Return to: Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science offers degrees in Applied Mathematics, Atmospheric Sciences, Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences (Animal Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Physiology and Developmental Biology, Plant Biology), Chemistry, Cell Biology, Computing Science, Computing Science with Business Minor, Environmental Earth Sciences, Geology, Geophysics, Immunology and Infection, Mathematical Physics, Mathematics, Mathematics (Computational Science) Mathematics and Economics, Mathematics and Finance, Neuroscience, Paleontology, Pharmacology, Physics, Physiology, Psychology, and Statistics.
A Business Minor, an Arts Minor and an Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences minor are available in the BSc General program.
A Science Internship Program (SIP) is available to Faculty of Science BSc students to enhance their studies and provide relevant work experience. Students must complete an 8-, 12- or 16- month work experience term at the end of their third year to receive SIP designation on their degree parchment. For more details, please see Science Internship Program.
The Faculty offers three programs leading to the Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree: Honors, Specialization, and General.
The Faculty also offers a Bachelor of Science with Specialization in Science Education which is part of a five year BSc/BEd combined degrees program.
The four-year Honors programs are primarily for students who seek careers in scientific research. In addition, they prepare students for admission to graduate school, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
The four-year Specialization programs do not concentrate on one subject to the same extent as the Honors programs. This allows students to choose from a broader range of courses and to take a greater number of courses in a secondary area of interest. They can provide the background necessary for admission to graduate schools, in some cases, and permit attainment of professional status in others.
The four-year General program provides a general education with a scientific emphasis for students who seek careers in business, teaching, medicine, dentistry, etc.
In many cases, transfer from one degree program to another can be easily arranged to suit students' changing ambitions, needs, or academic qualifications.
Regulations governing the Honors, Specialization, and General degree programs are found in Programs , followed by descriptions of each degree program under the subject headings.
General admission requirements for the University are set out in Admission to Undergraduate Programs and General Admission Requirements . Specific admission information for the Faculty of Science is detailed in Faculty of Science .
The following terms, definitions, and abbreviations are used throughout this section of the Calendar. Also see the Calendar's Glossary .
- Approved Option
In the Faculty of Science section, the term "approved option" appears only within the description of Honors and Specialization programs. For students registered in an Honors or Specialization BSc program, an "approved option" is a course (from Arts, Science, or another Faculty) approved in writing by the department directing the student's program.
General program students interested in taking courses from Faculties other than Arts or Science should see Selection of Courses.
- Arts Option
Those courses offered by the Faculty of Arts for which the student is eligible, Christian Theology courses and Native Studies courses listed in Course Listings . Note: Students registered in the Faculty of Science may not take SOC 210 , SOC 315 for degree credit.
- Courses Attempted
Refers to university or university transfer courses completed with a final grade and excludes courses from which a student has withdrawn with permission.
- Courses Successfully Completed
Refers to university courses with a final grade of D or higher.
- Course Weight
A unit of course weight indicates the instructional credit assigned to a course and is designated by the ★ symbol after the course number and name. Units of course weight form a part of the degree requirements and are also used to calculate a student's Grade Point Average (GPA).
The instructional period of September to April.
- Two-term Course
A two-term course is a single course worth ★6.
The instructional periods from September to December (Fall) and January to April (Winter). In Spring/Summer, the instructional periods of May/June (Spring) and July/August (Summer).
- Single-term Course
A single-term course is a single course worth ★3.
- Junior Courses
Those courses numbered 199 or lower.
- Normal Course Load
A normal, full academic course load is ★30 during Fall/Winter.
The term "option" where it appears in programs means a course chosen by the student from offerings by the Faculties of Arts or Science if the necessary prerequisites have been met.
- Science Option
Those courses offered by the Faculty of Science for which the student is eligible. Note: Not all courses offered by the Faculty of Science are available to students registered in the Faculty of Science.
The instructional periods of May/June (Spring Term) and July/August (Summer Term).
- Year of Program
Year of program, as referred to throughout the Science section, is defined below. Students who are applying to, or continuing in, the Faculty of Science are considered to be in
- Year 1 if they have successfully completed up to ★29 of their degree program;
- Year 2 if they have successfully completed between ★30 and ★59 of their degree program;
- Year 3 if they have successfully completed between ★60 and ★89 of their degree program;
- Year 4 if they have successfully completed at least ★90 of their degree program.
