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FAQ for new students

Getting Started

I have received my acceptance to the Faculty of Arts. What should I do next?

Congratulations on your acceptance! Important information on Advising, Orientation and Registration can be found on the following websites. Students admitted to U0: See Advising, Orientation and Registration for Newly Admitted B.A. Freshman program students. Students admitted to U1: See Advising, Orientation and Registration for newly admitted U1 B.A. departmental program students.

What is the difference between a U0 and U1 student?

“U0” or “Freshman Program Student” is the term used to define students who have been admitted without advanced standing or with less than 24 credits of advanced standing. Freshman Program students are enrolled in a four-year program and are required to complete between 97 and 120 credits for their degree.

“U1” or “Departmental Student” is the term used to define students who have been admitted with 24 or more credits of advanced standing. These students are enrolled in a three-year degree program and are required to complete 96 or fewer credits for their degree.

Advising

What is Arts OASIS?

Arts OASIS is the Office of Advising and Student Information Services. The office is located in Room 110, Dawson Hall. Under the direction of the Associate Dean of Arts, Student Affairs, we advise, assist and support students in the Faculty of Arts during their undergraduate studies. (See http://www.mcgill.ca/oasis/.)

What is the role of a Faculty Adviser?

Faculty Advisers are located in Arts OASIS in Room 110, Dawson Hall. They provide information on rules, regulations and upcoming deadlines governing your overall 120 credit degree program. They offer guidance on choosing your programs of study, planning your degree, credit load and study away issues. They assist students in managing academic situations during periods of personal, financial or medical difficulty by working with students to identify their options. They also approve course selection for U0 Arts Freshman students and serve as your direct link to other University resources.

How can I meet with a Faculty Adviser?

Faculty Advisers are available to answer your questions throughout the academic year during drop-in advising sessions which take place in Arts OASIS (Office of Advising and Student Information Services) located in Room 110, Dawson Hall. No appointment is necessary during these hours. You will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis for about fifteen minutes. When you arrive in Dawson Hall, inform the front counter that you have come for a drop-in advising session.  You will find the days and times for drop-in advising listed on the following website. (See Arts OASIS Faculty Advisers.)

What is a departmental program adviser?

Departmental program advisers provide advice on departmental programs, study away and planning your program, and approve the course selection of students in their U1, U2 and U3 years of study. Students must consult with a departmental program adviser for each program to plan their course selection for each term of study. Please consult the following website for their departmental contact information. (See Departmental Academic Advisers.)

I still have questions. How can I receive additional assistance?

You can call Arts OASIS (Office of Advising and Student Information Services) at (514-398-1029), visit us at our location in Room 110, Dawson Hall or contact us via our chat line (http://www.ausmcgill.com/wp/?page_id=161) during regular office hours (http://www.mcgill.ca/oasis/), Monday to Friday, 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM (Montreal time). Once you have confirmed your acceptance, you can contact us using your McGill email account. Please direct your e-mail inquiries as follows: Until August 31: newstudentadvising [dot] arts [at] mcgill [dot] ca Beginning September 1: adviser [dot] arts [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Advanced Standing and Exemptions

What is transfer credit?

Transfer credit is credit granted toward your McGill program for courses taken at another institution. Transfer credit can be granted for a specific McGill course (if the coursework is deemed to be equivalent), or as a block of credits (i.e., for CEGEP graduates).

What is an exemption?

An exemption may be granted if you have completed a course at another institution that is equivalent to a McGill course. An exemption does not give you course credits. Rather, it means that you must take another course in place of the one for which you receive the exemption.

If you receive an exemption, you must consult your departmental program adviser to determine what courses you can take instead. (See Departmental Academic Advisers.)

I wrote several Advanced Placement Examinations. Am I required to declare these results?

You are required to declare all examinations eligible for advanced standing credit (i.e., Advanced Placement Examinations, an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Certificate, Advanced Level Examinations, CEGEP Diploma or course(s) completed at another university, etc.) according to Chapter 6, Article 18, of McGill's Code of Student Discipline found in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities.

