Frequently Asked Questions

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When you apply to a program at the University of Guelph, from high school, you are applying to an undergraduate degree. In our Bachelor of Science program (B.Sc.) we offer a General degree (BSCG) and an Honours degree (BSCH). The General B.Sc. program takes approximately three year to complete (15.0 credits). You do not apply for or declare a major in the General B.Sc. degree. The Honours B.Sc. is a four year program (20.0 credits minimum) where you would apply to a specific major. Many graduate programs (Master's or Ph.D. for example) will require you to have an Honours degree.

 

At the University of Guelph we have 27 different majors to choose from in the B.Sc. degree program (2020/21). These majors cover fields related to biological and physical science subject areas. Please see our Programs section to view all the different majors we offer. Each name associated with the B.Sc. degree, e.g. Biochemistry, Nanoscience, Human Kinetics etc. represents a major within the B.Sc degree. 

A major is essential the focus of your degree. All of our majors start with very similar first-year courses, which provides flexibility but it also provides a foundation in science to build off of. In second year, we continue to provide a foundation of course but majors will start to differeniate by adding in courses specific to the field of study. In third- and fourth-year, courses will become much more specialized to the major and the complexity in which students will consider the ideas are much more indepth. The flexibility that we do provide in that first year essentially means that you don't have to truly decide your major right away as you can switch your major with relative ease and you don't need to start over again.

Our most flexible and most popular majors are the Biological Science and Physical Science majors. Both of these majors allow you to tailor a program to your interests. In these majors you have the opportunity to take courses from a wide variety of different science subject areas.

 

For specific requirements regarding admissions to the B.Sc. program, or for details regarding admission requirements for out-of-province or international students, please see the University of Guelph's Undergraduate Admission Information website.

Ontario Curriculum Specific Subject Requirements

  • English - ENG4U
  • Mathematics
    • MCV4U - Calculus & Vectors (for majors in the Physical Sciences)*
    • MHF4U - Advanced Functions (for majors in the Biological Sciences)*
  • 2 courses from 4U Biology, Chemistry, Physics (SBI4U, SCH4U, SPH4U)*
  • 2 additional 4U or 4M credits

*Please see our Admissions page or the University of Guelph Admission Requirements for specific details regarding the required math requirement for each major.  

All three grade 12 science courses are recommended, biology, chemistry and physics, for all B.Sc. majors. If you are lacking any of these science courses, please see our Admissions page for more information or below under the first year FAQ section. 

 

The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) does not base its admission decisions on a specific major. Instead, the requirements specify certain prerequisite courses that must be completed before applying to the DVM program. Therefore - simply choose the major that you find the most interesting, and make sure you take the necessary courses that are needed to apply to veterinary program. Most B.Sc. majors here at Guelph will include the core courses needed to apply - or you can take them as electives. You can find the complete admission requirements and much more on the Future DVM Students page

 

Like veterinary medicine, medical schools do not tend to specify a specific major or degree that you need to complete to apply to their  programs. Please check with the Medical Schools directly for admission information. Some schools may require that you complete specific courses, so be sure that your major will have sufficient flexibility to take the courses you need. You can check out the Ontario Universities' Application Centre web site for more information on specific medical school requirements in Ontario. It is also a good idea to have a back up plan. What would you like to do if you don't get into medical school?

 

A minor consists of a minimum of 5.00 credits (usually 10 courses) within a certain discipline. If you take a non-science minor, the science elective requirements for the B.Sc. degree may be reduced, to allow additional courses to be taken from the minor. For a list of the possible minors within the B.Sc. degree, please see our programs page. Before declaring a minor you should see your Program Counsellor and/or the Faculty Advisor for the minor.

 


The University of Guelph runs on a semester system. We offer three, 12-week semesters, followed by 2 weeks of final exams.

Fall semester - September to December
Winter semester – January to April
Summer semester – May – August

Students will sign up for their courses one semester at a time. Most courses have a credit weighting of 0.50 credits each but not all. A full-time student in a semester, is one that completes 2.00 credits or more, approximately 4 courses, to a maximum of 2.50 credits (approximately 5 courses) in a semester. Part time students would be those that complete between 0.25 and 1.75 credits in one semester. Please note that there can be exceptions to this for student who have a recognized disability.

