• admissions,  science,  subject POST


    hiya there aska! i’m from al(aska) [hehehe] and was wondering what the difference is between a specialist science program and a major science program. also what do the 300 or 400 level thingies mean on the courses? also does uoft accept AP physics taken taken in high school? probably right, idk. also does uoft require a language 12 credit for science? yuh muchthank and muchappreciate bye


    hey there, from al(aska),

    what’s the difference between a specialist and major in the sciences?

    basically, you’d opt for a specialist if you:

    • heckin love the subject material so so much and want to dedicate most of your degree to it
    • are really set on doing grad school in a specific discipline and want to specialize early
    • or otherwise have a very intent and specific interest in a program (or an intent and specific disinterest in everything else, i guess???)
    • want to become a !specialist! at something during your undergrad
    • want opportunities that are only available to specialists, like specific research openings or sometimes even specific classes

    if you do a major you’ll need to do it in conjunction with another major or two minors, meaning with a major you can:

    • diversify! you’ll choose concentrations in multiple subject areas, and have a lot of leeway with what those subject areas are. you can choose one major in the sciences and one in the arts, for example, and still graduate with a bachelor’s of science; or you can choose two majors in very different scientific fields; etc etc. round your education out, friends.
    • explore your interest in a certain program by committing to more extensive study than a minor, without going to the lengths that a specialist would

    this is because a specialist will require you to take more classes (or credits) in a specific department than a major will. usually, the credit breakdown for specialist, majors, and minors is as follows:

    • specialist: between 10 and 14 FCEs
    • major: between 6 and 8
    • minor: 4 FCEs

    if you think about each credit as a yearlong course OR two half-year courses, then that means a minor would account for almost a year’s worth of courses, while a specialist would account for about two to (almost) three years’ worth. a major, then, would be about a year and a half’s worth of courses. obviously, you don’t usually complete one program in one fell swoop then move onto the next one– they’re usually completed alongside each other, in fact. i just thought that might be a helpful way to kind of account for the level of study expected from each type of program. following me so far?

    a few things to note:

    • not all programs will offer all three options (minor, major, specialist). some won’t have the capacity to offer any more than a minor. meanwhile, some bigger departments won’t have built-in allowances for minors, maybe because that level of study isn’t plausible for the subject
    • you can technically choose up to 3 programs in general, as long as that third one is a minor. this means if you really hated yourself, you could do a specialist and a major, or a double major and a minor. i don’t know what would happen if you tried to do 2 specialists and a minor, or a specialist, a major, and a minor. just like,,,,,,, don’t. i guess you could? but don’t.
    • it doesn’t matter if you’re in the arts or sciences! the number of credits required for each program type is the same.

    what do the 300 or 400 level thingies mean?

    how many minutes a day you spend doing classwork. if you do the math, 400 minutes/60 minutes in an hour = 6.67 hours.

    haha the internet already has so much misinformation on it and adding to that doesn’t make me special. the 100/200/300/400 level designations are really meant to indicate what year level the courses are designed for. for example, 100-level courses typically provide general overviews of a topic for first-years, and as you go up the chain, your class sizes will grow smaller and the topics will become more specialized. once you get to 400-level courses, you’re typically looking at very small seminars that will do a deep-dive into a topic, and mark you far more stringently than you would be marked in a 100-level course. this is because most 400-level students will be fourth years.

    in short, the “300/400 level thingies” are indicators of topic depth and coursework expectations! it’s important to note, though, that you don’t need to be a fourth year to take a 400 level course. you just need to meet the prerequisites. i took a 200-level course in first year just for the kicks, because it had no prereqs and i thought it would make me cool. it didn’t. no one cares.

    does uoft accept AP physics taken in high school? 

    heck yea. all the AP physics courses translate to first-year equivalents– you can see the full list here. as you’ll notice, not all AP courses are accepted for credit/accepted as equivalents. the physics APs are probably some of the best to take if you want u of t credit.

    does uoft require a language 12 credit for science?

    haha what. i’m not aware of one. like, if the language you mean is english then yeah, but other than that i don’t think so. i would check the high school prerequisites for the specific programs you’re interested in on this website just to be safe– it’ll vary from department to department, i think. but no, i don’t think you’ll find a language 12 among them.

    i hope this was helpful!

    be Boundless,



  • applying for U of T,  dentistry,  grad school,  rejection,  science

    i hate you people (dentists)

    Hi there!

