Course Information and Regulations

Course Information and Regulations

Students are advised to also refer to University Regulations & Resources > Graduate > Regulations > Registration and Student Records.

The University reserves the right to make changes without prior notice to the information contained in this publication, including the revision or cancellation of particular courses or programs.

At the time this publication was finalized, new courses and modifications to some existing courses were under consideration. Students preparing to register are advised to consult Class Schedule on the web at www.mcgill.ca/students/courses for the most up-to-date information on courses to be offered.

Not all courses listed are offered every year.

Note for Health Sciences: For information, you should refer to your Faculty/School section in this publication.
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Course Numbering

Course Numbering

Each McGill course is assigned a unique seven-character course “number.”

The first four characters (Subject Code) refer to the unit offering the course.

These codes were implemented in September 2002, replacing the three-number Teaching Unit Codes previously used. A complete list of Teaching Unit Codes and their Subject Code equivalents can be found at www.mcgill.ca/students/records/transcripts/key in the section Grading and pre-2002 course numbering.

The three numbers following the Subject Code refer to the course itself, with the first of these indicating the level of the course.

  • Courses numbered at the 100, 200, 300, and 400 levels are intended for undergraduate students. In most programs, courses at the 300 and 400 levels are normally taken in the student’s last two years.
  • Courses at the 500 level are intended for qualified senior undergraduate students but are also open to graduate students.
  • Courses at the 600 and 700 levels are intended for graduate students only.

Two additional characters (D1, D2, N1, N2, J1, J2, J3) at the end of the seven-character course number identifies multi-term courses.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Multi-term Courses

Multi-term Courses

Most courses at McGill are single term (Fall or Winter or Summer) courses with final grades issued and any credits earned recorded at the end of that term. Single term courses are identified by a seven-character course number.

A unit may, however, decide that the material to be presented cannot be divided into single term courses, or that it is preferable that the work to be done is carried out over two or three terms. Under such circumstances, courses are identified by a two-character extension of the course number.

In some cases, the same course may be offered in various ways: as a single term and/or in one or more multi-term versions. The course content and credit weight are equivalent in all modes; the only difference is the scheduling. Students cannot obtain credit for more than one version of the same course.

Courses with numbers ending in D1 and D2 are taught in two consecutive terms (most commonly Fall and Winter). Students must register for the same section of both the D1 and D2 components. When registering for a Fall term D1 course on Minerva, the student will automatically be registered in the same section of the Winter term D2 portion. No credit will be given unless the same section of both components (D1 and D2) are successfully completed in consecutive terms, e.g., Fall 2017 and Winter 2018.

Courses with numbers ending in N1 and N2 are taught in two non-consecutive terms (Winter and Fall). Students must register for the same section of both the N1 and N2 components. No credit will be given unless the same section of both components (N1 and N2) are successfully completed within a twelve (12) month period.

Courses with numbers ending in J1, J2 and J3 are taught over three consecutive terms. Students must register for the same section of all three components (J1, J2, J3). No credit will be given unless the same section of all three components are successfully completed.

Note for the Faculties of Arts and Science (including B.A. & Sc.): If you select a multi-term course, you are making a commitment to that course for its entirety. You MUST register in the same section in all terms of a multi-term course. Credit will be jeopardized if you deliberately register in different sections of a multi-term course. In the case of Fall/Winter D1/D2 courses, attempting to change section in Winter may result in an inadvertent withdrawal (W) from the D1 course, and reinstatement in the D1/D2 course will result in administrative fees being charged to the student.

In exceptional cases, when circumstances are beyond the student's control, the Faculty Student Affairs Office may grant permission to change sections midway through a multi-term course. You must make your request in writing citing your reason for the request. The request must also have the written support of the instructors of the sections involved and of the coordinator of the course (if applicable). Your request must be submitted to:

  • Arts students – Associate Dean, Student Affairs
  • Science and B.A. & Sc. students – Director of Advising Services, Science
Important Conditions for Multi-term Courses
  1. Students must be registered for each component of the multi-term course. Students must ensure that they are registered in the same section in each term of the multi-term course.
  2. Students must successfully complete each component in sequence as set out in the multi-term course. Credit is granted only at the end of the multi-term course; no partial credit is given, i.e., for completing only one component of a D1/D2 or N1/N2 course, or one to two components of a J1/J2/J3 course.
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Course Terminology

Course Terminology

Prerequisite: Course A is prerequisite to course B if a satisfactory pass in course A is required for admission to course B.

Corequisite: Course A is corequisite to course B if course A must be taken concurrently with (or may have been taken prior to) course B.

