• physics,  subject POST,  switching

    in with a new POSt, out with the old ones


    so i just finished my first year at utsg and i have applied to do a double major in equity studies and pharmacology. within the past couple of weeks i have been getting really really into physics (which is odd because i hated physics in high school). anyways im thinking that i want to switch into a biophysics specialist degree. the issue is, that i didnt take any physics or calculus during my first year and so i basically have to restart my four years. i was just wondering how i would go about switching to the physics specialist, do i just leave my current posts as they are and take the courses that i need for physics or do i have to drop my posts somehow or something else? not sure if this changes things but equity studies is a type one so ive already been accepted and pharmacology is type 3 so im still waiting to hear back on that one. (also do you have any tips on how to cope with the fact that i wasted an entire year and thousands of dollars)

    and thank you in advance for your response!



    nice job making it through first year! it’s a perfectly normal thing to see your interests shift at this point in your degree– i can definitely relate to that, although not to getting into physics.

    to get the tedious part out of the way first– how would you go about making the change? i wouldn’t drop your POSts now, no. you need to be registered in some kind of valid program combination to be eligible for second-year course selection, so if you won’t be able to get into biophysics before fall it’s best to keep what you’ve got. think about your current programs as placeholders of sorts– ignore their requirements, and focus on taking the prereqs for your biophysics spec. then, when the program enrollment period rolls around, apply for biophys.

    chances are you already know this, but if you took the prereqs for pharmacology, you may already have the chem requirement for biophys under your belt, at least for the most basic biophysics specialist. hopefully that makes things a little less overwhelming!

    all the biophysics specialists seem to be type 1, which will hopefully make things a little easier for you. if you were switching into multiple type 2 or 3 progams, i would have advised you to apply for them first THEN drop your previous programs once you got in. just to be safe. but since yours is a type 1 and you’re switching into a specialist, that makes things a lot simpler. you’ll be able to register in biophys before dropping equity and pharm, as ACORN allows you to be in a maximum of 3 POSts at once.

    how to cope with the fact that your first year didn’t ultimately feed into your POSt? we’re fed this myth that we all need to finish our degree in four years, and that absolutely everything in our studies must count or serve a purpose or lead to a job. i’m still wrestling with this myself, because i’ve internalized that expectation. but no. everyone has their own time, their own path. this just happens to be yours. maybe it sounds wishy-washy, or cheesy, or whatever. either way, there’s nothing you can do to erase your first year and do it over, so from here all you can do is keep moving forward. i can understand if you’re bummed about it. though. i guess from a financial standpoint especially, it can be difficult to move past.

    despite not knowing you personally, i’m real proud that you’ve acknowledged where your passions lie and are willing to pursue them, even if it might not be the most convenient thing to do. so much changes when your course content gets you excited. i don’t know what this past year has been like for you, but if it’s been rough then this might be what you need for study motivation.

    i know several people who totally switched their programs when first year was over, and even one who switched faculties AND universities after her second year. everyone who i’ve seen go after something new has been really successful in their current program of study, so much so that it’s hard to imagine what things would have been like had they succumbed to inertia. i think a lot of this has to do with the fact that they followed their interests, and care a lot about what they’re studying now. maybe that’s where you’ll be in a year’s time.

    wishing you all the best, friend! i think you’re brave.

    over n out,


  • computer science,  internal transfer,  physics,  UTM

    the ol’ switcheroo

    Dear Aska,
    I’m going to be going to UTM for computer science, as that was my backup choice and I got deferred from St. George.

    However, I still feel very strongly towards physics and I was wondering if it would be possible to take physics related courses at UTM and transfer/switch my major to physics at St. George after my first year or so.

    If so, when would I apply for an internal transfer and would I be able to switch my courses from a computer science major to a physics major if I were to take courses similar to someone majoring in physics as a first year?

