choosing,  hard,  subject POST

if not aska, then who?

Dear Aska,

Love the blog and the concept. Where do you find the time and mental energy?

Currently a grade 11 student completing the french bac next year. Marks are v good and I understand I will be able to get 3 transfer credits in Mat, Sciences, Languages or similar. I have three subjects of interest in Arts and Sciences: Economics, Asia-Pacific Studies and Writing and Rhetoric. Also looking to apply for Vic one. I have a couple of questions.

Can I use the exemptions I will be granted to cover off some of the breadth requirements – for instance the science requirement?

If I use the exemptions to fill some first year requirements – like Math for Economics – will the university let me do a double major (Asia-Pac and Economics) and a minor Writing and Rhetoric. (By my math I can fit in the 18 courses to attain these).? Can I do a major and two minors instead?

Finally, I am dreaming and will the work load be too much?

Thanks for your advice. Best Regards.


Where do I find the time and mental energy? That’s an easy one to answer. There are students that need their (silly) questions answered, students that need their (totally unfounded) worries calmed, and students that desperately need someone to slap their sorry senses back into them. How can I stay in my own little bubble when there are so many students out there that are in need of my greatness? *aska sits on his throne and leisurely sips his tea*

Now, any transfer credits you gain upon admission will count towards degree requirements, but watch out: the Calendar has changed now. The new breadth requirements will be replacing the old distribution requirements, which required students to take 1 science, 1 humanities, and 1 social science credit each. Students coming to UofT in 2010 or later will instead need to take one credit from at least 4 out of 5 of the following categories (copied straight out of the new Arts and Science calendar):

1. Creative and Cultural Representations

2. Thought, Belief, and Behaviour

3. Society and Its Institutions

4. Living Things and Their Environment (don’t click this link if you don’t like creepy crawlies. I warned you.)

5. The Physical and Mathematical Universes

Students must take at least 4 full-course equivalents (FCEs) that have been designated as satisfying the Breadth Requirement. These 4 credits must be either (a) at least 1 FCE in each of any 4 of the 5 categories above, or (b) at least 1 FCE in each of any 3 of the 5 categories, and at least 0.5 FCE in each of the other 2 categories.

To graduate from UofT, you need to complete: 1) a specialist program, OR 2) two majors, OR, 3) a major and two minors. So yes, you can do a double major in Economics and Asia-Pac studies and a minor in W&R. Or, you could do a major in Asia-Pac and have minors in Economics and W&R and still be able to graduate. However, as you said, a double major and minor would require around 18 credits, so you may have to take some summer courses or a 6th credit during the school year. Keep in mind that most people’s interests do change when they go to University, and you never know you may end up doing a major program in something entirely different! So allow yourself some room to experiment around, in case you need to make changes.

As for whether or not the course load will be too much for you to handle, I think the answer to that question is different for everyone. One thing I am learning as I go through UofT is that everybody has different limits, and it is up to you to know your own. For instance, some people may feel extremely stressed taking 4 credits during the year, while others take 6 courses, hold a job, and join tons of extra-curricular activities and still feel relatively unfazed. I think that as you go through UofT, you will begin to get a feel for your own limits. But just take it easy for now you’ll find out when you get here, and if you feel too stressed or not challenged enough, you can always take less/more courses.

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