What does "Credit/No Credit" Mean?

In the Faculty of Arts & Science, you have the option of designating up to 2.0 degree credits as Credit or No Credit.

You have the option of doing this (or undoing it if you’re doing really well in the course!) any time from before the beginning of term through until the published deadline to drop the course (this year, that's November 7 for the Fall term courses and February 21 for Winter term courses); approximately three quarter of the way through the term.

This is a great option that comes with a few conditions.

Why its' a great option:


  1. First, you can experiment in an academic area that you may not be familiar with, or to take a course that really interests you even if you’re not sure you’ll excel in it, and the grade will not appear on your academic record or your official transcript.
  2. Second, if you get at least 50% in course, then you pass it and you get the “Credit” notation; if you get under 50%, then the notation is simply “NCR” for “no credit. If you get the credit, it can be used as one of your 20.0 degree credits towards your bachelor’s degree.Because the grade does not appear on your academic record, it’s not included in your cumulative grade point average.
  3. Breadth requirements can be satisfied using a Credit/No Credit option.
  4. Instructors do not know which students are taking the course for CR/NCR and which are taking it for a grade, so all students are assessed in the exact same way
  5. Finally, if you’re doing well in the course and you want the grade instead of the credit/no-credit designation, you can undo that designation up until the published date.

A few conditions:

  • The maximum number of courses that you can take for CR/NCR are 2.0 degree credits.
  • You have to be a degree student in order to take advantage of this option.
  • Some courses, like independent study courses, research courses, first year seminars, or courses taken through a student exchange program cannot be designated CR/NCR.
  • A course that is CR/NCR cannot be used to fulfill program requirements – either admission to program or completion of program unless otherwise explicitly stated by the department.
  • And let’s hope this never happens, but if you happen to commit an academic offence in a course, the CR/NCR option cannot be used on that course.

You can add or remove a CR/NCR option directly on ACORN/ROSI after you enrol in the course. And also on ACORN/ROSI you can view your past and present CR/NCR selections. 

What do they mean when they say “academic integrity”?

"Academic integrity" is the term for a set of principles and rules covering everything from using footnotes properly and citing your research sources, to cheating on exams, buying essays, etc. You can find the formal rules and the penalties in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. But you’ll find a short, useful introduction on the Faculty web site, and a more exhaustive treatment on the Faculty's Office of Student Academic Integrity web site.

Tips from a Fourth Year Student!

Start your readings early, and keep on top of them. It's so easy to fall behind, and once you have it's so much harder to keep up. Also, having done the readings will make lectures easier to follow, and will make it easier for you to participate in tutorials (which is often required for marks) and ask questions.

Get to know your profs! It can be hard to do especially if you don't often have questions, but it is a good idea for so many reasons. Not only are they a great resource to have for getting references later, they are great people and you can learn a lot from talking to them during office hours. If you don't know what to ask them, go with a friend or two so you can feed off each other. Ask them about their research, or their teaching, or education, anything really! What will matter to them is that you're interested.

Go to class. You're paying for it! Even if it feels like you're not learning anything because you're too tired, or hungry, or can't pay attention - you are. At the very least you are thinking about the material for those hours you are there. I have a rule that if I have to miss a class, I need to spend at least that much time on my own learning the material. You may miss important information about exams, tests, marks, or material that is not in the textbook. As well, the number one way for your profs to get to know you is for them to see you there. At the same time, don't go to class if you're going to sit there on Facebook or playing games on your iPod. There is nothing more frustrating or distracting than trying to pay attention to the lecture with images flying across the screen of the person in front of you.

Get involved! Make a point of joining at least one extra-curricular activity. There are so many things to do at U of T; clubs, sports teams, executive councils, etc... They are a great way to meet people in other programs and colleges, and are invaluable as a break from studying and classes.

Make friends in your classes. Something as simple as saying hello to the person next to you can make you a new study buddy or even a lasting friend. Make plans to study with groups of people in your classes. Not only will it help you prepare much better for exams and tests as you can help each other, but you will often find you have lots in common since you're taking the same class. I've made several lasting friends this way!

Get a good night's sleep before an exam. Being alert and able to think clearly will help you much more than having stayed up all night studying.

