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hi! regarding the political science question, is there a specific grade needed in ENG 4U that is needed? i read that for st george, you needed low 80s in ENG 4U. I meet the general admissions marks but my English grade is quite a bit lower than my other 5 subjects.


hey there,

like i said in the previous post you’re referring to, at st. george, polisci falls under the social science category, so according to the requirements for ontario high school students, you’ll need an overall average (taken from ENG 4U and your next 5 best U/M courses) that’s in the low to mid 80’s. however, it does also state that you should have at least mid to low 70’s as your ENG 4U grade.

in terms of a specific grade needed, the best we can do is provide you with this “mid to low 70’s range”. my understanding is that it would be hard for the university to provide specific grades since not all students are admitted solely based on their academic performance.

hope this answers your question!

peace and love,




a polisci question on election day

Hi, what are the approximate averages needed for ontario students to get into BA political science at St George, Mississauga and Scarborough? Thanks


hello there,

first, let’s break this down. at U of T, political science falls under the category of social sciences. if you want to pursue political science, you might consider applying to the social sciences stream after high school.

once you are accepted, you’ll first have to complete a total of 4.0 FCE’s (full course equivalents, or credits) until you can be accepted into a political science program, be it a major or a minor. 4.o FCE’s just means that you’ll only be able to apply after first year. keep in mind, you don’t necessarily need to get into your program after first year, you can enter in second year and on!

in terms of admission into the social sciences stream at each campus, you’ll see here that they recommend the following averages: low to mid 80’s for U of T St. George, mid 70’s for UTSC, and mid to high 70’s for UTM.

before you choose your first year courses, definitely refer to the calendar and look at what courses you’ll have to take and what grades you’ll need to get to be accepted into the polisci program. since i am the nicest stranger you’ll never meet, i’ve linked you to the political science calendar of each campus: UTSG, UTM, and UTSC so you can see what you’ll need. you’re very welcome.


i hope you get into polisci and do some good in the world. don’t forget to thank aska when you receive a nobel prize. happy (or unhappy) election day!




how many politicians per campus have we produced

is it easier to get good marks for political science at uoft mississauga or uoft scarborough compared to uoft st geroge? thanks!


hey there,

i have a documented dislike of these kinds of questions, because i feel like there’s no sufficient way to answer them. who’s to say what would be easier or harder for you? i don’t know you. i don’t know YOUR STORY. and there’s no acknowledged hierarchy that i can refer to in order to, like, rank them.

i won’t play dumb. i know that the downtown campus has a reputation as a more academically rigorous campus than the other two. i don’t know if it’s the professors or the workload or just the fact that st. george is so much bigger – and therefore seems more intimidating – than the other campuses, but it does have that reputation.

that being said, i don’t have any actual numbers or facts to back up this bad (or good? depending on how you look at it) rap that st. george has as a ‘hard’ school. i have no way of comparing grades across the three campuses, or anything like that. in addition, i’ve only ever been a student downtown. my own experience was that i never found it that difficult. challenging, for sure, but survivable. one of my POSts was poli sci at the downtown campus, and i didn’t ONCE cry over my notes in a library. yeah, that’s what you call a winner.

that being said: no two people have the same university experience, and you shouldn’t base a decision like this on what some anonymous blog is telling you.

if i were trying to decide between the three campuses, i wouldn’t make the decision based on something as ephemeral and quantitatively groundless as “easiness.” instead, i would consider things like: what courses you need to take for each campus’ program, which campus is closer to where you’ll be living, which campus you like best, and whether any of the campuses offer special programs.

for example, UTM offers combined specialists in economics and political science and history and political science, and UTSC offers a co-op program in public policy that may interest you. meanwhile, UTSG has a stellar faculty. UTM and UTSG both require 10.0 FCEs for their specialist, while UTSC requires 12.0 FCEs. small differences like this can be what you base your decision on.

i know i didn’t actually answer your question, but unfortunately, there was no way to do that without a lot of wild guesses, and askastudent is about the HARD FACTS, son.

have a groovy Monday ~



look, ma, i’m in the papers!