    I’m from Latin America and I applied to the MSc in Oral Pathology
    (dentistry). My application was rejected. I thought I had a strong letter
    of recommendation and a solid background (although maybe not enough
    research experience), which leads me to believe my undergraduate GPA wasn’t
    high enough (3.2, minimun for my country to apply was 3.0) and was the
    primary reason of my rejection.

    I would like to ask if any of you is currently accepted in the program,
    with what GPA did you get in, and if you recommend for me to reapply.

    Thank you!!



    first of all, i’m really sorry to hear that you didn’t get into the program. i’m sure you worked very hard, but don’t lose hope. there are definitely plenty of career paths you can pursue with your grades and educational background!

    i’m actually not a dentistry student, but in posting this, i hope you’ll get feedback from other applicants in the comments!

    i’m going to try to answer this question while ignoring the fact that dentists are the bane of my existence…

    unfortunately, i can’t tell you exactly why you didn’t get in. that’s a question you’ll have to ask admissions.

    however, in regards to your GPA, while it is true that a 3.0 GPA is the minimum, it seems that most applicants who were invited for interviews had higher GPAs. to quote the one of the answers given on the dentistry website:

    “A minimum current grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) is required to apply to the Doctor of Dental Surgery Program (DDS). However, a grade point average of 3.0 (i.e. B) at the time of application does not guarantee selection. It should be noted that the 170 domestic applicants invited for an interview had a GPA of at least 3.85 and the 10 international students invited for an interview had a GPA of at least 3.75.”

    this may explain why your application got rejected, but again, we will never know for sure. if you have any further questions about admissions, you could always talk to dentistry student services, but it is highly unlikely that they will be able to speak to you about your application specifically.

    it’s completely up to you if you feel like reapplying! you should really think about whether or not you want to continue pursuing dentistry. if you do feel like reapplying, maybe consider taking some non-degree courses in order to boost up your GPA for an even stronger application. i believe in you!

    good luck with your future endeavours!

    peace, love, and don’t forget to floss,


  • arts & sciences,  psychology,  science,  subject POST

    gold or painful, agonizing failure

    Hi! Can you take a psych major if you’re in humanities? Like, if I take a double major in linguistics and psychology, will I graduate with a BA or a BSc? Or is it even possible for me to major in psychology if I didn’t apply for life sciences?
    I’m at St. George by the way, and I’ll have completed PUMP by the time I apply for the psych POSt.
    Sorry if you already answered this, I did my best to look through all the relevant tags!


    hi there,

    if you are double majoring in linguistics and psychology, you can pick whether you want a BA or a BSc.

    in the arts and science calendar under program requirements, it states :

    • “A student completing one Major in a science area and one Major in an arts area have a choice of either the Honours Bachelor of Science or the Honours Bachelor of Arts.”

    you’re good to go! choose wisely!


    thanks for making an effort to check the tags! we appreciate it!