- Academic standing is used to determine the eligibility of students to continue or graduate from their programs. The academic standing of all students in the Faculty of Science is assessed annually on the basis of the Grade Point Average (GPA) calculated on all coursework attempted in the Fall/Winter. Spring and Summer work is not included. The assessment of students in BSc Specialization and BSc Honors programs also takes into consideration the minimum course load requirements of the particular program, as well as any specific grade or GPA requirements.
For students in the BSc General program, the Faculty may defer the assessment of academic standing for one Fall/Winter for students who attempt less than ★9. In such cases, the academic standing assigned at the last assessment remains in effect until the conclusion of the next Fall/Winter.
- Academic Standing Assessment
- First Class Standing, also referred to as the Dean's Honor Roll, is assigned to students who successfully complete at least ★24 and achieve a minimum 3.5 GPA. First class standing is also assigned to students who, as a result of participation in Education Abroad or IIP Work Experience, attend only one term of a Fall/Winter and successfully complete at least ★12 with a minimum 3.5 GPA.
- Satisfactory Standing is assigned to students in the BSc General program who achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0. Satisfactory standing is assigned to students in BSc Specialization and BSc Honors programs who meet the minimum continuation requirements for their program, including Fall/Winter GPA, course load and any course specific grade or GPA requirements. (Refer to the specific sections covering each BSc Specialization and BSc Honors program in BSc Specialization Programs to BSc Honors Programs )
Students in satisfactory standing may continue in, and when requirements met, graduate from, their programs.
- Marginal Standing is assigned to students with a GPA between 1.7 and 1.9 on a minimum ★9 attempted. Students meeting these criteria who do not have in their postsecondary education a prior requirement to withdraw, an academic warning, a probation period or their equivalents may be permitted to continue on academic warning in the BSc General program. Students in BSc Honors and BSc Specialization programs who meet the criteria for marginal standing may not continue in their current programs, but must apply to transfer to the BSc General program in order to continue on academic warning.
To clear academic warning and return to satisfactory standing, students must attend the subsequent Fall/Winter and must obtain a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students who fail academic warning are required to withdraw.
Students who have been placed on academic warning and wish to interrupt their studies must obtain the written permission of the Associate Dean, Undergraduate prior to August 15 of the year in which marginal standing was assigned. Students who interrupt their studies without permission will need to requalify in order to be considered for future readmission [see Requalify.].
Academic warning may be offered once only. To remain in satisfactory standing students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in all subsequent Fall/Winters. Students with a GPA below 2.0 and who have in their postsecondary education a prior requirement to withdraw, an academic warning, a probation period or their equivalents are required to withdraw.
Academic warning is not offered to Special Students or to students in BSc Specialization and Honors After Degree programs who are upgrading a previous degree with a major in the same discipline. Students in these programs with marginal standing will be required to withdraw.
- Unsatisfactory Standing is assigned to students whose GPA on a minimum ★9 is below 1.7. It is also assigned to students with a GPA below 2.0 who have in their postsecondary education a prior requirement to withdraw, an academic warning, a probation period or their equivalents. Students with unsatisfactory standing are required to withdraw.
Students with two or more prior requirements to withdraw or equivalents are not eligible to continue in the Faculty of Science and do not have the option to appeal.
- Requirement to Withdraw and Readmission
Students who are required to withdraw cannot continue or register in subsequent terms beyond Spring. If they wish to continue studies in the Faculty of Science, they must choose one of the following mutually exclusive options. Admission to the Faculty of Science is competitive. The number of readmissions to the Faculty is limited. Presentation of the minimum admissions requirements does not assure admission.
- Fresh Start Program: is available by recommendation of the Faculty to students whose GPA is between 1. 3 and 1.6 and have taken less than ★60 of postsecondary work. Students who been on probation or have more than one requirement to withdraw or their equivalents, or who have been sanctioned for any academic-related disciplinary offence at this University or elsewhere are not eligible for the Fresh Start program. A minimum of ★18 with a minimum GPA of 2.7 or a minimum of ★24 with a minimum GPA of 2.0 must be successfully completed in the Fresh Start program to be considered for readmission to the Faculty of Science. The Faculty may also specify course requirements to be fulfilled. Students who successfully complete the Fresh Start program may apply for readmission as transfer students (see Postsecondary Transfer Students ).
