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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Program Advising

I’ve been admitted to an Open Learning program — now what?

OL Advising Chart

Advisor and student responsibilities

Through coaching and academic planning, TRU advisors empower students to become lifelong learners and assist them in developing the skills they need to achieve their goals.

Student learning outcomes
  • Develop a learning plan and understand how you will reach your goal
  • Identify resources to assist you during your studies
  • Understand how TRU policies and procedures affect you as a student
Advisor responsibilities
  • Provide information about TRU programs and courses
  • Evaluate transcripts and create program plans for students
  • Know and interpret graduation requirements
  • Respond to program questions by email, phone or in-person
  • Encourage students to meet their goals and provide tools and resources to help
  • Refer students to other TRU resources as needed
  • Guide students through TRU processes
  • Maintain confidentiality
Student responsibilities
  • Be prepared for your advising appointment with your questions or points of clarification
  • Access TRU resources; they are here to help you succeed! See your advisor to discuss supports and referrals
  • Explore academic options and be open-minded about choices, goals, and back-up plans
  • Understand responsibilities attached to any funding or loans you are receiving
  • Be aware of key dates at TRU, in your own life, and in regard to any funding you may be receiving
  • Develop decision making skills. Be in control of your education!

When should I contact my advisors?

Contact us when you need:

  • Help with course selection and program planning
  • A letter of permission request
  • When you have finished your final course for graduation
  • If you want to take a TRU campus course
  • If you need a confirmation of enrolment or a funding letter
  • Need assistance understanding the difference between PLAR credit and transfer credit

Who is my advisor?

Advisor A
  • Business
  • Management Studies
  • Real Estate
  • Tourism
  • Water Treatment
Advisor B
  • Science
  • Nursing
  • Computing Science
  • Veterinary Technology
Advisor C
  • Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • Design
  • Music
  • General Studies
  • Adult Basic Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning
Advisor D
  • Health Sciences
  • Social Work
  • Technology

A Guide to Advising — from A-Z

Active status

A student is considered active in their program as long as they show activity in their program every six semesters (two years). Activity includes course registration or completion, participating in the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) process, or transferring credits from other post-secondary institutions if done on a Letter of Permission. Inactive students must reapply. Re-applications are subject to current program requirements.

Changing your program or adding an additional program

Consult with an advisor if you want to switch to a different program or want to add an additional program. You must submit a new program application. In the comment section of the program application, you must note that you are either 1) changing your program or 2) wanting to remain in your current program in addition to adding a new program. You will be required to pay a new application fee and if applicable, a new program plan fee and/or transfer credit fee (for any new transcripts). See Tuition and Fees for more information.

Complete a program on campus

If you're interested in a TRU campus-based program, it’s possible to do so by completing an application for admission to the on-campus program. Work done at Open Learning and elsewhere will be assessed for credit in the on-campus program. Please refer to TRU campus admissions for more information.

Course delivery method: online versus print

For online courses, the course content is provided using an online platform called Moodle. This is where assignments are submitted. Required textbooks and materials will be shipped to the student’s address upon registration.

For print courses, all course content, required textbooks and materials will be mailed to the student. Assignments are mailed to the instructor. Print courses are suitable for students who do not have access to a computer or internet.

The required text and materials list (available on the course description page) will be mailed once registered for either delivery method.

Course formats: self-paced versus paced

Open Learning offers two types of courses. Continuous Enrolment (self-paced) courses are a maximum of 30 weeks in duration and students can apply for one extension of 18 weeks upon payment of a fee. Self-paced courses are based on an independent study model, where students work through course material independently with the ability to ask the Open Learning Faculty Member for clarification on course material.

Paced courses have specific start and end dates. They are usually shorter than 30 weeks, typically 12-14 weeks, and have assignments due on specific dates. There are no extensions allowed in paced courses and students only have one week to cancel the course after the course start date. Paced courses are typically led, weekly, by the Open Learning Faculty Member and students should expect interaction with other students throughout the course.

Course needs approval

If you register in a course and receive an email that the course requires approval, this is often related to course materials. Within one to four business days, the Materials department will either automatically approve your registration or you will receive an email which requires a response for your registration to be approved. Read the Required Text and Materials on the course description page as this often indicates the cause for approval.

Occasionally, courses may have prerequisite requirements. Either the program coordinator or an advisor will contact you to let you know how to proceed. If you have already received approval for the course, you can disregard the email – your approval will appear within one to three business days and you will receive a Welcome Letter email.

Course welcome letter email

Once your course registration is complete, you will receive a Course Welcome Letter in your myTRU email. If it is your first time registering for a TRU course, it will be sent to your personal email. The Course Welcome Letter contains important information about your course — note the cancellation, withdrawal and course end dates and the Moodle access information. It is a good idea to print and/or retain a copy of your Course Welcome Letter email to reference when necessary. If your address is incorrect and you spot this within 24 hours of receiving the email, log in to myTRU and go to Update Your Contact Information and update your current address.