    Thank You!



    you really should direct this question to someone at the registrar’s office at UTM. since you aren’t even in first year yet, meaning that you haven’t enrolled in any courses yet, you should meet with an academic adviser at the registrar’s office, tell them about your situation and that you’re thinking of transferring, and they’ll be able to give you advise on which courses that you SHOULD take in your first year.

    that being said, here is some more general info that i, a humble student blogger, dug up.

    taking physics courses as a “computer science” student is totally possible. and internal transfers are also possible.

    check out this page for all the info needed to transfer to the faculty of arts and sciences (scroll down to “transferring from another u of t faculty or campus).

    it is also possible for you to take physics courses at UTM and then transfer to physics at st. george. one thing that you should be aware of is the program requirements and whether or not they’re different between the two campuses. i suggest that you take a look at the first year physics courses offered at UTM, see what their st. george equivalents are using the transfer explorer, and then see how many of the st. george program requirements you will have fulfilled with your UTM transfer credits.

    if there are courses that you need for physics at st. george that you can’t take at UTM in your first year, you can always try to transfer after your first year and then take those courses when you get to st. george.

    i really hope that helps! good luck, my young friend.

    spongebob squarepants good luck GIF



  • admissions,  physics

    up that grade

    I’m out of high school and upgrading for a year. I do not yet know what I want to do but I am leaning towards life sciences/ medicine. I took Bio and Chem, and have OK math marks (not superb but I didn’t fail). Would you recommend taking physics as part of my upgrade?

    Thank you so much for your advice! I really appreciate it!
    A confused student


    hey there,

    by upgrading, do you mean that you’re taking high school courses before applying to your undergrad?

    if so, taking physics will not necessarily improve your application. if you’re not applying to a program that requires physics, then there’s no reason that having taken physics will be beneficial for you.*

    as a high school applicant to uoft, your admission is based on the average mark of your top 6 grade 12 university or mixed courses, including any prerequisites to the program you’ve applied to.

    if physics isn’t required and you don’t anticipate doing very well, then it might not be a great idea to take it. what you may want to do instead is take courses where you think you’ll do well. that way, the courses you take will increase your average and give you a better chance of being admitted.

    not to generalize, but if your math marks were only ok, then you will probably find physics difficult. now, i don’t know you, and i could be wrong about that. ultimately, it is your decision. if you think you will do extremely well in physics, then by all means: take it.

    however, you shouldn’t be taking a course as part of an upgrade that you aren’t fairly certain will be among your strengths.

    as for medical school – physics will not make or break your application, especially at the high school level. med school actually has relatively loose requirements in terms of which courses you have to take. it’s all about your marks, interview, and MCAT scores there.

    so ultimately, your primary focus should be your confidence level around physics. if you feel it’s going to be too difficult, don’t feel pressured to take it.

    best of luck with it!


    *obviously, if you’re applying to a program that DOES require physics, then you should take it.

  • grad school,  physics

    even the physics WEBSITE is complicated

    Hi Aska! Under the physics major there is a note which says “The Physics Major program is not designed primarily for students intending to pursue graduate studies in Physics. Such students should consider the Physics Specialist or one of the joint Specialist programs.” and I was just wondering if doing a physics major rather than a specialist would impact my chances of getting into grad school? And why is this the only major I’ve come across which states this? Thanks!


    hey there,

    obviously, there are lots of physics graduate programs at many universities across the world. i can’t analyze how appropriate uoft’s major program might be for every one of them, so i’m just going to use uoft’s M.Sc. in Physics program as an example – even though their website is BASICALLY USELESS.

    the only thing the whole physics site really has to say about admission requirements for the M.Sc. program is this: “A B+ or better average in an honours physics program or a program of comparable rigour in a closely related field.

    despite the fact that there is not nearly enough information in this sentence, it’s also a very confusing sentence. and the confusion starts with the word “honours.”

    most people outside uoft – hell, most peopl inside uoft – have no idea what the word “honours” actually means. so strap yourself in and get ready for a crash course in uoft history.

    before 1992, uoft offered two bachelor’s degrees: a three-year degree, and a four-year honours degree (see “Discontinued Degrees and Upgrading“). not everyone did the honours degree. it was only for the super-special smart cookies of the university. everyone else moved to the suburbs to get their 2.5 kids and white picket fence, or whatever it is they did back then.

