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i’m minoring in CINicism


I’m about to begin my second year at UTSG, hoping to major in English and minor in Cin and History. I didn’t take CIN105 during my first year, but I will be taking it this upcoming school year, along with a 0.5 FCE 2nd level course towards the program. I was hoping that the 2nd year foundations course would be available during the summer and I did my research to find out that unfortunately it wasn’t available this previous summer, which most probably means that it wont be available during the 2017 summer term. Right? I’ve tried emailing the Cinema Studies Inst. about this but no one has gotten back to me yet. They probably won’t get back to me at all.

Anyway, so on to the actual questions.

So, on the Cinema Studies Undergrad and Program Admissions page, under ‘Minor Program’ it says:

“Entry requirements: A final mark of no less than 70% in CIN105Y1 or CIN201Y1 and three additional FCEs.

4.0 FCEs, at least 3.0 FCEs of which must have a CIN designator

CIN105Y1 – Introduction to Film Study

CIN201Y1 – Film Cultures I

Two additional full-course equivalents from Groups A through G (see below for list of courses). of which 1.0 FCE must be at the 300+level.

Students must complete CIN105Y1, CIN201Y1 and CIN301Y1 before taking any fourth-year courses.”

I’m pretty sure it’s just me haha, maybe because I ain’t the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to reading about and understanding any of U of T’s program stuff, but does this mean that since CIN105 and CIN201 are required, that I will only be left with taking 2.0 FCEs to get the minor degree? Also what about CIN301? Doesn’t that mean that the 1.0 FCE in the 300-level is fulfilled as well if CIN301 is taken? So does that mean in reality, I only have to take an additional 1.0 FCE to complete the degree requirement? Please do tell me if I’m wrong, if I’m completely delusional, and that trying to fix the mess that is my u of t life ain’t as easy as that.

Also, is it possible to take CIN301 and a fourth year course at the same time even if it says all those foundation courses have to be completed before taking one? Do I even have to take a fourth year course?

Thank you! Hoping to hear from you soon!



wow, this was a lot to take in. okay, let me try to break this down.

in regards to your first question: course offerings are pretty random; it really varies with every year. a good rule of thumb is to not expect a course to be offered until it’s actually announced. in the past, there have been courses that i have planned to take, only to discover that they weren’t offered when i wanted to take them. i would try emailing the cinema studies department again if you’re really worried.

now for the meat of your question… don’t worry if you’re confused about the cinema studies minor description- it’s not worded in the best way!

my face when looking at it:


behold: a step by step guide to a cinema studies minor!

basically, you have 4.0 FCE’s to fulfil. with me so far? great.

you need to take CIN105 and CIN201. these are both Y courses which means they will fulfil 2.0 of your 4.0 FCE’s. cool.

for the remainder 2.0 FCE’s, you need 1.0 FCE that are courses that start with CIN. the reason why this requirement exists is because in group G courses, there are courses that have the indicator EAS, HIS, GER, SLA, FIN, etc. which you can also take.

1.0 FCE out of the remainder 2.0 have to be at the 300 or 400 level. still with me?

however, if you want to take a class at the 400 level, you have to first take CIN301. (keep in mind you don’t have to take a 400 level class)

that’s pretty much all you need to know! i really hope this answered all of your questions!




*gloria gaynor voice* YOU WILL SURVIVE

Hey aska!

I’m entering my first year at the UofT for humanities and in second year I want to be in the health studies and employment relations program doing a double major. Both program say that there is limited enrollment. I even visited the campus and talked to a prof there and he said he doesnt know too much about the health studies program but knows they only take in 40 people from around 200 applications.

I talked to the Health Studies student union on their facebook page and they said from what they know the program accepts everyone who qualifies so that was confusing cause online it says its limited enrolment. In health studies you can take any course to get in but you should have some science courses and social science courses. However, for the employment relations
program they want you to take economics and the sociology and psychology courses.

I’m really worried I may not get in the programs and I know people say “have a backup” but those are really the only 2 programs I am into and I want to work in a hospital or business as a coordinator or human resources manager or perhaps in health policy. I really do not want to transfer into York U second year for their health management program because I like UofT
much much better. From your experience, have you seen people who did not get into their program? Did you get into the program you wished to be in? And finally what advice would you give me?

