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General advising and course information

Steps to follow for course selection, advising, and registration for newly admitted students.

Please read the information carefully.

Please consult the Important Dates webpage for details (you can search by category).

You should plan to attend the University orientation session and one of the departmental orientation sessions offered during the last week of August. Go to the session offered by the department in which you are taking most of your courses and ensure you are assigned an adviser.

Course Selection

In order to determine which courses will be appropriate for you, your departmental academic adviser will require information about the courses you have taken at your home university. For departmental contact information, please consult the following website.

Please bring the following pieces of information to your advising appointment:

  • a copy of your academic record (courses and grades);
  • course descriptions for the courses you have taken;
  • information about the number of credits or courses required to complete your degree;
  • a list of McGill courses you think might be appropriate;
  • a list of questions you want to ask your adviser.

The departmental academic adviser will review the courses you have already completed to ensure you have the appropriate background for the McGill courses you intend to take.

For advice of a more general nature, you should consult Faculty advisers in Arts OASIS (Dawson Hall, Room 110). The OASIS counter staff is also very knowledgeable. You can come in person or phone 514-398-1029. Please consult the Arts OASIS mainpage for operating hours.

Course Information

Each course has a credit weight associated with it. The normal load for a full-time student in Arts is five (5) courses or 15 credits per term. The number of credits you take in a term should be determined by your own situation. If you have commitments outside the University, you might consider reducing your load to 12 credits per term (this is normally the minimum for those studying on a student visa).

Course selection should be done with your departmental academic adviser. The courses you take should also be chosen with your personal situation in mind. If this is the first time you are studying in English, you might want to mix program courses, electives and an English as a Second Language (ESL) course. If you have studied in English before, but feel that your writing could be improved, you might want to consider taking English for Academic Purposes. Click here for more information.

During the first two weeks of the Fall or Winter term, you will have the opportunity to change the courses for which you have registered. You may drop and add courses as you wish, subject to any restrictions indicated in the eCalendar and Timetable. After this Course Change period, you may withdraw from courses until approximately the mid-point of each term. Please consult Important Dates for specific deadlines.

If you are undecided about whether to drop or withdraw from a course, you can talk to your departmental adviser or to a Faculty adviser in Arts OASIS. You should assess your progress to date in the course and try to reach a realistic evaluation of your ability to complete the course successfully.

Special, visiting or exchange students who wish to extend their studies beyond the term(s) indicated in their letter of acceptance should write to the Associate Dean of Arts (Student Affairs) and request readmission.

What to do if problems arise

Occasionally students experience serious problems which affect their ability to complete their coursework on time. If you experience medical problems, or other personal problems which prevent you from devoting sufficient time to your courses or exams, please see your course instructor and/or Faculty adviser.

If the situation interferes with the submission of term papers, the writing of midterm tests, or other class work, consult with the course instructor. It may be possible to arrange for make-up tests or extensions of deadlines. The instructor will require supporting documentation in the form of a doctor's letter, or other relevant documents.

If you are unable to write formal final exams, or feel that withdrawal from courses or the University after the normal deadline may be necessary, you should consult with a Faculty adviser in Arts OASIS. If special arrangements are to be made, supporting documentation will be required.

More detailed information on Course and University Withdrawal is available here.


adviser [dot] arts [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Arts OASIS Faculty Adviser)
Dawson Hall