Course Planning Basics
• Courses are offered during two terms in the academic year. The Fall term runs from September to December, and the Winter term runs from January to April.
• Every course has a credit hour value. Most courses are three-credit courses offered in one term.
• Mandatory labs & tutorials have no credit value of their own and do not count as separate courses in your registration. Along with the lecture period, they are a component of a course.
• A normal course load is 30 credits over the fall and winter terms. If you intend to carry a normal course load you should register for 10 courses in total — five courses (15 credits) in the fall term, and five courses (15 credits) in the winter term.
• Every degree program requires completion of 120 credits in total:
15 credits per term X 2 terms = 30 credits per year
30 credits per year X 4 years = 120 credits
• Some courses will only have lecture periods which are scheduled for approximately three hours per week. Lectures for a single course may be conducted three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), or for a longer period of time twice a week (Tuesday, Thursday or Monday, Wednesday). In some cases you may find a course scheduled in a single block on one day. You are required to attend class on each of the scheduled days.
• Some courses offer more than one section at different times to keep class sizes small and allow for flexibility in scheduling. Letters at the end of the course number indicate different sections of the same class (e.g. ENGL 1201-A, ENGL 1201-B). Students may choose any one section that fits their schedule.
• In addition to the regular class (lecture), a number of courses also involve a mandatory lab or tutorial component. In the academic timetable and in Connect, compulsory labs are listed below the course and end with the letter L. Labs/tutorials may have more than one section listed (L 1, L 2, etc.). Students can choose whichever section fits best in their schedule. Labs do not count as separate courses in your registration. You must register separately for labs / tutorials at the same time that you register for the class. You will know if the course has a lab or tutorial because the system will not let you register for the course alone. The exception to this is PHYS 1051 & 1551 (you will be automatically enrolled in a separate lab period when you register for the course).
• Ten minutes is sufficient time between classes to travel across campus.
Course Load: Full-time & Part-time studies
First year students can take a maximum of five courses per term in the regular academic session (Fall & Winter terms). However, you can choose to take as few as one course per term. Here’s what you need to know:
5 courses per fall/winter term: 30 credit hours/year (100% course load)
4 courses per fall/winter term: 24 credit hours/year (80% course load)
3 courses per fall/winter term: 18 credit hours/year (60% course load)
• Three courses per term is the minimum course load required to be considered a full-time student.
• The same tuition fees are charged for full-time studies whether you are enrolled in three, four or five courses per term.
• Registration in one or two courses per term is considered part-time enrolment, and part-time students pay a per course tuition fee.
Reduced Course Load
Here are some things to consider as you determine the number of courses you will take in your first year:
• If you have a University scholarship you are required to enroll in 15 credits per term (Fall and Winter) in order to meet criteria for renewal in the following year. This is the case even if you enter with transfer credits / advanced standing.
• Other types of funding agencies normally have a course load requirement (e.g. Government Student Loans). Check directly with your funding agency if you have questions about this.
• in first year, you must enroll in 30 credits over Fall and Winter in order to qualify for Dean’s List standing.
• International students considering a part-time load should consult with the International Student Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss immigration implications.
• International students who speak English as an additional language may wish to consult with the International Student Advisor (email@example.com) to discuss course load recommendations.
• Students with disabilities may wish to consult with the Meighen Centre for a course load recommendation.
• Taking fewer courses may help to reduce stress, maintain or improve mental health, and ease the transition to university. It can also allow more study time for each course to improve grades.
• Consider other commitments you may have such as co-curricular involvement, volunteer or paid work, or family commitments. Varsity athletes sometimes take a reduced course load in season.
• Think about what makes sense for you and find a balance that works. Everybody has a different learning experience, and you have options. Plan for what will meet your needs.
• You may wish to register for a normal course load in the first place and attend all five courses for the first few weeks. This will give you a better sense of expectations, workload and time management. You can drop a three-credit course until the end of the fourth week of class in the term. More information about dropping and withdrawing from courses is available here.
• Keep in mind, if you take less than 15 credits per term plan how you will ‘make up’ for the missed credits (spring/summer courses, overloading, returning for an additional year of study).