Courses at other institutions

Courses taken at other institutions can often be used to complete your program requirements, provided you get a Letter of Permission for each course you would like to take at another institution. In order to avoid choosing courses that don’t fit in your program, we expect that you will work with your program advisor who will issue the Letter of Permission for you.

Detailed course descriptions

Please consult the Open Learning calendar descriptions. The course description includes course cost, detailed course content, course requirements and prerequisites. Prerequisites are typically self-declared by students and are important to ensure that courses are taken in an appropriate sequence and that students have the appropriate knowledge to be successful. Cost for paced courses is only displayed when the course is open for registration.

Enrolling in a course versus enrolling in a program

Students can enrol in Open Learning courses at any time and do not have to be registered in a program to take a course (some courses require approval for registration). If students want to complete an Open Learning program, it is strongly recommended that they gain admission to the program first before registering for courses in order to receive a program plan and assistance from their program advisor regarding course selection. Apply for admission to a program.


Students in a self-paced course who need additional time to complete the course may apply for a course extension by submitting a Course Extension Request form. The form is available in myTRU under Open Learning Services, select Course extension request. In order to be eligible for an extension, students must have submitted one assignment, submitted the Course Extension Request form by their course completion date and have paid the required course extension fee. If the extension is approved, the student will be given 18 additional weeks to work on the course.

Fees — extensions, re-application

Full-time versus part-time status

Full-time status applies to those registered in a minimum of nine credits (three courses) per term. Part-time status applies to those registered in six credits (two courses) per term. Students who plan on spending 10 to 15 hours of dedicated study time per week on each Open Learning course can expect to complete the course in roughly 16 weeks. If a student is working or has other obligations, we recommend that they start with one or two courses. You can add more courses at any time.

Grade point average (GPA)

There are three types of GPAs at Thompson Rivers University:

Institutional GPA

This is a calculation of grades for all courses taken at TRU. It is the only GPA that shows on a student’s official TRU transcript and is considered the most important GPA.

Transfer GPA

This is a calculation of grades from transfer courses that have been assessed (except for block transfers). The Transfer GPA includes all transfer course grades whether they have been used in your program or not. The Transfer GPA does not show on your official transcript and is only seen on your Unofficial Transcript in myTRU.

Program GPA

This GPA only shows on a student’s TRU program plan (Degree Works) and is calculation of all the graded courses used in a student’s program. It is usually based on a combination of TRU and transfer course grades. The Program GPA is used to determine whether a student graduates with distinction.

See Grade Point Average for more information.

Graduation and convocation

When you have met all program requirements, you must submit an application to graduate available through myTRU (under Academic Record). A grad audit will be done of your record so your credential can be awarded – this usually takes one week. Your parchment will be mailed to you within 5-10 business days.

Applications for graduation are processed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Open Learning students are encouraged to attend in-person convocation ceremonies to celebrate their academic achievements. If you wish to attend TRU convocation in-person, you must apply by March 31 for the June Convocation or July 31 for the October Convocation.

If you complete a program delivered by Open Learning, you can attend convocation on the TRU campus.

You may attend one of two convocations held at the Kamloops campus annually in June and October. Which ceremony you attend will depend on when you submit your application to graduate and when your credential is completed and approved for graduation. Details, including application deadlines, can be found at

Important dates

Program admission

Open Learning admission is on a continuous basis so there are no deadline dates for admission.

Self-paced course start dates

Most Open Learning courses are offered on a continuous registration model which means a student can register in and start a course at any time.

Paced course dates

There are a select number of paced courses that are offered on a semester basis. These courses generally start the first week of September, January, and May. Registration for these courses open approximately 6 weeks prior to the semester start.

Convocation application deadline

Students who want to attend the June Convocation must apply for graduation by March 31 or those who want to attend the October Convocation must apply for graduation by July 31.

International transcript/course assessment

Starting April 1, third-party international evaluations will no longer be required. Learn more at how to submit your transcript.

You may also be required to submit course outlines of the completed courses or a curriculum document for the previously attended program. These documents need to be in English or French. See Transfer Credit for more information.

IT issues

For help with technology issues (myTRU or Student Email) see IT Services Portal or contact the IT Service Desk at or 1-888-852-8533

Letters of permission

If you plan to enrol in a course at an institution other than Open Learning for credit toward your Open Learning program, you must complete a Letter of Permission (LOP) Request form prior to enrolling in the course. LOPs are issued on an academic year basis. See Student Forms to download a Letter of Permission form. Email the completed form to your program advisor.

