In This Section:
The Academic Calendar is a Faculty of Arts & Science document that houses the most current information on the degrees, programs, and courses offered, as well as rules and regulations. The Academic Calendar is published once a year in late April, with updates from then on only for urgent unexpected changes or corrections.
Much of the information in the Calendar will be reflected elsewhere: for example, course descriptions can also be found on the Faculty Timetable, and a breakdown of completion of programs of study – and the degree – can be found on Degree Explorer.
Throughout the sections of the Calendar that deal with rules and concepts, definitions will be offered to clarify what specific terms mean in the context of study here at the Faculty of Arts & Science.
- Commas (,) and semi-colons (;) indicate items in a list. Context indicates whether the list is of options a student can pick from, or whether it a list of courses where a student is expected to take all of them. If not stated specifically, assume the list indicates that a student must take all options.
- The plus sign (+) means “and” but may be used as a strong “and” to indicate courses that are paired to be a single option or requirement.
- A forward slash (/) means “or” and distinguishes multiple options to fulfil a specific requirement.
- Parentheses ( ) or brackets [ ] identify courses that are grouped together to form a specific option or requirement.
Example 1: Cell and Systems Biology – First Year Requirements
- First Year: BIO120H1, BIO130H1; (CHM135H1, CHM136H1)/(CHM138H1, CHM139H1)/ CHM151Y1; JMB170Y1/( MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/ MAT157Y1/(PHY131H1, PHY132H1)/(PHY151H1, PHY152H1)
This text explains that there is a series of course requirements needed for first year, but within these there are options. Going from the beginning, this means:
- BIO120H1 and BIO130H1 are both required.
- There is a Chemistry (CHM) requirement, which is filled either by:
- CHM135H1 and CHM136H1; or
- CHM138H1 and CHM139H1; or
- There is also a Math or Physics requirement, filled either by:
- JMB170Y1; or
- MAT135H1 and MAT136H1; or
- MAT137Y1; or
- MAT157Y1; or
- PHY131H1 and PHY132H1; or
- PHY151H1 and PHY152H1.
When Questions Arise
These style conventions help the academic units offering programs try to list the options in a concise way. For any clarification, reach out to the Department or academic unit directly, a College Registrar’s Office, or the Faculty directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it is almost self-explanatory, a course is an academic activity that lets a student obtain a result which is recorded on the academic history – and if passed, normally gives academic credit towards completing a degree and may help complete a program of study. There are “full” (Y) and “half” (H) courses each with a different credit weight.
Elements of a Course Description
Below are the fields in the course description template. Links to existing courses as examples are included to help show how the template works.
This is the unique identifier of every course, used not only here in the Academic Calendar but used by the information systems like ACORN and Degree Explorer, ensuring that any action taken involving a course – from a student enrolling in it to an instructor submitting final marks – is done correctly.
The course code breaks down further into these sections:
This three-letter designator identifies the program offering the course. In these examples, CIN and PPG refer to these two programs: Cinema Studies; and Public Policy & Governance.
Every course in a program has its own identifying digits. For-credit courses run from “100-level” (starting with a 1) all the way to “400-level” (starting with a 4), and as they go up, broadly the indicate more advanced or more focused study. The “level” does not restrict student access. For example, a third-year student could take 100- to 400-level courses, but a first-year student should be careful taking 200- or high-level courses.
Y (1.0), H (0.5)
This is only one of two letters, either a “Y” or an “H”: a “Y” indicates the course is a “full course” and is worth 1.0 credit; an “H” indicates a “half course” and is worth 0.5 credits.
This digit indicates the campus where the course is offered. In the Arts & Science Academic Calendar, normally a course has a “1” (one), indicating the downtown St. George Campus. Other indicators include a “0” (zero) meaning it is taught off-campus, a "3" (three) meaning it is taught at U of T Scarborough, or "5" (five) meaning it is taught at U of T Mississauga.
Indicates the topic and theme of the course. Some courses may have a general title of a “topics course” in the Academic Calendar but the actual course content varies year by year; in such a case, seek out the department or program’s website, or the Timetable offerings, to learn more about what will be offered. Course titles, when they appear on the transcript, are abbreviated.
Types of Instruction (Lecture/Tutorial/Practical/Seminar Hours (L/T/P/S))
All courses comprise a certain number of hours dedicated to instruction, and there are four types. Often courses may have more than one.
- Lectures are standard in almost every course as the fundamental type of instruction, where the instructor will present course content to students. All instructors have individual styles and approaches to lectures. For example, some instructors may take questions differently or present slides/visual aids differently.
- Practicals involve students being able to learn and apply their learning hands-on, for example, laboratories (“labs”) for science courses. If a course has practicals then it always has either lectures or seminars (see below).
- Tutorials are smaller group meetings where students can discuss and ask questions about lecture material with either the instructor or (more often) a TA (tutorial assistant). Tutorials may also be used for some kinds of evaluation, like small quizzes or to be assessed on a student’s participation in the course. Like practicals, tutorials always are part of a course that has either lectures or seminars (see below).
- Seminars are a small-class experience, common for very advanced courses, where the in-class process is a combination of some lecturing mixed with structured class discussion and often student presentations.
In brackets after the title, the number of hours that students will spend in lecture (L), in tutorial (T), in practical sessions (P), or seminar (S) for the course are listed. These are most often a multiple of 12, as the term is 12 weeks in length.
