• failing,  first year,  math


    Hi! I’m a first year looking to double major in IR/Econ. I am doing okay in my IR reqs, all things considered, but I am failing mat137, like, big time. I’ve spoken with a registrar, and I just want to know, in your experience, is it possible to recover in a full year course from failing in the first term? Or should I drop and retake in the summer? Also, do you know of any reputable tutors that could help, outside of the math learning centre?


    hello friend,

    IR and econ! a classic combination. very aoc of you.

    i’m glad you’ve spoken to your registrar— that’s always a smart move when you’re in a less-than-ideal academic situation. if you’re open to it, you might also consider booking an appointment with a learning strategist, who might be able to help you identify any challenges in the way that you currently study for math. you can then develop a plan with them to tackle those challenges.

    i’m assuming that a recovery looks like a mark of 60+ in the course, since that’s what’s required for entry into the econ major? i can’t predict how easy it’s going to be to recover in a full year course if you’ve been failing the first term, since a lot of that will depend on how badly you’re failing and what the structure of the course looks like. if there’s more weight in the second half of the course than the first, there’s more hope for a recovery. what i can tell you with some certainty is that it’ll take a lot of hard work to recover, should you choose that path.

    if i were you, assuming you don’t desperately need to devote your time and energy to other courses, i might stick it through for a few more months and see if things get better. you have until february 22 to decide whether you want to drop the course, and that’s some time from now.

    you could also technically request a late withdrawal as late as may, which basically means that the course will appear on your transcript with a LWD notation instead of a failing grade. both of those are good options if you don’t think it’s possible for you to pass the course, although i think dropping is probably better than an LWD since the course won’t show up on your transcript at all.

    unfortunately, i don’t actually know of any reputable tutors for u of t math. tutors will usually post their numbers on bulletin boards across campus, but alas, i’m not sure these are the times for that right now. you might try asking r/UofT on reddit, maybe? although i always warn people to take what they see there with a grain of salt, since r/UofT is a lil chaotic and sometimes unreliable.

    best of luck! i really hope that you manage to turn things around. if you continue to struggle with this decision, you can always head back to the registrar, talk to upper years (if you know any), or seek out trusted friends/family for advice.

    thank you for waiting for this answer—a ton of first years are struggling right now and i have a lot of stuff in my inbox to sift through. you’re certainly not alone in this.

    if you’re not yet done your exams, i hope the rest of your semester goes well. otherwise, have a good and well-deserved holiday break! if you need me, i’ll be watching the heck out of dash and lily on netflix, because hey, if there was ever a year for a sappy unrealistic christmas series it’s this one. don’t roast me. haven’t we all reverted back to our twelve-year-old selves, anyway?

    #dash and lily from we're on pause. future? unsure.

    be Boundless,


  • economics,  enrollment,  enrolment,  international relations,  math

    wrote this post up so fast my keyboard caught fire

    hi! i’m planning on doing a double major in international relations and public policy in second year. but for first year courses i have to take eco101 and 102 as eco105 conflicts with my vic one course and i want to stay in that program. do i need to take a first year math course with eco 101 and 102? i know that not taking a math will limit choices in eco courses in upper years, but if i don’t plan on focusing in economics is taking a first year math course helpful? thank you!



    i hope this answer is getting to you in time for your course enrolment. i’m pretty sure it is. mannnn every year i forget to budget time for the deluge of questions that surround important dates like first year course enrolment. now i gotta be speedy.

    as far as i know, you’re not required to take a first year math course with eco101 or eco102. i think you may have gotten that idea from the ‘recommended preparation’ line, which states that you should take calculus or advanced functions in order to be prepared for this course. as far as i know, though, ‘recommended preparation’ courses are never a strict requirement. you can definitely get away with ignoring recommended preparation. that’s a choice you’ll have to make for yourself, but anyway, i’m not sure that taking a first year math course alongside eco101/102 would help given that math is recommended preparation? 