- Discontinue Studies and Apply for Fall Readmission: Students in the Faculty of Science who are being required to withdraw for the first time in their academic record may elect to discontinue studies for a minimum period of one year and then apply for Fall readmission. Should any coursework be attempted at any institution during this period, the grades may be taken into consideration for readmission purposes, but transfer credit will not be granted.
Students in the Faculty of Science who have failed probation or been twice required to withdraw or equivalent by Faculty of Science standards may discontinue their studies for a period of five years from the date of last attendance and seek consideration for Fall readmission by writing a letter of petition to the Associate Dean, Undergraduate. Readmission, if offered, will be on probation, subject to conditions specified by the Associate Dean, Undergraduate.
Students who have been required to withdraw three times or equivalent are ineligible for readmission to the Faculty of Science.
- Requalify: Students who are being required to withdraw for the first time in their academic record may elect to requalify by successfully completing at another postsecondary institution:
- ★18 of postsecondary courses transferable to the University of Alberta with a minimum GPA of 2.7, or
- ★24 of postsecondary courses transferable to the University of Alberta with the minimum competitive GPA.
- Probation Probation is granted to Faculty of Science students who are required to withdraw and successfully appeal or to Faculty of Science students who are readmitted after studies were discontinued for academic reasons. Probation is completed in the BSc General program. When placed on probation, a student must fulfill specific conditions specified by the Associate Dean, Undergraduate at the time of readmission. To clear probation and return to satisfactory standing, students must normally successfully complete a minimum of ★24 during the Fall/Winter, obtain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and successfully fulfill all other conditions of the probation. Students who fail to satisfy any of the conditions fail Probation, and are required to withdraw without the option of appeal. Students who fail a second period on probation are ineligible for readmission to the Faculty of Science.
Scholarship, First-Class Standing
The basis for scholarship consideration is passing grades in all courses on load of at least ★30.
- First-Class Standing
First-class standing in a given Fall/Winter is awarded to any student who obtains a GPA of not less than 3.5 and successfully completes a minimum of ★24 during that Fall/Winter. Students who attend only one term of Fall/Winter as a result of enrolment in ABROD, EXCH or WKEXP are eligible if they successfully complete at least ★12 with a minimum GPA of 3.5. This is also referred to as the Dean's Honor Roll.
Students who have completed ★120 or more and who have either not applied to graduate, or who have applied but have not met graduation requirements, are permitted to register only in those courses necessary to complete their current program as quickly as possible. Such students must have the written approval of the Associate Dean of Science for every course beyond ★120 in which they register. Students in Honors or Specialization programs must also have the written approval of their Departmental Advisor.
Reexaminations are not normally permitted in the Faculty of Science. Students registered in the Faculty of Science wishing to be considered for a reexamination must, in addition to meeting the requirements set out in Reexaminations , also meet the following conditions:
- Students must provide evidence of a medical condition or similarly compelling circumstance existing at the time of the writing of the final examination; and
- provide evidence that the student's performance in the final examination was so affected by circumstances as shown in (1) that there was a substantial difference between the final examination results and the term work; and
- excluding the final exam, must have completed at least one-half of the term work.
Note: Registrants in BSc degree programs in the Faculty of Science who fail to meet the graduation requirements may be granted a reexamination in one passed or failed Science course taken in the final Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer (last ★30 or less) provided the maximum number of reexaminations (★12) has not been previously taken. Such courses must qualify for reexamination, according to Reexaminations .
- Selection of Courses
Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with program requirements and limitations as specified in the Calendar, for ensuring their programs are properly planned in accordance with degree specifications, and for the completeness and accuracy of their registration. Please read the Calendar carefully before registering in courses, and if you are in doubt about any regulations pertaining to your program, consult the Faculty of Science Office (1-001 CCIS) for clarification.
Students registered in the Faculty of Science must complete Science courses and Arts courses as specified by their program. Students may also take courses from other Faculties, but must adhere to the program-imposed limits for such Outside options. Note: Anatomy courses are offered by the Faculty of Medicine and are considered Outside options. Written approval from the Faculty of Science is required if more than ★30 are taken in a Fall/Winter, except in those Honors and Specialization programs requiring more than ★30 in a given year.
