Common Course Policy

The Common Course Policy comes into effect when a BMSc student wants to complete two modules and some of the same courses appear in both modules.  It doesn't matter if the two modules are Honors Specialization + Major, Honors Specialization + Minor, or Major + Major (Double Majors) - the Common Course Policy always works the same way.

Click here for Worksheets for BMSc Double Majors.

The Common Course Policy - the details

BMSc students completing two modules may double-count a maximum of 1.0 common course toward the two modules.  Common courses are courses that are mandatory in both modules.

When two modules contain more than 1.0 common course, the remaining common course(s) must be distributed between the two modules as evenly as possible and a substitute course(s) approved by the department offering the module must be taken to maintain the number of courses required in the module.

Notes:

  • if more than 1.0 common course exists in two modules, then the 1.0 common course with the highest mark (either two half courses or one full course) is double-counted and used toward both modules
  • the mark in a double-counted course is used in calculating the average for each module
  • when choice exists in a module, courses are not considered common unless and until all choice is exhausted.  If the choice exists to take other courses, then other courses must be taken (if a particular course is required in one module and is part of a list of courses in another module, then every course in the list must be take before the particular course is considered common to both modules)

The Common Course Policy is broken down into steps (below) and each step contains a helpful video at the bottom of the section for each step.  The video below is a compilation of ALL the steps needed to master the Common Course Policy, using the Major in Physiology + Major in IMS as the example.


Step 1: determine if two modules contain "common courses"

The video demonstrates Step 1:  how to determine if two modules contain common courses. The paragraph following the video...


Step 1:  Instructions on how to determine if two modules contain common courses.

Look at the courses listed under each module in the Academic Calendar.

Only courses that are mandatory in both modules are "common courses".

  • e.g. if Biochemistry 2280A must be taken in both modules (no choice exists), it is a common course
  • note:  if either Biology 2244A/B or Statistics 2244A/B must be taken in both modules, then only one of these courses has to be taken (they are both statistics course and are antirequisites) and the course is a common course

When choice exists in a module, courses are not considered common unless and until all choice is exhausted.  See the following examples:

  • a course is mandatory in one module and is found in a list of courses in the other module:
    • example 1 - Major Pathology + Major Physiology:
      • Biology 2382B is mandatory in the Major in Pathology.  The Major in Physiology requires 1.0 course (two half courses) from Biology 2290F/G, 2382B and 2581B.  Biology 2290F/G and 2581B must be taken for the Major in Physiology and Biology 2382B only counts toward the Major in Pathology.  None of the three half courses in Biology is common to both modules.
    • example 2 - Honors Specialization in IMS + Major in Microbiology and Immunology:
      • Chemistry 2223B is mandatory in the Major in Microbiology and Immunology.  The Honors Specialization in IMS requires a half course in Chemistry numbered 2100-3999.  Chemistry 2223B can only be used toward the Major in Microbiology and Immunology and a different half course in Chemistry numbered 2100-2999 must be taken for the Honors Specialization in IMS
  • both modules contain the same short list of courses from which two must be taken for each module:
    • 1.0 course from Biology 2290F/G, 2382B and 2581B is required in both the Major in Physiology and the Major in IMS.  All three of these half courses must be taken and the course with the highest mark is common to the two modules.  For example, if Biology 2382B has the highest mark, it is common to both modules.  Biology 2382B and 2290F/G are used in one module and Biology 2382B and 2581B are used in the other module.

Step 2:  determine how many common courses exist

The video demonstrates Step 2: how to determine the number of common courses in two modules.


  • note which courses are common to both modules using Step 1
  • add up the total number of common courses, counting full courses as 1.0 course and each half course as 0.5 course

 

If only 0.5 or 1.0 common course exists, it is double-counted and used toward both modules and no more steps are required.  If more than 1.0 common course exists in the two modules, continue with Steps 3 - 6.

Step 3: determine which 1.0 common course is double-counted

The video demonstrates Step 3:  how to determine which 1.0 common course is double-counted.


A maximum of 1.0 course that is common to the two modules can be double-counted and used toward both modules.

