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B.Sc. Freshman Program Requirements

Students normally complete 30 credits which must include at least 7 courses from the list of Approved Freshman Science courses.

General Math and Science Breadth (6 courses)

Six of the freshman courses must satisfy one of the following options:

Option 1:
2 courses from MATH and 4 courses from BIOL, CHEM or PHYS;


Option 2:
3 courses from MATH and 3 courses from BIOL, CHEM or PHYS.

Science Complementary (1 course)

One additional course from the list of Approved Freshman Science Courses.


  1. Courses taken to fulfil the core requirements in all options must be passed with a grade of “C” or better. They cannot include courses taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option. If you have received advanced credits such as AP’s, IB’s, AL’s, or university transfer credits, you may be exempted from part or all of the Freshman Program requirements. If you receive exemption for a course, you cannot take the course at McGill for credit.
  2. Students who have not studied all of Biology, Chemistry and Physics at the grade 12 level or equivalent are strongly advised to include at least one course in the missing discipline in their freshman program.
  3. Many students will complete more than 7 courses from the Approved Freshman Science Courses list, particularly those who wish to leave several options open for their choice of major.
  4. Students entering the Freshman Program should be aware of the department specific requirements when selecting their courses. Please check the following information for program-specific advice.
  5. The maximum number of courses per term, required, complementary and elective, is five.
  6. Some medical and dental schools have specific freshman course requirements. Check the admission requirements of the school(s) to which you intend to apply. Please check the following information for program-specific advice.

List of Approved Freshman Science Courses

  • ATOC 100: Extreme-Weather and Climate-Change Physics (3 credits)
  • ESYS 104 The Earth System (3 credits)
  • GEOG 205 Global Chg:Past, Pres & Future (3 credits)
  • BIOL 111 Principles:Organismal Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 112 Cell and Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • CHEM 110 General Chemistry 1 (4 credits) (pre/coreq: college-level math and physics)
  • CHEM 115 Acc Gen Chem: Giants in Sci (4 credits) (pre/coreq: college-level math, chemistry and PHYS 131, or permission of instructor)
  • CHEM 120 General Chemistry 2 (4 credits) (pre/coreq: college-level math and physics, CHEM 110 is not a prereq)
  • COMP 202 Foundations of Programming (3 credits)
  • MATH 133 Linear Algebra and Geometry (3 credits)
  • MATH 134 Enriched Linear Algebra&Geom (3 credits)
  • First calculus course, one of:
    • MATH 139 Calculus 1 with Precalculus (4 credits)
    • MATH 140 Calculus 1 (3 credits)
    • MATH 150 Calculus A (4 credits)
  • Second calculus course, one of:
    • MATH 141 Calculus 2 (4 credits)
    • MATH 151 Calculus B (4 credits)
  • First physics course, one of:
    • PHYS 101 Intro Physics - Mechanics (4 credits)
    • PHYS 131 Mechanics and Waves (4 credits) (coreq: Cal 1)
  • Second physics course, one of:
    • PHYS 102 Intro Physics-Electromagnetism (4 credits) (prereq: PHYS 101, coreq: Cal 1)
    • PHYS 142 Electromagnetism & Optics(4 credits) (prereq: PHYS 131, coreq: Cal 2)
  • PSYC 100 Introduction to Psychology (3 credits)


Students wishing to take elective courses may choose them from introductory courses offered by departments in the Faculties of Science or of Arts. Certain courses offered by other faculties may also be taken, but some restrictions apply. Consult the Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA) website page for courses outside Arts and Science, to see which courses are allowed and which are not.