- Selection of First-Year Courses
Beginning first-year students who have completed no credits toward their programs normally restrict their registration to junior courses. First year students contemplating taking senior level courses should be careful to ensure that they have completed any prerequisites.
- Withdrawal from Courses
Courses from which the student withdraws up to and including the last day for registration in the Fall and Winter Terms will not appear on the student's record. Courses from which the student withdraws after the last day of registration and up to and including the last day for dropping courses will appear with a grade of "W" (Withdrew with permission) on the transcript.
Deadlines for withdrawing from courses are listed in Academic Schedule .
Courses with prerequisites may only be used for degree credit if the prerequisite requirements are met.
A grade of D is the minimum grade acceptable in a course which is to be used as a prerequisite.
Where a prerequisite is stated, it is understood that equivalent courses may be used to satisfy the requirement. In addition, the department offering a course with prerequisite requirements may waive the prerequisite in writing. (Prerequisite waiver forms are available from the Faculty of Science office and the Department offices).
Students who are unsure if they meet the prerequisite requirements in a course, or who wish to obtain permission to have a prerequisite waived, should consult the department offering the course.
- Repeating Courses
No student will be permitted to repeat any University course, whether a failed course or a course having a grade of W, more than once except for reasons deemed sufficient by the Council of the Faculty in which the student is enrolled. For Science students, the Faculty will withhold credit or indicate the course is extra to degree on any course that contravenes this regulation.
Normally, a student will not be permitted to repeat a course in which a grade of D or more has been received.
Only two exceptions are permitted, and each requires written approval of the Dean or designee:
- When a higher grade is necessary for a course that is required in one of the degree programs
- When a student in Satisfactory Standing in the last year of a degree program repeats one course to raise the GPA to the level required by the degree program
A student who repeats a course in which a grade of D or more has been received, without written permission of the Faculty of Science, will have the grade attained on the initial passing of the course used for the purpose of meeting degree requirements, and no credit will be assigned to the repeated course.
- Application for Graduation
Students must be in satisfactory standing in their program (i.e., meet the continuation requirements in their final Fall/Winter) in order to graduate. Students who intend to receive a BSc (General, Specialization, or Honors) Degree or Special Certificate must apply for the Degree or Certificate on Bear Tracks (https://www.beartracks.ualberta.ca) by February 1 for Spring Convocation or by September 1 for Fall Convocation. All official transcripts from other postsecondary institutions are due by May 1 for Spring Convocation or by October 1 for Fall Convocation.
Students who intend to apply for admission to an alternate degree program in the Faculty of Science for convocation purposes only must meet all of the admission, continuation, residency and graduation criteria for that BSc program.
- Degree Requirements
All BSc Degrees require a minimum of ★120. Courses with weights of ★0 are offered for credit only, and, although they may be required in specific degree programs, cannot be used to meet the minimum units of course weight requirement in any degree program.
All requirements for graduation at Spring Convocation must be met by the end of Fall/Winter. Those completing degree requirements during Spring/Summer will graduate at the Fall Convocation.
- First-Class Honors First-class Honors Degrees are awarded to any student in an Honors program who obtained:
- A GPA of at least 3.5 on a minimum of ★24 in each of the last two Fall/Winters of the program;
- A GPA of at least 3.5 on the last ★60 of the program. If determination of the last ★60 requires consideration of one or more courses from a given term then all work from that term is included in the calculation for the purposes of qualifying for First-class Honors. Normally, only UofA courses will be used in the calculation of the GPA for the last ★60 of the program.
- With Distinction
The notation "With Distinction" is inscribed on the parchment of a candidate for a General or Specialization degree if the candidate has obtained a GPA of not less than 3.5 over the last ★60 and if the student successfully completed ★24 or more in each of the last two Fall/Winters. If determination of the last ★60 requires consideration of one or more courses from a given term then all work from that term is included in the calculation for the purposes of qualifying for With Distinction. Normally, only UofA courses will be used in the calculation of the GPA for the last ★60 of the program.
Further regulations regarding academic standing, promotion, and graduation vary from program to program within the Faculty of Science, and are therefore given in Programs below. Regulations for Honors, Specialization, and General programs are found in Faculty of Science .