  • the 1.0 common course with the highest mark is double-counted toward both modules - it only makes sense to maximize the modular average for both modules.
  • if the common courses contain both full and half courses, the full course is double-counted if it has a higher mark than the average of the two common half courses with the highest marks

Step 4:  assign the remaining common courses to the two modules

The video demonstrates Step 4:  assigning the remaining common courses to the two modules.


Determine the number of remaining common course(s) and assign them to the two modules as evenly as possible, as in the following examples:

  • if one common half remains:
    • assign it to one of the two modules (it can be used toward either module but see Step 6 for tips on making this decision)
  • if two common half courses (1.0) remain:
    • assign one half course to one module and the other half course to the other module
    • it usually doesn't matter which of the remaining common half courses is assigned to each of the modules.  If it makes a difference for a student's eligibity to graduate or receive a graduating award, we'll fiddle around with the module to which remaining common half courses are assigned to maximize a modular average average.
  • if three common half courses (1.5) remain:
    • assign 1.0 course to one module and 0.5 course to the other module (1.0 course can be assigned to either module and 0.5 course assigned to the other module but see Step 6 for tips on making this decision)

Step 5: determine the "substitute course" that is required

The video demonstrates Step 5:  determining the substitute course(s) that is/are required.


The number of courses required for each module must be maintained by taking a substitute course(s).  When a remaining common half course is assigned to one module, a half course is then missing from the other module.

  • a "substitute course" or courses must be taken to replace this missing half course or courses, as in the following examples:
    • 0.5 remaining common half course exists and is assigned toward one module:
      • this module maintains its required number of modular courses.  The other module is missing a half course and this half course must be replaced by a half substitute course.
    • 1.0 remaining common half course exists:
      • one remaining half course is assigned to one module and the other remaining half course is assigned to the other module, leaving a half course missing from both modules.  A half substitute course must be taken for both modules
      • e.g. the Major in Physiology and the Major in IMS contain 2.0 common courses.  1.0 common course is double-counted, leaving 1.0 common course remaining (two half courses).  One of these remaining common half courses is used toward the Major in Physiology and the other is used toward the Major in IMS.  A half substitute course must be taken for the Major in Physiology to maintain a total of 6.0 modular courses and another half substitute course must be taken for the Major in IMS to maintain a total of 6.0 modulare courses.
  • substitute courses must be approved by the department offering the module into which the course is being substituted (see Step 6).

Step 6:  pick the "substitute course"

The video demonstrates Step 6:  how to pick a substitute course.


  • many of the basic medical science departments have a pre-approved list of Substitute Courses.
  • if you need to take a subsitute course for a basic medical science module that doesn't have a list of pre-approved substitute courses, then contact the department offering the module for a recommendation and have this recommendation sent to the BMSUE Coordinatory (Kathy Boon).
  • if you need a substitute course for a module offered by the Department of Biology, contact the departmental counsellor in Biology (Brenda Beretta) to ask which course can be used.
  • Tip for assigning a remaining common course to a particular module:
    • decide which course you would prefer to take from the list of substitute courses approved for each module
    • include this course in one module and assign the remaining common half course to the other module
Click here for the lists of Substitute Courses.

Double Majors - worksheets

Worksheets have been created to help students who have been admitted to Year 3 of Double Majors in the BMSc Program.
NOTE: these worksheets should not be used by students registered in Year 4 BMSc for 2017/18 as they contain changes to the Majors in IMS, Pathology, Pharmacology and Physiology that likely are not relevant for Year 4 students in 2017/18.

Double Major Worksheets

The top section of each worksheet lists the 6.0 courses in each Major. The list of courses may not appear identical to what is listed in the Academic Calendar when the Common Course Policy has already been taken into consideration.

The middle section identifies the common courses and whether substitute courses are needed

The bottom section is the most important for you as it lists the modular courses that are required to satisfy both Majors.

Not all Double Major combinations are listed. Contact the BMSUE Coordinator if the combination you wish is not listed.

NOTE: students cannot complete a Major in Pharmacology and a Major in Physiology.