Students are not required to be full time students in the B.Sc. degree however some majors, including co-op and the Bio-Medical Science major do have requirements in the first year to be full-time or 2.50 credits/semester in order to be considered to continue on in the major. They also have grade requirements as part of their continuation and internal admission requirements.

 

BSc. Students with a biology focused major typically take the following courses in first semester.

  • 1 Biology course
  • 1 Chemistry course
  • 1 Math course (Calculus)
  • 1 Physics course
  • 1 elective

A student in a physical science major (Chemistry, Physics, Nanoscience etc) would normally take the following courses in first semester.

  • 1 Biology course
  • 1 Chemistry course
  • Combined math and physics course (IPS 1500) double weighted course (1.00 credits)
  • 1 Elective course  

The elective is sometimes specified for the major and other times it is not.

 

Most universities have prerequisites, which are Grade 12 courses required for admission into a course. But, don’t worry! If you are missing a Grade 12 science course, you will take a Grade 12 equivalent course to get you up to speed, before taking the required course.

  • If no Grade 12 or 4U Chemistry (or equivalent), then you must take CHEM 1060 in your first semester
  • If no Grade 12 or 4U Physics (or equivalent), then you must take PHYS 1300 in your first semester
  • If no Grade12 or 4U and you are in a physical science major (math, physics, chemistry etc) then you must take PHYS 1300 and MATH 1200 in your first semester in place of IPS*1500

If you are lacking grade 12 or 4U biology, you would be advised to contact your Program Counsellor for further advice.

We have resources to help students adjust their schedules if they are missing one of the grade 12 science courses. This includes a Revised Schedule of Studies page highlighting specific schedule changes for each major.

 

Liberal Education electives refer to courses that are more focused in the areas of arts, social science, humanities, business, and communication, to name a few. These are important to the degree to ensure that our students are well rounded and develop skills outside of the areas of science.

These courses include topics such as sociology, political science, music, business, English, psychology, marketing and more! A list of all approved Liberal Education electives is available on the Approved Electives page.

 

Each year a registration handbook is released through the University of Guelph website. All new students would be directed to this site to gather information about the courses they need to select for their first semester as well as instructions on how to use WebAdvisor. WebAdvisor is our on-line platform where student can check course availability and offering times and select their courses for the upcoming semester.  A copy of the previous registration guide can be found on the New Student Registration Website.

A tutorial on how to use WebAdvisor can be found through the New Student Registration Website.

WebAdvisor also provides financial information like tuition costs. It also hosts your unofficial transcript and your degree audit, which tells you what courses you need to complete to finish your degree. Your class schedule will appear here as well, once you’ve enrolled in your courses.  

 

You can find your required courses for your major and degree in the Undergraduate Calendar. The Undergraduate Calendar is document that outlines University of Guelph policies, procedures, course descriptions and degree requirements. In the B.Sc. degree your degree requirements are laid out for years 1 – 4. You will see your required courses, restricted electives and elective options.

Please note that you are not required to complete the degree in 4 years or 8 semesters. The suggested layout of your courses is there to ensure that you have the proper pre-requisites to enter into the following courses, that are required for your major//degree.

 

The B.Sc. program has been designed to give you a common year of science, no matter whether you are following a biological or physical science major. Most first year students within the B.Sc. program will take: biology, chemistry, calculus & physics, plus two other courses in their first year. The difference in the physics and calculus courses is due to one stream focusing its examples and problems on biological sciences and the other stream focusing on physical science examples. Each of the courses cover similar content.

 

Each course at the University of Guelph has been allocated a credit weight in accordance with the number of hours of academic work involved. Most single-semester courses are 0.5 credits (but not all). A majority of our non-co-op science majors require 20.0 credits or approximately 40 courses to graduate. Guelph runs on a semester system and in each semester most students take 2.5 credits or 5.0 credits in an academic year (2 semesters). Therefore an Honours degree take approximately 4 years to complete and a General degree takes approximately 3 years to complete (15.0 credits).

