• chem,  prereqs,  UTM

    check yourself before you (pre)req yourself

    Hi, I am a first year going into the chemical and physical sciences program at UTM. I am looking to take a specialist in Biological Chemistry after the first year so I looked at the classes I should take. The problem is that many of the math courses require a minimum of 70% in Advanced functions and this past year I had an awful teacher and received my worse high school mark of 66% in her class. I also took Calculus and got an 83%. Will I be able to take the math courses?


    hey there!

    congrats on committing to u of t and starting the lil adventure that is university!

    for a question like this, i’d recommend reaching out to the UTM chemistry department (probably the undergrad program administrator, specifically) and asking about your case. i’m not sure how they deal with situations like this, and it would be best to go directly to the source. there’s a chance you might need to take an online high-school level advanced functions course and get a higher grade in order to meet the prerequisite? but they’d be the ones to confirm that.

    i wouldn’t recommend registering in the course without the prerequisite, because departments will usually go into your records to check that you’ve met the requirements. if they find out that you don’t, you’ll be removed from the course with no warning, which will cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. 10/10 would not recommend.

    i hope the chem department is able to shed some light on what you should do! good luck with this.

    be Boundless,


  • admissions,  biology,  prereqs

    broaden your horizons, or whatever

    Questions! (I was recently accepted into the faculty of arts and science! Yay!) *deep breath* Here I go: I hope you won’t judge me but I didn’t take any science or math courses in Grade 12 simply because I thought majoring in English would satisfy me. (I severly limited myself, I know, and I’ve been regretting everything) The thing is, I’m now looking at all of these awesome programs that require math, bio, etc. and I was wondering if uoft let’s students take the classes required for those programs that you don’t have the high school prerequisites for. ie. You need to take a bio course for a genome major, but that bio course requires you to have taken grade 12 bio. Is it possible to still get into a more science and math oriented programs? It sounds impossible just typing it out because I don’t know if I would even be able to catch up to university level courses.


    hey there,

    congrats on your acceptance!

    honestly, you’re thinking about these things pretty early on– you’re in a much better position to catch up than, say, someone who realized the same thing in september of your first year. it’s really cool that your interests are broadening and you’re thinking about what will fulfill you. genomes? dang, dude. that’s some cool stuff.

    i wouldn’t say the game is over for you. as far as i can tell, these are your options:

    • contact the biology department

    i looked up the requirements for the genome major, even though i don’t know if it’s really what you’re interested in or if you just mentioned it as an example. it looks like you are correct and they will be looking at the high school courses you took to determine your eligibility for required courses like BIO120 and BIO130. but both course descriptions mention that you can get in touch with the course office if you don’t have the required prereqs. i’m guessing this means that they have some form of policy for dealing with students lacking prereqs. while i’m not sure what that is, i’m hopeful that they’d be able to provide you with some guidance on this issue.

    if you’re interested in programs other than genome biology and run into the same issue, i’d follow the same path and contact the department. they’re usually the ones who will know whether exceptions can be made for you, and/or what your best course of action is. department contact info can usually be found under the program listing on the artsci calendar. 

    • take summer school

    if your summer is unoccupied and the thought of spending the lovely months of july and august in a classroom doesn’t make you want to soak your pillowcase in tears, then covering those science/math prereqs in the summer is always an option.

    i still think you should contact the relevant u of t departments first, just to make sure that you don’t unnecessarily pile on schoolwork in the summer. i also don’t really know how many prereqs you think you need, and whether those could plausibly be completed over your break. i don’t know how it works for you, but what i remember from taking summer school in high school was that you were limited to two courses at a time???? obviously, that’s probably different in different systems/provinces/countries etc.

    it may also be important to note that once you complete those courses, you should provide proof of completion to your registrar/the department. the department is allowed to kick you out of a course as soon as they realize you don’t have the prereqs, which can even happen in the first few weeks of school. i don’t really want you to have to deal with that nasty surprise, so this has been your heads up.