    in terms of worrying about future prerequisites, it’s true that math courses are required for many upper-year econ courses. but as far as i can tell, you can definitely complete your IR major without a first-year math course. a lot of the upper-year econ courses that require math are only elective options for you, and you’ll be able to choose other courses from the IR list that don’t require a first year math credit. you can check this over with an academic advisor at your registrar’s office if you want (remember to include your student number if you send an email). but an in-depth perusal of the international relations calendar entry should confirm this. if you don’t plan on taking any of the econ electives, i wouldn’t recommend taking a first year math course, especially if you don’t have a burning desire to learn math.

    i hope this helped! good luck with your course enrolment. also, eco101 and eco102 have kicked the butts of many dear friends of mine, so best of luck. if you pay attention and stay caught up with your work, i have full faith in your ability to succeed in those courses.

    closing this post off with a stupid, vaguely math-related gif i found and wanted to share:

    be Boundless,


  • applying for U of T,  math,  Transferring

    u ought ta transfer!

    I’m currently a first year student in a mathematics program at the University of Ottawa. I am very passionate about maths and am hoping to pursue a career in the field, possibly in research. I am finishing the first semester with a GPA of around 9.4 or 9.6/10.0 (as uOttawa is on a 10.0 scale), which is about a 3.7-3.8 on the 4.0 scale. I decided to stay in my hometown due to the costs associated with studying in a different city and I was offered a good scholarship at uOttawa, but after one semester, my drive as been rekindled and I was hoping to transfer to UofT for the Mathematics Specialist in September, even though I would have to stay for an additional semester to graduate. Do you know if it is likely that these transfers are accepted (the site only lists a B average as required)?. Is UofT very selective about their transfer applicants? Do they simply look at grades at university to determine transfer acceptance?




    as i’ve said time and time again, i have no effin’ clue how u of t reviews and selects their applicants!!!!! this website says that you need a solid “B” average to be competitive and that they factor in both university and your entire academic history, so i’d trust that information.

    just breathe GIF by chescaleigh


    essentially, you would be applying to u of t generally at first. if you’re admitted, that’s when you’d apply to programs within the university specifically based on your transfer credits. take a look at the math calendar for the specific program that you’re interested in to see what their requirements are. then, you’d use this handy dandy transfer explorer to see what transfer credits you’re eligible for. those transfer credits are then confirmed after you’re accepted and you get a transfer credit assessment from the faculty. depending on what your transfer credit situation is like, you MIIIIGHT (emphasis on MIGHT!) be able to transfer directly into math without having to be a “first year” student (which means you aren’t in a program). this is totally just my (very educated) guess though, so it might not actually work out like that.

    i’m not totally sure what the process is like for transfer students and getting into programs (i’ve never been a transfer student) but i think that should be all you need to know. i’d also recommend contacting someone from the math department for any other questions you might have about their programs and transferring into them. their contact info can be found here.

    calling karen gillan GIF by HULU

    best of luck!



    (PS- the title took me forever to come up with y’all better be grateful!!!!!)

  • admissions,  life science,  math

    you gotta math no matter what

    I am currently a high school student in grade 12 and considering Nursing at UofT. I’ve noticed one of the prerequisites for nursing is life sciences. And to take life sciences, I need to have advanced functions and/or calculus and vectors. The thing is, I was a little late in realizing this and I am taking data management (MDM4U) this year only because I took college math in grade 11 and therefore don’t have the requirements to take advanced fuctions/calculus (MHF4U/MCV4U respectively) in grade 12.
    Do you know if UofT makes any exceptions to these situations? Would I be able to take some sort of introductory course or something during first-year? I am open to options!