 


We call guidance counsellors,  academic advisor or program counsellors in university. In the B.Sc. degree we have five dedicated program counsellors and two program counsellor assistants that are there to support our students. The program counsellors help students select courses to meet their academic and personal goals. They are also there to support students who may experience difficulty due to circumstances beyond the their control. Program counsellors understand the policy and procedures of the university and are great resources to support students and refer them to specific supports that can help students through their academic journey.

The BSc. Academic Counselling Office is centrally located in the Summerlee Science Complex, Rm 1329 and can be reached at bscweb@uoguelph.ca. Please note that currently our program counsellors are meeting with students remotely.

 

The University of Guelph focuses on overall wellness of students. This includes both physical and mental wellness. The Wellness Office on campus includes a variety of supports including:

  • Student Counselling Services
  • Health Services – on-campus physicians and nurses to support university students exclusively
  • Student Accessibility Services
  • Health and Performance Centre – physiotherapist, occupational therapists, chiropractors, sports therapists, massage therapists
  • Wellness Education Centre
  • Sexual Violence Support
  • Student Support Network

A full listing of their services and supports can be found on the Wellness website.

Counselling Services can help you with a variety of different issues affecting your life (personal)

Student Accessibilility Services helps students who experience disabilities with full and equitable participation in academic life. They strive towards creating a barrier-free environment where all students can achieve their potential.

 

Supported Learning Groups (SLGs) are free peer-led study groups held on a weekly basis to help students taking historically challenging courses. The sessions are designed for everyone in the class regardless of your comfort with the material, and will give you the opportunity to:

  • Gain a more in-depth understanding of the course content
  • Meet students from your class in a small group format
  • Test your knowledge prior to tests and exams
  • Leave with something tangible to review later

Students seeking assistance with Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics, or Physics should visit the Science Commons on the 3rd Floor of the McLaughlin Library.

Courses also offer support through help-sessions run by teaching assistants and instructors. Instructors also offer hours where students to connect directly with the instructor to ask questions. Our on-line support system, call CourseLink, often have discussion boards for students to ask questions regarding course content.

The library at the University of Guelph has a wealth of knowledge and resources available to students to help with transitioning students learning to university learning. These resources include time management, exam preparation, note-taking, writing services and more. These resources are available through the digital library, static content or in one-on-one or group workshops and appointments. 

Full details of the resources available at the library can be found on the central library's website

 


BSc. Students with a biology focused major typically take the following course in first semester.

  • 1 Biology course
  • 1 Chemistry course
  • 1 Math course (Calculus)
  • 1 Physics course
  • 1 elective

A student in a physical science major (Chemistry, Physics, Nanoscience etc) would normally take the following courses in first semester.

  • 1 Biology course
  • 1 Chemistry
  • Combined math and physics course (IPS 1500) double weighted course (1.00 credits)
  • 1 Elective course  

The elective is sometimes specified for the major and other times it is not.

 

Here is a brief outline of the number of hours spent during a week of classes and laboratories for a full-time, first-year BSc. student:

  • Lectures and Labs for core courses: ~20 hours
  • Elective Lectures: 3 or 4 hours a week
  • Hours in class: 24 hrs a week (approx.)
  • Study Time: 24 hrs a week, 4-5hrs a day

Total: 48hrs a week (approx.)

Students should note that 10 to 12 hours of academic time and effort per week (including classes) are expected for a 0.50 credit course. Being a student takes up more time than most full-time jobs!!

 

The B.Sc. program has been designed to give you a common year of science, no matter whether you are following a biological or physical science major. Most first year students within the B.Sc. program will take: biology, chemistry, calculus & physics, plus two other courses in their first year. The difference in the physics and calculus courses is due to one stream focusing its examples and problems on biological sciences and the other stream focusing on physical science examples. Each of the courses cover similar content.

 

Each course at the University of Guelph has been allocated a credit weight in accordance with the number of hours of academic work involved. Most single-semester courses are 0.5 credits (but not all). A majority of our science majors require 20.0 credits or approximately 40 courses to graduate. Guelph runs on a semester system and in each semester most students take 2.5 credits or 5.0 credits in an academic year (2 semesters). Therefore an Honours degree take approximately 4 years to complete and a General degree takes approximately 3 years to complete (15.0 credits).