    • take online courses

    you can also consider taking your prereq courses online. if you’re in ontario, ontario virtual school will probably be able to help you out. if you’re not in ontario, you can try talking to your high school guidance counsellor– ask them to point you in the right direction re: reputable online schools. from what i remember about high school online courses, you can start them whenever and finish them whenever. that might give you a little more flexibility– if you feel up to it, you can get started now and have those transcripts ready much, much earlier.

    best of luck with everything! i wouldn’t say it’s impossible to catch up, maybe just a bit more work. hope this helped and congratulations again on your acceptance.

    be Boundless,


  • arts & sciences,  courses,  CR/NCR,  credits,  enrollment,  enrolment,  GPA,  prereqs,  repeating course

    we love a good second chance

    Hey, so I wanted to know if you can retake a course you “no credited”? I want to major in sociology but I took only SOC102, LWD SOC103, and NCR SOC150 ( first 2 yrs were tough) There’s only certain combinations allowed and my only hope really is if I’m allowed to try SOC150 again.  Any advice?!



    hi there,

    did some digging for ya, and i’m not gonna lie– initially, it looked like it was gonna be bad news. as far as the artsci website says, you shouldn’t ever cr/ncr a course if there’s even a remote chance you’ll need it for program enrolment. the implication being, you don’t have many options if you’ve already done so.

    HOWEVER. i read through half of the faculty of arts and sciences rules and regulations to see if i could find you a loophole, and it looks like there might actually be one.

    chelsea peretti television GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    apparently if you’ve already passed a course, you’re not allowed to retake it; that includes courses you’ve passed with ‘CR’. but under the ‘repeating passed courses’ section, the rules allow for a single repeat of a course to achieve the minimum entry mark for a program like soc. this retake won’t count towards your gpa or graduation requirements, but it will be on your academic record.

    either way, what’s important in your case is that yes, you are able to give SOC150 another shot!

    in order to make it happen, you’ll need to get in contact with your college registrar. they’ll be able to give you further advice as well as enrol you in the course (from what i’ve read, i don’t think you can enrol in it yourself). i believe you’ll have lower priority to get in than students taking the course for the first time, but don’t let that stop you from going after this.

    best of luck,
  • internal transfer,  prereqs,  psychology,  UTSC

    an interesting conundrum

    Hey there,

    I’m a third year psych specialist at St. George. I recently received an acceptance for internal transfer at Scarborough. I took PSY201 in the summer of my first year and remember nothing of it. Scarborough has PSYB07 as a requirement, which that excludes PSY201 (which I took), so I will have to take the next PSYC08 or PSYC09. I am not confident at all in taking these courses since I remember nothing from my first stats course. How much do I have to remember to take them? Will I be lost? Is there anyway they will let me take PSYB07 and start over?

    Please help!!



    wow an interesting conundrum; actually WANTING to take a prereq even though you’ve been excused. most people wanna skip any prereq that they can. hat’s off to you, m’dude.

    unfortunately for internal transfers, or people transferring to u of t from another university, you can’t forfeit your transfer credits, unlike IB/AP credits. so, it looks as though you will have to take PSYC08/09 without taking PSYB07.

    however, it may be a good idea to get in contact with the department of psychology at utsc to see IF (and i strongly emphasize IF!!!!!!) they can make an exception for you.

    i hope that helps!

    and justice for all suffering GIF




  • breadth requirements,  failing,  prereqs,  probation

    the consequences of failing a course


    I wanted to ask that if I fail a course which I do not need for my program
    of study and have just taken it as a breadth requirement, what will the
    consequence be?
    will I have to retake the course? will I be put on probation? will I be
    kicked out of uni?
    So I just wanna know what exactly will happen since I don’t need it as a
    pre req for my program of study!




    great question. since it’s not required for your program, you won’t have to retake the course unless you really wanted to retake THAT specific course. in terms of how many times you can retake the course, you’re allowed to the retake the course as many times as you want until you pass the course (but why would you do that unless you need to). once you receive a passing grade in the course, you won’t be able to retake it to achieve a higher grade without the permission of a registrar.

    if you fail a course, a grade point of 0.0 will be assigned for that course, but you’ll only be put on academic probation if your CGPA is lower than 1.5. academic probation is a whole other story but they have a helpful chart to show you how it works.

    don’t worry, you won’t be kicked out of uni!




