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Academics at Western

Basic Information

Western offers two lengths of courses, full courses and half courses. These courses can then be classified into two types: regular courses or essay courses. In most courses, testing and evaluation is done using multiple choice questions, short answer questions, essay writing, or a combination of these.

Full Course:

These are courses that are two semesters long, begining in September with final examinations in April. Some full courses have midterm examinations in December.

Half Course:

These courses are one semester long. In the first term, a half course begins in September and has its final exam in December with a possible midterm in October. In the second term, a half course begins in January and has its final exam in April with a possible midterm in February. First-term half courses are designated by the letter “a” following the course number, while second-term half courses are followed by the letter “b”. The designation “a/b” means the half course may be offered in either semester or both semesters.

Essay Course:

These are courses that contain a significant writing component, usually in the form of essay submissions. Essay full courses are designated by the letter “E” following the course number. First-term essay half courses are followed by the letter “F” and second-term essay half courses by the letter “G”.

Other Terms

Now that you have learned about courses, let’s review some more terms.

Pre-requisite:

These are courses that teach you the basis for understanding future information in higher level courses. You must complete pre-requisite courses before registering for higher level courses. It is your responsibility to make sure you have the pre-requisite courses that you need or you will be withdrawn from the higher level course. For example: Psychology 1000 is the pre-requisite for Psychology 2800E. Psych 1000 teaches the basic principles of Psychology whereas Psych 2800E expands on the information learned and goes deeper into the subject - you must complete Psych 1000 before you can register for Psych 2800E.

Anti-requisite:

These are courses that teach similar information to another course. In this situation you cannot receive credit for both courses. For example: The anti-requisite for Psych 2800E is Psych 2820E because there are too many similarities in the courses. Therefore, you can take only one of the two for credit toward your degree.

Note:

Even if a course does not have the letters “E”, “F”, “G”, or “F/G” written beside its name, this does not mean that the course will not have essay components. Courses with these letters will definitely require essay submissions and courses without these letters may require essay submissions. See the Academic Calendar for more details on course designations.

The Degree Structure

All students beginning their undergraduate studies at Western will be enrolled in a modular degree structure. A module is a collection of courses that are required for an area of study, and there are 4 types:

There are three types of degrees offered: Honors Bachelor (Four-Year), Bachelor (Four-Year), and Bachelor (Three-Year). Higher grades are required for the Honors Bachelor degree than the other degrees. Each degree allows different combinations of the four types of modules. For example, if you are getting a Bachelor Degree (Three-Year), you can choose to take two minor modules. Alternatively, you can choose to take a major module by itself, or one major and one minor.

Note:

You can choose your modules from any subject area. This allows flexibility so that you can combine multiple areas of study in your degree. Not all departments offer all four types of modules, so check the Academic Calendar or speak with your academic counsellor for details.

Progression Requirements

It is important for students to be aware of and understand the progression requirements of their academic program. A cumulative average of your courses is used to determine if you are allowed to progress to the next year of your program. In order to be allowed to continue to study, you must meet the minimum progression requirements for your program. For complete details refer to the Academic Calendar

Note:

Students who do not meet the minimum progression requirements for their programs may be placed on Academic Probation or may be Required to Withdraw from the university for a minimum of 12 months. 

Course Requirements

It is also important to find out the courses you will need in order to graduate with the particular degree and modules you have chosen. As long as you take the required courses, you can take extra courses that are outside your subject area. Speak to an academic or department counsellor for assistance. Your goal is not only to get your degree but to give yourself a well-rounded education.

More detailed information on progression requirements can be found in the Academic Calendar.