expand search


Group of students in Durham Library

Trent Online

Student FAQ

For information on Teacher Education AQ course information, please see Trent's Additional Qualifications for Teachers
For information on Continuing Education non-credit studies, please see Trent's Continuing Education

Can I take an online course if I am an on-campus student?

Yes. Many on-campus students choose to take online courses for the added flexibility.

How do I enrol in an online course?

If you are a current Trent student, it works the same way as registering for on-campus courses in your myTrent portal. Simply look for courses with the campus defined with a Location of WEB or ONLINE.

Non-Trent students will need to apply first either as a new or visiting student. Trent students are not identified as "Online" or "On-campus" so the registration process for online students is the same as an on-campus student. For more information, see How to Apply or contact the Trent Admissions office at 1-888-739-8885.

I have low vision/poor hearing/mobility issues. Can I still enrol in an online course or program?

All online courses at Trent comply with AODA guidelines and your success is a priority. We encourage you to discuss your circumstances with the staff at the Student Accessibility Services office, and to understand the process for requesting accommodations in your online courses.

Am I able to get a degree by taking only online courses at Trent?

Trent offers a Circumpolar Studies diploma program and a Master of Bioenvironmental Monitoring and Assessment degree program completely online.  At this time there are no other full degree programs offered online but stay tuned – we are constantly adding to our offerings. Currently, programs in History, Psychology and Sociology are close to being available completely online. It’s a good idea to meet with an academic advisor to determine if the courses which are currently available will meet your program needs.

I attend another Canadian university. Can I take a course from Trent and have it count towards my degree?

Students attending other universities can take courses at Trent and have them applied to their degree using a Letter of Permission. A Letter of Permission is granted by your home university and ensures that you will get credit for the course taken. Often your home university will have policies based on which credits can be granted and how many letter of permission courses you can take. 

I have some credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Can I finish my undergraduate degree at Trent by taking online courses?

Transfer students are welcome at Trent. Please look carefully at our current online offerings before you decide to apply. It is highly recommended that you contact the Admissions office to speak with an enrolment advisor about program requirements and transfer credits. They will be able to provide guidance on your path to graduation, whether it’s on campus or online, and can support you in applying for admission.

Do I have to apply to a Trent program if I only want to take courses without having them count towards a degree?

No. Prospective students are welcome to audit online courses. Audit students pay half of the regular course fee and are not required to submit assignments or complete any exams. This means that no credit will be assigned to you at the end of the course. If you wish to take courses for credit towards a degree or diploma at Trent or at another postsecondary institution, you must follow normal application or letter of permission processes. Please contact the Admissions office for more information on auditing a course.

When do courses start and finish?

Online courses have the same start and end dates as on-campus courses. Check the Academic Timetable for current and upcoming terms and other important dates. You can expect to have access to your course within Blackboard about five days prior to the start of the term.

NOTE: There a few different types of summer terms that have varying start and end dates; be sure that you are looking at the correct summer term when checking dates.

How flexible is an online course?

Our courses are designed to allow flexibility within the traditional framework of the Trent educational experience. You can choose the days of the week and the times of the day you study. The rules and protocols of on-campus courses apply; in order to be successful, you must meet strict deadlines and participate in your class discussions according to the schedule on your syllabus.

In terms of technology, you must have reliable access to the internet. Some of your studies can be completed offline—for example, reading downloaded learning materials or writing draft assignments. All of the teaching materials are mobile-friendly, so you’ll be able to watch videos and read core materials on your smartphone or tablet. You will likely need a proper keyboard for completing assignments.

What does the online classroom look like?

The Blackboard Learning System is where you will log in to access your course materials. Each course is divided into modules, which usually include a combination of text and short video lectures along with discussion boards and assignments. The structure of the course is determined by your instructor, so the specific deadlines and expectations will be outlined on the syllabus.

What kind of time commitment should I expect to dedicate to my course?
Expect to spend the same amount of time on your online course as you would the on-campus equivalent. For most undergraduate courses this is between 7-10 hours per week. The number of modules in a course does not necessarily correspond to the number of weeks in the semester. Some modules may require two weeks to complete, and some may go more quickly. It may take a week or two for you to adjust to the learning platform.

Summer courses are condensed and students can expect the weekly time requirements to be much higher. Graduate courses are also more rigorous, and likely to require a greater number of hours on a regular basis. The time you need to spend studying will depend on variables such as your previous academic experience, confidence with technology, and reading and writing skills. Look ahead on the syllabus and plan your study schedule for the semester accordingly.

Is a work placement included as part of the online programs?

Please check your program page to see the details on its structure. Keep in mind that when you graduate, you become a Trent alum. This means that you will have access to the global Trent Alumni network, including all of its networking and career events.

How much does an online course cost?

Tuition and fees are dependent on when you first enrolled at Trent and whether you are a full-time or part-time student. Summer courses are always paid on a per-course basis. There may be additional costs depending on whether you are a domestic or international student. Further information and a price list are available on the Financial Services Site. See also Tuition & Fees for more information.

Does taking online courses affect my OSAP eligibility?

No. All of the same conditions/eligibility requirements apply to students taking online courses as those taking on-campus courses, including course load minimums. To learn more, please see Tuition, Scholarships and Financial Aid.

What are the technical requirements of an online course?

To access an online course, students are required to have regular access to the Internet. The Blackboard Learning System also requires students to have a current web browser. If you are having difficulty accessing a course, please contact the IT Help Desk.

Do I have to come to Trent to write my exam?

Not all online courses have an in-person final exam component. Some courses have take-home exams or assignments that can be completed from your home computer without supervision (non-proctored). Proctored exams can be written in-person at Trent’s Peterborough and Durham campuses. For students who cannot travel to Trent, the exams can also be written through an online proctoring service. See more information on final exams for online courses.

How do I find out which textbooks are required for a course?

Textbooks may be required for your course. Once your course starts, you can consult your syllabus for information on which books are required. Prior to the start of the course, the syllabus may be listed on the departmental website or you can check with the Trent bookstore for a list of required material.

To find or order your textbooks, visit the Bookstore’s online store. In their automated ordering system, students taking online courses must choose ‘Peterborough’ when selecting the program and ‘W’ for the section.

Is an online degree as good as a campus degree?

Yes. Online courses and programs have the same validity and credibility as their on-campus equivalents. You graduate from Trent with the same education as the alumni who completed all of their courses on-campus.

Will my degree certificate indicate that my degree was completed online?

No, your degree, diploma, or certificate will not indicate the method(s) of your course completion.

Can I graduate on campus in Peterborough or Durham?

You are invited and encouraged to join your fellow grads at the convocation ceremony of your choice. When you apply to graduate, simply indicate which campus you would prefer. It is not mandatory, but a great way to celebrate your achievement with family and friends. Trent convocation is an exciting and unique experience, and if you completed your entire program online, attending the ceremony may be the first time that you meet your classmates and instructors faculty in person. If you can’t make it, don’t worry; you can order your degree or diploma to arrive by mail through the Office of the Registrar.

How can I stay connected to Trent after I graduate?

Being a Trent alum grants you access to many benefits and opportunities – no matter which format your courses took while you were here. Check out the Alumni page to see how you can connect and get involved.