 

You can purchase textbooks at the University of Guelph Bookstore, and the Guelph Campus Co-op Bookstore. Both bookstores allow you to search for the required and supplementary materials on their website or in person. Search for your textbooks here.  

We recommend waiting until your first day of class before buying textbooks, as some professors require additional materials. If a textbook is required there is normally at least one copy of the textbook on reserve at the library for students to borrow. Not all textbooks are required, and instructors do try to use the same textbook for courses that run across two semesters. For example, chemistry 1 in the fall semester and chemistry 2 in the winter semester will use the same textbook.

 

The University of Guelph starts to connect students with other new students through our START On-Line program. This program runs on-line through the summer to help students familiarize themselves with the University of Guelph campus, their courses, instructors, resources and of course other new students. We also offer additional transition support for international student, students with disabilities, Indigenous students and …

Orientation week (O-week) is another great time way to meet new friends. There are a ton of fun activities that are run for students by students as well as a few more activities offered by staff and faculty to welcome you into your program. 

In Fall 2020, the University of Guelph created Gryphon Nest! It is an online community of first year students! Students were placed in a virtual community with approximately 40 other first-year students in similar academic programs. Activities and supports were initiated during orientation week and continued on for the duration of the year.

If you are going to be living on-campus you will find that you will meet many students through residence. You can however request to live in an academic cluster in residence. These academic clusters place students in similar programs in close proximity to each other and have a cluster leader who has gone through the similar program to you to support your transition to university.

A great place to meet students in by getting involved! The University of Guelphs has many extracurricular activities, clubs, athletics and more! For more information, and a list of organizations at UofG, check out Gryphlife.

 

 

Midterms and final will vary by course. Types of assessments you will encounter in your first year science courses include: midterms, term tests, quizzes, wet and/or dry labs including lab reports and write-ups, homework, written assignments, problem sets, and group presentations. Our courses do try to vary the assessments and the weighting of each form of assessment to spread the marks out for students and provide feedback to the students about their performance throughout the course.

Midterm or term tests are written in most courses, except some the introductory physics courses.These tests are typically sit down exams that include multiple choice and short answer questions. Midterms are typically completed during class time or if it is not possible to accommodate all students at one time, it can be written at night or on a weekend. You would write these tests with your class and in the common lecture halls. 

Final exams are completed within a two week period at the end of each semester. During this time the gyms located in the Athletic Centre are turned into testing areas. Here we have multiple rows of exam tables added to the space which means that you could be writing with your classmates but also with several different courses all at the same time. We also use our lecture halls for writing final exams as well so not all of the final exams are in this large location. We also have smaller testing rooms for students who require accommodations for writing exams in quieter areas and require additional time for exams. 

 


Full details regarding international student admissions can be found on the admissions website. Here you will find information regarding admission requirements, English proficiency requirements, how to apply, deadlines to apply and contact information for our international recruitment team. 

 

Internation student entrance scholarship information is avialable on the Student Financial Services Website. 

 

There are many resources and support services offered to help international students succeed academically and personally. Check out the International Student website for more information including a listing of resources available to support international students' transition to Canada and the University of Guelph. 

 


 At this time International Student Exchanges are on hold due to COVID-19

There are lots of opportunities to study abroad during your time here as a student. The Centre for International Programs helps initiate and coordinate study abroad opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. There are two ways to study abroad. One way is to go to an Exchange at an institution that has a formal agreement with the University of Guelph. On an Exchange, you pay tuition to the University of Guelph. Another option is to go and study at another institution on a Letter of Permission (in which case you apply to attend the other school as a Visiting Student). If on a Letter of Permission, you pay tuition to the university that you would be attending. Please note that courses taken on a Letter of Permission do not appear on your U of G transcript - they appear on our system with "credit standing" so that they may be applied towards your degree requirements. In all cases, courses taken at another institution must be approved - in advance - by your Program Counsellor.