I want to get one of my papers (political science) published – can you help me figure out the process and where/who do I send it in to?


hey there,

good for you! i’m glad that you have enough smart things to say that you are considering publishing them. i barely have enough interesting thoughts to rub two sentences together. (and yes, i realize that i say that as someone who writes stuff on this website on a regular basis, but hey, i fully realize how obnoxious i am, and that’s gotta count for something.)

anyway. you can get your paper published anywhere, really. depends on how high you want to aim. you want to submit to the Globe & Mail? go right ahead.

however, an academic paper might be better suited to a smaller forum. for example, you may want to start out with a campus journal, like Polis, the undergraduate journal of Political Science. the IR journal is another possibility, and Mindful, the Ethics, Society & Law journal, is another.

just keep an eye on the pages i linked for application deadlines, submit according to their guidelines, and wait to hear for a response!




i can polish off one specialist a year. just watch me.

Hi! I am going through a rough time with picking subjects posts. I really like Peace, Justice and Conflict, Criminology. Ethics, Society and Law and Political Science. I want to study all of them, but I know that is not realistic. Is there a way I could combine these majors. Which one is higher in ranking or better for maybe pursuing law school/graduate school. Thanks a lot and Happy Canada Day!!


hey there,

i’ma get the easy question out of the way first: there is NO PROGRAM out there that is going to “prepare” you for law school.

pretty much every law school across the continent prides itself on accepting students from all academic backgrounds. yes, the “rigour” of a certain program can sometimes give your application an edge, but the best thing you can do is go for a program (or programs) which give you the best chance of doing well.

bthe difference between criminology or political science is not going to make or break a law school application.

as for graduate school: it depends on the graduate program. if you’re thinking about political science, then a poli sci undergrad would be the best idea. if you want a master’s in crim., then you should probably go for – you guessed it – criminology major.

think seriously about what kinds of graduate programs you might like to pursue, and then you can figure out which programs would best prepare you.

k, now about your POSts:

you’re right, there’s probably not a way to study all those POSts, because you can only have a maximum of three POSts active at any time. HOWEVER, you can do three out of four. ethics, society & law, peace, conflict and justice and criminology are all only offered as majors or specialists. so, if you wanted to, you could do a double major in two of those and a minor in political science.

as for which POSt you should drop – i would go through the program requirements for each program and highlight which courses you feel most excited about.

make a hypothetical plan for your whole degree and figure out which combination of POSts will allow you to take the maximum number of those courses. (not that you will or have to stick to this plan for your whole four years, but it’s a good way to make decisions based on concrete FACTS).

at the end of the day, they’re all pretty similar programs, so there will be overlap between required courses. singling out the unique courses – like ethics or criminology courses – that you might be especially excited about is a great way to figure out which POSts to prioritize.

good luck with it,



a USELESS degree? in MY faculty? it’s more likely than you think

Dear aska, I recently saw a post where a student stated that his/her degree in poli sci was “useless” and they were looking for alternatives. Being a 2nd year Political Science student at U of T myself, I was wondering if I could get Aska’s opinion on this; being the knowledgeable person that you are. Why do you think such a stereotype exists? And what are the employment prospects for students holding a degree similar to mine?


hey there,

knowledgeable??? nah, you must have me confused with someone else. they only hired me because i could juggle three watermelons while singing ‘the maple leaf forever.’

fact of the matter is this: no matter how much the department insists on calling itself ‘political SCIENCE,’ it’s about as much a “science” program as art history or celtic studies are.

poli sci. is a humanities program through and through, and as such, it does not give graduates a suit and a job along with their degree. as a poli. sci. student, you are not being trained for any specific job – except, maybe, the job of a political science professor.

you’re getting a liberal arts education, which means that you have to be CRAFTY about how you present yourself to employers. some people may say that because of that, your degree being ‘useless,’ but i would disagree. all it means is that you have to be a little more involved in your job search.

why does the ‘useless’ stereotype exist? because of a utilitarian outlook on education driven by capitalism and neo-liberals whose vision is so obscured by the free market that they can’t fathom the idea that there might be something worthwhile in learning for itself. also because of mike harris, probably. BUT i digress.

