How to Use the Calendar

In This Section:


The Academic Calendar is a Faculty of Arts & Science document that houses the most current information on the degrees, programs, and courses offered, as well as rules and regulations. The Academic Calendar is published once a year in early to mid-May, with updates from then on only for corrections.

Much of the information in the Calendar will be seen in other places. For example, course descriptions can also be found on the Timetable Builder, and a breakdown of completion of program – and the degree – can be found on Degree Explorer.

The information in the Academic Calendar is broken up into sections, and programs and courses are organized in pages dedicated to the various programs of study or by the academic units that offer programs and courses. The Academic Calendar can be browsed using the Course Search and Program and Certificate Search pages, or read as a “book” by using the Adobe PDF version.



Throughout the sections of the Calendar that deal with rules and concepts, definitions will be offered to clarify what specific terms mean in the context of study here at the Faculty of Arts & Science.


Certain conventions are useful in reading parts of the Calendar that deal with requirements, whether for courses (prerequisites, corequisites, recommended preparation) or programs.
  • Commas (,) and semi-colons (;) indicate items in a list. Context indicates whether the list is of options a student can pick from, or whether it is a list of courses where a student is expected to take all of them. If not stated specifically, assume the list indicates that a student must take all options.
  • The plus sign (+) means “and” but may be used as a strong “and” to indicate courses that are paired to be a single option or requirement.
  • A forward slash (/) means “or” and distinguishes multiple options to fulfil a specific requirement.
  • Parentheses ( ) or brackets [ ] identify courses that are grouped together to form a specific option or requirement.

For example, the First Year Requirements for the Cell and Molecular Biology Specialist:

  • First Year:
    BIO120H1, BIO130H1; (CHM135H1, CHM136H1)/ CHM151Y1; JMB170Y1/ (MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/ MAT157Y1.

This text explains that there is a series of course requirements needed for first year, but within these there are options. Going from the beginning, this means:

  • BIO120H1 and BIO130H1 are both required.
  • There is a Chemistry (CHM) requirement, which is filled either by:
    • CHM135H1 and CHM136H1; or 
    • CHM151Y1.
  • There is also a Math requirement, filled either by:
    • JMB170Y1; or
    • MAT135H1 and MAT136H1; or
    • MAT137Y1; or
    • MAT157Y1.

When Questions Arise

These style conventions help the academic units offering programs try to list the options in a concise way. For any clarification, reach out directly to the academic unit, a College Registrar’s Office, or the Faculty at


About Courses

A course is an academic activity which is recorded with a result on a student's academic history. A passed course normally gives academic credit towards completing a degree and may help complete a program. There are “full-credit” (1.0 credit, Y) and “half-credit” (0.5 credit, H) courses.

Elements of a Course Description

Below are the fields in the course description template. Links to existing courses as examples are included to help show how the template works.

Course Code

This is the unique identifier of every course which is used in the Academic Calendar and information systems like ACORN and Degree Explorer. The course code breaks down further into these sections:

Course CodeENG150Y1, STA313H1
Course DesignatorENG, STAThis three-letter designator identifies the program(s) or academic unit(s) offering the course. In these examples, ENG and STA refer to these two programs: English and Statistical Sciences.
Course Number150, 313Every course in a program has its own identifying digits. For-credit courses run from “100-level” (starting with a 1) all the way to “400-level” (starting with a 4), and as they go up, broadly they indicate more advanced or more focused study. The “level” does not restrict student access. For example, a third-year student could take 100- to 400-level courses, but a first-year student should be careful taking 200- or high-level courses.
Course WeightY (1.0),
H (0.5)
This is only one of two letters, either a “Y” or an “H”: a “Y” indicates the course is a full-credit course and is worth 1.0 credit; an “H” indicates a half-credit course and is worth 0.5 credit.
Campus Indicator1This digit indicates the campus where the course is offered. In the Arts & Science Academic Calendar, normally a course has a “1” (one), indicating the downtown St. George Campus. Other indicators include a “0” (zero) meaning it is taught off-campus, a "3" (three) meaning it is taught at U of T Scarborough, or "5" (five) meaning it is taught at U of T Mississauga.

