Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. I am a new incoming first year MCS student, when and how do I enroll in courses? 

Please check the information here and make sure you register in the upcoming course enrollment events offered by the Office of the Registrar and Centre for Student Engagement. If you have further questions, please contact us.  

Q2. Where can I find program entry requirements for the CSC Major or Specialist?

Please check both the Academic Calendar and here for the Subject POSt admission process and requirements.

Q3. I lack the required prerequisite(s) for an MCS course I wish to take: can I still take the course?

We normally don't allow students to join a course without having the required prerequisite(s) (except for most first year courses). Joining a course without a prerequisite means that you probably won't have the necessary background and knowledge needed to complete the course successfully.
 
However, if you feel that you do have the required background (e.g., from a course taken at another institution), you can request a waiver, by completing an online Prerequisite Waiver Request Form by no later than the first week of classes. Please visit this page to read more and access the online forms.
 

Q4. If I am not doing well in a required program course, what are my options?

You can consider dropping the course on ACORN by the academic drop deadline or selecting LWD (late withdrawal after the drop date) by the appropriate deadline. If the course is offered again in the next term/session, then consider taking it then. Note that the timing of when you complete the course will impact when you are able to apply for programs/ Subject POSts. For example, if you drop a Winter course, and enroll in it in the Summer session, then you would need to postpone applying for your program(s) until the 2nd round of Subject POSt enrolment.

Consult the Important Dates page for pertinent ACORN and/or LWD deadlines. More information on the timing of Subject POSt enrolment can be found in the Program Selection Guide.

If you do not meet the requirements for entry to a CS program (type 3) in your first year, the department strongly recommends that you plan as if you will graduate with a CS minor. The alternative programs suggested here would pair well with CS, meaning that you will stay on schedule to graduate. 

Q5. If I don’t think I’m going to achieve the minimum required grade in a 100-level course (for program entry) that I’m currently taking, can I enroll in the course again?

Yes, if you have not yet finished the current course and the deadline to enroll in courses for the upcoming term/session has not yet passed. Please see the policy on repeating passed courses in the Academic Calendar. Note that if you pass the 1st attempt, then complete the course again, that 2nd attempt will be marked “EXTra” which means it will not count towards your GPAs or degree credit total.

Q6. If I completed/passed a course in a previous term/session, but did not achieve the minimum required grade for program entry, what can I do?

You can consider enrolling in the course again by completing the Course Enrolment Exception form. Please see the policy on repeating passed courses in the Academic Calendar. Note that if you pass the 1st attempt, then complete the course again, that 2nd attempt will be marked “EXTra” which means it will not count towards your GPAs or degree credit total.

Keep in mind, students may repeat a specific passed course only once

Q7. If I repeated a course and I think my 2nd attempt final mark is going to be higher, what can I do?

You can consider submitting a Second Attempt for Credit (SAC) request through the Office of the Registrar. You will need to complete the Second Attempt for Credit form by the appropriate deadline. If this request is approved, then your 1st attempt at the course will be marked “EXTra” (instead of the 2nd attempt), meaning the 2nd attempt (and likely your higher grade) will count towards your GPAs and degree credit total. Please see the policy on Second Attempt for Credit in the Academic Calendar.
 
Consult the Important Dates page for pertinent deadlines.
 

Q8: Can I request SAC for an equivalent course taken at another U of T campus?  For example, I passed MAT136H5 at UTM, and I'd like to enrol in MAT136H1 at St. George. Can I request SAC for MAT136H1?

No. SAC requests can only be made for identical courses, with the same course code, offered by the same campus/division. MAT136H1 and MAT136H5 are not identical courses

Q9. When I repeat a passed course, how are both courses counted towards my a) GPAs and b) degree credit total?

The 2nd attempt (or repeated course) will be marked “EXTra” which means it will not count towards your GPAs or degree credit total. Please see the policy on repeating passed courses in the Academic Calendar.

Alternatively, if while completing the 2nd attempt, you think your final mark will be better compared to the 1st attempt, you have the option to request Second Attempt for Credit (SAC). You will need to complete the Second Attempt for Credit form at the Office of the Registrar website by the appropriate deadline. If this request is approved, then your 1st attempt at the course will be marked “EXTra” (instead of the 2nd attempt), meaning the 2nd attempt (and likely your higher grade) will count towards your GPAs and degree credit total. Please see the policy on Second Attempt for Credit in the Academic Calendar.

Consult the Important Dates page for pertinent deadlines.

