcript: Discovery Credit courses will be identified on the academic record and on student transcripts. Discovery Credit courses will not display a number grade on the academic record or on student transcripts. The Office of the Registrar will retain the number grade information submitted by the department, but it will not normally be available for students.
  5. Breadth and Essay Requirements: Discovery Credit courses may be counted toward breadth requirements; however, may not be counted toward essay requirements.

  6. Student Responsibility: It is the student’s responsibility to carefully review any graduate or professional school, award programs, government (e.g., OSAP) and University aid and award eligibility rules which may be affected by the use of Discovery Credit courses.