Transfer credits for IB | AP | GCE | CAPE

A number of students have asked how many 100-level courses they can take if they received transfer credit on admission for work done in high school.

Students can take a maximum of 6.0 100-level courses for degree credit.

If you have received transfer credit for International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, General Certificate of Education, or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination work done in high school, those transfer credits count as degree credits so include them in your 6.0 total 100-series courses.

In many cases, you have the option to forfeit these credits. The deadline to forfeit is 31 October 2016. Read your Transfer Credit Assessment letter careful. And do you remember receiving this link for Transfer Credit Information?

Sometimes students will forfeit the transfer credit (TC), particularly if the TC is in an area they intend to pursue as a Program of Study.

For example . . .

. . . If you want to pursue an Economics Subject POSt and you received the 1.0 TC for AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, then that TC will not count as satisfying an Economics Subject POSt requirement. (The same is true for the IB Economics TC.) So you will still need to take ECO100Y1 in order to apply to an Economics program. But you can keep the TC if you’d like, because there is no limit on the number of first-year economics courses students can take for degree credit.

On the other hand, in the History Department, students may enrol in only one 100-series History course. Which means that if you have a 100-level TC in History, you cannot take a first-year course unless you forfeit your TC.

If you want to take a first-year History course for degree credit and have a TC in History from high school, you may want to forfeit the TC, since the History Department says here (part-way down the page, under “100-Series Courses”) that students can only take 1.0 HIS courses for degree credit. If you keep the TC, then the 1st-year HIS course you take will have to be designated Extra, and will not count as a degree credit.

In other news, though, students can take 200-series History courses in first-year.

Political Science has a similar rule when it comes to 100-series courses. Their prerequisite for many of their 200-series courses is 1.0 POL credits, which includes TC.

Following all that?

Between your TC notice, the pdfs on this page, and the instructions in each of the Department Listings in the Calendar, this is explained. Still, if you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your Registrar’s Office or the relevant academic department and ask for clarification. 

You asked about back-to-back classes

You asked: "If you have back to back courses how will you be able to get to the next course on time?"

It's okay -- you can schedule classes right after one another. Classes start at 10 minutes after the hour and end on the hour. For example, a class that meets MWF9 starts at 9:10 a.m. and ends at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

You can get from one place to another on campus during the 10-minute break between classes. You may not be able stop for a fancy coffee on the way in some cases, but you can do it!

Upper-Year Courses in First Year?

Students in first year can take upper-level courses, provided they meet prerequisites for the course.

Some 200-series courses do not have 100-series prerequisites and are open to first-year students. Often, these courses will include the word “introduction” in the title or the course description.

While 200-level courses may have some academic expectations that second-year students are more prepared for, first-year students can take 200-series courses for which they meet the prerequisites.

If you want to be challenged, it’s fair to say that the 100-level courses will satisfy your expectation. If you plan to take more than two 200-series courses in your first year, it’s a very good idea to meet with an academic advisor in your College to go over your plan. 

Finding your books!

Some students prefer not to spend money on books until after they’ve been to the first class. This is understandable, because the professor may recommend a particular edition of a book. It’s a good idea to get that edition and not an earlier one or you may find yourself very confused. Nonetheless, some students like to get a head start on reading. So how can you find out what the texts are for your courses?

Finding the Titles
Every course has a syllabus. The syllabus includes a detailed description of the course, the method of evaluation, and a list of required readings. It is always available in the first class. If your professor is using the Student Portal (called BlackBoard), it will also be there once classes begin. But what if you want to know what books to read earlier than the first day of classes?

In the summer, many department websites post detailed course descriptions that list required textbooks or course readers. Others will list the first few required readings.

Still can’t find the reading list? By the second week of August, the U of T Bookstore will post reading lists for tons of courses on their website. From the Bookstore homepage, click on “Find Your Textbooks Now.” That will take you to a pop-up screen. If you don’t have a TCard yet, instead of hitting the “Go” button, select “St. George” under “Look for one book by campus and course.” Just make sure you’re in the 2014-2015 academic session. If you want to find a reading list earlier than mid-August, you can email textinfo@uoftbookstore.com with the course code and lecture number and, if the Bookstore has the information already, they will send it to you. You can also call the Bookstore at 416 640-5840.

