As the enrolment period for academic programs opens, students face the daunting task of applying to their desired programs of study — also known as subject POSts. Any student who has earned at least 4.0 credits, including transfer credits, must enrol or apply to an academic program on ACORN — U of T’s student information service and hub for managing student life.
To help students navigate the UTSG Faculty of Arts & Science (FAS) program enrolment process, The Varsity compiled tips, resources, and advice.
Programs at U of T
At U of T, a program is a group of courses taken in a specific subject area. To graduate, a student must complete a minimum of 20 credits, consisting of selected program requirements, electives, and breadth requirements. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA (CGPA) of at least 1.85, although the Faculty of Arts and Sciences may allow individuals with a CGPA between 1.50 and 1.84 to graduate if they have completed all other requirements.
Across all campuses, students must complete one specialist program, two major programs, or one major and two minor programs.
U of T requires each student to complete a set number of mandatory courses associated with their program. These program requirements can change on a yearly basis, so it is important to follow them as per the program’s recent academic calendar.
Some programs have optional program focuses, which are specific sets of courses that allow students to specialize in an area related to their program. Students can apply to a focus after successfully enrolling in the associated programs. There are two ways a student can enroll in a program focus. Certain program focuses, such as the Human Geography Major or Management Specialist, can be enrolled in through ACORN. For other program focuses, such as the cell and molecular biology specialist and major programs, interested students can enroll in their desired focus through the associated department.
Limited and open programs
Open programs have no entry requirements, offer unlimited spaces, and can be enrolled in on ACORN at any time.
For limited programs, eligibility depends on a student’s ability to meet the program entry requirements outlined in the faculty’s academic calendar. These can include the completion of specific courses, acquiring a minimum grade in a course, filling out a supplementary application, or meeting a minimum CGPA. Students must also have completed 4.0 credits to enroll.
Students interested in collaborative life science programs, which are co-hosted by the FAS and the Faculty of Medicine, should consider those programs’ special enrolment instructions. These instructions are outlined on the Sidney Smith Commons Program Toolkit website, and include details about application steps and timing. Students can apply to a maximum of six collaborative life science programs, and can simultaneously apply to other programs that are not a part of the collaborative life sciences group.
For open programs, students must enroll between March 1, 2023 and September 20, 2023. For limited programs, students seeking to enroll by July 7, 2023 must apply between March 1, 2023 and April 28, 2023. Students who wish to enroll by September 20, 2023 must apply between July 8, 2023 and August 22, 2023.
After completing 4 credits, students can’t enroll in courses until they enroll in an accepted program combination.
Students taking fewer than 3.5 credits over the course of the fall and winter semesters can choose to pay course fees, in which the university charges them per course. Students taking more than 3.5 credits over the academic year pay a program fee, which is a flat rate for each session. The Fees Assessment page further details the calculation of program fees.
At U of T, there are a few deregulated programs that demand higher fees than regulated programs. These include the accounting specialist, finance and economics specialist, and management specialist at Rotman Commerce; computer science major and specialist; bioinformatics & computational biology specialist; and the data science specialist.
Students enrolled in a deregulated program have to pay their program’s fees throughout their time taking Arts & Science courses, even if they’ve finished their program requirements.
The Sidney Smith Commons offers an online Program Toolkit to help students with the program application process. It includes a variety of resources, from an alphabetical list of programs to stories from upper year students.
Each year, U of T hosts Program Exploration Days to support students who want to learn about the application process. These events discuss the available academic programs and allow students to ask questions, hear from academic advisors and program coordinators, and speak with faculty, staff, alumni, and current students. Individual colleges and departments also host similar events for their students.
U of T encourages students who have more questions about program enrolment to contact their College Registrar’s Office for further support.