  • life science,  psychology,  science,  UTM

    sorry they don’t care about you

    Hello, with regards to priority enrolment at UTM I was wondering if a psychology major gets priority with classes such as Biology, Chemistry and Math. I know that Life Sci students are the main priority but do psychology majors also fall into that group since it is a Science?



    you are definitely right, students in life sciences will get priority if they are in majors such as chem, bio, or math. as a psych major, you’ll only be getting priority in psychology courses.

    the only kind of exception ish (cue paramore) to this rule i could find is that that there is one bio course listed in the psych major (pg. 325) that you could put towards your degree:

    BIO304H5: Integrative Animal Physiology (located in the Biological Bases of Behaviour Section)- but even this course has prerequisites that you have to take to which leads you to a seemingly endless loop of other courses with prerequisites. i’m assuming the biology department peeps will know that psych students can use this for their major and while still giving priority to actual bio students, they might take your major into consideration.

    if you are determined to take these courses, you can probably consider doing one of those subjects as subject posts.

    basically, psychology is in a completely different department than all of the other subjects that you mentioned and there would have to have a better excuse than “it’s also a science” to give you secondary priority.

    i hope this helped!




  • first year,  science,  subject POST

    “mandatory” “first year” classes

    Hey there,
    So I got into the humanities program at U of T, however, I wanted to get into the science program. The only mark holding my back was calculus. I was wondering what courses are mandatory as a first year student and also how many courses I can possibly take as electives to transfer over if i choose to re-apply to sciences for my following year.
    Thanks a ton


    hey there,

    there aren’t really any mandatory courses. as a first-year student, you’re already in a stream (life. sci., humanities, comp. sci., what have you), but you can also make drastic changes to that fairly easily.

    what i would do is figure out some subject POSts (that’s ‘subject Program of Study,’ if you’re just tuning in) that you’re interested in applying to after first year. then go to the course calendar, see what first-year courses are required/recommended for those POSts, and take them.

    just keep in mind that a lot of first-year science courses may have priorities or restrictions for life science students, so make sure to double check the ‘enrolment indicator’ column on the timetable for each of the courses you’re thinking of taking.

    otherwise, there’s nothing much that’s “required.” it might be a good idea that you start trying to meet some breadth requirements in first year, but it’s not mandatory. you’ve basically got free license to enrol in whichever courses you deem important for your second, third and fourth years.

    i know that kind of freedom all at once can be scary to the point of nausea, but trust me, it’ll be good for you. and hopefully, it’ll end with you in a program you really love. or at least one you don’t despise.

    best of luck,


  • business,  science,  subject POST

    mystery business program. mystery career. mystery life.

    Hey, so I’m a first year life sci student first year, and ended with a GPA of 3.33 ish first semester (Got a 3.7, 3.0, 3.3, CR and a Y course). Then I decided to take business courses 2nd sem because I found that I didn’t really want to take the science route anymore. Well, the 2nd sem went pretty bad, I only took 3 courses and I’m pretty sure I failed one of them, and am expecting a 3.7 (at best) on the other one and a 2.0 on the Y course. Anyways, what should I do in the summer semester? Do I have a chance at getting into a business program that has a cutoff of like 3.2? Should I go back to science?


    hey there,

    i’m not aware of any business program at the downtown campus of uoft that has a 3.2 cutoff average, so i can’t really comment on that. if you are interested in business, i’d recommend you take a look at utsc‘s, utm‘s and ryerson‘s business programs (maybe one of those was the program you were talking about? who can say…)

    as for choosing between commerce and science, that’s a pretty big decision – and unfortunately, while i’d really like to be an omnipotent deity who controls the academic fates of all uoft students, i’m not. luckily for you, this means that the choice is pretty much in your hands. if you need a little bit of advice about the direction of your university career, the best place to go would be to your college registrar’s office.

    while you’re there, you can also ask them about whether enrolling in a summer course is a good idea! without your specific academic information, all i can say is that 1) the summer term is a good opportunity to catch up on credits, but 2) it moves twice as quickly and so it can be challenging/hurt your GPA. i’m guessing that didn’t really help much, did it? but the registrar’s office can take a look at ALL your records and help you make an informed decision about whether or not to enrol. and those are the best kind of decisions, you know – informed ones.



  • career choice,  science


    what can I do with a major in biology and chemistry, in terms of available jobs?