I have been accepted to the Faculty of Arts and have arranged for my advanced standing results to be sent to McGill. How do I know if I have been granted advanced standing?

If you indicated on your admission application that you completed studies that will provide you with you advanced standing, your file will be automatically reviewed for transfer credit and exemption. You must make certain that the official transcripts of your results are received by Enrolment Services to ensure that your advanced credits and/or exemptions appear on your record. You can access Minerva to see whether your documentation has been received. Normally, Enrolment Services will record your transfer credits, exemptions and advanced standing on your McGill transcript during the summer prior to the start of classes as long as all conditions for transfer of credits have been met. You can see your transfer credits and/or exemptions on your student transcript using Minerva. Look under “View Your Unofficial Transcript” on the Student Records menu. Your McGill transcript will not show any grades for courses taken at other institutions and the grades will not be included in the calculation of your McGill grade point average. For more information, please review the information on “Transfer credits and Advanced Standing”, on the following websites or contact Service Point for additional information on the status of your admission documents. (See http://www.mcgill.ca/students/transfercredit/prospective/advanced and http://www.mcgill.ca/applying/admissionsguide/general-requirements/#xpgfId-203533 and http://www.mcgill.ca/students/servicepoint/.)

Can my advanced standing be used to fulfill Freshman Program requirements?

Advanced Standing that has been recorded on your Minerva student transcript may be used to fulfill Freshman Program requirements. For example, an Advanced Placement examination (AP) in French Language completed with a score of 4 or better will count as six credits in the Language freshman category. You will receive an exemption for FRSL 211 on your Minerva student record and you will not be permitted to complete this course at McGill for credit. If your Minerva student transcript shows that you have been granted 24 or more credits of advanced standing based on Advanced Placement Examinations, an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Certificate, Advanced Level Examinations, CEGEP Diploma or course(s) completed at another university, you will be exempt from completing B.A. Freshman Program requirements. (See B.A. Freshman program and http://www.mcgill.ca/students/transfercredit/prospective/ and http://www.mcgill.ca/minerva-students/.)

Can I use courses completed at another institution toward completing program requirements for my McGill degree?

In most cases, only courses completed at an accredited degree-granting institution can be used toward departmental program requirements. You must consult with your departmental program adviser to assess if the Advanced Placement Examinations, International Baccalaureate Diploma or Certificate, Advanced Level Examinations or CEGEP Diploma can be used to fulfill departmental program requirements or if they can be used as an exemption for a departmental program pre-requisite.

First, meet with your departmental program adviser to review the course(s) you have completed to ensure that you have the appropriate background for the McGill courses you intend to take for your program of study. Since each department or program unit functions differently, consult the relevant department for the procedure to follow. You must provide your departmental program adviser with a transcript and a detailed course description and course syllabus, including method of evaluation and reading list for each course you wish to have evaluated.

Second, to have individual courses reviewed for a course equivalence or exemption, each McGill unit will assess courses that correspond to theirs. For example, Political Science for a political science course, Psychology for a psychology course, Desautels Faculty of Management for a management course, etc. Some departments may have assigned advisers to assess courses completed at another institution for equivalency or exemption. Please consult the following list for their coordinates. The departmental program adviser will need detailed a course descriptions and course syllabus, including method of evaluation and reading list for each course you wish to have evaluated. See https://secureweb.mcgill.ca/students/international/sites/mcgill.ca.students.international/files/adviser_contact_list_for_course_approvals_outside_of_qc.pdf and Departmental Academic Advisers.

Courses

How do I plan my courses?

If you are a U0 student, you must select your courses from an approved list and fulfill the requirements of one of the two Freshman Program options. If you select Option I, “General Option” (Classic), you must complete six credits (normally two one-term courses) in each of three of the following four categories: Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, and Mathematics & Science. You cannot complete more than 18 credits in any one category, and no more than 12 credits are permitted from any one department. If you select Option II, “En français”, you must complete a core requirement of 18 credits from the approved list and the courses you select must be conducted in French. For more information, please consult our website. (See B.A. Freshman program and Approved Freshman courses.)