Thanks so much for your time!



welp. i feel you like you’ve already done more research than i have on this one. i don’t want to disagree with so many sources, but i believe your initial information was correct. the employment relations major is indeed a type 3 (which means there is limited enrolment), and the health studies major is a type 2L (also limited enrolment).

i’ve never heard that stat about health studies before, so i can’t confirm it, but who am i to contravene a professor? what he said certainly makes more sense than what the health studies union said, since program enrolment is definitely limited for the health studies major. maybe they meant it as a consoling platitude (like, “don’t even worry about it! pretty much everyone gets in who applies!”) rather than an actual fact.

but let me back up for a second here: you’re only going into your first year. i feel like you’re worrying about things that are way, way out of your control right now. i know you’ve got your heart set on this path, but you never know – you may end up hating it. i’m not saying you will, just that it’s a possibility. you may change your plans entirely. or you may absolutely CRUSH your courses and be basically a shoe-in to both your majors. right now, you can’t know for sure which way it’s gonna go.

in the face of that uncertainty, what i would do is stick to your plan and focus on doing as well as possible in your courses, to increase your chances of getting into the majors you want. try to focus on the now.

nonetheless, i’m feeling that you have a LOT OF ANXIETY about this, so i’m gonna go along with you on your hypothetical for just a minute. let’s assume the worst case scenario: you don’t get into either one or both of your majors.

i have seen lots and lots of people not get into their program of choice, and while i admire your drive, there is one thing and one thing only that distinguishes success from failure: being able to adapt. that doesn’t mean giving up on your dream. but if (worst case) you don’t get into one or both of your majors, you can STILL ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL of working in human resources/health policy – you just might have to go about it a different way.

for example, maybe you don’t get into employment relations, but you still make sure to complete the required courses to gain CHRP designation, making it easy for you to go out into the world and do human resources for a living. instead of health studies, you pursue a global health major; very similar, but it’s a type 1, meaning you’re guaranteed enrolment.

or maybe you do a Master’s of Industrial Relations and Human Resources after your undergrad, and then go into the working world.

there are many, many more options that can all take you to the same place. and if you need some help figuring out which options are available to you, you can always book appointments with your registrar’s office throughout your time at uoft.

see? even your worst case scenario is survivable.

all the best for your first year,



don’t roll your eyes at ME


I’m a (very) part time student and I’m trying to figure out how applying for POSt next year will work. I’ll have 3.5 credits in the September. I’ll be taking a 1.0 course which will bring me to 4.5 credits. Can I wait until the April when I have 4.5 credits to apply for POSt or will this be problematic? I’ve done so many searches and I’m still unclear how this would work. Maybe I’m just over thinking it. But there seems to be an issue with people not being able to take courses they wanted because they’re going into second year without a POSt. Am I going to be unable to take the 1.0 course that September? What happens?

Thanks in advance,




what i’m understanding is this: by the end of this summer, 2016, you will have accumulated 3.5 FCEs. you’re taking 1.0 FCEs this upcoming Fall/Winter, meaning you will have 4.5 FCEs by Summer 2017.

you can only apply for a subject POst if you have 4.0 full course equivalents, so yes, you will have to apply to your subject POst after you complete your next 1.0 credit. if i’m following your timeline correctly, that would be Summer 2017, between April and September. i don’t really see any real reason why you won’t get into your 1.0 credit course for September (unless the class is full), since you’ll still be considered a first year student, and so you don’t need to be in a program yet to sign up for courses.

lucky for you, the subject POst request period will be after you complete your course, so don’t fret. you’ve still got quite some time before you have to deal with it!

if your confusion is coming from the fact that you’ll have 4.5 FCEs by next Summer instead of 4.0 on the dot, don’t worry, that’s not a problem either. while you’re at 3.5 you should not be enrolling in courses. it’s once you complete at least 4.0 that you sign up for programs. for you, that will be next Summer.

hope this cleared things up for you!

*a message from your mom: “if you keep rolling your eyes like that, someday they’ll get stuck there!”




the Beats, Aristotle, and some pontificating on BBAs


I am a 2nd year student at UTM. I was accepted into “intro to social sciences” when i got admitted into UTM. I applied and got into management specialist  (bba) post this year.

