The Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS) has updated its program requirements to remove the 6.0 full-course equivalent (FCE) limitation on 100-level courses for the upcoming 2020–2021 academic year, and introduced a new leave of absence policy for international undergraduate students.
Degree requirement changes
Beginning in September 2020, students in the FAS will no longer have a limit of 6.0 FCE at the 100-level. Instead, students will have to complete 13.0 FCE at the 200-level or higher, including 6.0 FCE at the 300-level or higher.
According to a university spokesperson, the new policy was made so that students “now have more flexibility throughout their degree to change paths and pick up first-year courses in later years as needed.”
Previously, any courses above the 6.0 limit were designated as “extra,” meaning they would not count toward the student’s GPA and would not count for degree credit. Courses that were marked as “extra” before September 2020 will remain that way and will only be changed on a “case-by-case basis.” Any additional 100-level course completed after September 2020 will not be marked “extra.”
Since many 100-level courses are prerequisites for upper-year courses, students can more easily “explore their interests in different disciplines” according to the spokesperson. The new policy also hopes to create more flexibility for transfer students who can now take more first-year courses at U of T.
Leave of absence for international undergraduate students
As of the 2019–2020 school year, international students who have completed at least one semester are eligible to apply to their college registrar’s office for a leave of absence. An eligible student must have good academic standing in the current year or be on academic probation, and have no outstanding financial obligations to the university.
“International students cannot take extended leaves from their postsecondary studies without jeopardizing their visa status or their eligibility for a post-graduate work permit, unless they have an approved leave from their institution,” the spokesperson wrote.
To be approved, the absence must be for a specific reason, such as military service, health issues, or personal and family concerns. Students may extend their absence for a maximum of two consecutive academic years. If a student wishes to leave for longer than that time period, their leave will no longer be approved by the university.
While on leave, students will be unable to access university services except for their registrar’s office, and they will not pay fees to the university.