Freshman Course Selection

Course Selection  |  Examples of Course Selection  |  First Year Seminars

Course Selection

The Bachelor of Arts PDF icon Freshman Program Planner will help you plan your Freshman year. You will not have a departmental academic adviser until your second year (U1 year). You are, however, encouraged to contact departmental academic advisers if you have specific questions about prerequisites or about the requirements of the program(s) you are considering.

Reminder: You cannot use the S/U (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) option for any course in the B.A. Freshman Program. You also cannot use the S/U option for courses which are required for admission to professional programs such as medical school or for courses which you intend to use toward your programs next year at the departmental level.

If this is the first time you are studying in English, we strongly recommend that you take only 4 courses (12 credits) during your first term and that, as one of these, you consider taking an English as a Second Language course. If you discover that 4 courses are quite manageable, you may wish to take 5 courses during the second term.

If you would like to improve your writing skills, you should consider taking one of the undergraduate courses offered by the McGill Writing Center like CEAP 250 Research Essay & Rhetoric. You may take a maximum of 6 credits of these courses.

As the B.A. Freshman Program is intended to provide you with a broad foundation for a three-year degree program, you should take this opportunity and select courses in a variety of disciplines, keeping in mind the guidelines outlined for the program. Don't limit yourself to only one or two disciplines; explore and keep your options open. You may be surprised to find out that you have other interests. You may even discover an area of study you had never considered before, or you may learn that you are not as keen on a particular area as you had previously thought.

Courses which are chosen as part of your B.A. Freshman Program may also count towards your intended departmental programs. For example, it may be possible to count a Political Science course taken this year towards the Major Concentration, Minor Concentration or Honours program in Political Science.

Note: Advanced Standing credits may exempt you from part or all of the freshman program requirements. For example, if you passed the Art History AP (6 credits) with a grade of 4 or higher, you will have fulfilled the Humanities category of the B.A. freshman program. For further information about advanced standing credits, please read Advanced Standing Credits.

Five points to keep in mind when selecting courses for
Option 1:

  1. a minimum of 3 of the 4 categories must be completed,
  2. to fulfill a category, a minimum of 6 credits must be completed in that category,
  3. a maximum of 18 credits in any one category, and 12 credits per department is permitted,
  4. courses must be selected from the list of approved courses (see "Approved Courses" link above) for the B.A. Freshman Program,
  5. you must not register for courses which are scheduled to meet at the same time.

Four points to keep in mind when selecting courses for
Option 2:

  1. contact the French Language and Literature department or French as a Second Language department for placement tests, and departmental approval when you arrive in Montreal,
  2. a minimum of 18 credits conducted in French is required for this option,
  3. remaining elective courses must be selected from the list of Approved courses for the B.A. Freshman Program,
  4. you must not register for courses which are scheduled to meet at the same time.

Examples of Course Selection

EXAMPLES FOR OPTION 1

Example 1: You're a student admitted into the B.A. Freshman Program with no advanced standing credits

In this instance, you are admitted into a 120-credit degree program, and are not permitted to exceed the maximum of 18 credits in any one category and 12 credits per department.

Using the B.A. Freshman Program Approved Courses list (select Freshman U0 > Approved Courses) and the  Bachelor of Arts Freshman Program Planner decide how you intend to fulfill the B.A. Freshman Program requirements.

The normal course load per term is 5 courses for a total of 10 courses per academic year. Therefore, you have 10 courses to divide among the 4 categories - Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, and Math Science. In order to fulfill the B.A. Freshman Program core requirements and still adhere to the limitations set out above, some examples of the course distribution can be as follows:

Social Sciences
Humanities
Languages
Math and Science
 
18 credits
6 credits
6 credits
0 credits
or
12 credits
3 credits
6 credits
9 credits
or
9 credits
6 credits
12 credits
3 credits
or
3 credits
6 credits
9 credits
14 credits
 

In all these examples, you are fulfilling at least 6 credits in 3 out of 4 categories without exceeding the maximum of 18 credits in any one category keeping in mind that the maximum number of credits per department is 12.