    Hey there,

    Here’s the thing. You can do anything with your university degree if you’re crafty enough. I hate to sound like a crotchety old whiner, but it’s getting harder and harder these days for university graduates to get jobs, and that means that people have to be increasingly creative in getting jobs. You can’t limit yourself to a set number of possibilities, because it’s very likely that you’ll have to apply for jobs radically outside the realm of those possibilities, and sooner than you might expect.

    HOWEVER! It’s still good to explore your options and see what you’re interested in, and do your darn best to try and get into those careers that you’re excited about. So here’s a very modest list of possible paths you can take after getting a degree in bio and chem:

    1. Medical jobs, including but not limited to: doctor, pharmacist, nurse, dentist, veterinarian, health policy developer, nutritionist, occupational therapist, bioethicist…the list goes on. I should note that all of these require a professional or graduate degree. You can browse all the graduate programs at uoft here.

    2. Research. Typically done in a lab. Erlenmeyer flasks, very fancy and expensive pipettes; that sort of thing. Obviously, a Ph.D. (or an M.Sc. at the very least) is necessary if you’re interested in this.

    3. Teaching. And if you pull the whole “those who can’t do, teach,” thing, EVEN IN YOUR MIND, my spirit will show up personally to your house tonight and PUMMEL you while you SLEEP.

    4. If staying in school and getting another degree isn’t really your thing, and you’re adamant about getting a job in science, then a B.Sc.-holder can always become a research technician/technologist. Info about being a research technician with the Canadian government here.

    As you can see, the vast majority of high-paying jobs listed here (and even some of the not so high-paying ones) require additional degrees or college certifications. This is one of the reasons that I’m so impatient with the whole “B.A.s are useless!” mentality. Sure they are, but they’re not that much more useless than any other Bachelor’s degree in Canada.*

    So, what to do? Well, like I said, you can be creative – you can accept that your career might not lie in science, and start looking at any and all jobs that will take you (retail, executive assistant, etc.). Or, if bio/chem is really the one thing you want to pursue, you can look into some of these graduate/professional degrees and further certifications.

    Would you like some sugar with which to swallow that bitter pill?

    I hope that was helpful and that you are not too discouraged! Don’t worry: worst comes to worst, I can always sublet you my spare cardboard box on spadina. Just for you, friend. I’ll even throw in some spare newspapers.



    *In other countries, it’s a different situation. For example, did you know that in England, you can become a certified lawyer with just a first-entry, 3-year undergraduate degree? I know. I hate them too. Although, would you really want a 21-year-old representing you in a court of law? Food for thought.

  • science,  subject POST

    do i have to take first year courses in first year?

    Hi aska,

    When a subject post states a list of first year courses, second year courses, etc., do they actually mean you had to have taken those courses in first year? If I enter the Cognitive Science science major in third year, and complete all their “First Year” courses in third and fourth year, can they kick me out for rushing everything at the end?

    cheers, hope you’re enjoying/enjoyed the long weekend!


    hey there,

    thanks, friend! awfully nice of you to say. i spent it working too much and sleeping too little, but i appreciate the sentiment.

    to your question: enrolling in a major all depends on fulfilling the prerequisites for that major. some majors can be enrolled in on rosi without any extra work or application needed – these are called type 1 subject posts. others need a bit more preparation than that, and they are type 2 or 3 subject posts. both the arts and science versions of the cognitive science major are type 1, so yeah, you can do the courses whenever you want, as long as all the requirements are finished by graduation time. here, it states explicitly that the first-year courses “may be taken as a corequisite in Year 2” for the science major, so i’d say you’re all good.

    keep in mind that it’s in your best interest to follow the schedule they’ve set out for you – it’s tough to do the requirements all at once, especially because you need a certain number of upper-year courses that may have the lower-year courses as prerequisites, etc. etc. however, it is ultimately up to you to figure out how you’re going to meet the requirements.

    good luck with it xoxo,


  • science,  subject POST

    let’s talk about brains, baby, let’s discuss it cranially

    Hellooo Aska!