    nowadays, there is no more three-year degree. everyone’s degree is four years long (unless you started before 1992 OR you’re graduating with a GPA under 1.85), which means everyone gets an honours degree. no one is special anymore.

    so that’s what “honours” REALLY means. however, i have a feeling that that’s not what the physics department means by the word “honours.” i’m thinking they’re probably using it in the traditional sense, to mean a more specialized or intensive degree, like in the pre-1992 days of yore. and the reason i think this is because they say “honours physics program.” not degree, program.

    AND NOW we FINALLY get to the point: given their probable use of the word “honours,” a major program from uoft in physics, requiring as it does only 7.5 physics FCEs, is probably not rigorous enough as preparation for a master’s program. if you think about it, 7.5 FCEs is less than half of your degree, and so it might not be enough preparation for a graduate program dedicated entirely to physics.

    the specialist programs, meanwhile, require nearly double that amount of credits. they also provide more opportunities for academic research, which is invaluable for someone preparing for a graduate degree. finally, in the natural sciences (as opposed to the humanities or social sciences), there tends to be a more marked difference between majors and specialists. specialists not only require more courses, they tend to require different and more rigorous courses as well.

    of course, not all graduate programs will require this level of preparation. if you’re interested in a graduate program other than physics, or at another university, their requirements may differ, and i would urge you to research those so you have a better idea of what they’re looking for.

    i’d also highly recommend you consult with professors or administrators from the program you’re interested in. however, GENERALLY SPEAKING, natural science graduate programs tend to require or prefer what they would call an “honours” program; that is, a specialist.



  • grad school,  physics

    but an average of *what*?

    Hey Aska,

    I’m a second-year Physics Specialist student… and I didn’t do so well as I thought during the first semester. My inquiry is about graduate school. I plan on enrolling at the Physics department at U of T, the Master’s program in particular. Do they look at my CGPA or just my 3rd and 4th year average?

    Thanks a lot!


    hey there,

    the vast majority of graduate programs (especially master’s programs) only consider your last or two last years of undergrad. the department of physics doesn’t specify how many years you need to have maintained the “b+ or better average” that they require.

    likely, they don’t want to advertise that they only look at the latter years of your undergrad, but it’s best not to assume these things. i would e-mail the department at grad ( at ) physics ( . ) utoronto ( . ) ca and ask them directly.



  • med school,  physics

    shying away from physics

    Hey aska! YES, I do read your blog regularly hehehe~ I’m having trouble choosing courses for first year Life Sci, my main problem is Physics – I hate it (no offence to anyone). I cried through 2 years of A level Physics and even my parents don’t really want me to take it. BUT, I’ve heard it’s really important for upper year courses. I’m looking forward to a degree in ANYTHING Bio related. [[[[med maybe?]]]] So…exactly how vital is it that I take physics now? A little help please? Thanks!

    Oh I forgot to mention one thing (this is the anon who hates Physics): I’m taking the Maths/Calculus courses, I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.


    hey there,

    A-level physics? i spy a brit in our midst! or one of the many vestiges of british education that still litter our post-colonial world. you know how it goes.

    you could get by in an entire degree in life science without taking physics, and do quite well. there are definitely plenty of subject POSts which don’t require or emphasize physics – just browse the programs offered by cell & systems biology, human biology, cognitive science, and biology.

    additionally, medical schools don’t typically require that you have any physics credits, per se. that said, the mcat does have a physics section. while most of it was probably covered in your A-levels, some people choose to take one or two first-year physics courses just to make sure they’re ready.

    physics can enhance your understanding of calculus, and of some areas in chemistry. but i wouldn’t say it’s required.

    HOWEVER, in order to make sure that not taking it won’t impact you down the line, i would sit down one day and draw up a schedule of all the courses you’d like to take during your degree. do any of them require or recommend physics? that can help you decide.

    finally, if there are any programs you’re interested in, try contacting the department to see if you can talk to an undergraduate/program coordinator and ask for their opinion. they definitely know more about these things than little ol’ uneducated aska.