Example 2: You're a student admitted into the B.A. Freshman Program with advanced standing (on the basis of Advanced Placements) in French Language and in Microeconomics

In this instance, you are admitted into a 111-credit degree program with 9 advance standing credits and could fulfill the B.A. Freshman Program core requirements for Option 1 as follows:

Advanced Standing Credits:

 
Social Sciences
Humanities
Languages
Math & Science
3 credits microeconomics
0 credits
6 credits French (exemption
for FRSL 211D)
0 credits

McGill Credits:

 
Social Sciences
Humanities
Languages
Math & Science
3 credits
12 credits
6 credits
0 credits
Total:
6 credits
12 credits
12 credits
30 credits

The minimum of 6 credits in one of the categories has been fulfilled (6 credits in languages). In addition, you have been granted 3 advanced standing credits in a second category, the social sciences, and you need to complete only another 3 credits in the social sciences to fulfill the minimum of 6 credits in a second category. You must also complete 6 credits in a third category.

To try and clarify the matter, let us suppose that to fulfill the core B.A. Freshman Program requirements, Option 1, you first register for 3 credits in the social sciences, 12 credits in the humanities and 6 credits in languages. At this point you will have registered for 21 credits and will have fulfilled the minimum of at least 6 credits in 3 out of 4 categories.

If you wish to register for 30 credits in your freshman year, you still have another 9 credits to select. You may select these credits from any category, including humanities or languages

In essence, keep in mind the following when selecting your courses for Option 1:

advanced standing credits + McGill credits = minimum of 6 credits to a maximum of 18 credits in each of 3 out of 4 categories

advanced standing credits + McGill credits = 24-30 credits for the freshman year

Translation: Once you have successfully completed 24 credits, including advanced standing credits, you may proceed to your U1 year.

EXAMPLES FOR OPTION 2

Example 3: You're a student admitted into the B.A. Freshman Program with no advanced standing.

In this instance, you are admitted into a 120 - credit degree program and required to complete 18 credits of core courses conducted in French. Depending on your degree of language proficiency, this may include a maximum of 12 credits of Intensive French Language. A Placement test is required before admission to any French language course including Beginner's French. Once you have chosen courses to fulfill the core requirement, the remainder of the courses can be selected from the Approved courses for the B.A. Freshman Program list, under the "Approved Courses" header above.

Example 4: You're a student admitted into the B.A. Freshman Program with advanced standing (on the basis of Advanced Placements) in French Language and in U.S. History.

In this instance, you are admitted into a 108 credit degree program and would be required to complete the B.A. Freshman core requirements for Option 2.

Keeping in mind, that the normal course load for the academic year is 10 courses, use the B.A. Freshman Program Approved Courses list to select your remaining elective courses.

Advanced Standing Credits:

French Language
Electives
6 credits
(exemption for FRSL 211D)
6 credits
U.S. History

Six credits out of 18 credits in French have been fulfilled. In addition, you have been granted 6 advanced standing credits as elective courses. Therefore, you must complete 12 credits in French Language to fulfill your B.A. Freshman Core requirement.

In essence, keep in mind the following when selecting your courses for Option 2:

Advanced standing credits + McGill credits = 18 credits in French and 12 credits elective courses.

Advanced standing credits + McGill credits = 30 credits for Freshman year.

Translation: Once you have successfully completed 24 credits, including advanced standing credits, you may proceed to your U1 year.

Still CONFUSED?

For both Options, an adviser will be able to help you determine how many credits you must take to complete your freshman program requirements.

First Year Seminars

Registration for First-Year Seminars is limited to students in their first year of study at McGill, i.e., newly admitted students in U0 or U1. These courses are designed to provide closer interaction with professors and peers than is available in large introductory courses. These seminars focus on the latest scholarly developments in the field and expose students to advanced research methods. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum number of students in any seminar is 25, although some have lower enrolment caps.

Arts students may take only one First-Year Seminar, from either the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Science listings. Students who register for more than one will be obliged to withdraw from all but one.

Below is a complete listing of First Year Seminars for Arts Students. NOTE: Click on the course link to verify whether it is being offered this academic year.

Arts FYS

HIST 197 FYS: Race in Latin America 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ISLA 199 FYS: Narr of the Middle East 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

ITAL 199 FYS:Italy's Lit in Context 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

LLCU 199 FYS: Literary Animals 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

Science FYS

CHEM 199 FYS: Why Chemistry? 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

EPSC 199 FYS: Earth & Planetary Explor. 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PSYC 199 FYS: Mind-Body Medicine 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer