At every stage of your degree, you may have questions you need answered. Before you make the trip to the Undergraduate Student Services (USS) office, please check out the following Frequently Asked Questions. You may discover the answer you are looking for and save yourself a trip!
My friend received an e-mail from the USS office but I didn’t. Did I miss something?
Perhaps. Come to the USS office and we can check your file to see if anything we mailed to you recently was returned to us. Note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your contact information in Bear Tracks is current. This includes your mailing address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses!
You must also ensure that you regularly check your ualberta.ca e-mail account. We send many important messages to that account.
What if I have missed a deadline?
It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of and meet all deadlines or accept the consequences associated with the specific missed deadline. Deadlines are set by the University of Alberta and cannot be altered by the Faculty of Arts for any reason. Check the U of A Calendar for details.
What is the Faculty of Science *6 Residency requirement and how do I know which courses meet it?
All students in the BA must complete at least *6 in courses taught by the Faculty of Science. Applicable courses are in any Faculty of Science department (Computing Science, Mathematics and Statistics courses are just a few examples). Check in the Course Listings section in the Calendar to confirm which faculty is offering the course. If you are considering completing this requirement with a course in PSYCO or EAS, make sure the course is offered by the Faculty of Science, not Arts.
How do I know if I am on the right track for my program?
In order to confirm that you have met the requirements for your basic, your major, minor or double major, and that you have not exceeded your junior course weights, you must come in to the USS office and fill out a Request for a Program Check form. If you would like us to check your program and you have not declared a major/minor or double major, we will only check your basic requirements. We will e-mail the completed form to you when the check has been completed. On average, this takes approximately three weeks to complete, BUT keep in mind that during busy times of the school year (end of the Winter term, beginning of Fall term), these requests will take longer than three weeks to process. Contact the USS office for more information.
How many junior level (100-level) courses am I allowed to credit to the BA program?
The maximum is *48. Take your transcript and count the number of 100-level courses units passed. If you would like us to check, please submit a Request for a Program Check form and we will confirm your junior course weights, as well as the rest of your program.
Is there a time limit to complete my BA degree?
No. As long as you have registered in at least one course and it shows on your transcript in a calendar year (September – April), you will continue to be a Faculty of Arts student. If you interrupt your program for more than 12 months, you will have to reapply for admission to the program, meeting all admission and program requirements in effect at that time.
Are there a minimum number of courses I must take in order to continue in the BA program?
Yes. As long as you have registered in at least one course and it shows on your transcript in a calendar year (September – April), you will continue to be a Faculty of Arts student, assuming you maintain satisfactory Academic Standing.
How do I withdraw from a course?
First, check the withdrawal deadlines in the current U of A Calendar. If the add/drop deadline has not passed, go to Bear Tracks and drop the course using the Drop feature. If the add/drop deadline has passed but you can withdraw, print off your timetable from Bear Tracks, and, if you are a Faculty of Arts student, come to the USS office to fill out a Withdrawal Form, transferring the information from your timetable to the Withdrawal Form. Please note that you always come to your faculty to withdraw, no matter which course it is. If you are currently registered in a special program, such as Honors, Criminology or BFA, you will also require a signature from your Department Advisor before coming to see us. Also note that some courses require Departmental Approval (e.g., Chemistry, Art & Design, Biochemistry) before we can sign your Withdrawal form.
Have the staff at the USS office sign your withdrawal form and you are out of the course. Keep the signed copy we give you for your records – it is your proof that you withdrew from the course!
What is the tuition deposit?
Effective for the Fall 2014 term, new-to-the-UofA students who are offered admission must pay a non-refundable $500 Tuition Deposit in order to become eligible to register in courses. Students can pay this deposit on Bear Tracks, and it will be credited towards their final tuition amount.
See Student Tuition Payment Options for details on how to pay tuition and fees.
When do I have to declare my major, minor or double major?
We strongly suggest you declare your major, minor or double major by the end of your second year. However, you are free to change these as often as you wish as long as you submit another form each time. There is no fee.
How do I declare or change my major, minor or double major?
Come in and fill out a Declaration or Change of Major/Minor form or print an online form from the forms cabinet online and submit it to the USS office. If you would like us to check your program and you have not declared a major/minor or a double major, we will only check your basic/core requirements.
I’m not sure what I want my major/minor to be.
You are not alone! The Faculty of Arts Basic Requirements will expose you to different courses from a number of disciplines which may help you choose your major and minor. We suggest you choose a major/minor or double major that you enjoy the subject matter. The more you enjoy your courses, the more likely you will excel in your degree!
What kind of employment opportunities are available with an Arts degree?