1. My acorn still says intro into social science but my subject post is management specialist.

Even on the degree explorer it says degree is social science and subject post is management specialist.

Does it matter what my degree post says?

Will i still be getting a bba degree?

2. I also applied to a minor in environment management and a minor in earth science (planning to drop one soon).

I saw the requirements for earth science minor and its a piece of cake, but i feel its useless to compliment a management specialist with a earth science minor.

Same goes for environmental management minor, a bit more work but does it go with a BBA degree?

How will the minor show up on my transcript?

Will adding the minor still get me a BBA degree?


hey there,

i like the spacing of the sentences in these e-mail. it reads kind of like an anxious poem. maybe you’re the next ginsberg. the next Big Beat Auteur.*

1. yeah, that’s nothing to worry about. at some point in the summer, your POSt code (that’s fancy ROSI talk, feel free to ignore it completely) will change from Year 1 to Year 2. that’ll just be a superficial change, however; as long as you’ve completed at least 4.0 credits and you’re enrolled in your specialist, you are a second year student.

a good way to tell if the SWS is recognizing your year of study properly is by your start time. if you had a second year start time, then you have nothing to worry about. and yes, you will get your BBA and become a wonderful businessperson with several snazzy suits, i’m sure. not to fear.

2. i feel like you’re going at your degree from a different perspective than i did, so i don’t know if i’ll be able to answer this question to your satisfaction.

my philosophy is: if you want to do it, then do it. anything can go with anything. are you doing them both? are you the same person? if yes, then congrats! you made the things go together.

don’t be so worried about what will make you look appealing in the vacuum-packed version of yourself that you present to employers. packaging can come after; your passion comes first. did you know that aristotle wrote on everything from physics to biology to ethics to metaphysics? a lot of the stuff he said was wrong, but he did it because he had an interest and that made an impact.

technically, if you’re already doing a specialist, you don’t NEED another minor. but if you have a real interest in one of them and you’re willing to put in the extra work, then go with the one you’re more excited about! you’re saying earth science is “a piece of cake.” is that the only reason you’re considering it? do you prefer it over environmental management? if so, then you should do it.

alright, i’m off my soapbox now. next question.

the minors will show up on your transcript exactly as they do now – listed along with your specialist and any other programs you may add, near the top of your transcript.

finally: yes, as long as you are in a management specialist, you will be graduating with a BBA.



* get it? because it’s B.B.A.? which is your degree? anyways…


from here on out, you’re on your own

what happens when I get accepted into my post…. how do i know what courses to pick


hey there,

nothing happens. as with most other things at uoft, all the work is on you. you need to sort out which courses you should be taking in your (i’m assuming) second year, in order to get on your way to completing your program(s).

fortunately, the university has provided this handy, handy tool called the course calendar, which lists every program and course offered by the faculty of arts & science. what you have to do is find your program(s) in the calendar, and figure out if there are any second-year courses that they recommend you take.

for example, the European Studies major recommends that you take EUR200Y1 in your second year, as well as 1.0 credits from a list of courses that they provide.

other programs, like for example the African Studies major, will only list all the courses you need to take in your higher years, and not differentiate between them by year.

finally, some programs, like the English major, will not differentiate by year at all, but simply list the courses you need to take during the course of your degree. you figure out when and how.

in all three instances, the calendar is only providing recommendations. ACORN will not force you to take any course, ever. still, you should probably do your best to follow the calendar recommendations as closely as you can. if they are listed based on year, it’s probably because the courses you take in second year will be requirements for courses you need to take in third year, and so on. if you don’t get ALL the courses you need, though, it’s not the end of the world; you can always catch up later.

even if you do manage to take all the second year courses for your program(s), you will still probably have space left over for at least one or two more courses in your schedule, if not more. you can fill these any way you want. you can take a course or two (or four) for general interest, or to fulfil a breadth requirement, or for graduate/professional school purposes.

of course, you will also need to make sure all of these classes fit together in a schedule that makes sense for you, with no timetable conflicts. you may have to fit them in around work, extra-curriculars, or other out-of-school commitments. some courses might fill up before you have a chance to sign up for them, due to a pesky little thing called enrolment controls.

all of this, you must factor in and negotiate during course selection. is it overwhelming? yes. but thousands of people still manage to take all the courses they need in order to graduate year after year, so it’s not impossible. here are aska’s top tips to make it as productive and pain-free as possible:

1. choose your courses well in advance.

this is not only a solid piece of advice, but can also be really fun. looking through the timetable and searching for the weirdest, wonkiest courses you can find can sometimes lead to the discovery of a course or even a program that you love. spend a Sunday afternoon with an iced tea and the timetable and course calendar, just browsing your options.