i would argue that just because your degree doesn’t fashion you into a pre-made corporate automaton, doesn’t mean it’s useless – even in a utilitarian sense.

political science degrees are great preparation for law school, graduate studies in political science, all kinds of political journalism, public relations or communications work, public policy work, and lots of obscure government jobs.

that said, the degree alone usually isn’t enough to get you a job right out of your undergrad. try to get some experience, if you can, in some of the areas you’re interested in, either by volunteering or interning or working.

for more information, i’d recommend you look at this incredibly detailed profile from the career centre at utm. this is another useful starting-off point.




i don’t link stuff just for the heck of it y’know

Hey there! I’m a 2nd year student currently registered at UTSC studying Political Science. I’m seeking some help regarding internal transfer to UTSG. I’ve been looking all over the U of T website, but couldn’t find the minimum CGPA/ annual GPA requirements for Political Science. I’ve seen your previous posts and you mentioned a solid B average should suffice to apply for a transfer; but I don’t see that written anywhere on any of the websites. Looking forward to your reply! Thank you!


hey there,

that may have something to do with the fact that you didn’t click on the link. the stuff i link to isn’t just funny gifs of people falling down (though they’re important, too).

if i cite something like a mark cutoff for a faculty, campus or program, i WILL link to the page that provides that information. so when stuff is linked, please, CLICK ON IT. and if i forgot to link it somewhere, then TELL ME, and i will fix it. because not citing stuff is just not cool, man.

anyway. the solid B refers to what is needed to transfer to UTSG generally (see that? now click on that link). political science has its own set of requirements (click on that link, too) (don’t click on this one).

so if you want to transfer into poli sci. at the downtown campus, you have to pass two hurdles: one, you need to actually get into the university. that’s going to require a “solid ‘B’ average.” then, you’ll need to get into poli sci. the poli sci specialist, major and minor are all type 2’s, which mean that they require that you’ve completed certain courses and achieved certain marks in those courses to get in.

if you were a UTSG student applying to a UTSG poli sci subject POSt, and you had all the required marks in all the required courses, they would not be able to turn you down, because it’s a type 2 POSt.

however, since you’re transferring, you do have to have at least a B average overall to be competitive, like it says on the transfer page. and then you have to have those poli sci requirements on top of that.

note that because you’re applying after second year, you’ll need to meet the requirement listed for ‘applying after second year’ on the course calendar for poli sci: that is, any 2.0 POL FCE’s with at least a 70% in each.

best, and i hope to see you on campus sometime soon!


P.S. sorry for leaving this response so late. i usually have answers up within two weeks of when they’re sent, but aska was BROUGHT LOW by an EVIL and INFECTIOUS DISEASE which left me snotty and gross for a good three days. i hope you can forgive me.


POSt rants: the SEQUEL

need advice- don’t know if i should do a major in sociology or political science? i’m going into second year….what if i want to switch after if i don’t like the one i choose? will it add time to my program?


hey there,

well, political science and sociology are both type 2 subject POSts, so if you haven’t applied to get into them yet, you’ll have to wait until the second request period to apply. which puts you in the same situation as this person. just a head’s up.

you do have the opportunity to change subject POSts after second year – to a certain extent. if it’s a type 1 POSt, you can enrol at any time. additionally, quite a few type 2 subject POSts (including politics, by the way) will allow you to apply after second year. uoft’s good that way.

whether you’ll have to do a few extra courses in the summer, or even during an extra term, to fulfil the requirements for whichever POSt you finally choose, really depends on which one it is. what i would do is sketch out a plan of all your undergrad years (including all the courses you’d want to take) for every possible combination of subject POSts you’re considering. then you can figure out which ones are doable, and how long it would take to do them. alternatively, you can make an appointment with your college registrar and do more or less exactly that together.

regardless of how adamant you are about taking sociology or poli sci, both of them are type 2 POSts, which means you’re not guaranteed enrolment yet. so, if i were you, i’d make sure i was enrolled in two type 1 majors already, just so that you have programs to fall back on if either poli. sci. or soc. don’t work out.

finally: which one should you pick? geez, man, i don’t know. i don’t know what you like, or what you’re good at. do you have another major your heart is set on? because otherwise, you could just double-major in soc and poli sci. if it’s just a matter of not knowing what you really want, yesterday i wrote a HUGE block of text advising someone on how to pick subject POSts, so i’d recommend you read that if you’re really feeling torn.

i know there are so many POSts it can sometimes make your head spin, but don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.




a crisis of academic faith a.k.a. all of our lives.

