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First-Year Program Requirements: Faculty of Arts

The following information is part of Step 1: Program Requirements of the Course Registration Guide for first-year Faculty of Arts students. To view the remaining steps, consult the Course Registration Guide.

On this page: 

First-Year Recommendations

In your first year as a Faculty of Arts student:

  • We encourage you to first select a major and register for the mandatory courses that correspond with that major. 
  • With only a few mandatory courses in each program, you will need to select electives to surround your mandatory courses. We recommend that students take at least four electives from programs within the Faculty of Arts.
  • We recommend taking either AF105S: Skills for Academic Success and/or AF105W: Writing for University. These courses  were designed to support a successful transition to post-secondary studies. 
  • Note that BA + MA and BA + MBA students should refer to the program requirements for their major listed below. There are no additional requirements for these programs in year 1.

Course Load

To earn an Honours Degree, you will need to complete 20.0 credits:

  • 0.5 credit: Normally conducted over one term
  • 1.0 credit: Normally conducted over two terms

If you are studying part-time, you can take up to 1.5 credits per term. Full-time status is given to students who take 2.0 or 2.5 credits per term.

If you select 2.5 credits in the fall term and 2.5 credits in the winter term, you can complete an Honours Degree in four years.

Full-time students should consider easing the transition into post-secondary studies by taking four courses (2.0 credits) in the fall term, and five courses (2.5 credits) in the winter term. In doing so, students will move into a Year 2 registration standing following successful completion of the fall and winter terms with a minimum of 4.50 credits.

Program Requirements by Major

The 100-level courses for each program, both required and elective, are listed below. Some things to note:

  • Though easing into a fall term is the recommendation, you can complete a maximum of five courses in each term, should you choose.
  • The elective recommendations below are based on taking five courses per term.


  • BA: Bachelor of Arts (honours)BSc: Bachelor of Science (honours)
  • Combination-Only BA: A program that must be taken in combination with another BA program
  • MBA: Master’s of Business Administration
  • MA: Master’s of Arts

An asterisk (*) denotes a course worth 1.0 credits (typically full)

*If you are interested in any of the following programs, review their respective requirements as these programs are not housed within the Faculty of Arts:


Next Step: Choose Your Electives

Now that you've determined your program requirements, it's time to move to Step 2: Choose Your Electives to plan and select your electives. 

One of the best ways to choose elective courses is to explore different themed topics that interest you.

Below we have listed several themes you may choose to explore, and the programs from which you should select elective courses to focus on these areas:

  • Exploring global issues: Anthropology, Archaeology and Heritage Studies, History, Global Studies, North American Studies, Political Science
  • Studying society: Anthropology, Archaeology and Heritage Studies, North American Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion and Culture, Sociology, Women and Gender Studies
  • Analyzing language and media: Communication Studies, English and Film Studies, Languages and Literatures, Sociology
  • Engaging with law and society: Philosophy, Political Science, Religion and Culture, Sociology, Women and Gender Studies
  • Interpreting the past: Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Ancient Studies, History, Medieval and Medievalism Studies
  • Expressing arts and culture: Anthropology, Communication Studies, Cultural Studies, English and Film Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Languages and Literatures, North American Studies