Common Course Policy

The Common Course Policy comes into effect when a BMSc student completes two modules and some of the same courses appear in both modules. The Common Course Policy works the same way for Honors Specialization + Major, Honors Specialization + Minor, or Double Majors.

Students completing Double Majors in the BMSc Program should familiarize themselves with the Common Course Policy. Note, however, that worksheets for the various Double Major combinations have been created that apply the Common Course Policy (see below). These worksheets should be used as guidelines for the courses required for the Double Major modules offered in the BMSc Program. Refer any questions about these worksheets to the BMSUE Coordinator .

The Common Course Policy - the details

BMSc students completing two modules may double-count a maximum of 1.0 "common course" toward two modules. A common course is a course that is 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. A "substitute course(s)" approved by the department offering the module must be taken to maintain the required number of courses in the module.

Notes:

  • when choice exists in a module, courses are not considered common unless and until all choice is exhausted. If one course must be selected from a list of courses, then every course in the list must be taken before the course is considered to be common to both modules. If the choice exists to take another course, then another course must be taken;
  • 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;
  • an approved substitute course must be completed with the minimum mark requirement for the module/degree and the mark is included in the calculation of the cumulative average of the module (for graduation purposes).

The Academic Counselling Office for Science and Basic Medical Science students has created a flowchart about the Common Course Policy.

Steps to follow

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

The examples below relate to Double Majors ( Major in Physiology + Major in IMS ).

Look at the courses listed under each of the modules that you intend to complete in the Academic Calendar .

When a particular course is mandatory in both modules, it is a common course.

Example #1:

The following three courses are mandatory in both the Major in Physiology and the Major in IMS:

  • Biochemistry 2280A
  • Chemistry 2213A
  • Biology or Statistics 2244A/B

There is no alternative for taking a different course in either module and these three courses are, therefore, common courses.

When a particular course is mandatory in one module and is part of a pick-list in the second module, it is not a common course unless all choices in the second module have been exhausted (note: a pick-list is a list from which a certain number of courses must be selected).

Example #2:

Physiology 3120 and the Major in Physiology + the Major in IMS:

  • Physiology 3120 is mandatory in the Major in Physiology
  • Although Physiology 3120 is one of the courses in the pick-list that is Group 1 in the Major in IMS, it cannot be used toward the Major in IMS because there are other courses in Group 1

Physiology 3120 is not a common course in this example and is used only toward the Major in Physiology. 1.0 other course from the pick-list that is Group 1 must be taken for the Major in IMS.

When a pick-list exists in both modules, a particular course that appears in both pick-lists is only considered to be a common course if ALL choices have been exhausted.

Example #3

Biology 2290F/G, 2382A/B, 2581A/B and the Major in Physiology + the Major in IMS:

  • two of these half courses are required for the Major in IMS: Biology 2290F/G and (one of Biology 2382A/B or 2581A/B)
  • two of these half courses are required for the Major in Physiology: any two of Biology 2290F/G, 2382A/B, 2581A/B

You must take all three of these half courses to exhaust the choice that exists in both modules, and the course with the highest mark is the common course:

  • Biology 2290F/G counts toward the Major in IMS
  • of the three half courses, the one with the highest mark counts toward the Major in Physiology
    • if Biology 2290F/G has the highest mark, then it is the common course. Biology 2382A/B counts toward one Major and Biology 2581A/B counts toward the other Major
    • if Biology 2382A/B has the highest mark, then it is the common course. Biology 2290F/G counts toward the Major in IMS and Biology 2581A/B counts toward the Major in Physiology
    • if Biology 2581A/B has the highest mark, then it is the common course. Biology 2290F/G counts toward the Major in IMS and Biology 2382A/B counts toward the Major in Physiology

Step 2: determine how many common courses exist

Count up the common courses that you discovered in Step 1. Each full course is counted as 1.0 course and each half course is counted as 0.5 course .

If the total number of common courses is 0.5 or 1.0, then you do not have to follow any more of the steps!

Step 3: if there are 1.5 or more common courses, then determine which 1.0 is double-counted

Only complete Steps 3-5 if there are 1.5 or more common courses in the two modules.

Take a look at the marks you achieved in the courses that you are common to the two modules.