Hello! Let’s say that you get accepted into social sciences (in first year), for political sciences. And, you know you want to go to medical school in the future, but would really like to study politics as well. As we know, medical school accepts students from all disciplines of studies. Though, for UofT’s medical school requirements you need at least 2 FCE of life sciences. How does that work? You study political sciences but take science courses at the same time? But I don’t have Highschool 12U chem or physics!!!!! Can I take night school or summer school during my UNIVERSITY YEARS to fulfil any of these requirements??Can I still pursue my dream of becoming a doctor? Thanks in Advance!


hey there,

ok, i don’t want to be presumptuous here. i know there are many brilliant young people who have multiple interests and can juggle them all equally. i know this because i used to be one of them. i was in the sciences, i was in the arts, i was in languages; i could do everything. however, university has this great effect on people where it both broadens your perspective and forces you to focus in on the things that really matter to you. it happened to me and it will probably happen to you, unless you’re hard on yourself now and force yourself to make a decision, which is what i would recommend.

what i’m saying is: it would be in your best interest to ask yourself honestly, now, whether you truly want to pursue medicine or political science. both fields are academically rigorous and you kind of have to be fully dedicated in order to be successful in them.

you can easily get 2 FCE of life science in university if you’re enrolled in political science, by doing a poli sci major and two life science minors. that would give you more than 2.0 FCE and fulfil those requirements for med school. however, you’ll be competing for entrance into med school and on the MCATs with people whose entire program has been focused around life science, and that’s tough.

also, most life science courses in first year either require or recommend grade 12 chemistry?or grade 12 calculus. PUMP can be used to fulfil that calculus requirement, but unfortunately there’s no equivalent program for chemistry. doing night/summer school while in university won’t fulfil the requirement because you need to have completed grade 12 chem/physics before you actually take the university courses. there are some biology courses that don’t require any grade 12 chemistry, so you can look into those to get some of your life science credits, but most courses will require the grade 12 background in chem.

all in all, yeah, if you’re really dedicated, it probably can be done, but i wouldn’t advise it. chemistry and physics are just as important for those studying medicine as bio, and if you want to study poli sci now but want to become a doctor in the future, that’s telling me that your real passion lies with politics. obviously, you should do what you want with your life, but just don’t compromise your real passion for something that feels safe, because lemme tell you, med school is hella expensive, and you’d better be sure that’s what you want to do before spending all that money.




poli sci? more like poli SIGH.

Hello aska,

I am a second year student who has recently considered applying for the public policy major. However, a grave dilemma has occurred, in that one of the courses required for completion of the major (POL214Y1) is an exclusion to a course in which I am currently enrolled in (POL224Y1). Does this exclusion thus prohibit me from taking POL214 later on, and thereby prevent me from successfully completing the Public policy major? And if not, is there some mystic manipulation that the university can do that will allow me to take POL214, while having already completed its exclusion?? Thank you greatly for your guidance, oh wise aska senpai.


hey there,

Don’t worry your little face, wee one. Aska is here for you, mystical and omnipotent as ever.

By which I mean I have done some snooping around on the Internet, and it looks like the Public Policy Major’s requirements do specify POL214, which makes me think that they’ve got their hearts set on that one.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to go and talk to them in person. Maybe the sight of your worried wee face (tear-streaked, maybe?) will move them to make an exception for you.

However, they might say no, in which case you’ll unfortunately have to take POL214 as well as POL224, even though there seems to be a lot of overlap between the two courses. I know, it sucks. Life is hard. I’m sorry. You know Spot? Yeah, he’s not on a farm, either.

