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Your first year courses

To prepare for your first year course selection, follow these steps:

1) Calculate your transfer credits and exemptions

2) Review your degree requirements

3) Select your courses

4) Complete and submit the Course Approval Form (exception: Quebec CEGEP students skip this step)

 

1) Calculate your transfer credits and exemptions

The courses you do in your first year will depend on what studies you completed before you arrived at McGill. 

Some students will spend their first year completing a number of basic courses known as the Freshman requirements (or the U0 year). When you start in U0, you will usually need a minimum of four years to complete your degree.

Other students may receive transfer credits and exemptions from some or all of the required Freshman (U0) courses, which may allow them to start in U1 and complete their degree in as little as three years.

For detailed information on transfer credits and exemptions, select the category that applies to you:

I was admitted with a Quebec CEGEP diploma

If you have a D.E.C. in Science or in Integrated Arts and Science, you will be granted 30 credits of advance standing, equivalent to completing the Freshman (U0) requirements.

If you have a D.E.C. in another field, you may still have some Freshman (U0) requirements to complete. Please consult with a SOUSA advisor to determine if this is the case. Regardless of whether or not you have any outstanding Freshman science courses to complete, you will still be granted 30 credits of advanced standing.

In either case, students in this category will begin their first year at McGill in the U1 year - you can declare your major immediately and you will be in a position to complete your degree in three years.

Based on the courses you completed in CEGEP, you may receive additional course exemptions (but not additional credits).  Consult the Transfer Credit website for information on these additional exemptions.

I was admitted from a high school outside Quebec

ALL students admitted from a high school outside Quebec must submit a Course Approval Form (opens in early June) to confirm whether they have any outstanding Freshman (U0) requirements to complete.  See below for details on the Course Approval Form.

I did not complete any advanced-level course work during my pre-McGill studies.
I completed A-Levels, CAPE, French Baccalaureate or the International Baccalaureate Diploma.
  • You will be placed in U1.
  • In your first year at McGill, you will declare and begin taking courses towards your program (Major(s)/Minor(s)/etc.).
  • Depending on your program at McGill and the courses you took in high school, you may still be required to take certain Freshman (U0) courses.
  • Consult the Transfer Credit website for details on any transfer credits and course exemptions you can expect to receive.  Freshman (U0) requirements that are not met through your transfer credit must be taken in order to graduate.  You should fulfill these requirements in your first year.
I completed other advanced-level coursework (such as APs, IB Certificate, university courses, etc...).
  • You will be placed in U0 (Freshman). The Admissions Office will evaluate your coursework once final, official results are received and your status may be changed to U1.
  • If you are awarded 23 credits or less of transfer credit, you will remain a U0 student and you will have to complete several Freshman (U0) requirements before you can declare your program (Major(s)/Minor(s)/etc.). Depending on how much credit you are granted, this will take a semester to a year.
  • If you are awarded 24 credits or more, your status will be changed to U1. You will be able to declare and begin taking courses towards your program (Major(s)/Minor(s)/etc.). However, depending on the courses you took in high school (and the exemptions you are granted), you may be required to take certain U0 (Freshman) courses.
  • Consult the Transfer Credit website for details on any transfer credits and course exemptions you can expect to receive. Freshman (U0) requirements that are not met through your transfer credit must be taken in order to graduate. You should fulfill these requirements in your first year.

I was admitted as a university transfer or second degree student

If you have completed previous university studies, you may be eligible for transfer credits. This is in addition to any advance standing you may be eligible for based on your secondary-level studies. Together, transfer credits and advance standing may exempt you from some or all of the Freshman (U0) requirements.

Students in this category must submit a Course Approval Form (opens in early June) to confirm whether they have any outstanding Freshman (U0) requirements to complete.

Any remaining transfer credits beyond the Freshman courses from your previous university studies will appear on your Minerva transcript as TRNS XXX (generic transfer credits) and are dealt with by the Faculty of Science. A Registrar’s Hold may be placed on your record until you have completed the process of having these credits evaluated, see below for details.

It is important to note that courses previously taken prior to attending McGill may count as program requirements and must be evaluated for course equivalency. Make sure that you do not register for a course at McGill for which you have an exemption as you will not receive credit if you take the same course a second time.

In order to determine course equivalency follow the steps listed below.