If you are a U1 student, you must select courses that will complete the requirements of your program(s). For information on your program(s) options and planning your program(s), please consult our website. (See Degree planning.)

What is a normal course load?

A "normal" course load is four or five courses (12-15 credits) per term. Choose courses that will provide you with a balanced and manageable workload and consider your other commitments (part-time job, extra-curricular activities, eligibility for student visas, loans, bursaries, scholarships, etc.) in deciding how many courses to take. For example, select two or three courses toward your Major Concentration requirements, one or two courses toward your Minor Concentration requirements, and one or two elective courses. (See Course load.)

What are elective courses?

Elective courses are courses which are not being used toward a departmental program you are completing. Normally, students select their electives from the courses listed in the Arts or Science section of the McGill Program Calendar. You are allowed a maximum of 12 credits in elective courses taken in faculties other than the Faculties of Arts and of Science. Please review the policy for taking courses that are offered outside the Faculties of Arts and of Science. You must ensure that you have completed the required prerequisite or co-requisite for any course for which you are registering by checking the course description in the McGill Program Calendar. (See Courses Outside the Faculties of Arts and of Science and http://www.mcgill.ca/study/2013-2014/.)

When do I register for my courses?

You should register for your courses as soon as you have access to course registration on Minerva. All courses are limited by enrolment; therefore, do not wait until the last minute to register. For further information, please consult the following websites. (See register http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/add/when and http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/dates/.) Need help registering for your courses on Minerva? See http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/add/.

When do I have my courses approved?

If you are a U0 student, you are required to complete and submit an online Course Approval Form and obtain a Faculty Adviser's approval for your course selection by the end of August (if you are starting in September). If you expect to receive advanced standing for Advanced Placement Examinations, an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Certificate, Advanced Level Examinations, or course(s) completed at another university, you must list these results when you submit your course selection form for approval. You should include your grades if you know them to enable the Faculty Adviser to determine if you may be exempt from part or all of the B.A. Freshman Program requirements. If your Minerva record does not show that you have been granted advanced standing, select your courses on the assumption that you have been admitted to a 120-credit degree program. Remember to list course numbers on the online Course Approval Form in the following format: Subject followed by number = HIST 221. Do not indicate the CRN number. The Faculty Adviser will look at the courses you have submitted and will either approve them or make suggestions for changes. There is also a space on the online form which you can use to send questions to the Faculty Adviser. Please do not submit more than one online Course Approval Form to avoid being denied access to the form!

If you are a U1 student, you must attend an orientation session for each program of study you are considering. These sessions take place in late August or early September. During these sessions, you will receive information regarding departmental programs and you will be able to discuss your course selection, ask questions and receive course approval. The dates and times of these orientations will be available on the Arts OASIS website by early August. (See http://www.mcgill.ca/oasis/ba/departmental/checklist/.)

I want to take a course but it seems to be similar to a course I previously completed. What should I do?

You must ensure that you are not duplicating any course already taken elsewhere by consulting the information on the transfer credit website. Please note that if you take a McGill course from which you have been exempted based on previous studies (Advanced Placement Examinations, an International Baccalaureate Diploma or Certificate, Advanced Level Examinations, CEGEP Diploma or course(s) completed at another university, etc.), you will not receive additional credit for the McGill course. You can see whether you have been granted any transfer credit or exemption by viewing your student transcript using Minerva. Look under “View Your Unofficial Transcript” on the Student Records menu. (See http://www.mcgill.ca/students/transfercredit/prospective/ and http://www.mcgill.ca/minerva-students/.)

I would like to take a French course. What should I do?

A placement test is required before admission to any French-as-a-Second-Language (FRSL) course. You must write a placement test to determine for which course you can register. (See http://www.mcgill.ca/flc/placement.)

Programs

What is the purpose of the Freshman program?

The purpose of the B.A. Freshman Program is to allow you to take a variety of courses that interest you and enables you to explore your academic interests and career aspirations. Your goal should be to choose courses that will help you to make an informed decision about your program(s) for next year.

When do students declare a program?

