The Ins and Outs of Advising and Enrolment

So you’ve (hopefully) been admitted to your program of choice and you’re set to attend your advising and enrolment appointment. Advising and enrolment appointments may seem to go by in a flash and leave you wanting more (which we can provide…more on that later.) With a bit of planning, the process of selecting courses and building your schedule need not be disorienting or distressing.

First, it will be useful to get a handle on terminology. You’re in a Faculty, studying a major (or double major or major/minor) through one of the Departments in your Faculty. Your major will have a certain number of required courses at different year levels and all students in your Faculty will have to take a set number of general education courses. Courses outside of these requirements are called electives and may be taken within your home Faculty or from other faculties at York (with a few restrictions). In all, a four-year honours program consists of 120 credits or the equivalent of 20 full-year, 6-credit courses; a three-year bachelor's program consists of 90 credits or the equivalent of 15 full-year, 6-credit courses.

If you haven't yet declared a major, you'll be among those trying different areas of study on for size, a group we call "undeclared majors." While you're shopping around for a good fit, keep the foregoing in mind as these parameters will apply to you too. Often your early course selections will be from among required courses for the different majors you're checking out; courses you take along the way that aren't part of the major you'll eventually declare (and that aren't general education courses) will count towards your degree as electives.

Second, think about your schedule. Which required major courses, general education courses and elective courses do you want to take in your first year? York’s online course calendar ( will show you when courses are offered. You can even search for courses by instructor, time of day (e.g., daytime, after 6 p.m.) and by the format in which they’re offered: in-person, blended, or on-line formats. It’ll be helpful to prepare a “plan B” in case any of your first choice courses are already filled when you log-in to enroll. (Enrolment, including adding, switching and dropping courses, is done online and can be done --once your enrolment window is open-- whenever and wherever you have access to a computer that’s linked to the internet.)

In general, you might want to avoid scheduling two 3-hour courses back-to-back without breaks between. And, think seriously about the load of courses you take on. A handy rule is that for each hour of courses you enroll in, you’ll need 2-3 hours outside of class for homework, readings, research, writing and self-directed learning. If you’re working (full or part-time), have childcare or eldercare duties, or just want to build in some flexibility, consider taking less than the maximum load (just be sure to consult published information on financial assistance you might be receiving, as sometimes a certain course load is required to remain eligible.)

Third, you’re not alone in this process. In addition to Advisers in your home Faculty, ACMAPS has staff who can meet with students to help them answer questions –whether before or after an enrolment appointment. Don’t hesitate to contact us ( – we’re here to help. And, for those students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS), we’re running a pilot Supplemental Advising workshop this summer to address the array of questions that might arise for mature students as they build their schedules for first year. Contact us for more details.

Got questions? Post them here and we’ll set about getting you the answers.


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