  • first year,  physics

    fun times with physics

    Hi, I’m about to become a first-year life sciences student. I’m a little interested in physics, and particularly interested in certain options it opens in life sciences (Biochem, Molecular Genetics, Immunology).

    However, it’s hard not to be mildly concerned that last year, only 47% and 39% of students of PHY131 and PHY132 respectively would retake the course if given the chance. (By contrast, 86% and 77% PHY151 and PHY152 of 2011 would retake those courses).

    So, should I take the presumably easier introductory courses? Or the foundational courses which apparently were far more engaging, on the theory that it’s easier to work hard if the course hasn’t made you hate the subject?


    Hey hey

    I say just take the basic introductory ones.

    Useful as the anti calendar may be, there’s nothing like… well, the actual calendar. Basically consider what the calendar already tells you about PHY151H and PHY152H respectively:

    A first university physics course primarily for students not intending to pursue a Specialist or Major program in Physical or Mathematical Sciences

    The second university physics course primarily for students not intending to pursue a Specialist or Major program in Physical or Mathematical Sciences.

    Evidently, those are for students who, well golly jee, actually intend to go forth with some sort of future in physics.

    So if you just need some first year physics to satisfy some requirements, 131 and 132 are perfectly fine.

    Think of it like this: the people who took 151 and 152 and gave is that higher retake rate? They probably actually liked physics. They WANTED to be there. Whereas the sorry bastards that gave 131 and 132 such low ratings? People that simply had to take it. Point being, take the results of the anti-calendar with a grain of salt.



  • physics

    screw the suggestions!


    I’m currently a grade 11 student and I’m planning on doing Biochemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry at U of T.I have taken biology and chemistry since they are requirements for the program but I have noticed that the program says physics recommended. However, I did not take grade 11 or 12 physics because I have heard about how hard it is! But do you recommend that I take both grade 11 and 12 physics next year just in case?


    Hey hey

    For biochemistry, if you do the specialist, you’re going to need physics thus yes, take the high school ones — or at least one of them. If you just plan to do a major, which does NOT need physics, then no, don’t bother. The necessary knowledge of physics here seems to be pretty basic considering even the specialist only wants 100-level courses from you.

    Now if you want pharmaceutical chemistry (which can only be taken as a specialist), you’re going to need the same first year physics.

    Verdict: ehhhh maybe take grade 11 physics at least.

    See here’s the awesome thing: PHY131H and PHY151H, the two courses you choose between to start from, don’t actually require grade 12 physics.

    So technically you CAN get into the course, but without the recommended preparation, you may very well botch those up (read: you will). So I do recommend maybe taking at least grade 11 physics to get soooooome knowledge of the sacred art of physics.



  • physics,  transfer credits,  UTM

    and another one bites the St.George dust

    I saw your site. I have a question!! So, I am a first year UTM student and I understand that I cannot take St. George courses until i finish 4.0 credits from UTM. However, can I choose a subject POST from St. George? I really want to do the physics major in St. George but I also dont think I could switch campuses because of my GPA. (chemistry is a %*#$) If I do end up picking the physics major from UTM, can I take the required courses for the major in the St. George campus even if it is offered in UTM?


    Whaddup little UTMer

    Unfortunately you would have to registered at the St.George campus to have a subject POST from that campus.

    I would suggest first going into your registrar’s office and asking them about the possibility of transferring to the downtown campus. It sounds like that’s the campus that would be best suited for you. You never know, you might secretly have the perfect CGPA to get transferred (well i don’t know really, but you might as well check).