If you still can’t find the books, you might be able to predict what books you’ll need using TORBOK or Toronto University Student's Book Exchange (TUSBE). These student-run sites allow you to search by book title, description, authors, edition, university, and course code.and can give you an idea of what books were used last year in a course. That’s a good start, especially if the same professor is teaching the course again this year. Once you’ve found the books you want, you have many options for getting them.

Getting the Books
You can order new and used books and course readers on the U of T Bookstore website for pick-up or delivery. The Bookstore has a textbook rental program as well.

New books can also be found at several bookstores near the St. George Campus, including the Bob Miller Book Room, Book City, Caversham Booksellers, Indigo, and Chapters. And who can forget Amazon? Dot ca and dot com.

There are many ways to get your hands on used books:

The University of Toronto Student Union runs the UTSU Book Exchange, which you can access once you have your UTMail+ email.

There are a host of used bookstores close to the University. Consider ABC Book Store, Balfour Books, BMV Bookstores, Discount Textbooks (on College Street, right across from the U of T Bookstore), Seeker’s Bookstore, and Ten Editions, to name a few.

It’s also good to know that in the first few weeks of each academic year, various colleges on campus host major used book sales, featuring thousands of low-priced books on every subject. These sales are perfect for finding out-of-print and rare titles, so watch for promotions in the fall for details. All proceeds go towards college libraries and student benefits.

Sometimes you can get ebooks or pdf versions of your books. This option is still gaining momentum. For instance, Android Press is starting to bring textbooks to Google Play Books.

Finally, it is helpful to know for next year that the U of T Bookstore also has a textbook Buy-Back program for books that: 1) are in good condition, 2) have not gone into a new edition, 3) are still on a course list for an upcoming term and, 4) are in demand.

Happy reading!

Degree Explorer: experiment with your courses and programs

Interested in experimenting with your course, program, and degree requirements? Log in to Degree Explorer using your JOINid or your UTORid.

With Degree Explorer, you can

  • confirm whether you have the prerequisites for courses
  • check how your course choices fit with specific program of study requirements
  • see how your courses will contribute to your degree requirements
  • plan your degree
  • save up to five planning scenarios

Your Questions About Subject POSts

Program = Program of Study (Specialist, Major, Minor)
Specialist = prescribed combination of 9.0 – 16.0 credits
Major = prescribed combination of 6.0 – 8.0 credits
Minor = prescribed combination of 4.0 credits

What is a Program?
A Program is an academic Programs of Study in FAS. You must enrol in at least one and no more than three academic Programs of Study, of which only two can be majors or specialists.

The minimum combination of Subject POSts required for your degree is any of:
· 1 Specialist
· 2 Majors
· 1 Major and 2 Minors

Other combinations beyond the minimum that you can do include:
· 2 Specialists (along with a Minor)
· 1 Specialist and 1 Major (and a Minor)

It’s not a competition for the most programs. 1 Specialist, or 2 Majors, or 1 Major and 2 Minors is more than satisfactory.

When do I sign up for a Program?
You will either enrol in programs or request (that is, apply to) programs at the end of the session in which you will complete your fourth degree credit in A&S (including transfer credits). 

Typically, for first-year students, this means that you will be applying for acadmic programs in April of 2017.

If you will not have completed 4.0 credits by the end of April but you are intending on taking summer courses to bring you to four courses, then you will still want to apply for Subject POSts in April.

Why is this so important?
You need to be enrolled in a suitable combination of Academic Programs before the course selection period for the 2017-2018 Fall/Winter Session. If you aren’t, then ACORN won’t permit you to enrol in any courses.

Program enrolment is important for another reason. For a number of courses, the departments and programs give priority enrolment to students who are enrolled in that specific program. 

How do you apply?
Programs are identified by Type. Type refers to admission requirements and process.

Type 1 programs do not have any requirements for entry other than successful completion of 4.0 degree credits. You can add these programs on ACORN and no other application is required.

There is one Type 1S program. It is the Specialist in Bioinformatics & Computational Biology. Imagine that the “S” is a dollar sign, because students in this program pay higher fees.