Credits: The credit weight of each course is indicated in parentheses beside the course title. For D1 and D2 courses, the credit weight is indicated after the course number. For further information, refer to University Regulations & Resources > Undergraduate > Student Records > Credit System.

Course Nomenclature in Program Descriptions

Course Nomenclature in Program Descriptions

Required Courses: Mandatory courses that must be completed to fulfil the requirements of a program (e.g., major, minor, etc. at the undergraduate level or specific courses at the graduate), unless the student receives exemptions. Students have no choices among required courses.

Complementary Courses: Courses selected from a restricted list, a particular subject area, or a discipline. In some programs, students must include a number of these to meet program requirements. Complementary courses are not electives.

Elective Courses: Courses, in some cases, taken outside of a student’s program of study that do not count toward the fulfilment of the specific program requirements. Some restrictions may apply, but students have the most choice in selecting elective courses. Some faculties also permit students to take elective courses using the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option. Undergraduate students should consult their faculty regulations concerning electives; graduate students require the approval of their Program Director and Enrolment Services.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Course Load

Course Load

It is your responsibility to follow the faculty regulations listed below. When registering on Minerva, you must not exceed the maximum credits permitted by your faculty. For information on course load requirements for entrance scholarships' renewal and in-course awards, see Entrance Awards for McGill Students.

Normal Course Load

Normal Course Load

The normal course load in most undergraduate faculties is 15 credits per term. If you carry fewer than 12 credits per term, you are considered to be a part-time student in that term.

Note for the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Schulich School of Music:
  • The normal course load is 15 to 18 credits per term.
Note for the Faculties of Arts and Science (including B.A. & Sc.):
  • Newly admitted students may take up to 17 credits per term.
  • Continuing students in Satisfactory Standing may take up to 17 credits per term.
  • Continuing students whose CGPA is above 3.50 may take more than 17 credits per term. Requests to exceed 17 credits per term are made to Enrolment Services via the Request to Exceed Credits webform; it is important that you also see a Faculty Adviser in Dawson Hall to talk about your options, and the effects that your request may have on your studies. For more information, see www.mcgill.ca/students/advising/advisordirectory.
Note for the Faculties of Education, Management, and Religious Studies:
  • Newly admitted students may take up to 17 credits per term.
  • Continuing students in Satisfactory Standing may take up to 17 credits per term.
Note for the Faculty of Engineering:
  • The normal course load is 15 to 18 credits per term.
  • If you want to register for more than 18 credits in a term, you must obtain permission from your departmental/school adviser.
  • If you have deferred exams (grade of L on your unofficial transcript), you cannot register for more than 18 credits or write more than six exams per term, whichever is greater.
  • You must register for enough credits to satisfy visa, financial aid, and/or scholarship requirements.
  • The average number of hours per week of course activities is indicated in the course listing in a note underneath the course description. For example, (3-1-5) indicates a course consisting of three lecture hours per week, one hour of tutorial or labs, and five hours of personal study per week.
Note for the Faculty of Law:
  • The normal course load is 15 to 18 credits per term.
Note for Health Sciences: For information, you should refer to your Faculty/School section in this publication.
Note for Medicine: M.D.,C.M. students, please refer to www.mcgill.ca/ugme.
Note for the Schulich School of Music:
  • The normal course load is 15 to 18 credits per term.
  • Continuing students in Satisfactory Standing who wish to register for more than 18 credits must obtain permission from the Academic Adviser or Area Chair.

Course Load for Students in Probationary Standing

Course Load for Students in Probationary Standing

Students in Probationary Standing may take up to 12 credits per term, with the following exceptions:

  • Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: 14 credits
  • Arts: up to 14 credits
  • Engineering: 13 credits maximum, including repeated courses
  • Management: 12 credits maximum of new material
  • Music: 14 credits
  • Science: up to 14 credits

In some cases, a student in Probationary Standing may add a repeated course in which a grade of D or F was obtained.

Course Information and Regulations

Course Information and Regulations

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Courses Taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

Courses Taken under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

The principle of the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option is to encourage you to take courses outside the area of your specialization with the view of enabling you to acquire knowledge and skills in a variety of fields.

Where permitted by faculty and program regulations, you may take one elective course per term to be graded under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option, to a maximum of 10% of your credits taken at McGill to fulfil the degree requirements.

If you decide to have an elective course graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U), you must do so before the Course Change deadline on Minerva as part of the Student Menu > Registration Menu > Quick Add or Drop Course Sections Menu. You cannot make any changes after the Course Change deadline even if you selected the option by mistake. If the course is a multi-term course, you must select the S/U option by the Course Change deadline of the first part of the course.