Q10. What does “EXTra” mean on my academic record? Can “EXTra” courses count towards my MCS program(s)?

EXTra” means the course will not count towards your GPAs or degree credit total. Please see the explanation about “EXTra” in the Academic Calendar. Yes, “EXTra” courses can count towards your MCS program(s).

Q11. I’ve selected credit/ no credit (CR/NCR) for a required program course. Can this course count towards my MCS program(s)? What are my options?

No. Courses with a final grade of “CR” cannot be used to satisfy program requirements. Please see the policy on Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) in the Academic Calendar. If you have selected CR/NCR for a required program course, you can either (a) deselect CR/NCR for that course so that it can count towards program, by the pertinent deadline, or (b) retake the course and earn a numerical grade.

Consult the Important Dates page for pertinent deadlines.

Q12. Does the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) application consist of an interview?

It depends on the professor/supervisor, but, in most cases, you can expect an interview. More information about ROP can be found here.

Q13. What do professors/supervisors look for in ROP applicants?

It depends on the project, but they may look at: previous courses taken, performance in school, projects, programming languages, skills, and your motivation to be involved in the project. More information about ROP can be found here.

Q14. I plan to take courses at other U of T campuses: will they be accepted to meet my MCS program requirements?

Please find the MCS course substitutes we accept here.

Note that only CSC148H5 and MAT102H5, taken at the UTM campus, will be accepted for the purposes of CS program enrolment. 

Q15. Is ISP100H5 the only course I'm allowed to take to satisfy the CSC writing requirement in the Specialist or major?

Yes, unless you entered the program prior to 2022. Students who joined a CSC Specialist or major prior to 2022 can still satisfy the writing requirement with any of the following courses: ISP100H5, CSC290H5, CCT110H5, ENG100H5, HSC200H5, HSC300H5, LIN204H5, WRI203H5, or WRI173H5.

Q16. Where can I find the pertinent dates to apply to Subject POSts/program(s)? When will the MCS department announce the course and CGPA entry requirements (or “cut offs”)?

Subject POSt information, including pertinent dates, can be found in the Program Selection Guide. Our department will try to announce the entry requirement grades/CGPA for the first round of Subject POSt enrolment in mid-May and for the second round in late August. Information will be posted on the discispline's section of this website.

Q17. I see that there is a new 200-level STA course offered in the MCS department (STA246H5). Can I take this course if I am in an Applied Statistics or Mathematical Sciences program? Can this course be a pre-requisite for other STA courses?

STA246H5 cannot be used towards any program(s) in Applied Statistics or Mathematics. This course is intended only for students in Computer Science programs who will not need STA256H5 for other program requirements. STA246H5 will not be permitted as a pre-requisite for any other 200+ level STA courses.

Q18: I noticed some pre-requisite changes for MAT courses in the Fall/Winter 2022-2023 Academic Calendar. What should I look out for?

The pre-requisites have changed for some 300 and 400-level courses, mostly with the addition of MAT236H5 instead of MAT232H5/MAT233H5 as a pre-requisite. Be sure to carefully review the Academic Calendar and/or the online timetable to ensure that you understand the new pre-requisites.

Q19: What if I am missing a new pre-requisite(s) for one of the 300 or 400-level MAT courses?

For the Fall/Winter 2022-2023 academic session, to allow students to effectively adapt to the new pre-requisites in MAT305H5, MAT309H5, MAT311H5, MAT332H5, MAT334H5, MAT337H5, MAT401H5 and MAT405H5, our department will waive MAT236H5 as a pre-requisite. For the Fall/Winter 2022-2023 academic session, there is no need for you to submit a Pre-requisite Waiver Form if you have MAT232H5, MAT233H5 (or MAT257Y5). This same waiver is not guaranteed for the Fall/Winter 2023-2024 academic session, unless approved via Pre-requisite Waiver Form.

Q20: Does CS have any recommendations for a good-quality laptop that would get me through undergrade studies?  

We don't have specific recommendations for laptop/computer purchase. Do note that for our CS courses, you will not need a high-powered monster of a computer; when students need processing power for advanced courses (e.g. in robotics or scalable computing), they will generally use our lab resources. We therefore suggest buying what you can comfortably afford and what works for your anticipated usage pattern (e.g. consider weight and battery life in addition to processor and memory). 

Our Frequently Asked Questions section is constantly under development. If you have a question that hasn't been answered or any feedback on this site, please contact one of the Academic Advisors & Undergraduate Program Administrators. Their contact information can be found here.

Updated 19-Aug-22