  • Email mary.gauthier [at] mcgill.ca (Mary Gauthier), with a copy of your unofficial transcript to start the process.
  • All courses taken prior to coming to McGill, for which you have not already received advanced standing credits from Admissions, must be approved using the Course Equivalency System.
  • Search the Course Equivalency System to determine if the course you have to taken has already been approved. You may want to use the “External” course number and then “Country” or “Institution” to determine if the course has already been approved. Make sure you also tick off “Include Expired Decisions”. The course may have already been approved, but might be expired, which means you will have to request a “Reassessment”. (See FAQs).
  • If the course appears on the database, email Mary, providing the following information: Course number at host university and Approved McGill Equivalency
  • If the course is not on the course database, then you must login (using your McGill email address and password) and “Submit a Request”. For further information on using the system, please go to Frequently asked questions and Course syllabus checklist
  • In addition to the required list of syllabus information, detailed on the Course Syllabus Checklist, you must also ensure that the syllabus contains the following information:

Institution's name
Course number
Course description (content)
Date of course/syllabus (year/term)

  • Submit your request(s)

Once your courses have been officially approved on the course database, you must send a follow up email to Mary with the following information: Course number at host university and Approved McGill equivalency.

You must also add all courses to the “Minerva Transfer Credit Assessment Form”. You can only access the form as of September 2nd. To access this form go to: Minerva > Student Menu > Student Records Menu > Exchange/Study Away Menu > Transfer Credit Assessment. Only courses that appear on the Course Equivalency System can be added to the Transfer Credit Assessment Form. For further information, please refer to the Help Field on Minerva.

Once all of your courses have been evaluated, your Minerva transcript will be updated to reflect the McGill course equivalencies.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact mary.gauthier [at] mcgill.ca (Mary Gauthier).

I am an exchange, visiting or special student

Exchange students, visiting students and special students are not required to follow a specific McGill program.

Please consult Special, visiting and exchange students (Undergraduate Handbook) for detailed information on course selection.

Students in this category need to work closely with their academic advisor to find the best courses to meet their needs.

 

Note regarding transfer credits and exemptions:

Students who have been granted advanced standing for the International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement examinations, A-Levels, French Baccalaureate, and other qualifications, but who wish to complete a four-year undergraduate program at McGill, will be permitted to do so, with the appropriate limitations on the repetition of courses for which they have received exemptions. This gives students with advanced standing the option of completing 120 credits post-admission to McGill (including credits taken as part of an exchange or study away while enrolled at McGill). Interested students should contact their SOUSA advisor.

Note that this does not apply to CEGEP students, or transfer students from another university. Those students are still subject to the 120 credit limit.


2) Review your degree requirements

To be eligible to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree or a Bachelor of Arts and Science degree, you will be required to fulfill certain Faculty and Program requirements:

Faculty requirements - these are the requirements you must fulfill to obtain your Bachelor's degree (this will include things like grade requirements or how many credits you need to graduate).

Program requirements - these are the requirements you must fulfill to graduate from the program that you choose to pursue within your degree.

Choosing your "Program" means selecting:

  1. The type of program you wish to pursue (Liberal, Major, Honours, etc...).
  2. The specific discipline(s) you want to study (for example: Biology, Environment, Physics, etc...).

U1 students should read carefully through the degree requirements in the eCalendar (see below) - this will help you make your first year course selection. 

Freshman (U0) students will be choosing most or all of their first year courses from the Freshman requirements.  However, you should still familiarize yourself with your degree and program requirements now.

eCalendar links:

Bachelor of Science degree requirements

Bachelor of Arts & Science degree requirements


3) Select your courses

How you select your courses will depend on your degree (B.Sc. or B.A. & Sc.) and whether you are Freshman (U0) or U1:

B.Sc. Freshman (U0) course selection

B.A. & Sc. Freshman (U0) course selection

U1 course selection (B.Sc. and B.A. & Sc.)


4) Submit your Course Approval Form

The information you provide by submitting this form will allow SOUSA advisors to let you know if you have any outstanding Freshman (U0) program requirements to complete.

ONLY the following students should submit the Course Approval Form:

  • Students admitted from High Schools outside Quebec
  • Students admitted as a University Transfer or Second Degree

 

1) Make use of the information and resources outlined on this website to plan your Fall and Winter course selection.

2) Once your planning is complete, fill out and submit the Course Approval Form. The Form will be available on this webpage and opens in early June.

3) Register for your courses. You may or may not have received a reply from SOUSA at this time - this is normal - you do not need to have the Form approved in order to register for courses. Don't worry about making a mistake in your course selection, you will have plenty of time to review your selection with an advisor before the add/drop deadline. While you can register for courses without approval, you must have your selection of courses approved by mid-August.

› B.Sc. course approval form [available in early June]

› B.A. & Sc. course approval form [available in early June]

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