    This is what the Arts and Science Course Calendar says about taking courses at other campuses:
    ” Students registered on the St. George campus of the Faculty of Arts & Science may enroll in most courses offered by University of Toronto Mississauga and University of Toronto Scarborough, provided that they meet the enrollment controls and prerequisites established by those divisions. These courses count towards the 20 credits required for a St. George degree and are included in the CGPA. These courses may also count towards St. George program requirements; students should check with their program office before enrolling. ”

    Meaning, that unfortunately your going to have to go into the Physics department and talk to all those scary men dropping eggs off of balconies in little contraptions trying to get them not to break AND just ask them if its cool with them if you betray UTM for St.George …. and still have it contribute to your degree.

    With Greatest Love,

  • med school,  physics

    Aska looooves med school questions


    I am currently in my 1st yr of life science taking english, bio,chem, math, and psyc. From what I have heard, some said that i need physics to get into med school, while some said i don’t. I just wanted to know which is true?
    Thanks so much!!


    Hello there Well-Rounded-First-Year

    Those ‘some’ are both wrong and right …. ewww cryptic I know.

    I would suggest looking into which medical schools your considering attending as all the schools have differing requirements for entry.

    Here’s a pretty wicked resource, it shows the prereqs for each of the med schools in Canada. Also check out this other future med school question answered previously, it might help you out a bit.

    Peace and Love Baby,

  • admissions,  grad school,  physics

    I want to be a billionaire … or a geophysist.


    Would you happen to know the requirements I would need to do a masters in geophysics?
    A friend wants to know



    Hi there The-Voice-Of-A-Friend,

    Shockingly U of T doesn’t offer a Masters in Geophysics. Don’t give up hope quite yet thought, read on.

    Here is a list of Graduate schools that DO offer a Masters in Geophysics.

    U of T, does however offer a Collaborate Degree in Geology and Physics

    Here is the most straight forward website outlining the requirements for the Collaborate program for Geology and Physics.

    THE REQUIREMENTS dun dun dun are:
    “Applicants who wish to enrol in the collaborative program must apply to and be admitted to both a graduate degree program in one of the collaborating departments, this being either Geology or Physics, and to the collaborative program.”

    Now saying that lets cover the requirments of all the three feilds that are stated.

    1) Requirements of the School of Graduate Studies:

    For a Masters program the website says, “an appropriate bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, with a final year average of at least mid-B from a recognized university”

    2) Requirements for the Home Department
    “A B+ or better average in an honours physics program or a program of comparable rigour in a closely related field.”


    • A four-year B.Sc. or B.A.Sc, or its equivalent from a recognized university.
    • High academic standing, equivalent to a B or higher (equivalent to a 3.0 on a 4 point scale) at the University of Toronto, normally demonstrated by the average grade in the final year

    3) Requirements for The Collaborate Program:

    • Students must meet all respective degree requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, the home department, and the collaborative program.
    • The MSc research, thesis, and thesis defence requirements are the same as those of the home department.
    • The MSc will normally require work equivalent to 5.5 FCE as follows:
    • The core course GLG 1101H (0.5 FCE)
    • Two lecture courses in Geology (1.0 FCE)
    • Two lecture courses in Physics (1.0 FCE)
    • A supervised research project in the field of geophysics or the overlap area of physics and geology (3.0 FCE)
    • The supervised research project and associated report or thesis will be completed under the regulations of the home department.
    • Students are expected to attend the regular seminar series of both the Geology Department and the Geophysics Lab in the Physics Department and to participate in the graduate student seminar programs of both the Geology Department and the Geophysics Lab.
    • Program requirements are normally completed within 12 months of entry to the program.

    I realize that this is an alarming amount of information for your friend. So, they are encouraged to call the Geology and collaborate program (416) 978-3231 and ask them with any specific questions

    What a good little friend you are. Your friend owes you a pint, and if not the all powerful Aska will smite their geophysist butt.

    Love Always and Forever,

  • engineering,  physics

    those brave artscis at skule

    Hi aska,

    I have a few questions that I hope you can answer. I’m starting at U of T next year and an aspiring physics student, so you may be the perfect one to answer my questions.

    First: I’d really like to take a practical electronics class but there seems to be nothing like that offered by the physics faculty and, as I understand it, engineering classes are off-limits to everyone else. Is there any way around this or any chance to take that kind of class? Electricity is so much a part of physics that it surprises me there are no practical classes in it.

