Whether you have chosen a major or not, it is important to take courses that interest you and courses that keep options open for the future. Selecting and registering for your courses will/can/should take some time. Be patient and consider your options.
- Degree requirements, course descriptions, and program options are located in the Academic Calendar.
- Academic Advising has compiled a list of first-year course suggestions (1000 level courses) for each major.
- If you have electives to plan remember that they can open opportunities for experience outside of your major.
- When choosing how many courses to take you may want to consider your course load.
- Have you received transfer credits? If so, you may want to consult with an advisor to discuss how they may be used to meet your degree requirements.
- Remember that all students beginning their studies in the Fall 2018 and beyond must take at least 0.5 credit from the Approved Indigenous Course List (see p. 15 in Academic Calendar).
Elective courses are classes that students take in addition to the required courses they need for their specific program, or in addition to the courses that they are taking for the major - courses they are interested in.
Here at Trent we believe that interest is the most important factor to consider when choosing electives. Each University course requires a lot of time and effort, so you would likely get a better grade in a course that you actually enjoy.
When choosing an elective it is important to choose a course that would interest you, that could complement your major and/or open new options for your future. In the Academic Calendar you can find the course descriptions and you can review upper year courses in various majors that you may find interesting. Upper year courses will have prerequisites. Can you take a course now that leads to a course you would love to take later? Students should look at the Academic Calendar in order to read course descriptions, as well as to see the requirements for a major within the specific department.
How many courses should you take each term?
Course planning for the Fall/Winter term:
The fall/winter (FW) session is made up of two four-month terms. You may be registering in some half-credit courses from September to December, which is the Fall (FA) term, and you may have some half-credit courses from January to April, which is the Winter (WI) term. New full-time students are allowed to take a maximum of 5.0 credits from September to April (the FW session): 2.5 credits in the fall term (FA) and 2.5 credits in the winter term (WI). Some courses are worth a full credit ("Y"= 1.0 credit), while others are worth a half credit ("H" = 0.5 credit). For example, HIST 1500Y is worth 1.0 credit and spans the entire fall/winter (FW) session, while PHIL 1000H is worth 0.5 credit and is offered in the fall term (FA) and spans one term only.
Once you know how many courses you want to take you can start choosing your courses.
Course planning for the Summer term:
The summer (SU) session is a separate academic session containing two six-week terms from May to the end of July.
New students starting in the summer may take a maximum of 2.0 credits from May to the end of July (the SU session) with a maximum of 1.0 credit in the first summer term (S61) and 1.0 in the second summer term (S62).
More information on summer term dates and course offerings can be found on the summer website.
Academic status is determined at the end of both the fall/winter term and the summer term.
For more information about academic status please refer to the academic policies section of the Academic Calendar.
Information to think about when determining how many courses to take or when dropping courses:
- Timing within the term: When is the change in course load being considered? Is it before the drop deadline? When is the course add deadline for this term? Deadlines can be found in the Academic Calendar. If you want to reduce your course load after the drop deadline then speak to an academic advisor.
- Timing of your degree plan: An honours degree is often referred to as the 4-year degree because students generally take 5.0 credits (5 courses in the fall and 5 in the winter term) each academic year, for four years to make up the required 20.0 credits. If you are reducing your course load you will have to make decisions about how this will impact your overall academic plan – when will you make up that credit (or half credit etc.)? There are options for taking additional courses over the summer, on overload, or to add extra terms. Some students plan their entire degree to be completed on a part-time basis. The important piece here is to make a plan for the course load that would work for you.
- Funding agreements: Scholarships, OSAP, band funding and other sources of funding often have course load requirements which should be reviewed with the source of the funding before making decisions on required course load. You should review these limits with the funding source that you are using.
- Upper year pre-requisites: It is important to review your remaining course requirements in the Academic Calendar. Do any upper year mandatory courses that you were planning to take next year need the course that you are dropping? Can you make a plan for how you are going to complete the remainder of your degree requirements and electives?
- Study permit: Before dropping a course international students need to consider the rules governing their study permit. Appointments can be made with the Trent International Advisor to learn more about the rules and restrictions of study permits.
- Accommodations: Some students have accommodations for course load and so have different limits that apply to their personal situation. It is always best to review how your accommodations would best fit with your academic plan with your student accessibility advisor.
- Other obligations that require your time: Whether you have just signed up for more hours at work or are managing new family responsibilities, each student needs to make decisions about their course load to balance all aspects of their lifestyle. It is important to review all the considerations above when determining the course load that will be best for you.