Frequently Asked Questions

Can a student take a 0.5 course in Category A and a 0.5 course in Category B in first-year?

Yes. The Faculty of Science allows this combination, as well as a full 1.0 course in one of the two categories. However, this may also limit a student’s choice in terms of module and course selection in year 2, should they change faculties. To see what subjects are covered in each area, please click here.

Should Science/Medical Sciences students take an essay course in first-year?

Students should be advised to select option courses that are of particular interest to them, based on previous experience – not on the basis of whether the course is an essay course or not. Many modules have essay course built in.

What are the implications for a student who decides not to take any Calculus in first-year?

The student will be limiting his/her module choices as at least a 0.5 Calculus is required for most modules in Science and Basic Medical Sciences.

What Physics course should I take?

Consult our flowchart for more guidance on choosing a physics course.

What Math course should I take?

See "Choosing a First Year Course" on the Department of Mathematics site.

Can a Science/Medical Sciences student take a course at an Affiliated University College?

All students at Western, including those in the Faculty of Science, can take 1.0 course at one of the Affiliated University Colleges per session, provided the course is not offered on the main campus.

What constitutes a ‘subject area’ in Science, to ensure a student has 4 different areas and no more than 2.0 courses in each?

Actuarial Science; Astronomy; Biology; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth Sciences; Environmental Sciences; Physics; Statistical Sciences – are all separate subject areas. Courses in Applied Mathematics, Calculus and Mathematics belong to the same subject area – the subject area of mathematics.

What should my first-year schedule include?

First-year students should plan to take:

  • 5.0 1000-level credits balanced across both terms (i.e. Five courses in fall, and five courses in winter), including the courses required for the module(s) in which they hope to enroll in their upper years
  • 1.0 1000-level courses from Category A or Category B
  • You may wish to include an Essay Course in your courses, but this is not a requirement in first year

Can I get help with course selection and registration?

Yes! All first-year students are invited to take part in Western’s Summer Academic Orientation (SAO). SAO is a virtual program that offers incoming students the opportunity to learn about life at Western, and to get help with course selection and registration. SAO begins June 1 and you can find more SAO information here

I’m sick and can’t write a final exam. What do I do?

You don’t have to be at peak performance to write an exam. If, however, you are too unwell to sit an exam you must seek medical attention to support your missed exam. Medical documentation along with an Academic Consideration Request form must be submitted to Academic Advising. If approved, you will be able to write the make-up exam.

For more information on the process for receiving academic consideration, please see our illness consideration page.

What happens if I fail a course in first year?

It happens. If you keep your cumulative average over 55% you will be allowed to continue without conditions into second year. You will need to repeat that course if you need it for your module. If your average is between 50%-54% you will be put on probation for the next year. Academic probation is a temporary, 12-month status. When you are on probation you must achieve an average of at least 60%, with no failures, on all courses taken during the probation period. If you fail to meet any of the above Conditions of Probation, you will be Required to Withdraw from the University for a minimum of 12 months.

How do I book an appointment with Academic Advising?

You can request an appointment through our Help Portal . Keep in mind, we do have Zoom same-day appointments, which are one-on-one, first come first served every weekday! This is your best way to reach an advisor quickly.

I hate the course I am in; can I drop it?

Yes, you can drop it. If you would like advice on dropping, please reach out. However, if you just want to drop you can do so through your Student Center. Please watch the drop deadlines! You must drop on time or the mark will be an F on your record. Keep in mind that scholarships may be dependent on full course loads.

I really struggle with test anxiety. Is there someone who can help?

Yes, we have a dedicated central team at Student Experience who can help with test anxiety, study skills, time management, etc. For more information or to book an appointment see Academic Support .

I have advanced standing from IB/AP etc. Courses. How will this affect my first-year course selection?

This will depend on the specific courses for which you’ve received advanced standing. We would recommend discussing this when you’re selecting your courses to ensure your decisions support your academic goals.

In general, students who receive advanced standing may elect to take additional 1000-level courses (to a maximum of 7.0 toward their degree), or to start taking some 2000-level courses in first year.

For example, a student starting at Western with 1.0 advanced standing credits could take 1.0 2000-level credits in first year, provided they have the prerequisites. Please note that students entering Med Sci 1 must take a full 5.0 course load.

How do I "activate" my IB/AP credits?

The admissions office will add these to your academic record provided you have done the entire program and you have submitted all supporting/necessary documents as outlined by Admissions. All inquiries about this process may be directed to

What is a "module"?

At Western, “module” is the term for the area(s) of specialization within a degree. Modules include Majors, Minors, Honours Specializations, and Specializations and, in many cases, you can combine modules (e.g. a Double Major, Major + Minor etc.). You can see a full list of the modules offered at Western in the Academic Calendar .

If you’re a first-year student, you will start in a common first year and then choose your module(s) during Intent to Register in March of your first year.

Do I need to take Calculus 1000A and 1000B?

Courses ending in A are 0.5 credit non-essay courses that run in the fall term. Courses ending in B are 0.5 credit non-essay courses that run in the winter. Similarly, courses that end in F and G are 0.5 credit essay courses that run in the fall and winter, respectively.

So, Calculus 1000A and Calculus 1000B are the same course offered in different terms. You should choose one of them, but not both.

I’m enrolled in Gen. Sci. What degree/module is that?

Gen Sci, or General Science, is not terminology we use at Western. Students pursuing Science degrees at Western are BSc students. If you are a first-year Science student at Western, you are admitted into a general first year and you will select the module(s) you plan to enroll in at the end of your first year. Once you’ve been admitted to a module in year 2, your program is related to the module(s) in which you’re enrolled. For example, upper-year students’ programs could be Honours Specialization in Biology, Major in Chemistry, or Specialization in Computer Science etc.

Medical Science First Entry FAQs

Learn more about Medical Science First Entry on this page.