  • applying for U of T,  arts & sciences,  math,  other schools (boo!),  prereqs,  PUMP,  transfer credits

    transferring + that calculus requirement

    Hey Aska, I had a question regarding the calculus requirement for Life
    Science programs. I haven’t took high school calculus, and am moving soon
    and want to transfer to U of T. I am currently taking a first year math
    course here at York.  The U of T website says “A suitable community college
    or university course in calculus” counts,  but I’m not sure if the course
    I’m taking, “Mathematics for the Life and Social Sciences” will count since
    it’s not strictly calculus  (though it covers Biocalculus for at least 85%
    of the course.) please let me know if I can fulfill the requirement with
    the course I’m taking (and if so, what mark is satisfactory, since I don’t
    think I can pull off an A atm). If I can’t fulfill the requirement I’ll
    just take PUMP or night school.

    Thank you Aska, I appreciate your help!!



    so U of T has a great resource called ‘transfer explorer’ where you can plunk in a course taken at another institution (in your case, york) to see what its U of T equivalent would be. when you put in  ‘MATH1505: mathematics for the life and social sciences’ in transfer explorer, it states that the equivalent (last assessed in 2014) is U of T’s JMB170.

    the course description of JMB170, doesn’t give me the impression that it is a calculus course. i’m not sure what life science program you’re trying to get into, but from my point of view, MATH1505 doesn’t seem like it would carry over and be considered as a valid calculus course.

    just out of curiosity, i took a quick look at the department of psychology’s calc requirement and couldn’t find anything that would include JMB170. if i’m not mistaken, calculus courses at U of T generally have MAT course codes. my recommendation for you would be to contact your chosen life science program directly.

    contacting the faculty of arts and science may also be able to help you with this issue, since they are the ones who decide ultimately which courses transfer over.

    if worse comes to worse, PUMP is definitely a good option. you’ve done your research!

    good luck with everything and i hope you have a smooth transfer process!

    peace and love,


  • prereqs

    malfoy voice: “i didn’t know you could read”

    Hi. I’m taking both MAT232 and MAT244 this semester but I am planning to drop MAT244 and take it next year instead. However the prequisite for MAT244 says MAT233 or corequisite MAT232. Does that means that for me to take MAT244 next year I have to take MAT233 too? Or taking MAT232 is fine?


    hey there,

    so, maybe i’m missing something here, or maybe you just can’t read, but as far as i can tell, the prerequistes for MAT244 are either MAT135+136/137/157 and MAT223/240. as far as i can tell, MAT233 is not a course that exists. neither is 232.

    if you mean MAT223 or 240 – then yes, you would only have to take one of the two to satisfy the prereq requirements.

    essentially, you would need to take one of the classes from every ‘group’ in the prerequisite line to fulfill the requirements. for example, if you were to take MAT137 and 240, you would be good. you would not also have to take MAT135+136, MAT157 and MAT223.

    basically, any time there’s a slash, that’s an “or,” rather than an “and.”

    also keep in mind that you will have to take one of the listed corequisites while you’re taking MAT244.

    just follow what it says in the calendar listing, and you’ll be A-ok.



  • failing,  prereqs

    try try and try again


    I failed a course that is a prerequisite for my program ( I got a 45) and the next offering of the course is not until the next school year, i.e 2015-2016 fall semester. Will I have to wait an entire school year to retake the class or is their possibly anything I can do during this school year?