    I’m currently in second year and have recently decided I want to go into a neuroscience specialist. Problem is, I can’t find the requirements to get into the specialist after second year! I know the psych specialist has different requirements for 2nd years applying than for the 1st years, is it not like that for all of them?



    Heyyyyy there enthusiastic friend!

    Ok so you’re pretty lucky, because the neuroscience specialist doesn’t have any super specific requirements for applying after 2nd year, apart from marks. As long as your average in the 3.0 first-year credits listed as prerequisites on the course calendar are in the high 70s and none of those individual courses have a grade that’s below a mid-70, you should be fine. Obviously, you should aim higher than that. It’s important to push yourself, you know. That’s what school’s all about.

    You shouldn’t assume though that everything has different requirements after 1st year, like psych. Each program is different, and the best thing to do is always go to the course calendar or department website and take a look. If the program does have specific requirements for different years, it should specify that. And if you’re really uncertain about the information you’re finding there, just give the department a quick phone call.

    Enjoy your cranial studies!


  • science

    in need of an internal transfer for immunology

    Hello again. So aside from that english course that I failed, I have another painful thorn currently stuck on my bottom. I’m a first year science student in UTSC and is in the psych program. However, I am planning on perhaps transferring to immunology or pathobiology in UTSG. I’m fine with psych, just that my mum will probably kick me out of the family once she knows I didn’t do any biology program or something to get to med school. And I also really wanted to get into immunology. Anyhoo, I took biology, psych and chem and is planning to take calculus this september. We just got our marks on rosi and my bio mark did not look good at all. I honestly thought I did better than that as I did well in my midterms and I believe I did really well on the finals.

    Immunology wants a minimum of 65% in bio, chem and calculus. I know I can’t take the course all over again as I’ve already taken the final exam but is there any other way to undo this? Should I pray a thousand times tonight to hopefully change this or should I just forget all about immunology?

    Sincerely yours,



    To be clear, you can take courses at other campuses, but not enroll in their subject POSts. So you can take random Bio courses at St. George, but you can’t enroll in Immunology unless your actually a student there (read: internal transferring).

    Now I’m not really sure by what you mean by “undo this.” Like, erase your grades? Ha. If only. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

    But if you’re below the required grades, you can certainly retake the courses. This just means that they’ll be deemed as extra credits — meaning they won’t count towards the 20 FCE you need to graduate and the grades won’t toward your CGPA, but they’ll be considered for program requirements.

    So yeah. If you’re set on Immunology, you can transfer and retake the requirements since it’s a really competitive program, or you can look into other Life Science programs. Really, there are tons, so no need to worry.



  • commerce,  science,  second degree

    double the degree

    Hello sir

    I was wondering if it is possible at U of T to obtain a B.Com specialist and a BSc. specialist degree simultaneously.

    Miss B


    Hello madam,

    Okay so I’ll have you know I had to talk to a lot of people to get you an answer to this question. Basically, you can only complete one degree at a time. If you’re really eager to get both a B.Com. and a B.Sc. You’ll have to finish the B.Comm. first and then apply for completing a second degree, which in total will be about a seven year process.

    But if you’re truly set on completely both specialists, you certainly can. However, you’ll only be graduating with one degree, which, in this scenario, will probably be the B.Com. since it sort of trumps Science. Likewise, you’ll be paying the tuition fees for the Commerce program instead which can make things a little bit more expensive. And then your years — which will probably be extended to around six — will be terrible and tiresome. Another problem would be that Commerce students wouldn’t get priority to Science courses, so you would probably be getting by through a whole lot of waitlists.

    But if you’re really set on science, you can definitely take a minor!



  • admissions,  science

    Steve Jobs/ Actuarial Science

    I am a secondary school student in BC. I want to get into the actuarial science program. I want to ask the average mark needed to get into the actuarial program. Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone

    dude, you don’t need to brag that you have an iPhone. My little samsung that’s screen is so scratched that I can’t read my text anymore is just as cool ok?