    Second: I’d like your general advice on balancing the courseload. As I understand it, to get into the physics major program you need Foundations of Physics I and II as well as a calculus class, leaving 2 spaces open for other things. I’d like to take Mandarin, for example, but am finding it difficult to decide what classes would make my workload too high.

    I’m sure I had more questions but, lucky for you, I’ve forgotten them. Thanks in advance!


    And lucky for you, I haven?t forgotten to reply your email. But first of all, let me just say a quick ?WELCOME TO UofT!? It?s always nice to see new prospective physics students. By the way, have I told you lately that I love you?! *aska unabashedly expresses his blatant favoritism*

    You?re right ? there aren?t many practical electronics classes in the physics department. I?m looking at the list of existing physics courses right now, and the only one I see is:

    Electronics Lab (formerly PHY305H1) [24L, 36P]

    The laboratory functions as an integrated lecture course/laboratory program. Passive linear circuits: theorems, networks, and equivalents; meters, transient and steady responses, power, transformers, transmission lines. Digital devices: gates logic, Boolean algebra, minimization, flip-flops, counters, delays. Op-amps: dependent sources, amplifiers, integrators, feedback, slew rate, filters. Diodes: peak detector, rectification, regulators. Noise: sources, grounding, shielding, ground loops. Transistors: characteristics, analysis, amplifier design.

    That sounds like the kind of thing you?re looking for. However, if you are really really interested in electronics, you may want to take some courses from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (which is part of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering), such as?”Introductory Electronics” or “Digital Systems”. Engineers are generally exclusive jerks ? they take our courses all the time, yet us Arts and Science students rarely get to take their courses. Still, if you take a look at your calendar, you?ll see that it?s actually possible to take courses outside the Arts&Sci:

    If, however, they identify a course(s) offered in another division, faculty or school of the University that may be appropriate for inclusion in their degree program, they may petition for permission to register in the course for degree credit. In the petition, students must establish that the content and aims of the course(s) are valid for a specific Arts & Science program and cannot not be met by courses offered within the Faculty of Arts & Science. The students should initiate the procedure well in advance of the beginning of classes, so that they may choose alternate courses should the request is denied.

    So you could potentially take some electronics courses from the Faculty of Engineering. But I have to warn you. You?ll have to do a lot of extra work. You?ll have to research the specific courses you want to take from engineering (a copy of the engineering course list might help here; you can find it online), and there will be a LOT of paperwork involved. But it?s been done before, so there is no reason to let an opportunity like this go. Your college registrar may be able to assist you with the petitioning process when the time comes, so you should definitely get in touch with them. The registrar at engineering might also be able to direct you towards courses that you may be interested in.

    Also, the engineers hate on us a lot. They like to think that because they have more hours of class than us and they have to build robots that don’t work, their lives are harder. *rolls eyes* You may want to prepare for a lot of unjustified bashing of ArtSci. Just a heads up ;).

    Foundations of Physics I and II actually constitute only one credit together. Calculus is a full-year course, so it also constitutes one credit. So you actually have 3 credits remaining for other subjects (generally, students take 5 credits per year). I think taking Mandarin is a great idea! It?ll be a nice change from the science and math courses you?re taking.

    I think how to balance your course load is something that you will figure out as you continue on in University. One thing I?ve learned is that everyone has different limits, and part of University is about discovering those limits. Some people can take 6 courses and feel unfazed ? some prefer to stick to 4 courses a semester. My advice to you would just be to enroll in 5 classes for your first year. Choose courses ? like Mandarin ? that excite you and interest you now, because you might not have as much flexibility in your courses in upper years! Also, keep in mind that if you’re doing the physics major program (as opposed to the specialist), you’ll need another major or two minors, so plan your courses accordingly. You can always drop a course if you feel that you need more time to devote to your physics courses. Finally, taking Mandarin would count towards your breadth requirements, so it?s a win-win situation!

  • 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.