    PS: How long does it generally take for people to complete their undergrad? I don’t think I’ll be finishing in 4yrs and I’m pretty bummed about it tbh.



    hey there,

    ahh man, i’m sorry. that’s never a fun experience. you can contact the department to see if there are any other options (like taking an equivalent course at utsc/utm, taking it during the summer – the summer timetable isn’t out yet, so it still may be offered, etc.). but it’s possible you’ll have to wait until next fall/winter.

    you also may want to reflect a bit about whether the subject POSt you’re interested in is the right one for you. maybe contact your college registrar to make an appointment and chat about it.

    as for how long it takes, i have two things to say about that:

    1) lots of people take more than four years to complete their undergrads. people take breaks to work, people do make-up years to boost their GPA, people sometimes want to take more courses at the undergrad level about something that really interests them…the list goes on.

    also, one failed course does not automatically add a year to your degree. don’t resign yourself to a fifth year yet.

    2) even if lots of people DIDN’T take fifth years, that shouldn’t stop YOU from taking one.

    listen, the earlier you learn this lesson, the better it’s gonna be for you: do what you feel most comfortable with. one of the best things about uoft is how flexible it is (EVEN BETTER than the cold, the old buildings with wonky heating, the huge first year classes and the fact that there’s no subway station midway between Queen’s Park and Museum).

    it’s in your best interest to take advantage of that flexibility and make your university experience make sense for YOU. i know failing is never fun, but there are lots of options for you, and if an extra year is something you WANT to do, you shouldn’t let anything stop you. POWER TO THE PEOPLE! or person. singular or plural.



  • prereqs

    fulfilling prereqs, prefilling fulreqs

    Hello! I have a question that I cannot seem to find the answer to, hopefully you can help me out! If the prerequisites for a winter semester course are that 4 credits have been completed, can I take it if I have 4 credits completed by the end of the fall semester?


    hey there,

    yes! two things, though:

    1) make sure that you have completed 4.0 credits, as opposed to just 4 courses. there’s a big difference.

    2) departments can pull people from courses who haven’t completed the prerequisites at any time. they shouldn’t pull people now from winter term courses, but just in case it does happen by accident, just contact the department that runs the course, explain that the prereq will be done by the time you start the course, and have them put you back in.

    and that’s all! i hope you enjoy your class.



  • prereqs


    Hi aska,


    So, I was supposed to be going into 2nd year but I slacked too much last year and I only completed CSC108 & 148, therefore I am considered as a first year still.
    This year I want to take STA220 but the prereq says Grade 12 math and “one University course in the physical, social, or life sciences”
    What kind of specific courses do I need to have in order to fulfil the requirement? Will CSC courses do?
    And if I did enrol in that course without the prereq, would I get kicked out? I have Grade 12 functions calculus & data btw.

    Thanks in advance 🙂


    hey there,

    if you take a look at this terribly secret document i like to call the course calendar, you’ll see that CSC108 (as well as CSC148) fulfils the ‘physical and mathematical universes’ breadth requirement. in ‘distribution requirements,’ both courses say: ‘this is a Science course.’ also, they are both called computer SCIENCE.

    uoft’s documents can be infuriatingly vague a lot of the time, but this is not one of those times. they’re both university physical science courses. science. physical science at university. university physical science.

    grade 12 calculus and data are both grade 12 math courses. again, this is not a tricky one to interpret. those courses are grade 12 mathematics courses, so you would meet the requirement. if you didn’t have the prereqs, they would kick you out, but you do!

    woo! you get to take stats. excited?


  • enrollment,  prereqs,  ROSI

    ROSI isn’t magic

    Hey there!

    So I’m planning out my courses for Fall 2015, trying to prepare for the impending bloodbath of Course Enrolment. There is a course I don’t meet all the prerequisites for that I wish to enrol in, and I have obtained permission from the professor to take it. His only concern was that when enrolment comes around I might be automatically be flagged by ROSI as not having the prerequisites and therefore not allowed to add the course, he wasn’t sure but wanted me to find out in case he needed to do anything on his end to let me in. Do you know if I will be automatically blocked by ROSI? Does it have some kind of self-monitoring system?

    Thanks 🙂


    hey there,

    you already talked with a prof about a course you’re taking in Fall 2015? can’t you just…take the prerequisites…this year?

    i’m gonna trust that you just made a typo and meant Fall 2014, but otherwise, this is an entirely different question. anticipating the bloodbath pretty far ahead, you know?