    I’ve searched the internet high and low for answers but it seems like I’m the only one with this problem 🙁



    whoa! a grade 12 student thinking about their POST GRAD ambitious? damn, i’m in third year and i barely know what i’m doing with my undergrad. but good on ya.

    let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. i’m only going to address the whole getting into life sciences thing in my response.

    so, unfortunately, if you don’t have grade 12 calculus and vectors, you will not be admitted into the life sciences stream. you can check out this link to see the specific grade and course requirements for each admission stream.

    something that you could possibly, maybe, potentially do is to apply for u of t under a different admission stream, like humanities or social sciences, that only requires grade 12 english. the admission categories (life science, humanities, etc.) are only really important in first year (you actually declare your majors/minors/specialist after first year) and you can take courses outside of your admission stream (ie. a humanities student could take life sci courses).

    i don’t know if this is necessarily the best option, though. basically, students who are in a certain admission category get first dibs (or priority) on courses that are associated with that category. so, life science students would get first dibs on life science courses. this means that even if you wanted to take those courses, you might not get into them because you wouldn’t have first dibs as a non-life science student. also, most life science programs require some sort of first year math course and the prerequisite for those first year calculus courses is… high school calculus.

    new girl ugh GIF

    unfortunately… you’re gonna have to do grade 12 calculus at some point some how if you wanna do life sci here. i’m sorry, i wish i could’ve told you otherwise, but we here at askastudent are committed to the truth.

    good luck.



  • grad school,  math,  non degree

    brave potential grad student

    Hi Aska!

    I’m currently getting a computer science bachelors with a math minor from another Canadian university, and I want to apply for a masters in mathematics at uoft. I think my GPA is high enough but I’m not sure I have an “appropriate bachelors degree” and haven’t made connections with any of my math professors for letters of reference.

    So I changed my plan to:
    – apply as a non-degree student
    – take a year to do a bunch of math courses
    – get letters of reference from them
    – apply for masters
    – ???
    – profit

    I’ve also emailed the graduate unit to ask for application requirements, so I thought as long as I could get the specifics cleared, ie. what courses do I need to take to prove I can do a masters in math as a computer science undergrad? things would go smoothly. However, I was looking at this and it says that full-time non-degree special students need at least two letters of reference. Are non-degree special students the same thing as non-degree students? Does this mean I need reference letters to apply as a non-degree student? Am I basically screwed because I need letters of reference to get my letters of reference? If yes, do you know of any alternatives? I don’t want to do another bachelors but I’m not really sure how I can get in otherwise.



    when i got your email i was immediately delighted. i. LOVE. plans! alrighty, lets get down to business (to get you into a math masters at u of t) (which sounds absolutely terrifying you brave brave soul math sucks)

    shirtless disney GIF

    according to the math department’s graduate program’s minimum admission requirements (which i think you’ve already taken a look at, but i’m just gonna regurgitate some info for you here), applicants must hold an “appropriate bachelor’s degree” with a final year average of at least a B-average, at least three reference letters, a letter of intent, and a CV.

    as you mentioned, you aren’t sure if you have an “appropriate bachelor’s degree” nor do you think you have anyone who you could put down as a reference. in that case, applying to u of t as a non-degree student first in order to get some math credits under your belt/ meeting some profs for reference letters may be a good idea. the link that you had sent me is actually the info for applying as a non degree GRADUATE student, but if you wanted to just take some math courses in order to get into a masters program, you’d actually want to apply as a non-degree undergrad. you can check this link out for the application process, just scroll down to “non-degree applicants.” totally understand the confusion though, since you ultimately wanna be a grad student here.

    i also took a closer look at the master’s admission requirements. they list some informal “suggested prerequisites” in this pdf. while they do list u of t courses, they also say that “there is no fixed or rigid list of prerequisites” and they describe concepts and topics that you should be familiar with, rather than strict course equivalents. take a look through their suggested prereqs and see how many of the topics/ concepts that you have covered with your math minor. maybe you already have all the requirements fulfilled. it would probably be a good idea to get in contact with the math department directly for more information.

    so basically, tldr; you should look into applying as a non-degree undergrad student and look into the informal prereqs the math department has. then, decide your next move, whether that be coming as a non-degree student or applying for the grad program directly. it’s up to you!

    point pointing GIF by funk

    i hope this helps!



  • courses,  first year,  math

    O! math.