Appeals and Grievances
A copy of Faculty of Science regulations regarding appeals on grades, academic standing and practicum intervention may be obtained from the Faculty of Science Student Services Office (1-001 CCIS) and on the Faculty of Science website. Certain academic standing decisions made by the Faculty Academic Appeals Committee may be appealed to the General Faculties Council Academic Appeals Committee. Appeals of decisions made by the Faculty Practice Review Committee may be appealed to the General Faculties Council Practice Review Board. See Appeals and Grievances .
Note: Deadlines exist for submission of appeals and are described in the appeals policy document.
Visiting Student Status
Permission to attend another institution as a Visiting Student depends on the student remaining in good academic standing in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta.
A student while registered in the Faculty of Science cannot attend two postsecondary institutions at the same time and will not receive permission to register as a Visiting Student at another institution if the equivalent course is given on campus in the same term, except in the case of formal exchange programs. Transfer credits will not be awarded if a student attends another postsecondary institution without first obtaining a current Letter of Permission from the Faculty of Science.
The Faculty of Science encourages all full-time students who have completed at least ★15 credits at the University of Alberta, who are in satisfactory standing in their program with a CGPA of at least 2.5 and have a GPA of at least 2.7 in their most recently completed term, to consider a period of study abroad. This program is administered by University of Alberta International and details of this competitive program can be found on their website www.international.ualberta.ca/studyabroad.
Where possible, credit for courses successfully completed in study abroad programs will be granted transfer credit by the Faculty of Science. However, there may be courses required in a program where there is no substitute available elsewhere. Thus a period of study abroad may extend the time required to complete a BSc degree. Science students should maintain satisfactory standing during study abroad however they will not be held to the course load and GPA expectations of their individual programs. The thesis-based independent research project required in many honors programs must be completed at the University of Alberta.
Science Internship Program
The Science Internship Program (SIP) offers science undergraduate students work experience opportunities in addition to their academic courses.
To be eligible to register in this program a student must:
- Have successfully completed a minimum of ★48, and not more than ★105, of a Science General, Honors or Specialization degree program with a declared major.
- Be in good standing and have a minimum 2.3 GPA in the previous Fall/Winter Terms.
Students accepted into the program will receive access to approved position descriptions from employers wishing to hire SIP students. Employers are responsible for interviewing and selecting students for the positions. The internship may begin in May, September or January and must be of at least 8 months duration, but may extend to up to 16 months.
Students are limited to one 8 (may consist of two separate 4 month placements), 12 (continuous) or 16 (continuous) month internship placement during their undergraduate degree. Work during the internship period is full time, for which the student is paid by the employer at competitive rates. The student, employer and the Faculty must agree to terms of the internship. During the period of the internship, the student registers in a work experience (WKEXP) course each term and is considered a full-time student at the University of Alberta. All students must register in a minimum of two WKEXP courses that have associated fees.
To successfully complete the SIP, students must complete a minimum of eight months of the following WKEXP courses: WKEXP 955, WKEXP 956, WKEXP 957 and WKEXP 958 and complete the academic requirements of the Science Internship which takes the form of a 400-level SIP course. An eight month placement may be comprised of two four month placements. Students who have completed one four month WKEXP and are not able to secure a second will receive acknowledgment of one WKEXP course on their transcript but will not receive the SIP designation and are not eligible to take the 400-level SIP course. The ultimate responsibility for securing work rests with the student and there is no guarantee that all qualified students will be placed.
Work experience courses are assigned no units of course weight and are graded credit/no credit. Grades are determined by the student's job performance as evaluated by the employer, and/or by the successful completion of assignments as assigned by the Faculty or designate.
The Science Internship Program Coordinator maintains contact at approximately four-month intervals with the student and the person designated by the employer to be responsible for the student's progress. During this time if the student's performance is not satisfactory as evaluated by the employer, the internship may be terminated and the student would then return to classes at the next available opportunity. Following completion of the work experience students return to the university to complete their degree program of studies.
Students should be aware that under the Protection for Persons in Care Act, students can be required to satisfy a Criminal Record Check before being allowed to start an internship.
Detailed information about the Science Internship Program is available at uab.ca/ScienceInternship.