This paragraph highlights the course content and themes to be delivered in the course. Anything special about the course, from special aspects of the class experience (for example, language of study or field work), to the intended audience of the course (for example, a science course intended for non-science students as an elective), to any special ancillary fees (for example, lab material) are also listed here.
Prerequisites, Co-requisites, Recommended Preparation
These fields indicate other courses which a student either has to have completed before taking the course in question (prerequisites), sometimes with a minimum grade; courses a student should be taking at the same time as this course (co-requisites), though they can also have completed it before; or courses they are advised to take (recommended preparation). The academic units that offer a course can remove students who do not have needed prerequisites or corequisites at any time, though they usually try to do so near the beginning of the course to allow students to try and quickly add something else. Still, students are responsible for reviewing this information for their course planning.
Some courses overlap in content. This can be because the same kind of material may be offered in the context of different areas of study (like introductory statistics), or because there may be certain similar course material that is offered at different levels of difficulty, or because some courses have content that used to be offered in an older and now “retired” course. When reading a course description, if a student sees a course listed under “exclusions” that includes a course they already have credit for, they should not normally take this course. Departments or program offices can remove students who have course exclusions, and even if they choose not to, the new course will not count for degree credit and will be marked “Extra”.
Almost all courses are categorized in terms of one of the five breadth requirement categories:
- 1 (Creative and Cultural Representations)
- 2 (Thought, Belief, Behaviour)
- 3 (Society and Its Institutions)
- 4 (Living Things and Their Environment)
- 5 (Physical and Mathematical Universes)
Half-courses offer 0.5 credits towards only one of the categories; full-courses offer either 0.5 credits in two different categories, or 1.0 credit in one.
Distribution Requirements (old)
Courses still list what is called the “distribution requirement” which normally categorizes a course as either Science, Social Science, Humanities, or a combination thereof. (In rare cases, there may be no category assigned.) This is only of interest to students who started their degree before September 2010.
All degrees awarded by the Faculty of Arts & Science require and are defined by the program(s) of study a student completes as a degree requirement. These programs identify the subject area(s) the student has pursued and completed. A program of study is a sequence of courses in certain areas, normally with some choice of options within the sequence.
Elements of a Program Description
Programs of study can be searched directly using the Program Search. Programs of study usually fall under a page dedicated to the department or academic unit that sponsors the program, but sometimes on their own page if they are very distinct from the usual programs that unit offers. Usually the program information is divided up this way:
- Description (optional) – A small bit of text to indicate what is notable about this program and why a student might select it as part of their academic or professional plans.
- Enrolment requirements – This describes what requirements, if any, a student must meet to enter the program. A program can be entered only if a student has obtained 4.0 credits or is on track to doing so before the start of the next September.
- Completion requirements – This lays out – often year by year – the courses a student must complete to complete the program itself. This information is translated for use in Degree Explorer tool to help a student track their progress and plan future courses.
- Notes (optional) – If either the enrolment requirements or the completion requirements need some clarification, there may be special notes inserted in either area.
- Course Groups (program dependent) – Many programs, especially programs that can recognize a selection from a number courses from many other departments to fulfil program requirements, will list courses grouped by category.
Programs offered by the Faculty that may be used to complete a degree can have the status of a Specialist, Major, or Minor.
- Specialist programs (from 10.0 to 14.0 credits to complete) offer the deepest and most extensive study of the subject matter in question, and almost always represents the key area of degree studies.
- Major programs (from 6.0 to 8.0 credits to complete) offer a comprehensive study of the subject matter, and may be the primary area of degree studies, complemented with another Major or some Minor programs.
- Minor programs (4.0 credits to complete) offer a fundamental study of the subject matter and complement degree studies where a Major or a Specialist is also being pursued.
Both Specialist and Major programs of study may be categorized by different streams, and each stream represents a way to complete a specialist or major with a special emphasis within the area of study. Often the difference between a stream and other streams in the same area of study, or between a stream and the general Specialist or Major, shows itself in upper-year courses, while the courses usually taken in first or second year are similar across all the streams. Streams are presented in the Academic Calendar like a distinct program of study.
When focuses exist in an area of study, they are normally taken in conjunction with a Specialist or Major, and they allow a student to select, among the course choices they have, a special cluster of course options that all contribute to deeper study of a particular theme, topic, or sub-discipline within the area of study. Focuses are normally not mandatory and are there to enhance how a student plans the completion of their programs, but if completed, a focus will show on a student’s transcript.
The University has three categories of “certificates”, but the Arts & Science Academic Calendar only includes those that may be applied for and completed using undergraduate courses while pursuing a degree. The intent of certificates is to allow students to study a cluster of courses related in topic or which otherwise connect with one another in a way that normally uses both courses within their programs and outside their programs. It is important to note that while the word “certificate” is used, in this context it refers to a very small sequence of courses (fewer courses than a Minor) with an area of study; these certificates do not offer any kind of professional certification.
This is a special recognition available at the Faculty of Arts & Science that shows advanced study of a language. The Language Citation will consist of a notation on the transcript that reads: “Completed Requirements of Language Citation in [name of language].” This notation will appear in the Faculty of Arts & Science sessional segment of the student’s academic record on the transcript listing the courses and marks for the session in which the Citation is assessed as complete. Note that Language Citation is not a program, and will not contribute toward the program(s) required to complete the degree.
The list below identifies the academic units that offer a Language Citation. For details, including the languages in which students may achieve a Citation, see the relevant entries in this Calendar.
- Indigenous Studies
- East Asian Studies
- Germanic Languages & Literatures
- Italian Studies
- Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
- Slavic Languages & Literatures