2. have a backup schedule.

after you’ve done all your browsing, you should eventually assemble the courses you’d like to take next year (the new timetable has a timetable planner tool that you can use for this purpose). this is the ideal, fantasy dream of a schedule. your actual schedule will most likely not end up looking exactly like the dream, or at all. that’s why you should have a backup schedule of courses that you can use to modify your ideal schedule should some or all of it not pan out.

3. be ready to go in advance of your start time.

as you may have experienced in first year, ACORN crashes a lot during course selection. even with staggered enrolment, there’re a lot of people trying to sign on on those first days of enrolment. being at your computer 10 minutes beforehand, with your schedule (and backup schedule!) ready to go (ideally on a piece of paper, because paper can’t freeze and crash on you), you maximize your chances of getting out of course enrolment incident-free.

and that’s everything you should keep in mind during course enrolment! go forth and prosper, my friend.




no POst on sundays

hey aska,
Am about to go into 2nd year at utm and i got a good gpa (3.4) I applied for management specialist (ERSPE1882) and was invited and also accepted. BUT, i have been getting invitations for the same post that i didnt apply for the second time.

The invitation they sent looks exactly like the one that i requested and accepted myself (looks the same on ACORN) And i rejected that post and a few days later got the invitation again. Rejected that and got another invitation (3 times in all that i didnt apply to but they sent it themselves) Am i missing something? Is it a special type of Post or something? It looks the same and even the post code and name is the Same.

Am i being honored with a special post? (LOL but high hopes)

thank you so much



hate to break it to ya, but no, they haven’t given you a special POst.

it’s probably just a glitch in the system. it is as much a mystery to us that it is to you!

hp letters

unless you’re this guy. then it makes a whole lotta sense.

however, make sure you’ve accepted the POst that you want on ACORN and that you haven’t accidentally rejected it in this whole process.

wouldn’t hurt to call or visit the UTM registar’s office just to see what’s up and notify them about this issue. they can also help you check that you’re registered for the right POst.




post it

Can I apply for a first request period for my post even if my marks aren’t in? Will it say like pending ?


hey there,

well, no. you’ll probably just be straight up rejected from the POSt if your marks aren’t in on time. BUT being rejected in the first round doesn’t really mean anything, because you’re more than welcome to apply again in the second round. you may as well apply, on the off-chance that your marks become available in time for you to be considered.




read more, write more, fight jane austen more,

After 2 years in UT my GPA is real bad. First year, I joined as Life science major, and I did horrible to extent where I got academic probation. Second year, 3rd year was OK, but then I was still clueless. I had no clue what I wanted to study on and what to do after graduating. While there are some people who can press forward without having clear goal, i wasn’t like them. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, so I literally ditched studying. My first 2 years are done, and coming into 3rd year. I now have clear goal – to go into law school. Now, this isnt just one of those dreaming goals which I decide hey it looks cool to be attorney so lets try to be one. I want to be lawyer to help those around me because many takes