The 1.0 common course with the highest mark is double-counted (used) toward both modules - it makes sense to maximize the cumulative modular average for both modules

Step 4: if a common course(s) remains, then assign this course(s) to a module(s)

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

A total of 1.5 courses is common to the two modules:

Of these 1.5 common courses, the 1.0 course with the highest mark is double-counted and 0.5 common course remains

  • (mentally) assign the remaining 0.5 common course to one of the two modules (it can be used toward either module but see Step 5 for making this decision)
  • 0.5 substitute course will be required for the other module (see Step 5)

A total of 2.0 courses is common to the two modules:

Of these 2.0 common courses, the 1.0 course with the highest marks is double-counted and 1.0 common course remains

  • (mentally) assign 0.5 course to one module and the other 0.5 course to the other module
  • if the remaining 1.0 common course is actually a full course, then mentally split it into two half courses and assign 0.5 to each module
  • 0.5 substitute course will be required for each module (see Step 5)

A total of 2.5 courses is common to the two modules:

Of these 2.5 common courses, the 1.0 course with the highest mark is double-counted and 1.5 common courses remain

  • (mentally) assign 1.0 common course to one of the two modules and 0.5 course to the other module (1.0 course can be assigned to either module and the other 0.5 course assigned to the other module but see Step 5 for making this decision)
  • 1.0 subsitute course will be required for one module and 0.5 substitute course will be required for the other module (see Step 5)

Step 5: determine how many "substitute courses" are required and choose them

When a remaining common course is assigned to one module, this course cannot be used toward the second module. The resulting "hole" left in the second module must be filled/replaced by a "substitute course".

Most of the basic medical science departments have pre-approved lists of substitute courses .

The following scenarios demonstrate the number of substitute courses that are required.

1.5 courses are common to the two modules:

  • the 1.0 common course with the highest mark is double-counted and used toward both modules,
  • the remaining 0.5 common course is (mentally) assigned to one module, and
  • 0.5 substitute course is required for the other module

Note: look at the list of substitute courses for both modules and determine which course you would like to take as a substitute course. The 0.5 remaining course will then be (mentally) assigned to the other module.

If one of the modules is not a basic medical science module or if the basic medical science department doesn't have a pre-approved list of substitute courses, then check with the department offering that module for approved substitute courses.

2.0 courses are common to the two modules:

  • the 1.0 common course with the highest mark is double-counted and used toward both modules,
  • one of the remaining 0.5 common courses is (mentally) assigned to one module and the other remaining 0.5 common course is (mentally) assigned to the other module, and
  • 0.5 substitute course is required for each of the two modules (for a total of 1.0 substitute course)

Note: look at the list of substitute courses for both modules and determine which courses you would like to take as substitute courses. If a full course appears on the pre-approved substitute course lists for both modules, then this full course can be taken and we will mentally split it into two substitute half courses.

If one of the modules is not a basic medical science module or if the basic medical science department doesn't have a pre-approved list of substitute courses, then check with the department offering that module for approved substitute courses.

2.5 courses are common to the two modules:
  • the 1.0 common course with the highest mark is double-counted and used toward both modules
  • one of the remaining 0.5 common courses is (mentally) assigned to one module and the other remaining 0.5 common course is (mentally) assigned to the other module
  • the third remaining 0.5 common course is assigned to one module, and
  • 1.0 substitute course is required for one module and 0.5 substitute cousre is required for the other module (for a total of 1.5 substitute courses)

Note: look at the list of substitute courses for both modules and determine which courses you would like to take as substitute courses. If a full course appears on the pre-approved substitute course lists for both modules, then this full course can be taken and either used toward one module or mentally split it into two substitute 0.5 courses to be used toward both modules.

If one of the modules is not a basic medical science module or if the basic medical science department doesn't have a pre-approved list of substitute courses, then check with the department offering that module for approved substitute courses.

As you follow the steps below, refer back to the flowchart created by the Academic Counselling Office as a visual aid.

FAQS

Do I have to let anyone know which course(s) will be double-counted?

No. The BMSUE Office will figure this out when you are adjudicated for graduation (i.e. assessed for your eliglibility to graduate).

Will my transcript show which course is double-counted?

No. Your transcript does not indicate which of your completed courses are:

  • modular courses
  • double-counted courses
  • substitute courses

Whom do I contact if I have questions about the Common Course Policy?

The BMSUE Coordinator (Kathy Boon) will answer your questions if you are a BMSc student. You can either send an email query or see her during drop-in hours.

Link to the basic medical science "substitute courses"

Pre-approved lists of substitute courses.have been created by the basic medical science departments.

If you are a BMSc student and completing a Major or Minor module that is not offered by a basic medical science department, e.g. a Minor in Genetics, then you will need to contact the department that offers the Major or Minor to find out can be taken as a substitute course. The Academic Counselling Office has the contact information for the various Science departments on their website.

Double Major Worksheets

The worksheets below will help you determine which courses need to be taken to satisfy the requirements of two Major modules that lead to graduation with a BMSc degree.

Every attempt is made to keep these sheets up-to-date and reflective of the requirements in the current Academic Calendar for each module and how the Common Course Policy applies to each Double Major combination.

Submit the worksheet for review by the BMSUE Coordinator (Kathy Boon) if you are uncertain about satisfying the requirements to graduate or bring it by during drop-in hours.

If you are either registered in or contemplating a combination of two Major modules offered by the basic medical science departments and you don't see the combination below, then send an email message to the BMSUE Coordinator.

The general requirements to graduate are located in the Academic Calendar .

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