breadth requirements,  first year

pmu199 plug plug plug

do you have updated suggestions for the math/science breadth requirement courses for first years who aren’t good at math or science? i think the offered courses have changed a lot this year, because i can’t find some of the old suggestions on the course list!


hey there and warm welcome to u of t!

not entirely sure where you’re looking, but it is quite possible that course offerings have changed from previous years. i can definitely run you through what i know about your options, though! because you didn’t specify, for the purposes of this post i’m gonna assume you’re a st. george kid.

the math/science breadth requirement, or breadth 5, can be one of those tough ones to get down if you’re not numerically inclined– which is something i totally sympathize with and had to navigate my first year as well. it’s good that you’re looking to get your breadth reqs out of the way early, because your freshman year really is the best time to do so. not only are there special courses you can only take during that one year, but you’ll also just not have to worry about them later on, particularly when you’re looking to graduate.

the one breadth 5 course i took that i ended up really liking was one of the 199s, specifically the one called “astronomy at the frontier.” from what i can find, it’s still being offered. i took it with drs. drout and reid. they were both super supportive but also just really good teachers, as in they managed to get ME pretty into a SCIENCE. the class mostly revolves around learning how to operate and use this online telescope software to take pictures of the galaxy. then, you’re graded on a final ‘observing project’ where you develop a research question and use photos you took to illustrate your results. if you stay on top of your work and stick to the (pretty detailed) rubrics, it’s reasonably possible to do well in this course with no science background whatsoever.

i’m not sure how much they’ll have changed the format based on the feedback my year gave, but when i took the course participation was worth 10 percent, and there was no final exam, just a three-minute oral interview worth another 10. the best part, at least where you’re concerned? absolutely no math involved. we were expected to familiarize ourselves with a good number of astronomical concepts, but not to the level of actual in-depth memorization, and never to the extent of learning any formulas or calculations. could not plug that course more.

can’t fit it into your schedule, or does it still not sound like something you wanna take? for more, you can go to the timetable and search “pmu199” in the course codes box. you’ll get a bunch of listings for similarly oriented first-year-exclusive courses. these small seminars are your best bet for fulfilling your breadth requirements, as they’re just plain less likely to screw you over. they also have more interesting content than typical first year lectures: there’s a video game writing one that sounds kinda cool, and a biosensory tech course geared towards arts kids.

another option you have is to take a regular first year science and credit/no credit it. that way, you fulfill your breadth requirement but only need to pass to do so. once again, astronomy! i’d recommend AST101 as i’ve heard it’s not too hard. i’ve heard good things about the ‘magic of physics’ first year course too. it’s on the small size for a lecture, and supposedly a breeze if you took high school physics, which i dunno if you did.

it may be useful for you to know that you can’t cr/ncr any of those small first year seminars, because they’re considered ‘too easy’ for that. i didn’t really realize that before going into mine, but luckily it turned out fine.

sorry for the novel. i have fun writing these and get a bit carried away sometimes, but i do hope my unnecessary levels of detail are helpful at some level. as always, keep in mind that anything i put forward here is just my personal experience and someone else’s take could be totally different.

hope your first year is fantastic and you crush that breadth five req!

over n out,


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