    Can i study the most basic math course like MAT133Y1 without having high school calculus and only studying till O level maths, I just need to meet the min requirements for econ majoring



    according to the faculty calendar, “high school calculus” is a pre-req for MAT133. however, because there are so many different education systems that the university encounters with its newly admitted students, it would be impossible to account for every single education system and how they would be related to the canadian and/or ontario education system. what i’m getting at is that your O level maths may be enough to satisfy the “high school calculus” requirement.

    get in touch with the math department. they would be able to give you a definite response to your question.

    though you may technically have the requirement fulfilled with O level maths, you might find that MAT133 is a little too difficult for you. there is, of course, no shame in that whatsoever. but if you do find yourself struggling in MAT133, the math department runs drop-in math aid centres with TAs and mentors. i suggest checking them out, if you need help.

    i hope this helps!

    confused math GIF by CBC



  • arts & sciences,  choosing,  computer science,  courses,  keeners,  math,  programs

    compsci conundrum

    I am planning on attending UTSC (but I think this question should be
    applicable to the other campuses) this September, and I am looking for
    advice on whether I should aim for a major + 2 minor or (software
    engineering) specialist program in Computer Science.

    I am leaning towards the major + 2 minor option for the following reasons:

    The specialist program requires some additional courses that I think would
    make it more difficult than the major. For example, it requires both Linear
    Algebra II and Intro to Probability, whereas the major program let’s you
    choose one of them. Another math course that is required is Calculus of
    Several Variables I, which just sounds terrifying. And I know that math is
    important in CS, but, I am only okay in math (ended with 83 in functions
    because trig killed me [I probably wouldn’t have done that well on it in
    the first place, but I planned poorly for other subjects, and so did not
    have time to study for the unit test]; calc seems much more interesting,
    though), and so I would like to skip some of these math courses.
    Additionally, I am not sure how useful or hard some of the additional CS
    courses like Intro to Numerical Algorithms for Computational Mathematics or
    Computability and Computational Complexity will be—they all seem very
    abstract and not-practical.

    Another reason I want the major + 2 minor is that I would get two minors. I
    am taking Writer’s Craft this year and have realized that I quite enjoy
    creative writing. It just so happens that UTSC offers a minor program under
    English called Creative Writing. I think taking this minor alongside the CS
    major would be a great way to lessen the workload and pursue something I
    enjoy, while also pursing something else I enjoy that can actually earn me
    money. Having only math and theory-based CS courses besides a small number
    of electives is not too appealing to me. I realize that those courses are
    better than practical programming courses in the long-run, but having them
    make up the vast majority of my degree seems a bit painful. I don’t have a
    solid pick for a second minor yet, but I don’t think it would be hard for
    me to choose one (linguistics and food science are top contenders).

    Here, then, are reasons I might want to go the specialist route:

    I’m special.

    I think some of the courses the specialist has you take would be pretty
    beneficial. For example, since my goal is to get a job as a programmer, the
    courses that seem to teach you how to do stuff in a real-world environment
    like Intro to Software Engineering and Engineering Large Software Systems
    could really be useful, and I might be missing out if I opt for the major.
    There are also a few other courses like Programming on the Web and Intro to
    Databases which could add to my skill set and make me more marketable for
    co-op and post-post-secondary jobs. I am of course just predicting how
    valuable these courses might be form their names and descriptions alone;
    that’s why I’m asking you! The major program only allows you to take 1
    credit of additional C/D-level (300/400-level) CS courses, which means
    missing out on some potentially useful courses. I am guessing that it is
    not possible to take more as electives, but is it?

    My minors will probably also not help at all with my future career; I would
    only be taking them to lessen the amount of math/CS courses and increase
    the amount of enjoyable courses. Is that a bad thing to do?

    So, to conclude, do you think the benefits for taking the specialist
    program (additional useful courses) outweighs the cons (more un-fun
    courses; less fun courses)? Both choices aid the mind, but in different
    ways (i.e. one probably reduces chances of suicide).

    Thank you and sorry for the long message; I wanted to make my points clear



    i began penning a response to this question that went a little something like: “just go with your gut! it seems like you’re leaning towards the major and two minors option! why not pursue that?”, but upon further reflection, i’ve decided that we need to rewind a little, if that’s okay with you.