Official transcripts will be required upon completion of the LOP course. Once the transcript is received, your program plan will be updated to include the course. There is currently no charge for updating your transfer credit record and program plan provided your transfer courses have been pre-approved through a Letter of Permission.

Students who proceed without an approved Letter of Permission may find that the course does not meet their program requirements and/or that the course may not be applied to their Open Learning program. In addition, they will be subject to a transfer credit assessment fee.

Open Learning parchment vs TRU campus parchment

All credentials earned by completing Open Learning program requirements are issued by Thompson Rivers University and are the same as those earned through TRU's Kamloops campus.

Prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) credits

The knowledge, skills, and abilities you have acquired outside of post-secondary education may be used to achieve academic credits. Volunteer and paid work, industry-based training, professional development workshops and seminars, continuing studies courses and private study can all be considered in an initial PLAR assessment. PLAR assessments are free for program students. Once the assessment is complete, a PLAR advisor will provide details regarding the cost and process of having the credits applied to your program. See PLAR: Credit for Life Learning for more information.

Recommended prerequisite versus required prerequisite

Open Learning aims to remove as many barriers as possible in pursuit of student success. Courses have self-declared prerequisites as students may have met the prerequisites in ways other than previous course work. In all cases, the prerequisites are listed on the detailed course descriptions so that students are prepared with the previous learning they should have. Students should take special note when a prerequisite is strongly recommended as it identifies specific knowledge required to be successful in the course. We strongly encourage students to make sure they have reviewed the prerequisites to ensure they meet them, in order to maximize success in their studies.

Registration for courses

You can register for Open Learning courses at any time if the course is open for registration. However, we recommend that students wait until they have received their program plans to ensure the course they are taking will fit into their programs. If you register in courses before receiving a program plan, you run the risk of duplicating work from previous education or choosing courses that don’t help you meet your program requirements.

If you ever wish to confirm that a course you have chosen can fit into your program before registering for the course, please ask your program advisor.

To register for courses, log-in to your myTRU account. The registration link is on the left-hand side on the Open Learning Student tab.

Registration for UVic courses

Registration for UVic consortium courses listed on our course listings is the same as with other Open Learning courses. These courses are paced courses that follow the traditional campus semesters.

Residency requirement

Residency requirements are the number of credits that you must complete at a post-secondary institution before you can graduate with a credential from that institution. Students can satisfy the residency requirements by taking the required number of courses through Thompson Rivers University (online/distance or campus) or by acquiring credit through PLAR: Credit for Life Learning.

The amount of coursework that must be taken at Thompson Rivers University (online/distance or campus) is specific to each TRU, Open Learning program and is stated in the program description. General residency requirements by credential (unless stated otherwise):

  • Open Learning certificate program — residency requirement 6 credits.
  • Open Learning diploma program — residency requirement 9 credits.
  • Open Learning degree program — residency requirement 15 credits.

Resuming your studies

Program status is considered active if a student engages in a program-related course, PLAR or transfer credit within a two-year time span. Students who have not completed a course within two years must reapply for program admission.

If your program status has become inactive, you will need to reapply. You will be required to pay a new application fee. Admissions will inform you of additional fees, if applicable. See Tuition and Fees for more information.

Taking TRU campus courses

Open Learning students may take campus-based courses. Before registering for campus courses, students must inform their OL Advisor to ensure prerequisites are met and that the course will be eligible for their program. The advisor will add a permit to enable online course registration. Campus-based courses have different course registration procedures, policies and regulations. See Course Registration for more information.

Transfer credit

If you have taken a course(s) at another recognized college or university, you must order official transcripts from the institution and have them mail or email the official transcript directly to the address below. The course(s) will be assessed, and any applicable transfer credit will be applied to your program plan.
Thompson Rivers University
Enrolment Services
805 TRU Way
Kamloops, BC V2C OC8

You may be required to submit a course outline for past education or if you attended an institution outside of British Columbia. Your advisors will contact you by email if a course outline is required. It will take additional time to assess your course if a course outline is required. See Transfer Credit for more information.

TRU program plan (Degree Works)

A program plan is used to track your progress and guide you in course planning. The plan outlines your completed and remaining credits and requirements. In order to graduate from your program, you will need to meet the required number of credits and specific requirements of your program (shown as checkmarks on the program plan).

All TRU students can view their program plan using myTRU and selecting TRU Program Plan (Degree Works). Utilize the “What If” option to see how individual credits may apply in different programs or if a particular course will fit their current plan. See Degree Works (TRU Program Plan) for more information.

Updating personal information

Students can update their personal information using myTRU under Update your contact information.

Upper level versus lower level

Courses numbered 1000-2000 are lower-level courses (1st and 2nd year) and are introductory-level. These courses should be completed first. Courses numbered 3000 (3rd year) are intermediate-level and courses numbered 4000 and above (4th year) are advanced and should be taken at the end of your program.

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