Course Title

Indicates the topic and theme of the course. Some courses may have a general title of a “special topics course” in the Academic Calendar but the actual course content varies year by year; in such a case, seek out the academic unit's or program’s website, or the Timetable offerings, to learn more about what will be offered. On the transcript, the full course titles normally appear, although some courses still list the abbreviated course title.

Types of Instruction (Lecture/Tutorial/Practical/Seminar Hours (L/T/P/S))

All courses comprise a certain number of hours dedicated to instruction. There are four types. Often courses may have more than one.

  • Lectures are standard in almost every course as the fundamental type of instruction, where the instructor will present course content to students. All instructors have individual styles and approaches to lectures. For example, some instructors may take questions differently or present slides/visual aids differently.
  • Tutorials are smaller group meetings where students can discuss and ask questions about lecture material with either the instructor or (more often) a TA (teaching assistant). Tutorials may also be used for some kinds of evaluation, like small quizzes or to be assessed on a student’s participation in the course. Like practicals, tutorials always are part of a course that has either lectures or seminars (see below).
  • Practicals involve students being able to learn and apply their learning hands-on, for example, laboratories (“labs”) for science courses. If a course has practicals, then it always has either lectures or seminars (see below).
  • Seminars are a small-class experience, common for very advanced courses, where the in-class process is a combination of some lecturing mixed with structured class discussion and often student presentations.

In brackets after the title, the number of hours that students will spend in lecture (L), in tutorial (T), in practical sessions (P), or seminar (S) for the course are listed. These are most often a multiple of 12, as the term is 12 weeks in length.

Calendar Description

This paragraph highlights the course content and themes to be delivered in the course. The description will state anything special about the course, from special aspects of the class experience (for example, language of study or field work), to the intended audience of the course (for example, a science course intended for non-science students as an elective), to any special ancillary fees (for example, lab material).

Prerequisites, Co-requisites, Recommended Preparation

These fields indicate courses which a student must complete before taking the course in question (prerequisites), sometimes with a minimum grade, take at the same time or prior to this course (co-requisites), or that are suggested (recommended preparation). The academic units that offer a course can remove students who do not have needed prerequisites or corequisites. Students are responsible for reviewing this information for their course planning.


Some courses overlap in content. This can be because the same kind of material may be offered in the context of different areas of study (like introductory statistics), or because there may be certain similar course material that is offered at different levels of difficulty, or because some courses have content that used to be offered in an older and now “retired” course. When reading a course description, if a student sees a course listed under “exclusions” that includes a course they already have credit for, they should not normally take this course. Academic units can remove students who have course exclusions, and even if they choose not to, the new course will not count for degree credit and will be marked “Extra”. 

Breadth Requirement

Almost all courses are categorized in terms of one of the five breadth requirement categories:

  • 1 (Creative and Cultural Representations)
  • 2 (Thought, Belief and Behaviour)
  • 3 (Society and its Institutions)
  • 4 (Living Things and Their Environment)
  • 5 (Physical and Mathematical Universes)

Half-credit courses offer 0.5 credits towards only one of the categories; full-credit courses offer either 0.5 credits in two different categories, or 1.0 credit in one.

About Arts & Science Programs

All degrees awarded by the Faculty of Arts & Science require and are defined by the program(s) a student completes as a degree requirement. These programs identify the subject area(s) the student has pursued and completed. A program is a sequence of courses in certain areas, normally with some choice of options within the sequence.

Elements of a Program Description

Programs can be searched directly using the Program Search. Programs usually fall under a page dedicated to the academic unit that sponsors the program, but sometimes on their own page if they are very distinct from the usual programs that unit offers. Usually the program information is divided up this way:

  • Description (optional) – A small bit of text to indicate what is notable about this program and why a student might select it as part of their academic or professional plans.
  • Enrolment requirements – This describes what requirements, if any, a student must meet to enter the program. A program can be entered only if a student has obtained 4.0 credits or is on track to doing so before the start of the next September.
  • Completion requirements – This lays out – often year by year – the courses a student must complete to complete the program itself. This information is translated for use in Degree Explorer tool to help a student track their progress and plan future courses.
  • Notes (optional) – If either the enrolment requirements or the completion requirements need some clarification, there may be special notes inserted in either area.
  • Course Groups (program dependent) – Many programs, especially programs that can recognize a selection from a number of courses from many academic units to fulfil program requirements, will list courses grouped by category.