    (just so you know, i’m not a computer science student, nor have i taken any computer science classes and i’m just as confused as you are about these programs. i’m speaking only as a seasoned upper year student)

    before i start ripping into you, (it’s going to happen, i’m sorry) kudos to you for thinking this hard about what program you want to get into. it’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought into this, which is great. this response isn’t supposed to make you feel bad- i just want to bring you back to earth a little.

    so, first- you’ve made some serious assumptions on what these courses are going to be like. i can tell you from experience that i’ve made assumptions based on course names and have been incredibly wrong. classes also vary pretty dramatically depending on the instructor.

    *askastorytime* i took a class called urban geography, planning, and political processes. i thought was going to be super difficult and intense, but it ended up being super chill. for our final project, we created a zine and performed a rap for the class. for our group presentation, i contributed a sick drum beat and didn’t even utter a single word. moral of the story: do not judge courses by their names. linear algebra is probs super easy. (i’m kidding. math is never easy. math is very hard. we mustn’t joke about math.)

    your assumptions that some classes are “abstract”, “non-practical” or “terrifying” are all based on the course name. the truth is, every program at u of t will require a great deal of hard work. sure, easy courses exist, but transitioning from high school to first year is a huge challenge and you need to take that into account. picking the major and two minors option over a specialist program doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be choosing the ‘easier route’. like i’ve said in previous posts, it really depends on how deep you want to get into a subject. a major and two minors allows you to explore a larger variety of subjects whereas a specialist will let you dig deep into one subject. which option are you more interested in?

    while the university does have a breadth requirement which encourages us to take courses outside of our faculty, personally, if i were to choose two minors that were completely unrelated to my major, i feel like i would have lots of difficulty focusing on each one and feel like a scatterbrain. for others who are better at multitasking and switching between subjects easily, a major and two minors is perfect! it really depends on what kind of person you are. can you turn your computer science mind off and jump right into phonetics and phonology if you need to? you’ll have to test that out in your first year! p.s. don’t forget to take a moment to check out the requirements for your potential minors and their different application requirements.

    that being said, from what i’ve heard, computer science is extremely math heavy. there is no easy way out. you have been warned.

    for now, i think you should try picking courses that are prerequisites for the general computer science programs (if you are sure about pursuing computer science), and see how you feel about them. fear not, the utsc calendar literally says that it’s not meant to be difficult to switch between different streams within computer science.

    you have plenty of time to discuss your options with an academic advisor as well! you can also talk to the program supervisor for computer science if you have more specific questions about the available compsci programs.

    i’d also encourage you to reach out to current or past computer science alumni to get some different perspectives on how they chose their programs. hearing other people’s thought processes might help you figure out what you’re looking for!

    hey, if doing programming for your whole undergrad sounds terrible for you, maybe computer science isn’t the right program for you. your first year is meant for you to explore and discover what courses you like. you don’t even necessarily need to get into your program by second year if you still don’t know what to do after your first year.

    so in conclusion, specialist courses won’t necessarily be more useful in the long run, and if the idea of specializing in software engineering doesn’t sound colourful enough for you, maybe the major and two minor option will be better for you! again, you really need to take some university level classes to see what it’s really like here. don’t judge a book by its cover, yo.

    good luck with your decision, i hope you choose a program you like!

    peace and love,


  • admissions,  applying for U of T,  life science,  math

    much mystery, such confusion

    I’ve applied to life science and have a 70 in advanced functions. I see the the prerequisites are only English and calculus. How much would you look at that mark if my overall average is around a 86



    *as a student blogger, i won’t be the one looking at your mark at all, so don’t hold me to this answer*

    they will definitely consider your overall average, but they “reserve the right” to look at specific courses depending on what you’re applying for.

    since you’re applying to lifesci, your science grades should be on the higher side. i wouldn’t be toooo concerned about your advanced functions grade if your science grades and overall average are high. keep in mind though, admissions will consider tons of things when they look at your application, not just your grades, so you’ll never really know why you got in or why you didn’t get in. so mysterious.

