After the completion of their first year, Freshman students should be ready to select a departmental program for the upcoming academic year.
Students should choose an area that fits their general academic interests and background. The bachelor's degree is intended to serve as a general preliminary step in the pursuit of major career goals. Students in the Bachelor of Arts degree follow a multi-track program permitting them to register in at least two and as many as four different Major and Minor Concentrations. This allows them to select courses from a variety of areas in their first year, from where they will able to narrow their choice later on.
It is important that students become familiar with the academic regulations of the Faculty of Arts. An intended course plan may not be feasible if it requires the completion of too many credits from other faculties, or if it is not listed in the calendar.
Undecided students should consider their basic strengths and weaknesses when considering the following:
- preferred subjects
- the departmental programs which include them
- whether they have previously completed courses in these disciplines
- programs which contain more than one of these subjects
- whether one program stands out above all others
- whether an Honours or a Faculty program is a viable option
- whether there is room for electives
- whether programs are related to vocational or personal interests
- academic and career goals and whether there are certain academic prerequisites that must be completed to pursue them
- the intention to develop certain skills (analytical reasoning, writing, verbal communication, teamwork, independent work, laboratory research, computer skills, etc.)
- program requirements which may focus on weak points (e.g.: an Arts student considering a program requiring statistics if a student is not strong in math, etc.)
Students who are still unsure about their program choice should consider the following resources:
- departmental academic advisers
- instructors and teaching assistants
- Faculty advisers in Arts OASIS
- family and friends
- Degree planning workshops
- Freshman Fair
- Career Planning Service
- Counselling Service
- Reference Librarians (seeking assistance)
- The Internet
Once program adviser(s) have been consulted, students must select courses according to departmental requirements.
It is important to refer to the eCalendar as well as individual departmental handbooks available on the Web and/or through the departments themselves.
Most courses chosen in the first year at McGill will be at the 200 level, with the exception of language courses, where the appropriate level will be determined by a placement test administered by the department offering the course. The first digit of the course number normally denotes the course level.