Specialist, Major, and Minor Programs

Programs offered by the Faculty that may be used to complete a degree can have the status of a Specialist, Major, or Minor.

  • Specialist programs (from 10.0 to 14.0 credits to complete) offer the deepest and most extensive study of the subject matter in question, and almost always represent the key area of degree studies.
  • Major programs (from 6.0 to 8.0 credits to complete) offer a comprehensive study of the subject matter, and may be the primary area of degree studies, complemented with another Major or some Minor programs.
  • Minor programs (4.0 credits to complete) offer a fundamental study of the subject matter and complement degree studies where a Major or a Specialist is also being pursued.

For more information on what combination of programs ensure completion of a degree, and the allowable combinations of programs, refer to the HBA/HBSc or BCom Degree Requirements.

Open and Limited Programs

Programs in the Faculty of Arts & Science are either open or limited; in the Academic Calendar, the enrolment requirements section of each program will specify the program type.

Open programs have no enrolment requirements except the completion of 4.0 credits. The enrolment requirements section for an open program may contain additional information that is useful for a student to know prior to enrolling in the program.

Limited programs have enrolment requirements in addition to the completion of 4.0 credits. These enrolment requirements are broken down in the following ways:

  • Completed courses (with minimum grades)
    • For reasons of academic success, entry into the program relies on students having completed one or more specific courses, normally with a specific grade beyond a pass (50%).
  • Variable Minimum Grade or Variable Minimum Grade Average
    • Limited programs with this requirement are in very high demand, and every year the program must establish a specific minimum grade (or a minimum average grade across multiple courses) based on how many students have applied and how many of the limited spaces are available. As such, this minimum changes each year and it is not possible to publish a guaranteed minimum.
    • Some programs may identify a minimum grade or minimum grade average that is required in order to ensure students’ success in the program, however obtaining this minimum final grade or minimum grade average does not guarantee admission to the program.
  • Special
    • Any requirement listed as “special” is a requirement that is beyond courses completed and grades achieved; for example, a supplementary application, or audition. 


Streams are categorizations of special emphasis for a Specialist or Major program. The difference between Streams shows itself in upper-year courses, while the courses usually taken in first or second year are similar across all Streams in the Major or Specialist. Streams are presented in the Academic Calendar like a distinct program.


When focuses exist in an area of study, they are taken in conjunction with a Specialist or Major, and they allow a student to select a special cluster of course options that all contribute to study of a particular theme, topic, or sub-discipline within the area of study. Focuses are normally not mandatory and enhance how a student plans the completion of their programs. A completed focus will show on a student’s transcript.


The University has three categories of Certificates. The Arts & Science Academic Calendar only includes those that must be completed by students pursuing a degree in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Certificates are composed of a sequence of 2.0-3.0 credits relating to an identified topic or theme that may complement a degree program. Pursuit of a Certificate may offer structure to elective course choices; these certificates do not offer any kind of professional certification. A completed Certificate will show on a student's transcript. Note that a Certificate is not a program, and will not contribute toward the program(s) required to complete the degree.

Language Citation

This is a special recognition available at the Faculty of Arts & Science that shows advanced study of a language. The Language Citation will consist of a notation on the transcript that reads: “Completed Requirements of Language Citation in [name of language].” This notation will appear in the Faculty of Arts & Science sessional segment of the student’s academic record on the transcript listing the courses and marks for the session in which the Citation is assessed as complete. Note that Language Citation is not a program, and will not contribute toward the program(s) required to complete the degree.

The list below identifies the academic units that offer a Language Citation. For details, including the languages in which students may achieve a Citation, see the relevant entries in this Calendar.