Type 2 programs require specific courses with specific minimum grades. And some Type 2 programs have a limit on the number of students they can accept. These are Type 2L programs. These programs and departments will actually advertise what they project to be the minimum grade you will need in specific courses, but they could end up using a higher minimum grade if the number of students eligible for the program exceeds the number of spaces available in the program. Departments with limited enrolments will make this information clear to students in the Calendar.

And finally, Type 3 programs. These require specific courses with specific grades, they will have a limited number of spaces in them, and they require additional information beyond minimum grades in courses.

There are two rounds of application to Programs. One starts in April with results in July. The second in July with results in September. A Type 3-yes program accepts applications in the second round of program enrolment. A Type 3-no program does not. 


Where are my classes?!

Curious to know where your classes are being held?

The Timetable does not list the classroom locations yet, but ACORN does! The locations are often in code. Here is a legend of building codes. And if you need to figure out where a location is, type it into the Campus Map.

The Timetable does not list most of the instructors yet either. ACORN lists many of them and keeps adding more!

Classes start at 10 minutes after the hour and end on the hour. For example, a class that meets MWF9 starts at 9:10 a.m. and ends at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

You can schedule classes right after one another. The St. George Campus is a big 35-city block campus, but you can almost always travel by foot from one part of campus to another in 10 minutes. Sometimes moving from the west end of campus to the central part is as easy as crossing St. George Street. Other times, you may have to get across Queen’s Park, but students report that they manage without too much difficulty. (They also report that they don’t always get their favourite seat in the class if they arrive at 10 minutes after the hour!)

Remember that you can enrol in a maximum of 5.0 credits until 3 August, and starting on 5 August, you can enrol in a maximum of 6.0 credits.

Choosing Great Breadth Courses

Every course entry in the Calendar lists the breadth category for a course.

But here’s a brand new site dedicated to helping students choose great breadth courses.

It includes filtered searches for potential breadth courses and it also includes examples of how other students in your area of study completed their breadth requirements.

You can also use Course Finder to filter courses by their breadth category. Just
>> Select “St. George Campus”
>> Under the “Requirements” radial button choose “FAS Breadth Requirement”
>> Under “Departments” choose “Faculty of Arts and Science”
>> Under “Requirements” choose “Faculty of Arts and Science”
>> Select a Breadth category
>> Filter for any or all of:
o Department
o Term
o Days of Week
o Time
o Credit
o Course Level

The Breadth Requirement

The Breadth Requirement is a degree requirement that ensures that, by the time you graduate from the FAS, you have a breadth of knowledge about the richness of the arts, the complexity of global cultures, and the varied structures, processes and concepts of the social and natural world.

Some students will elect to complete some of their Breadth Requirements in first year, but it is not necessary. The Breadth Requirement must be satisfied by the time you graduate.

Every course description in the Calendar includes breadth category:
CCR Creative and Cultural Representations
TBB Thought, Belief & Behaviour
SII Society & Its Institutions
LTE Living Things & Their Environment
PMU Physical & Mathematical Universes

Some full courses count for a half-credit in two categories.

A few courses have no breadth category (e.g. MAT133Y1).

You need at least 1.0 credits from 4 of the 5 categories OR 1.0 credits from each of 3 categories and 0.5 from the remaining 2.

Courses you take for program requirements can also satisfy Breadth requirements.

These also count as Breadth requirements:
First-Year Seminars (199s)
First-Year Foundations (Ones)
VIC 100 Seminars

The First-Year Learning Communities (FLC’s) are non-credit courses that do not count as Breadth requirements.

Conveniently, the first three letters of all First-Year Seminars correspond to their breadth category. The XBC First-Year Seminar courses fulfil two breadth categories.

If you decide to take a course as Extra or a Credit/No Credit, it still counts as a Breadth Requirement (provided you pass the course). 

Stay tuned for our next post on "How To Choose Great Breadth Courses"

LECs and PRAs and TUTs

Every single course in the FAS has a lecture section (even if it’s a seminar). If there is more than one L section listed in the timetable listings, select the one that is offered at the time most convenient for your schedule. If a course listing also includes P and T meeting sections, make sure you also sign up for one of each. On ACORN, L shows up at LEC, P shows up as PRA, and T shows up as TUT.