How Online Learning Works

How to access your course 

Arts and Science Online offers courses through an online learning platform called OnQ. It works much like a web forum where courses are chronologically organized to lay out assignments, readings, videos, discussion forums, quizzes, group work, and tutorials, all of which are available 24/7. You can log into OnQ on the first day of classes to access your course materials. Many courses also require a textbook, e-textbook or other resource which may be purchased through the Campus Bookstore.


Queen’s professors work with a team of online learning and technology specialists to produce online courses that focus on active learning. You’ll get to know your professor and classmates throughout the term. You’ll work with other students on class projects and share perspectives on discussion board assignments.


All of our courses have set start and end dates, which follow the same terms as an on-campus course (Fall, Winter and Summer). Throughout your course, assignments will have fixed deadlines but when you choose to work on them is up to you. While some online activities may take place live, these sessions are always recorded so that you can view them at your convenience. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the course syllabus during the first week of classes to get a sense of how much each assignment is worth, when assignments are due, and how you can fit them into your personal schedule.

Time Commitment 

On average, you can expect to spend 10 hours per week on a 3.0-unit course (longer in accelerated summer courses).

Course Load

The number of courses you take in a term will depend on which admission category you choose, and your own work-life balance.

Students who are admitted to the Interest category, are limited to one course (or 3.0 units) at a time for the first two terms. After achieving above a 1.6 cumulative GPA in these first two courses, Interest students may take up to 9.0 units per term and progress into a degree program. 

Degree students may take up to a full-time course load - 15.0 units per term (9.0 during the summer). There is no time limit on how quickly you must finish your degree; take all the time you need! If you need to take a break from your studies, you can always come back (see ‘Return to Studies Form’ for more info. Click on Registration-Related form, then choose the "Return to Studies" form.)


Students enrolled exclusively in online courses will have two options to write their proctored exams:  

  1. You may choose to write your exam(s) online using Examity proctoring services;  
  2. You may choose to write your exam(s) in-person on Queen’s campus in Kingston

An additional $100 exam fee will be charged for each course in which you elect to write your exam(s) online. Students writing in-person on Queen’s campus will not be charged this additional exam fee.  

Students enrolled in at least one on-campus course are expected to write all their exams on-campus during the scheduled exam time.

Exam times and dates are set by the University and cannot be changed. Please ensure to arrange your personal and work affairs to attend your exams as scheduled.