Essential Information

Year Designations

Students in the first year of a 97-120 credit Bachelor Degree will complete a Freshman year, designated U0. All other students (96 credits or fewer to complete your degree) will begin with the U1 year. The middle year(s) will be U2 and during the graduating year, you will be a U3 student.

U Designations 97-120 Credits 96 or Fewer Credits Course Level
U0 Freshman ----- 100
U1 First Year of Program First Year of Program 200
U2 Middle Year(s) Middle Year(s) 300 or 400
U3 Graduating Year Graduating Year 300, 400 or 500

Semester Credits

You must not choose courses which cover material similar to that which you have already taken at the university level and for which you have been given credit. If you do, these courses will be flagged for no credit. If you are unsure, check with the Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising (SOUSA) before registering for the course(s) in question.

  • 15 credits per term is a full course load.
  • 12 credits per term to maintain visa status, loans, bursaries, full-time status (for loans and bursaries, check with the loan granting organization for specifics).
  • 27 credits per year (over the fall and winter terms) is the minimum for university scholarships.
  • 30 credits per year (over the fall and winter terms) are required to maintain Canada scholarships and to qualify for admission to some medical schools.

Selecting your Courses

Although you must fulfill the first year program requirements, there is still room for you to vary your course selection. Don't limit yourself to a specific area. Keep your options open; you may discover that you are not as keen on a particular area as you had previously thought. You may even discover an area of study you had never previously considered.

There are a limited number of courses you may take outside the Faculties of Arts and of Science. For a list of these courses as well as the procedure for registering for these courses, consult the Restricted Courses Outside of the Faculty Science or the Bachelor of Arts and Sciences - Course Requirements pages.

As a first year U1 Biology student you are required to select your courses from those listed as "Required" courses for your program. The first digit of the course number denotes the course level. Hence, most of the courses you choose in your first year should be at the 200 level, with the exception of language courses, where your proficiency in a particular level will be determined by a placement test administered by the department offering the course.

If you are studying in English for the first time and are unsure of your ability to cope, you should consider taking a maximum of only four courses (12 credits) per term and possibly include a course in "English as a Second Language" from the McGill Writing Centre.

Course Prerequisites

Please consult the following documents for a list of Fall, Winter or Summer courses along with their prerequisites:

500 Level Courses

Be sure to consider available 500-level courses in U3. These courses are intended for undergraduate and graduate students. They offer a chance to study a specialized topic in an interactive way with a small number of interested students and professor(s). Undergraduates often do very well in these courses and see them as a highlight of their undergraduate experience.

Tutorial Service

A tutor may be able to help you if you are having problems with a particular course. The Tutorial Service Office is located in the Brown Student Services Building, 3600 McTavish Street, Suite 4200.

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