FAQs for AgEnvSc Students

FAQs for AgEnvSc Students

 

Questions related to planning and completing your degree:

I took a course outside Mac which I feel is equivalent to a course in my program. How do I go about ensuring I can use it in my program?

Note that in the case of credit taken before you came to McGill, you must complete the steps below before the end of your first term with us.

First, check McGill's equivalency database to see whether your course has already been evaluated. If your course does not appear on the database, log in at the very top of the page, go to “home” also at the top of the page once you have logged in, and “Submit a new Request” for the course to be evaluated. If you can't find a specific McGill course that is very similar to your outside course, you can request an equivalency to LSCI XXX, for example, using an appropriate, existing McGill subject code. Click to view a list of McGill subject codes. Remember that Mac codes for Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics are respectively AEBI, AEMA, AECH and AEPH, as opposed to BIOL, MATH, CHEM and PHYS for downtown.

Once your course has been approved for transfer credit on the equivalency database, you must request that the transfer credit be approved for use in your specific degree. Log into Minerva, select the Student Records Menu, select the Exchange/Study away Menu, and select Approval for Transfer Credit Assessment.

Once the Transfer Credit Assessment form has been completed, email fern.ship [at] mcgill.ca. Be sure to include your name and ID number and let her know that you have completed the form.

Substitutions: can I make a course count as complementary in my program, even if it is not on the list?

You must make every effort to follow your program as listed. Make sure you know which version of the program you are in, given programs change over time. Substitutions are never automatic and must be approved by your academic advisor. They may be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances. Your record will be thoroughly assessed, and your current and past course schedules will be retrieved, as necessary, to determine whether you made every effort to complete your program as listed.

Can I do a Double Major?

In our Faculty, double Majors are an option for students who are in satisfactory academic standing and have a cGPA or 3.00 or more. In order to apply, you must meet with me and prepare a proposal showing how you will satisfy the requirements of both Majors. I have a template you can use.  Bear in mind that at least 36 credits must be unique to your second Major. This means that if your two Majors have a lot of courses in common, you may need to take extra complementary courses in the second Major, to generate unique credits in that Major.

Help! Minerva won’t let me register for a course!

Common registration problems:

  • Are you actually eligible to register? Check your eligibility on Minerva: Student Menu/Registration Menu/ Step 1: Check Your Registration Eligibility and Verify Your Curriculum
  • Error messages given by Minerva
    • Faculty or Program Restriction: Contact me directly. This occurs because of the spots available in the courses, none are open to students from your program. If you are trying to take an elective and get this message, unfortunately I cannot help you
    • Pre-requisite or test score error:
      • If you DO have the pre-requisite, contact me directly
      • If you want to take a course at the same time as the pre-requisite, or if you feel that you should be allowed to take the course without the pre-requisite, contact the instructor of the course, since only they can approve such a request
    • Instructor’s or Department Approval: request approval from the instructor of the course

Some notes:

• in general, there is no reason to panic if you are unable to register for a course that you are required to take. Authorizations and planning may take time, but the issue will get resolved and you should be able to take all courses you need to take (e.g., required courses), when you need to take them. Of course you may not be able to get into that lab section that gives you Friday afternoons off, but you will be able to take some conflict-free lab section! And we cannot help you get into elective courses, for example. But as a general rule, be patient!

• note that registration opens for given students on given dates, and that there is a date by which you must have registered for at least one course, to avoid late registration fees. But note also that you are free to make any change you like to your courses for a semester, at any time and as often as you want, until the end of the add-drop period which is a few weeks into the given term. I will send all my students an email at the start of each term, indicating all of these deadlines.

I saw online that the requirements for my program have changed!

Indeed, program requirements change over time. It is important to understand that you are in the version of the program that was in effect when you started the program in question (Major or Specialization), unless you explicitly switched into a newer version of the program component. The Excel progress sheet I use to track your progress should indicate the requirements that apply to you, specifically.

What is Honours?

To be eligible for Honours, you must have a cGPA at or above 3.30 at the end of the Winter term of your U2. Participating in Honours also entails finding a Faculty member who agrees to supervise you for the work. Additional rules regarding academic performance also apply in order to graduate with Honours.

Honours is a great opportunity to gain experience on conducting research, and graduating with Honours is broadly recognized as prestigious. The Honours component is in addition to the Major and Specialization requirements that apply to you specifically (based on the requirements which were in effect at the time when you started each component of your program). Essentially, Honours work replaces elective credit in your degree.

Agro-Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology and Global Food Security students have the choice of two different Honours Plans. Only Plan A is open to Life Sciences students. The Honours version of the Agricultural Economics Major is not open for registration.

Plan A involves completing the following research courses in two different terms:

  • FAES 401 Honours Research Project 1 (6 credits)
  • FAES 402 Honours Research Project 1 (6 credits)

Plan B involves completing:

  • FAES 405 Honours Project 1 (3 credits)
  • FAES 406 Honours Project 2 (3 credits)

As well as 6 credits of courses at the 400 level or higher, and which are directly relevant to the work you do in FAES 405 and 406. As indicated above, these courses cannot be used in any other component of your program.

When and how do I apply for graduation?

If you expect to graduate in May, apply for graduation in February. For a January graduation apply by November and for an August graduation apply by March. Go to the “Student Records Menu” on Minerva and choose “Apply for Graduation for Your Primary Curriculum (1st degree)”.

Can I do a Minor?

You can do a Minor, but it is your responsibility to meet all of the degree requirements. Speak to your advisor about planning your courses. It can be challenging to complete all requirements for your program and the Minor in 3 years.

What happens if a course appears in both my Specialization and in my Major?

A Specialization must have 18 unique credits: therefore, 6 credits (typically two courses) can “overlap” and thus count towards both the Major and the Specialization. However, any course counts only once towards the total of credits required for graduation.

How do I declare a Specialization?

You need to fill out the Specialization form found at http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/studentinfo/undergrads/forms, the Student Affairs Office (SAO) in Laird Hall or Dr. Major’s office. Have Dr. Major sign it prior to returning it to SAO.

Can I do a second (or third…) Specialization? Should I take more than one?

You must complete at least one Specialization, and you may do more than one.  However, it might be difficult to complete all the requirements for your Major and more than one Specialization within 3 years, so be prepared for difficulties in scheduling. One thing you could do is try to take as many of your elective courses as you can schedule in the second Specialization. It will not appear on your transcript if you don’t complete all of the requirements but you will have taken many of the courses towards it. Talk to your advisor about this if you have more questions.

Can I take more than 15 credits per term?

If you are in satisfactory standing, you may take up to 18 credits per term.  If you wish to do more than this, you need to consult with your academic advisor to learn how to get approval.

I think I’m on track to graduate, but how do I know for sure?

Ask your advisor to review your file.

What’s the Pass/Fail (P/F) and Satisfactory /Unsatisfactory (S/U) options on courses?

Some courses at McGill are graded as pass/fail, but this does not apply to courses that are part of your Major.  You may take a maximum of 1 course per term as an S/U option, but this designation only applies to ELECTIVES.  Do not make the mistake of selecting this as an option for a required or complementary course. After the add/drop period, the S/U option CANNOT be removed.

Am I full time or part-time? Does it matter?

You are considered full-time if you take at least 12 credits per term, and it does matter. You must be enrolled in 27 graded credits per academic year to be eligible for scholarships and most student loans require a minimum of 12 credits/term. International students who have student visas cannot register for less than 12 credits per semester.

I don’t like my Major – how do I switch?

It is relatively easy to switch to other Majors within the same type of degree (B.Sc. Ag. Env. Sc.): visit your advisor and ask for the Program Change Form; this requires a signature of the advisor for the Major you are switching into. Visit the SAO to ask about the process of switching to a different degree type and/or to a different Faculty.


Questions related to studying outside McGill:

I would like to have non-McGill credit transferred to my current degree. How do I go about this?

Note that in the case of credit taken before you came to McGill, you must complete the steps below before the end of your first term with us.

First, check McGill's equivalency database to see whether your course has already been evaluated. If your course does not appear on the database, log in at the very top of the page, and request that it be evaluated. If you can't find a specific McGill course that is very similar to your outside course, you can request an equivalency to LSCI XXX, for example, using an appropriate, existing McGill subject code. Click to view a list of McGill subject codes. Remember that Mac codes for Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics are respectively AEBI, AEMA, AECH and AEPH, as opposed to BIOL, MATH, CHEM and PHYS for downtown.

Once your course has been approved for transfer credit on the equivalency database, you must request that the transfer credit be approved for use in your specific degree. Log into Minerva, select the Student Records Menu, select the Exchange/Study away Menu, and select Approval for Transfer Credit Assessment.

Once the Transfer Credit Assessment form has been completed, email fern.ship [at] mcgill.ca. Be sure to include your name and ID number and let her know that you have completed the form.

I want to travel somewhere exotic, take courses there, and make them count towards my degree: how do I do this?

You can do this many ways, but keep in mind that semesters away from campus involve extra costs. You can do ‘field semesters’, such as the Panama Field Studies Semester (http://www.mcgill.ca/pfss/) or the Barbados Interdisciplinary Tropical Studies Semester (http://www.mcgill.ca/bits/). Go to the websites for these programs to look into requirements; some of the courses you take in these semesters may count towards your degree as complementary courses, but will most likely act as electives. You can also apply for a study as part of an exchange program. See www.mcgill.ca/students/international/goabroad.

I want to take a course at a different University – can this count toward my degree?

This is possible, but requires advanced planning – please talk to your advisor prior to proceeding with this. If you want the course to substitute for a required course, then the instructor of that course at McGill will have to sign a course equivalence form (available at http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/studentinfo/undergrads/forms), as will your academic advisor, and additional paperwork may be required before such a substitution is accepted. Don’t forget that you require 60 credits of McGill courses to be granted your degree. The Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ 2/3 rule for credit taken at Mac also applies. You need to provide the Student Affairs Office with an official transcript produced by a recognized university-level institution (a “letter of attestation” is NOT sufficient), as well as a description of the course (i.e. a syllabus or “course outline”).


Questions related to broadening the scope of your education:

How do I get research experience as part of my degree?

You can do this through research project courses (e.g. AGRI 490 (restricted to specific programs), ENVB 497 and ENVB 498, LSCI 451 and LSCI 452, the PLNT 489/490 sequence of courses or through a Special Topics Course).  For all options you must have in place a supervisor for your project, so the first step is to develop a rapport with a potential supervisor and together you can develop a research project that interests you both.  This takes time and planning, but can be a very rewarding experience.

What’s an internship? Can I do one?

An internship is pre-professional work experience that provides an opportunity to supplement academic learning by gaining practical knowledge in your field of study. You can do one - please visit the Macdonald Campus Internship office (http://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/programs/internships).

I’m thinking about grad studies…are they for me? How do I go about finding a research group to join, and funding?

Schedule a meeting with me, so we can discuss