advantages of my family who doesnt know much about law. Also, I love reading/writing/discussing, and wouldnt mind spending days/night reading different cases and help family/client, so I figured that its the one dream I have to chase on. To be realistic, however, I think it will be too hard. My overall GPA is about 1.7 ish. I have some courses in which I got 75~80%, whereas some of the courses I took i failed. I know some law schools do take note of struggles that student can face when coming into university and therefore take the best 2 years / or last 2 years of the GPA for student. So My goal right now is raising GPA and getting good LSAT mark. To be honest, I am not that worried about LSAT as much because it looks like the test is fairly straightforward (dont take me wrong, I didnt mean it to say LSAT is easy. I meant that LSAT is the test that you can do well if you spend enough time/efforts on it.) What worries me the most is classes that I will be taking on upcoming September. Its not too rare for student to improve significantly coming into 3rd/4th year, but at the same time I know it wont be easy. I am trying to use every single thing I can do to well in upcoming semester. I went to get advices from learning centre / registrar and so on. Still I feel like I need more help if I want to succeed academically. While I do not want to put too much details about my personal information in here, I am History specialist atm (to be more precisely, East Asian studies), and im not really sure what will be the best way to succeed next two years. I have been East Asian specialist for last two years (and some courses I took in EA, I did really well), but I cant figure out how can I do well upcoming semester. If the subject were say, Math or Physics, solving more problems and memorizing equations will help. IF subject is about say, language, memorizing/practicing will help. However, East Asian studies are not quite the case. Most of the courses I took in EA take reference to history, but does not directly ask questions about history. Instead it will ask you to apply the knowledge to write the essay. While sometime writing essay instead of exam is fun, right now I find it much more difficult, because there is no direct guideline given. You wont be tested for some materials you studied, instead you will be expected to use knowledges about all the papers you read through classes and make your own view to persuade professor/TA. So right now I am on the point where I know I need to improve and prepared, but I just dont know how. Can anyone help me with this? 1. EA Major, what is best way to improve your mark for classes that focus on alot of reading/writing? 2. What are the courses that I should take to improve my mark? (I mean there are no ‘bird’ course, but I am just asking your general opinion, some classes you found it pretty easy to go through – doesnt mean I will find it easy, but I want to just take note-)

3. What are the best ways to improve your GPA? – What helped you the most? 4. What are the some of minor that you found entertaining/easy to take (i mean easy as not the materials, but doesnt require much prerequisite courses) I finally made mind up and I feel pumped up real hard. However, I know that I need actual plan than just go like ‘hey I am gonna work hard and do well.’ So I need every help I can get, even small advice would be real nice. Thanks people!


hey there,

i think you hit the nail on the head when you said you need an actual plan rather than just a blind commitment to working really really hard – whatever that means. obviously, whatever ‘working hard’ boils down entirely to how you work. i don’t know that the suggestions i give will be revolutionary. they may even be things you’ve heard before or thought yourself. but i never said i was a genie* – this is the best I can do.

1. the only way to improve your reading and writing is by reading and writing –  big surprise. if you’re not taking courses in the summer, take advantage of that by reading as much as you can. read things you like. read things that challenge you (DON’T read any jane austen, for the love of god. that won’t help. and yes, austen fans, this is a public invitation to fight me).

if you want to practice your writing, there are lots of ways to do so. sometimes freeform writing is great to keep your writing muscles warm. something that I used growing up was ‘Wordly Wise’; see if you can get your hands on a couple of books and start practising. they may even be available at your local public library.

2. honestly – and this isn’t just me holding to a party line or whatever – i don’t think there are any courses at this university that i’ve found significantly easier than others, and i’ve taken everything from BIO260 to JPD439. i find that courses are constantly surprising me by how easy or difficult they are. my marks in courses surprise me. i’ve often done well in courses where i thought I’d do very badly, and vice versa. that being said, knowing what kind of courses you thrive in (for example, you mentioned that you do well in East Asian studies courses, which tend to be essay-based, so perhaps more East Asian/History courses would be up your alley) can help guide you towards similar courses, where you’re likely to be successful.

otherwise, you can see course reviews on Portal (un-aska-sanctioned, university unofficial website alternatives are also available – often featuring more colourful language).

3. i feel like I can’t answer the first question, but i can give some anecdotes about the second. everything i know about doing well in school comes down to two things: first, do something you love. if you’re doing something you don’t love, figure out a way to stop doing it. second, treat your degree like it’s a full-time job.

i don’t want to push any unhealthy ideas on you: family and health are important and you shouldn’t sacrifice those things for school. i also understand that students often have to work at jobs to survive, and have to juggle those things with school. barring that, however, try to prioritize school as much as you can. i spent an average of 40 hours a week on school (that’s classes + studying/work outside of class). that’s as much as a full-time job. try to take the initiative to ask for help and suggestions. collaborate with classmates. be fully engaged in what you’re doing. that should help.

