General advising and course information

You should plan to attend the University orientation session and one of the departmental orientation sessions that are offered during the last week of August. Go to the session offered by the department in which you are taking most of your courses. You will have yourself assigned to an academic adviser.

In order to determine which courses will be appropriate for you, your departmental adviser will need to have information about the courses you've taken at your home university. Please bring the following pieces of information to your advising appointment:

  • a copy of your academic record (courses and grades) from your home university;
  • course descriptions for the courses you have taken at your home university;
  • information about the number of credits or courses required to complete your degree;
  • a list of suggested McGill courses that you think might be appropriate for you to take;
  • a list of questions you want to ask the adviser.

The departmental adviser will review the courses you have already completed to ensure that you have the appropriate background for the McGill courses you intend to take.

For advice of a more general nature, you should consult, as necessary, with your Faculty adviser (which will be indicated on your Minerva transcript) in the Science Office for Undergraduate Student Advising Office (SOUSA) on the 4th floor, Room 405 of Dawson Hall. The SOUSA Office is also very knowledgeable. You can come in person, or phone (514) 398-5442. The SOUSA Office (Dawson Hall) will operate according to the following schedule:

Office Hours:

Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Reception area and phone service


Each course has a credit weight associated with it. The normal load for a full-time student in Science is 5 courses or 15 credits per term. The number of credits you take in a term should be determined by your own situation. If you have commitments outside the University, you might consider reducing your load to 12 credits per term (this is normally the minimum for those studying on a student visa).

Course selection should be done with your departmental academic adviser. The courses you take should also be chosen with your personal situation in mind. If this is the first time you are studying in English, you might want to mix program courses, electives and English as a Second Language courses. If you have studied in English before, but feel that your writing should be improved, you should investigate the courses in English for Academic Purposes.

During the first two weeks of the Fall and Winter terms, you have the opportunity to change the courses for which you have registered. You may drop and add courses as you wish, subject to any restrictions indicated in the Calendar and Timetable. After this Course Change period, you may withdraw from courses until approximately the mid-point of each term. Please consult the list of dates in the front of the Calendar for the specific deadlines.

If you are undecided about whether to drop or withdraw from a course, you can talk to an adviser in your department as well as an adviser in the SOUSA Office. You should assess your progress to date in the course, and try to reach a realistic evaluation of your ability to complete each course successfully.

Special, visiting or exchange students who wish to extend their studies beyond the term(s) indicated in their letter of acceptance should write to the Director of Advising Services and ask for readmission.

What to do if problems arise

Occasionally students experience serious problems which affect their ability to complete coursework on time. If there are medical problems, or other personal problems which prevent you from giving sufficient time to your courses or exams, there may be arrangements which we can make.

If the situation interferes with the submission of term papers, writing of midterm tests, or other class work, consult with the course instructor. It may be possible to arrange for make-up tests, or extensions of deadlines. The instructor will require supporting documentation in the form of a doctor's letter, or other relevant documents.

On the other hand, if you are unable to write formal final exams, or feel that withdrawal from courses or the University after the normal deadline may be necessary because of illness or family affliction, you should consult with your adviser in the SOUSA Office. If special arrangements are to be made, supporting documentation will be required.

Contact [at] (SOUSA Office)
Dawson Hall