If you are a U0 student who needs 97 or more credits to complete for your B.A. degree, you do not select a program in your first year of study. As a U0 student, you will automatically have the "Freshman Program" entered on your record and you must select one of the following program options:"General Option” or “En français”.

If you are a U1 student who needs 96 or fewer credits to complete your B.A. degree, you should select your program(s) at the time of your Minerva registration, before you select your courses. This will facilitate your course registration as priority is always given to those who need a course to meet a program requirement. For information on your program options and planning your programs, please consult our website. (See Degree planning.)

How do I indicate my program(s) on Minerva?

If you are a student who needs 96 or fewer credits to complete your B.A. degree, you indicate your program(s) by logging into Minerva and clicking on “Student Records Menu”, and selecting “Change Your Primary Academic Curriculum”. Following the instructions, select your program(s) from the appropriate drop-down lists, confirm your choices, and submit them. You can check that your selections have been properly entered by returning to the main menu and selecting “View Your Unofficial Transcript”. You can add or change your programs on Minerva as needed. Need more help? See http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/plan/changing/.

I have been admitted as U1 student but I am not prepared to declare my program. What should I do?

If you are not prepared to select a program and require assistance, please consult our website - “Degree Planning”- “Part 2”- “Selecting your programs of study” which will provide you with a step-by-step process to help you make your choice. (See Degree planning.)

Registration

I need to make changes to my Minerva course registration? What should I do?

You can add or change your courses on Minerva as needed until the end of the Course Change (Add/Drop) Period. During both the Fall and the Winter terms, the Course Change (Add/Drop) Period allows you to "shop around" for courses you may be interested in taking. From the beginning of the term until the end of Course Change Period you may attend as many courses as your schedule permits. You must access Minerva before the Course Change deadline to add or drop courses. All courses are limited by enrolment; therefore, do not wait until the last minute to register. Courses dropped during the Course Change Period are deleted from your record. Your record will show only the courses in which you are registered after the Course Change Period ends. If you are a U0 student and must make any changes to your approved courses, please do not submit another online Course Approval Form. If you have made changes to your list of approved courses, please make these changes using Minerva. You will be able to obtain a Faculty Adviser's approval for your course changes by submitting the online Course Change form during the second week of classes only. A link to this form will appear on the following websites on as of the second week in September (and it will be available unil the last day of add/drop).  (See http://www.mcgill.ca/oasis/ba/freshman/checklist/ and http://www.mcgill.ca/minerva-students/ and http://www.mcgill.ca/students/courses/drop.)

I am having trouble registering for a course. What should I do?

If a course is listed as full, keep checking on Minerva; sometimes spaces will open up as other students drop the course. If the course in question is either required or complementary for a program, contact the department. Departments control the size of their classes and will raise caps, open other sections, or give permits according to the needs of the student. Priority for course registration is always given to those who need the course to meet program requirements. In some instances you can sign up for a waiting list on Minerva. Please consult the department offering the course if you need assistance. (See Departmental Academic Advisers.)

Other Information

I have been admitted to the Faculty of Arts as a freshman student but am considering a transfer to another Faculty. What should I do?

If you are considering a transfer to another faculty (such as Science, Management, Engineering, Education, etc.), you should consult the Student Affairs Office of that Faculty to find out the procedure and courses required for transfer. Desautels Faculty of Management (B. Com.): See 
http://www.mcgill.ca/desautels/programs/bcom/currentstudents/returning/transfers; Education (B. Ed.): See http://www.mcgill.ca/edu-sao/current/transfers/ Engineering (B. Eng.): See http://www.mcgill.ca/engineering/student/sao/current/facultytransferread... Science (B. Sc.) or Arts and Science (B.A& Sc.): See http://www.mcgill.ca/science/student/general/transfer/inter/

What is the purpose of my McGill email address?

All students are assigned a McGill email address (Uniform E-Mail Address or UEA). Your McGill email address is one of the official means of communication between McGill University and its students. As with all official University communications, it is your responsibility to ensure that time-critical e-mail is accessed, read, and acted upon in a timely fashion. To activate your McGill email account, please consult the following website. See http://www.mcgill.ca/it/get-started-it/students.