4. again, I’m not going to grade POSts based on level of difficulty (see this tag for for meandering musings as to why i think assessing difficulty is useless), but i will tell you that you can find type 1 minors here. type 1 POSts are POSts that you can enter automatically after completing 4.0 credits. they have no prerequisites other than that. you may want to browse that list and see if any of the type 1’s interest you.

i wish you all the best with all of this. keep working hard. you can get through this, my friend.



* just an alien.


you’ll really know your tree-hugging the second time around

I’m enrolled in architecture and I’m taking the Env222 course. Due to difficulties with that course, I used the CR/NCR option for it. However, I just realized that a minor that I want to pursue in environment and energy has env222 as a requirement.
So, what should I do to satisfy this program requirement? Am I allowed to repeat env222 next year to enroll in this program again?

On a side note, can I still enroll in a program next year? Also, can I enroll in three majors if I’m able to manage all the required courses within 20 FCE? Lastly, can EXTRA courses satisfy a program requirement?

Thank you!


hey there,

if that’s the only course that can be used to fulfill your program requirement, then you would just have to go to your registrar’s office and ask them to re-enrol you in it as an extra. and yes, extra courses can be used (and indeed, are almost exclusively used) to satisfy program requirements.

you can enrol in programs pretty much whenever you want (between April and September), excepting after you put through a graduation request – changes have to be made at your registrar’s office after that. just keep in mind that making changes to POSts later may mean that it’ll take you longer to complete your degree; that may or may not be something you’re willing to undertake.

you cannot enrol in three majors. the maximum number of specialists and majors you are allowed to enrol in is two.





Hi there. I have a question regarding UofT medical school as well as the current neuroscience major program. Any help would be appreciated,

So I’ve been doing some planning on medical school and my career path and needed some elaboration on graduate school applicants.  I understand graduate students are welcomed with a lower gpa (the plus side) but what constitutes for a graduate student? Is a masters degree required or does taking several courses at the graduate level count? Basically, after
completed my undergrad and entering grad school what would be expected of me? It would be helpful too if you could compare an undergraduate and a graduate student’s process for applying to medical school.

With the Neuroscience major, there is a bit where it states that enrollment into the program course is possible without the required gpa to the extent that “laboratory spaces are available”. if i were to apply and be accepted minus not meeting the gpa requirement, does that mean my position is only temporary until someone meeting the requirement arrives or would it be set in stone?

thanks again!


hey there,

let’s do these Q’s in order, shall we?

first off: i don’t know if you mean taking graduate courses as an undergraduate, or dropping out of a graduate program after completing a couple of courses. if it’s the former, you would still be assessed as an undergraduate, regardless of your having graduate courses on your record. as a graduate student applying, you do need to have completed your graduate degree by the time of admission in order to actually be eligible to enter into the MD program.

it would be difficult for me to further compare and contrast a graduate student’s application process between an undergraduate and a graduate student. the reason for that is that there are SO MANY factors that can affect an application. first off, there is no one undergraduate or graduate experience: people have different degrees, programs, transcripts, etc. secondly, the application process itself is variable (with the MCATs, interviews, etc.). if you’re an undergrad, the best place to go with these kinds of questions is really your registrar’s office. if you’re a grad student, talk to the medical school(s) that you’re interested in – they will know the subtleties of this stuff better than i do.

second: i’m not sure where exactly you’re reading that bit about the lab spaces, but the neuroscience major (assuming you’re talking about human biology: neuroscience, the major at the undergraduate level) is a type 1 program. that means that as soon as you’ve completed 4.0 credits, you can enrol in the program on ACORN. no GPA requirement in sight.




school is great except the school part

My first year at UofTSG was amazing…except for the marks. I failed one credit and now I only have 3.5 credits to end the year off with. To make things worse, I missed the summer school deadline. Does this mean I continue first year a second time? Would I be on academic probation? If I get that 0.5 credit in my first semester of second year, can I apply for my subject posts again? And would I still be able to graduate in four years?!?! Thank you!


hey there,

you would only be on academic probation if your GPA falls below 1.5. keep an eye on your ACORN account for updates on that. CGPA has been calculated by this point, so you should know for sure now. if you are put on probation, you have one term (either Summer or Fall/Winter, whichever one comes first for you) to get your CGPA back above a 1.5 in order to continue in good standing. otherwise, you would be suspended in the following term.