    hope this was somewhat helpful,


  • 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,


  • math,  repeating course

    again and again…and again

    Hi, since I need MAT135 up to a 60% for cs major but i only got a 50% during the school year, but i am not doing too well this summer, now i wonder what will happen if i fail this course during the summer, will it still count in my gpa or no


    hey there,

    those differential equations giving you grief, eh? i feel you on that one.

    according to the Rules & Regulations in the course calendar, it looks like you can only repeat a passed course one time. i’m specifically looking at the line that says: “Students may not use this one-time-only allowance to subsequently repeat a passed course again after having repeated the same course for reasons noted in i) above, i.e., they may repeat a specific passed course only once.”

    that seems pretty clear cut to me, however, since these repeated courses must be added by your registrar’s office, it’s possible that your college registrar could make an exception in certain circumstances. or maybe not. i dunno. best thing to do? talk to them about it.



  • first year,  math

    lost in a STEM course maze


    I am a first year student from the States and I recently signed up for my courses on timetable. I’ve taken 2 years of AP Physics (algebra-based) and one year of AP Calculus AB. I registered for PHY151 and MAT135/136 and failed to see that PHY151 has a co-requisite of either MAT137 or MAT157. I am worried that my calculus knowledge is not quite strong enough for MAT137. I did pretty well in high school calc but not well enough that I feel super confident. After looking at the course description for MAT137 I can’t tell if it is a good idea to take it in first year. I plan to enter some type of mathematical or physical sciences program which is why I chose PHY151 (plus two years of physics).

    Is taking MAT 137 a bad idea? Should I switch to PHY131 and keep MAT135/136? If anyone knows of any major differences between the two math classes that would be greatly appreciated. I am taking CHM151 in addition to physics and math. I thought about dropping physics for first year and taking BIO120 instead (and keeping MAT135/136) because I have no clue what sciences I like best and I couldn’t bear taking all three plus math. I’m in need of advice about the two math courses and about which two of three (physics, chemistry, biology) is most important to take in first year.

    Thanks so much


    hey there,

    if you’re thinking of entering a math/physical sciences program, then yes, it does make sense to take PHY151 and MAT137 or -57. it’s great that you’re being realistic about your abilities and trying to find the calc class that works for you, but you will need to take 137/157 if you’re planning on doing PHY151.

    here’s what i would do: enrol in the PHY151 and MAT137. see how the math goes. if you took AP Calculus, you’re probably better prepared than you think. HOWEVER – and this is the important point – if you do find that it is too much for you, you can DROP DOWN to MAT135/136 by early October.

    unfortunately, it’s not possible to start in MAT135/136 and upgrade, but at least you can downgrade if you find the 137 to be completely overwhelming.

    if you do drop down, however, you will be in a sticky situation with respect to the physics class. since you have to be taking MAT137 or 157 to stay in PHY151, you will likely be removed from PHY151 unless you stay in MAT137. it’s possible to ask for an exception from the physics department, but it would certainly be an exception. it’s not something you can count on. what’s more likely is that you’ll have to make the hard decision of either abandoning physics or sticking it out in MAT137.

    that’s all pretty far down the road at this point, though. it’s pointless to stress about it now. i’ve laid out one possible strategy, but you have to do what feels right to you. down the road, if it turns out that the decision you made isn’t working for you anymore, then just change it.

    there is this rhetoric about university that makes it out to be this inflexible decision, a once-in-a-lifetime chance. it’s like the decisions you make on course enrolment day in first year will dictate the rest of your life. not so. in my first year, i knew by December of my first ever semester at university that i was in the wrong program. so i changed it. big whoop. four years later, i graduated from the right program and the right school. i’m glad i started out on the wrong path, because it helped illuminate the right one.

    as for which sciences you should take: it really depends on what program you’re interested in. if you’re thinking about a more physics-based program, you probably won’t need to take any biology, and perhaps not even any chemistry, either. the astronomy & physics specialist, for example, only requires that you take physics and math in your first year. biological physics, understandably, requires phyiscs, bio, chemistry and math (though they don’t all have to be taken in your first year).

    obviously, your ideas about which program(s) you’d like to enrol in may change after first year, but if you can decide which programs you think you might be interested in, then you can get an idea of the first year courses you might want to take.

    good luck!