    For science, they usually say mid to high 80’s. Depending on the applicant pool, this number could be higher or lower.

    short and sweet for once.



  • architecture,  grad school,  physics,  science

    why do i have the feeling that you’re not going to follow my advice

    Hi Aska,I see you’ve already mentioned you’re not an Architecture major like your predecessor (I assure you, I read all the messages with the architecture tag) but I was wondering if you knew what the primary factor is in getting in to the Architecture program. I see they require a portfolio and also have some minimum marks in certain courses, as well as a required GPA, but which of those matters most? Are they all equal? I believe I can at the least attain a GPA of 3.7 or so, but I am worried about the depth of my portfolio (or lack thereof). Any tips?

    Also, perhaps the is going beyond the scope of things answered here, but I see the Masters program gives “preference” to applicants with a well-rounded set of credits from the three disciplines. Do you think it’s better to be well-rounded or have better marks? Sciences are definitely my weak point and if I take those courses they will hurt my average.


    Thanks for any information you can give!


    Yes, you?re right, I am not an Architecture major. I?m actually a (*dun dun dun*) Physics major. I bet you?re shocked. I know what you?re thinking: ?A Physics major who can actually write coherently instead of thinking in expressions like? 2x*exp(xyz)? LYK NO WAI!!? But then it dawns on you: aaahhh, so THAT?s the reason for all the silly alien jokes. Anyway, rest assured? I may be someone of a mad scientist… but I’m totally sane. *aska quickly sweeps up from the floor the harvested brain from last last post and throws it into a huge box containing a lot of other brains*

    Anyway, how may I help you today? Well, I got you some inside information from my architecture ancestor (lucky you) so here goes.

    First of all, you?re getting your entrance requirements mixed up. I?m going to assume that you?re an undergraduate student and that you?re talking about getting into the undergrad program, because you?ve talked about ?minimum marks in certain courses?. You don?t need a portfolio for the undergraduate program at UofT at all. So don?t be worried about the (lack of) depth of your portfolio. Your portfolio could be empty space for all they cared and it still wouldn?t matter. As for the other two requirements, GPA is definitely more important. A lot of people achieve 71% in ARC131 and ARC132, but an overall GPA that is high is rare, especially in first year.

    You do need a portfolio to get into grad school, but 1) you have four more years to complete the portfolio, and 2) if you do get into the undergraduate architectural design program at UofT, you?re going to have a lot of studio courses that would provide you with many chances to add extra pieces to your portfolio. According to aska?s ancestor, you should come up with pieces using as many types of media as you can, as it shows your creativity. 😀 If you are unable to get into the architecture design program, then you’re going to have to work on your portfolio on your own time — but this is something that you want to do in the long run if you want to be an architect anyway, right?

    As for well-roundedness giving you an advantage in graduate school, I don?t really think you have to worry too much about that either. Yes, it?s true that the architecture program at UofT does really like to take in people from every discipline (apparently, one of the master students in architecture had an undergraduate biochemistry degree). But in the end, architecture at UofT is only a major program (as opposed to a specialist), which means that you have to combine it with another major program or two minors in order to graduate anyway. As long as you don?t combine it with something like Art History, you?d probably end up with a pretty diverse mix of courses in the end. Hint: if you don?t have any other good ideas for the second major, you could try out something from the Centre of Environment. Green architecture is always in. As for the sciences being your weak point, you probably don?t have to worry about that. The admissions requirements for the Master?s program only require ?secondary calculus? and ?secondary physics?. So you only have to take calculus and physics at the high school level.

    tl;dr version (that’s “too long; didn’t read” for all you non-geeks): undergrad architecture doesn’t require a portfolio. The grad program does but you have four years to make the portfolio. So my advice to you is: Relax, go out and have some fun, and stop freaking out.