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FAQs: find answers to the questions most often asked

Questions related to planning and completing your degree:

(NOTE: AgEnvSc Students: please check out FAQs specific to your major on each AgEnvSc Majors page)

When and how do I apply for graduation?

If you expect to graduate in May, apply for graduation in February. For a January graduation apply by November and for an August graduation apply by March. Go to the “Student Records Menu” on Minerva and choose “Apply for Graduation for Your Primary Curriculum (1st degree)”.

Can I do a Minor?

You can do a Minor, but it is your responsibility to meet all of the degree requirements. Speak to your advisor about planning your courses. It can be challenging to complete all requirements for your program and the Minor in 3 years.

What happens if a course appears in both my Specialization and in my Major?

A Specialization must have 18 unique credits: therefore, 6 credits (typically two courses) can “overlap” and thus count towards both the Major and the Specialization. However, any course counts only once towards the total of credits required for graduation.

How do I declare a Specialization?

You need to fill out the Specialization form found at http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/studentinfo/undergrads/forms, the Student Affairs Office (SAO) in Laird Hall or Dr. Major’s office. Have Dr. Major sign it prior to returning it to SAO.

Can I do a second (or third…) Specialization? Should I take more than one?

You must complete at least one Specialization, and you may do more than one.  However, it might be difficult to complete all the requirements for your Major and more than one Specialization within 3 years, so be prepared for difficulties in scheduling. One thing you could do is try to take as many of your elective courses as you can schedule in the second Specialization. It will not appear on your transcript if you don’t complete all of the requirements but you will have taken many of the courses towards it. Talk to your advisor about this if you have more questions.

Can I take more than 15 credits per term?

If you are in satisfactory standing, you may take up to 18 credits per term.  If you wish to do more than this, you need to consult with your academic advisor to learn how to get approval.

I think I’m on track to graduate, but how do I know for sure?

Ask your advisor to review your file.

What’s the Pass/Fail (P/F) and Satisfactory /Unsatisfactory (S/U) options on courses?

Some courses at McGill are graded as pass/fail, but this does not apply to courses that are part of your Major.  You may take a maximum of 1 course per term as an S/U option, but this designation only applies to ELECTIVES.  Do not make the mistake of selecting this as an option for a required or complementary course. After the add/drop period, the S/U option CANNOT be removed.

Am I full time or part-time? Does it matter?

You are considered full-time if you take at least 12 credits per term, and it does matter. You must be enrolled in 27 graded credits per academic year to be eligible for scholarships and most student loans require a minimum of 12 credits/term. International students who have student visas cannot register for less than 12 credits per semester.

I don’t like my Major – how do I switch?

It is relatively easy to switch to other Majors within the same type of degree (B.Sc. Ag. Env. Sc.): visit your advisor and ask for the Program Change Form; this requires a signature of the advisor for the Major you are switching into. Visit the SAO to ask about the process of switching to a different degree type and/or to a different Faculty.


Questions related to studying outside McGill:

How do I go about getting credits taken elsewhere transferred to my McGill record?

You must bring an official transcript with your grade(s) for the course(s) to the Student Affairs Office in Laird Hall. Credits are only transferred if you got a grade of C or higher. If you need to get an equivalence to a course in your program, you will need to fill out a course equivalence form, available online (http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/studentinfo/undergrads/forms). The form must be signed by the instructor of the McGill course you want to get equivalence to. In order to judge whether the course is equivalent, the instructor is likely to ask for the outline of the course you took elsewhere.

I want to travel somewhere exotic, take courses there, and make them count towards my degree: how do I do this?

You can do this many ways, but keep in mind that semesters away from campus involve extra costs. You can do ‘field semesters’, such as the Panama Field Studies Semester (http://www.mcgill.ca/pfss/) or the Barbados Interdisciplinary Tropical Studies Semester (http://www.mcgill.ca/bits/). Go to the websites for these programs to look into requirements; some of the courses you take in these semesters may count towards your degree as complementary courses, but will most likely act as electives. You can also apply for a study as part of an exchange program. See www.mcgill.ca/students/international/goabroad.

I want to take a course at a different University – can this count toward my degree?

This is possible, but requires advanced planning – please talk to your advisor prior to proceeding with this. If you want the course to substitute for a required course, then the instructor of that course at McGill will have to sign a course equivalence form (available at http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/studentinfo/undergrads/forms), as will your academic advisor, and additional paperwork may be required before such a substitution is accepted. Don’t forget that you require 60 credits of McGill courses to be granted your degree. The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ 2/3 rule for credit taken at Mac also applies. You need to provide the Student Affairs Office with an official transcript produced by a recognized university-level institution (a “letter of attestation” is NOT sufficient), as well as a description of the course (i.e. a syllabus or “course outline”).


Questions related to broadening the scope of your education:

How do I get research experience as part of my degree?

You can do this through research project courses (e.g. AGRI 490 (restricted to specific programs), ENVB 497 and ENVB 498, LSCI 451 and LSCI 452, the PLNT 489/490 sequence of courses or through a Special Topics Course).  For all options you must have in place a supervisor for your project, so the first step is to develop a rapport with a potential supervisor and together you can develop a research project that interests you both.  This takes time and planning, but can be a very rewarding experience.

What’s an internship? Can I do one?

An internship is pre-professional work experience that provides an opportunity to supplement academic learning by gaining practical knowledge in your field of study. You can do one - please visit the Macdonald Campus Internship office (http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/programs/internships).