    ROSI isn’t like, a sentient creature, though it seems to have enough hang-ups and tantrums to qualify as one. it doesn’t know automatically if you meet the prereqs for a course. so you’ll be able to enrol in the course, but the department that administers it has total discretion to kick you to the curb at any time if you don’t meet the prereqs – usually near the beginning of the semester.

    since the department’s staff are the ones who pull people from courses, they need to know who gets a free pass. i would go talk to the department that runs the course as soon as possible, preferably with a letter from the prof explaining why you’ve been allowed into the course. if they approve it, then you should be able to enrol in and stay enrolled in the course, no problem.



  • prereqs,  subject POST

    Quick question about minors (In terms of majors/minors, not little children haha!)

    Hello aska! I just have a really quick question about the Minor in Professional Writing (sorry if that’s a bit too specific). It states that “4.0 credits are required including at least 1.0 at the 300/400 level”. Now I did the only course in second year ( Which was also a prerequisite, WRI203H5), but then the “Upper Years” section states that I need 1.5 to 3.5 credits. Wouldn’t I NEED 3.5 credits to fulfill the 4 credit criteria, or am I missing something? Sorry to bother you! and THANK YOU 🙂


    hey there,

    “sorry if that’s too specific”; honey, i LIVE for specific questions. any questions where i have to do as little work as possible are questions i love. i’m pretty sure i was a male lion in a past life, sleeping for 22 hours a day.

    also, you’re not bothering me. this is my job. and answering questions is a much better use of my time than rewatching BBC sherlock with worrying frequency and falling asleep on my couch.

    what happened here is that the people writing the calendar tried to be as specific as possible, but instead of clearing things up, it just got more confusing. so let’s try to detangle it:

    let’s say you took WRI203H5 and the required 1.0 FCE 300- or 400-level WRI course (“4.0 credits are required including at least 1.0 at the 300/400 level“). then you started thinking to yourself, “i’m DONE with these WRI courses. they are silly and a WASTE OF MY TIME.” why you’d think that when you’re in the minor, i don’t know, but hey, maybe some other, non-WRI courses struck your fancy.

    well, in that case, you are allowed to use “[a]?maximum of 2.0 credits of approved writing-intensive courses or writing-related elective courses” to fulfil the requirement for the minor – that is, non-WRI courses. as you’ll notice, if you take WRI203H5, WRI3**Y5/WRI4**Y5, and 2.0 “approved writing-intensive or writing-related elective courses,” you get 4.0 FCEs, which meets the requirements for the minor! so there you have it. that’s how you can only take 1.5 upper-year WRI FCEs?and still get a minor in professional writing and communication.

    however, if you really do like your program, you can just take WRI203H5 plus 3.5 WRI FCEs, for a total of 4.0 FCEs, and also fulfil the requirements for the minor.

    and of course, you can take only 0.5 non-WRI courses, and 3.0 upper-year WRI courses, or 1.0 non-WRI and 2.0 upper-year WRI…etc. etc. etc.

    wow, that was a lot longer than i anticipated. i really hope it made sense.



    P.S. i’m sorry, i had to use your e-mail subject line as the title of this post, because it is just too good. i hope you don’t mind. i just love it.

  • prereqs

    transparency is the thing to be

    Hey aska,

    I was wondering, if i were to be granted to a course by the faculty without taking its prerequisite, will the course still count towards my degree and fulfill any subject post requirements?



    hey there,

    i mean, yeah, as long as the department/professor gives you permission, i think it should be fine. just make sure you go about getting permission the right way, i.e. get it in writing yadda yadda so you have definite proof. when the people who check over all students for prereqs get to you, you’ll need to present proof that you are allowed to stay in the course.

    if you do that correctly and pass the course, i think it should count. but you should definitely ask the department you’re dealing with about it. after all, they’re the ones who decide what counts towards their programs, and in situations like this, it’s always best to be completely transparent and have open communication with the people who are bending the rules for you.

    stay groovy,