The instructor will report grades in the normal fashion.

  • Grades of A through C are converted to “Satisfactory” (S)
  • Grades of D, F, and J are converted to “Unsatisfactory” (U)

The courses taken under the S/U option will be excluded from the grade point average (GPA) calculations, but they will be included in the attempted credits total. Credits for courses with a final grade of S will also be included in the number of credits earned.

Note: To be considered for in-course awards, including Dean's Honour List designations, and/or the renewal of entrance scholarships, you must complete at least 27 graded credits in the regular academic session, not including courses completed under the S/U option.
Note: The S/U option is not available via Minerva to Visiting, Exchange, or Quebec Inter-University Transfer Agreement (IUT) students. These students must first contact their home university to ensure that a course taken under the S/U option is acceptable to their home university and that the credits are transferable. After receiving approval from their home university and before McGill's Course Change deadline, they must then consult their McGill faculty Student Affairs Office for approval. Students in the faculties of Arts or Science: you will need to go to Service Point (3415 McTavish Street) to make this request. However, it is important that you also see a faculty adviser in Dawson Hall to talk about your options and the effects that your request may have on your studies. For more information, see www.mcgill.ca/students/advising.
Note: Special Students are not eligible to select the S/U option.

For further information, contact your departmental adviser or student affairs office, as appropriate.

Note for Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Arts, B.A. & Sc. and Science: Freshman year (U0) students are not eligible to select the S/U option.
Note for Engineering:
  • You will only be permitted to take a course under the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) option if you are in Satisfactory Standing.
  • B.Eng. and B.S.E. students may use the S/U option for Complementary Studies courses (i.e., Group A Impact of Technology on Society and Group B Humanities and Social Sciences, Management Studies and Law), Natural Science Complementary Courses (for Computer Engineering students from CEGEP and all Software Engineering students), and Elective Courses (for Mechanical Engineering students from CEGEP). You cannot use the S/U option for courses in any other category of the Engineering programs. If you choose not to use the S/U option, a grade of D is acceptable as a pass for these Complementary Studies courses.
  • B.Sc.(Arch.) students may use the S/U option for elective courses taken outside the School of Architecture. You cannot use the S/U option for courses in any other category of the Architecture program. If you choose not to use the S/U option, a grade of D is acceptable as a pass for these elective courses.
  • You cannot use the S/U option for courses that are taken to satisfy a minor.
Note for Law:
  • The S/U option is available for Law and non-Law electives and Law complementary courses within the B.C.L./LL.B. program.
  • The S/U option is limited to one course in the B.C.L./LL.B. program for a maximum of 4 credits.
  • Students are not permitted to choose the S/U option for required courses.
  • The S/U option is not permitted for courses that are taken to satisfy a minor.
Note for Management: The S/U option is not available on Minerva for Management students. Requests for the S/U option can only be made during the official add/drop period. Please contact the BCom Office (www.mcgill.ca/desautels/programs/bcom/contact-us) for details on the conditions that apply.
Note for Music: Music students may use the S/U option for elective courses taken outside the Schulich School of Music (non-music courses). Please note that the S/U option is not permitted for courses that are taken to satisfy a minor.
Note for Nursing: The S/U option is not available to B.N.I. and B.Sc.(N.) students for required courses.
Note for Physical and Occupational Therapy: The S/U option is not available to Physical and Occupational Therapy students.
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars

First-Year Seminars (FYS) are limited-enrolment credit courses offered by the Faculties of Arts and Science to students in their first year of undergraduate study at McGill; i.e., newly admitted students in U0 or U1. Students in any faculty can enrol in an FYS, subject to the conditions and/or restrictions of the program in which they are registered. Students may take only one FYS.

FYS classes are limited to a maximum of 25 students and are designed to provide closer interaction with the professor, and better working relations with peers than are available in large introductory courses. The seminars endeavour to teach the latest academic developments and expose participants to advanced research methods. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For a listing of First-Year Seminars, see Faculty of Arts > Undergraduate > Browse Academic Units & Programs > First-Year Seminars and Faculty of Science > Undergraduate > Faculty Degree Requirements > Course Requirements > First-Year Seminars: Registration.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)

Auditing of Courses

Auditing of Courses

McGill does not permit auditing of courses.

Note for Continuing Studies: You can register for a Continuing Studies course and opt to have it "non-evaluated."
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2017-2018 (last updated Aug. 17, 2017) (disclaimer)