if you do finish with 3.5 credits, then yes, you would be considered a first year student until the end of the next term in which you complete 4.0 credits (either Summer or Fall/Winter). that doesn’t mean much, practically speaking, except that signing up for subject POSts and courses will be a little bit different for you.

you would not be required to sign up for POSts this summer and would have to wait until the following April-September period. unfortunately, you can’t just sign up for POSts as soon as you hit 4.0 credits, whenever that happens during the year. it’s kind of like unlocking a level of Candy Crush when you’re really cheap; you have to wait 24 hours between quests, you can’t just blow through levels as soon as you complete them.

finally, yes, you can still graduate in four years; praise be. you will have to take courses in the summer or a few extra courses during your future Fall/Winter terms to manage it, but it’s doable. that being said, taking an extra year or semester is not the end of the world. try not to worry about that right now. just take it one step at a time, and you’ll be at graduation, panicking about getting a job and finding a place to live, before you know it.




try try and try again


I’m having to take PHL245 as a requirement for my Bioethics Major and have been really struggling. I’ve taken the class once to get through about two thirds of it, only to drop the course. I’m retaking it this semester and have once again been struggling and am about to take my final in which I need a fairly high grade to just end with a 50%. Because of this, my confidence in passing is a little low and I’m feeling the doubt settle in.

I was wondering, how many times can you retake a course? Also… Is there a way to petition a required course if one cannot find themselves passing? What would happen if I was to take it as many times as I could and still not be able to pass (hypothetically)… Can I talk to the Program Director about my situation and have them remove it as a requirement for me?



hey there,

you can retake the course as many times as you need to as long as you’ve failed the course in your previous attempts. if you pass the course but didn’t get the course you need for your program, you can retake it, but your registrar’s office will have to put you in the course. however, your program just requires you to pass the course, so you probably don’t have to worry about that.

it is very, very unlikely that a department would waive a requirement for you. you can always speak with them about it, and in fact, i would encourage you to do so – your registrar’s office is another good stop. both of these offices will be able to advise you on realistic next steps. they will probably not, however, just drop a requirement for you. still, it may be helpful to talk.




Bob Ross wants you to succeed


*I am starting the specialist international development program at UTSC in the fall, and I was thinking of also doing a major in studio. I was wondering, how feasible is doing both a specialist and major? Has it been done before? I am thinking of taking 6 courses per semester to achieve this, would that be extremely difficult? I am in no way extremely academic or anything, my grades are above average.*


*a Bob Ross fan*


hey there,

people have definitely done specialists and majors together. you’re allowed to take up to two majors or specialists and up to three programs altogether, so one specialist and one major is totally within the allowed scope of programs. some specialists only require a few more credits than a major would, so sometimes, there’s not really a huge difference between doing a double major and doing one major and a specialist.

the difficulty level does depend on which specialist and major you’re interested in, however. the thing about the programs in which you’re interested is that the IDS specialist (i can only assume you’re not doing co-op) requires 13.0 credits, while the studio major requires 8.0. that’s 21.0 credits, which is 1.0 credits above what is takes to get your degree, and that’s not even accounting for breadth requirements or any electives you might like to take. it’s a lot.

similarly, you are allowed to take 3.0 credits every semester (past that, you need to make a request to the registrar’s office). that being said, it is very difficult. you’ve been in school for a year; you can probably imagine it. i would say it’s doable if you don’t have a job or any other significant commitments, though even then, it’s not fun.

all this considered, i would say that it might be smarter to downgrade one of the programs you’re considering. a double major (16.0 FCEs altogether) or a specialist and a minor (17.0 FCEs altogether) would be much more manageable. since you’re asking this question, you must have a very specific reason for wanting to do a specialist and a major (hopefully it’s not that you think it sounds impressive, because literally no one – and that includes employers – will care).

i would ask you to interrogate your own motives carefully, and also seek second and third opinions – from advisors, the registrar’s office, etc. ask yourself what you’ll be able to do successfully. there’s no use in overloading yourself and then not doing particularly well in IDS or studio.

in summary: it’s all doable. but it’s hard. definitely seek out more advice before making a decision.

finally, i couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate bob ross into this post, but here’s a motivational .gif to inspire you to figure out the best path for you:

bob ross motivation

you can do it.



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