arts & sciences,  first year,  keeners,  undergrad

two in one


As an upcoming student to UofT, I was wondering if taking 200 courses as a first year would be too difficult. In the orientation they had mentioned that yes, since there were no pre-requites for some of the 200 courses, it was obviously possible, but not recommended (and of course the usual “But if you really want it, then by all means…) However, I would like to hear such information/reflections/opinions from the mouth of a student instead of an instructor.



p.s. I’m planning to take some 200 courses in English and Political Science.



as course selection dawns, i was wondering if taking a second year course in first year would prove to difficult. I want to take geography, but of the two half courses i want, one (GGR124H1) interferes with another mandatory course. I thought I could take GGR216H1 (Global Cities) instead (no prerequistits). Do you think this would be manageable? Or is this just my eager, first year brain trying too hard?
yours faithfully



Dear MD and faithful, if unnamed, asker,

Well, course selection has past dawned. in fact, since August 9th has passed and program-based priority has been removed for course enrolment, I’d say we’re at high noon. But since more than one of you asked about whether doing a few second year courses in first year is too difficult, let’s take a stab at it!

While you may have felt discouraged from trying your hand at upper level courses, the truth is it’s totally normal to take second and even third year courses in your first year, as long as you’re following all of the rules around pre-requisites or language requirements. There are a few reasons it’s actually a pretty swell idea, especially for humanities and social sciences students, whose program tracks might not be quite as strict as science and professional subjects.

Firstly, first year courses can be dishearteningly huge in any discipline. we’re talking hundreds of students in some lectures. Unless you were lucky enough to have gotten your foot into a one of those quaint first year seminars, which are under 25 students, taking upper year courses is a good way to remind yourself that in the years to come, courses will be smaller and, if you’re extra good, professors might even learn your name.

Similarly, first year courses sometimes can be a bit broad, repetitive, and, dare I say it, too easy. For go-getters like yourselves, you’ll look forward to having a more focused and more challenging class in the middle of what can be a slow schedule. Second year courses are also much more likely to be half-year courses, meaning you can get away with taking a wider variety of courses in your first year. This might be preferable to getting tired of your full-year courses by December with no end in sight.

Lastly, unless you’ve planned out courses for your whole degree already, taking a few 200- or 300-level courses your first year is good insurance against using up your 100 level credits. Students at U of T are only able to put a maximum of 6.00 100-level credits towards your degree. If you use 5.0 of those your first year, and then realize that you need to take 2.0 more 100-level courses to get where you need to be for your major or minor Subject POSt requirements, you’ll have to give up some of those other 100-levels. And nobody likes to give up hard work! Worse, it doesn’t occur to some international students (read: me) that a lot of those high school AP credits that transfer into your degree transfer as 100-level credits already.



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