It is possible to take a course that is excluded by another course – you’ll just have to take it as an “extra.” This means that it doesn’t count for degree credit, or get factored into your cumulative GPA. The course and final mark do appear on your transcript though, and then you can be on your merry way.

Good luck, junior. Hope it all works out.



trin trin…you got IN?

Is taking Trin one classes like really good for your efforts to get in IR or is it just a waste… PS, if I’m taking a FLC IR and a First year class, is trin one still a good thing to have even if it’s not going towards a major? FInally, I know it’s a bit late to ask, but is there a huge difference if I major International Relations or Political Science?




Entry into the International Relations major is based on two things: (1) your grades in your first year economics course and your first-year history OR Trinity One course, and (2) a statement of interest.

So basically, taking your Trin One course is a “good thing” depending on how dedicated you are to it. 🙂 But I suppose being able to tell the world you got into a 25-students ONLY sort of club will be nice. Also, it’ll probably look pretty on your statement!

And is there a huge difference between IR and Poli Sci?

Ummm well I’m going to go with yes since the former seems to deal with international relations and the latter seems to deal with politics.

But I don’t see why this has to be an either/or situation.

Here, you have to complete either (1) one specialist, (2) two majors, or (3) one major and two minors.

So you can definitely complete a specialist in IR if that’s what you’d like, but keep in mind that there’s an additional requirement for entry in that case: either a language course or calculus.

But you can easily double major in IR and Poli Sci, which would be great considering IR does include some Poli Sci courses, which will mean overlapping credits, which will also mean more time for electives you can play around with.



Bill Nye the political guy


Is it possible to declare a political science major at the end of third year? The academic calendar only outlines the requirements for students applying at the end of second year. I was wondering if there really is a difference between enrolling after second year or third year.

The reason why I haven’t enrolled in the political science major just yet is because I have yet to fulfill the requirements. I will have fulfilled them by the end of third year though. Can I still apply then?

– UTM student 🙂


Yo Gee,
You betcha! It seems that this is just a confusion of sneaky wording. Let’s break it down now:

“Limited Enrolment” –Students enrolling at the end of first year (4.0 credits) must obtain a CGPA of at least 2.00 and a mark of at least 65% in 1.0 POL credit. Students applying to enrol after second year (8.0 credits) must obtain a CGPA of at least 2.30 and a mark of at least 70% in each of 2.0 POL credits. ”

So you can apply at the end of first year or “after” 2nd year. If they had said at the end of 2nd year, then I don’t think you would be able to apply but because 3rd and 4th year are all after 2nd, then you can for sure apply!

Happy political sciencing,

forever watching Bill Nye … the science guy,




Only Read This if You Are Willing to do Math – ie commerce shiz


I just started grade 12 and am trying to figure out what programs to apply to. I’m trying to look for the most effective way to combine business and political science- is it possible to double major in political science and some sort of business administration/commerce at U of T?

Thanks a bunch,



Hey hey!!

You actually have a few options here!

So for all the number combos I’m about to give you, remember that in order to graduate you must have 20 credits

Rotman Commerce actually doesn’t offer majors, only specializations. There are three different fields that you can specialize in. Here they are:

1)Accounting Specialist (B.Com) = 15 full courses or their equivalent out of 20 courses, for a B.Com

2) Finance and Economics Specialist (B.Com) = 13.5 full courses or their equivalent out of 20 courses, for a B.Com

3) Management Specialist (B.Com) = 12 full courses or their equivalent out of 20 courses, for a B.Com


So that leaves you space to take courses in another field (ie Poli Sci) in order graduate.

a) Political Science Major = 7.0 POL full courses or their equivalent

b) Political Science Minor = 4.0 Pol full courses or their equivalent
Here’s the basic formula for you:
Option 3 + Option a = 19 credits (ie good to go)
So it’s up to you if you would like to have a major or minor in poli sci and if it exceed the 20 credits or not depending on the Commerce Specialization you choose .

Oh geez there are more options. If economics is the field that what to study you can choose a non-rotmans/commerce degree of economics, which has various specialists, majors and minors to choose from.

So in short, yes, you can.

To look all this info up yourself check out the Course Calendar

love always,

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