We have an internship opportunity for biological science majors whereby students can work or volunteer with an organization and recieve credit for the experience. More details can be found on the internship website

The University of Guelph has made experiential learning a priority and as such students will find that the Experiential Learning Hub is great resource to explore curriculuar, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. This website hosts opportunities for students and information on ways to get involved in research, volunteer experiencies, paid positions, experiential learning focused-courses as well as on-campus and off-campus activities. All of the activities are aimed at enhancing student's knowledge, skills and professional attitudes which will help students gain experience, build their resume, plan for their careers and attain their personal and professional goals.

 


Within the B.Sc., there are 13 programs which offer a co-op education option (2020/21). These include: Biochemistry, Biological & Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Biological & Medical Physics, Biomedical Toxicology, Chemical Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Geomatics, Food Science, Marine and Freshwater Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Nanoscience, and Physics.

Students can apply to a co-op program directly from high school. If admitted into co-op this guarantees them a spot in the co-op program during the first year. Students must maintain a 70% average to continue in the co-op program beyond first year. There is also an additional fee for co-op. Students in a co-op program take the same courses as students in non-co-op majors, but will also take an additional, non-credit course (COOP 1100: Introduction to Cooperative Education). This course teaches job seeking skills (cover letter and resume writing, mock interviews). 

If a student hasn't been offered admission directly into a co-op program, they can often still apply during their first year. If space is available and minimum grade requirements are met, then admission may be granted. Please see the Co-op and Career Services website for further details.

If you apply directly from high school and are not accepted to the co-op program, then you will be automatically considered for the non-co-op major option.


First year biology seminars and chemistry labs are offered in the Summerlee Science Complex. Many of our upper year chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, plant physiology, vertebrate and invertebrate and phyiology courses are also offered within the Summerlee Science Complex. A number of the human kinetics and biomedical science courses are offered in Bovey Building and Ontario Veterinary College. We also have some nutritional science and food science labs located in the Nutritional Research Unit and Food Science building. Physics labs are carried out the MacNaughton Building. Both the Science Complex and MacNaughton Building are very centrally located on campus

First year chemistry labs, as well as upper year labs, are held in the east wing of Summerlee Science Complexn(SSC).

Physics labs at the first year level and beyond are primarily focused in the MacNaughton (MACN) building.

The Summerlee Science Complex also has computer labs where some seminars associated with statistics and mathematics courses. 

As you can tell by the multiple buildings that we offer our labs in, research and labs are a bit part of our program.

 

There are many places to study on campus!

If you are looking for a quieter place to study:

  • Quiet Study Floors at the MacLaughlin Library
  • Booking a study room in the MacLaughlin Library
  • Summerlee Science Complex – there are quieter study areas around the building

If you like studying in groups or in a café like setting:

  • Bullring
  • Science Commons (3rd floor of the MacLaughlin Library)
  • Starbucks (main floor of the MacLaughlin Library)
  • University Centre
  • Group Study Floors at the MacLaughlin Library
  • Fireplace Café in the Athletics Centre
  • Summerlee Science Complex Atrium

 

The Summerlee Science Complex is a state of the art classroom and research complex, built with the assistance of the Province of Ontario’s Super Build program, primarily for student learning and scientific research. The Summerlee Science Complex Atrium is formed by the three wings of the building that house classrooms, teaching laboratories, research laboratories, meeting rooms, staff offices, and is a favorite gathering space for students, faculty and staff. It is equipped with wireless internet service and a custom designed sound system. The 12,000 sq.ft. Atrium can accommodate a sit down dinner for 180 or 500 for a reception. It is an ideal space to feature guest lectures with seating for up to 280 people and is wheelchair accessible.

 


Full details on entrance scholarships offered by the University of Guelph can be found on the Student Financial Services website. 

 

The University of Guelph offers a number of entrance scholarships. Some awards students are automatically considered for while others do require applications. A complete listing of awards and application requirements can be found on the Student Financial Services website.

 

The University of Guelph offers a number of in-course scholarships. Some awards students are automatically considered for, while others do require applications. A complete listing of awards and application requirements can be found on the Student Financial Services website.