  • math,  scholarships/bursaries

    don’t math if you can help it

    Hi! So, I’m finishing up grade 11 and ending the year with a precalculus class at the grade 12 level because I fast tracked. Since that means I finished up my math requirements for high school, I wasn’t planning on taking any math next year. I didn’t think it would be that big a deal, since I want to apply for Ethics, Society, and Law and PoliSci, and it won’t be on my Top 6.
    But now I’m concerned because I know that the universities at my province typically make you take at least one university level course in subjects like math, and I’m not sure if that also applies for UofT. If it does, I might retake the course again in grade 12. Will that be held against me because UofT “…reserves the right to give preference to students whose marks are a result of a single attempt at each course”?
    Ohhh one last thing! When it comes to scholarships offered by UofT, like the entrance scholarship you get if you have a 92%, do they determine that percentage using all your marks in grade 12 or just your Top 6?


    hey there,

    if you don’t want to take math, if you think not taking math will improve your average, if math isn’t good for your soul – don’t take math. trust aska. university is hard enough without taking courses you hate (and especially math. like, full offence – why do that to yourself?).

    uoft will never force you to take math if it’s not a program requirement for you, and, as you rightly pointed out, neither ethics, society & law nor poli. sci. require any math courses.

    the only thing we have that is similar to what you’re suggesting are ‘breadth requirements.’ basically, the university requires you to take one or two courses in five major areas of study which are supposed to encompass all areas of study. almost every single course in the faculty of arts & science fits into one (or sometimes two) of these categories. and yes, one of the categories is ‘The Physical and Mathematical Universes.’

    however, there are lots of ways to fill this pesky requirement that don’t involve taking math. some courses are designed to be lowballs for people who…let’s say aren’t the most number-oriented of folks. one of them is AST201, and you can find plenty more of these ‘lowballs’ on the course calendar.

    a caveat: by the time you get to subject POSt-application time, the summer after your first year, you may have changed your mind about what you want to study. that’s two years from now, after all. let’s say you change your mind, and decide to do an international relations major, for example. in that case, not having done calculus would prevent you from taking ECO100, one of the prerequisites for that program.

    my point is that not taking calculus does close some doors on you. however, you seem not to be too interested in those doors, so if it’s a choice between keeping some hypothetical future options open that you may not care about, and preserving your grades and sanity, go for the latter.

    finally: everything is determined based on your top six. that includes scholarships.



  • failing,  math

    math again, wrath again

    Hey,Without an announcement on blackboard for MATA30, I checked Rosi to see a failing mark of 45%, which is down 15% from what I had going into the exam. I am in Physical and Environmental Sciences program which also requires MATA36 semester two. I immediately re-enrolled in MATA30 and kept MATA36 for my second semester at UTSC without knowing if it will actually allow me to do this. I am wondering if that is the easiest way for me to make up the shockingly failed course. Or what other possible suggestions allow for me to continue without tuition change/summer classes.
    (I know exams and holidays means business but id appreciate the closest available help since I don’t know of any possible deadlines)Thank you


    hey there,

    first thing’s first: i’m glad you signed up for MATA30 again and secured a spot in that class. THAT WAS SMART; DON’T DROP IT. however, since MATA30 is a requirement for MATA36, they’re probably not going to let you take MATA36 until you’ve finished the former course. you can always ask the department (nothing’s stopping you), but i doubt they’ll make an exception.

    so: what you have to do now is drop MATA36. you can consider taking it next year, if you don’t want to take anything in the summer. you still have a while until the drop deadline, but the math department has the authority to pull you from the course at any point, so it’s best for you to do it before they do.

    i know it’s frustrating to have to contemplate altering your plans, and i’m sure you just want to get first-year math out of the way. but taking MATA36 in fall 2016 instead of winter 2016 (or even in the summertime) doesn’t have to completely disrupt your schedule. feel free to talk to the registrar’s office if you need further help with planning.