If you are unsure of your career path, HUB Career Centre has resources to assist in career planning as well as your employment search before and after graduation. They also offer other services such as career planning, work searches, employer information sessions and more!
email@example.com or 780-492-6022
HUB Career Centre (8917 HUB Mall)
Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (September to April)
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (May to August)
Can I minor in Business in the Faculty of Arts?
No. There are very few courses in the Faculty of Business that are available to Arts students. Courses that are available may be counted towards the *18 allowed in Non-Arts and Non-Science options in the BA. Check the calendar listings for more information.
Can I minor in Science? Which Science minors are available to me in the BA program?
You bet! Check the Calendar section for more information. As well, after you have declared your Science minor and have requested that your program be checked, you can discuss specific questions with the undergraduate advisors of those departments.
I just received my new calendar and the requirements for my major/minor have changed. Does that mean I have to take those courses too?
Not necessarily. You must meet the requirements of the year you were admitted (or readmitted, if you had to reapply at any time), so those new courses may not apply. Your program form will state at the top of the page which year’s calendar requirements you must meet. If you would like to have us go over your program and let you know how you are doing, submit a Request for a Program Check form.
I want to go into Law – what should I major in?
To enter Law, you need an undergraduate degree in any area, so we suggest you choose a major that you are passionate about. The more you enjoy your courses, the more likely you will receive a higher GPA and a competitive average! Contact the Faculty of Law for more detailed information.
I’m considering changing my minor subject to a second major but I want to know first how many extra courses the double major will require. What do I do?
Check the calendar – the major courses you require are listed. If you would like us to check for you, submit a Declaration of Major/Minor form declaring the double major and a Request for a Program Check form.
I received my program form and it says I have option courses I can take. What does that mean?
Option courses are any courses not applied to your core/basic, your major/minor, or your double major. Faculty of Arts or Science option courses are unlimited, as long as they fit your program. Non-Arts or Non-Science courses have a maximum of *18 applied to your program. You are not required to take option courses – you can also choose to take more courses in your major or minor, as long as do you not exceed the maximum.
Do courses taken in Spring/Summer in the Faculty of Arts count towards my GPA?
As of Fall 2012, Spring and Summer term grades are no longer included in academic assessment. However, these grades are included in your overall Grade Point Average (GPA) for graduation. You must achieve a minimum 2.0 on all courses for your degree, and minimum 2.0 on senior courses applied to the major.
How and when is the FGPA calculated in the Faculty of Arts?
Please refer to 42.6 in the Calendar.
Am I eligible for the Fresh Start program?
Please refer to 42.6 in the Calendar.
I’m really struggling with my classes and I need some academic assistance. What should I do?
1. Speak to your instructor about your concerns.
2. Check out the Student Success Centre. They have all kinds of information on study habits, exam writing difficulties and individual tutorials on research papers and writing problems. Contact them early to avoid a last-minute rush!
3.Consider reducing your course load, so that you can concentrate on fewer courses. Make sure you know when the withdrawal deadlines are.
4.Contact the USS office to speak to an advisor. We are here to help.
What is the Cortona program?
Check out their website for more information!
If I want to take courses for credit to my degree at another institution while I am a student in the Faculty of Arts, do I have to notify the Faculty of Arts?
Yes. You must have permission from the Faculty of Arts in advance or credit may not be granted. You need an Application for Letter of Permission form and must fill it out in full. The reason for the request must be academically justifiable (i.e. student’s family has been transferred to another city).
Can I go on a foreign exchange program and have my courses taken there credited toward my Faculty of Arts degree?
Yes. In the case of a formal exchange program with the International Centre, certain forms are required (See International Centre). We encourage Arts students to participate in official exchange programs.
You must complete an Application for Letter of Permission if the institution does not have a exchange program from the International Centre. See the USS office for details.
What do I need to do to graduate?
Even if you do not plan to attend the convocation ceremony, you must apply for your degree on BearTracks by the deadline. There is no fee to apply.
If you are completing your degree requirements at the end of the Fall (December) or Winter (April) term, we encourage you to apply by the middle of October (and once you have registered in all applicable courses). If you are planning on completing your program requirements in Spring/Summer term, please apply by the middle of April once you have registered in the Spring or Summer courses. Early application allows time for any changes that may be necessary to final term registrations.
Final application deadlines:
February 1 – Spring Convocation
September 1 – Fall Convocation
Note that you cannot convocate in Spring if you are still taking classes towards your degree in May/June (Spring) term. Similarly, you cannot convocate in Fall if you are still taking classes towards your degree in the September (Fall) term.
Undergraduate Student Services (USS) Office
1-17 Humanities Centre
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Canada T6G 2E5
Tel: (780) 492-4295
Fax: (780) 492-6325
Toll Free in Canada: 1-888-533-5735
HOURS OF OPERATION- year round:
Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 3:30 pm