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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
April 18, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

FAQ about your offer of admission



Questions and Answers about your offer of admission to a program in Physics & Computer Science

What is a BSc degree?

A Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) is the undergraduate degree granted by a university to a student who has completed a course of study with a primary emphasis in the physical sciences, computing, and mathematics. For example, Laurier's BSc programs in Computer Science have a greater number of courses from the science disciplines than the corresponding BA program.

What is a BA degree?

A Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) is an undergraduate degree granted by a university to a student who has completed a course of study with a primary emphasis in the liberal arts or social sciences. In Laurier's Faculty of Science, BA programs in Psychology and in Kinesiology fall in these areas. In addition, the Faculty of Science offers BA degrees in Biology, Computer Science, and Mathematics. In these programs, there are fewer courses from the other science disciplines required for the degree.

What is an Honours degree?

An Honours degree involves the study of a comprehensive list of courses in a major discipline where more than 50 percent of the courses are in that discipline (see 'What is a joint Honours program?'). Honours degrees are required for graduate studies in a discipline, for postgraduate studies in the health sciences, and for entry into many professional schools. Employers often prefer Honours degree graduates because of their comprehensive understanding of the discipline. Specifically in computing, graduates wishing to work in the US have been required to have an Honours degree to obtain a work permit. An Honours degree is awarded to a student who has completed a minimum of 20 course credits (see 'What is a credit?'), normally over a four-year period. Laurier no longer offers general degree programs.

What is a Credit?

A credit is a measure of the relative weight assigned to a particular course. A one semester course (for example, a course offered in the Fall, Winter or Spring terms) is typically a half-credit course. If the course is studied over two terms, for example fall and winter, it will typically be a full-credit course. The 20 credits required for an Honours degree could be made up of 40 half-credit courses or a combination of half-credit (one semester) and full-credit courses (two semester). In some departments, there are some courses that have the relative weight of a quarter credit. In Physics & Computer Science, for example, some lab courses are weighted as quarter credits.

What is a joint Honours program?

The Faculty of Science offers interdisciplinary programs where the student is able to choose an Honours program with two majors for example, the Honours BSc in Computer Science and Psychology. In this case, the student takes approximately eight credits in each of the major disciplines and some of the remaining credits from allied disciplines such as Mathematics. Usually in these programs there is a limit to the number of electives in the arts and humanities that a student can study, owing to the joint Honours program requirements. The program regulations of these joint programs vary, and students need to consider these requirements as they progress.

What is a Combined Honours BA program?

It is possible to combine two Honours BA subjects into a Combined Honours program. Both Honours BA subjects may be from within the Faculty of Science or, more usually, one subject from the Faculty of Science is coupled with a second from the Faculty of Arts or with Economics from the School of Business & Economics. Usually in these programs there are fewer restrictions on the number of electives taken outside the two disciplines as compared to the joint Honours BSc program requirements. The program regulations of these combined programs vary, and students need to consider these requirements as they progress. It is possible to combine an Honours BA in Computer Science with an Honours BA from within the Faculty of Science (e.g. Honours BA Computer Science and Psychology) or, more usually, with a second from the Faculty of Arts (e.g. Honours BA Computer Science and Philosophy) or with Economics from the School of Business & Economics (e.g. Honours BA Computer Science and Applied Economics). 

I received an offer for the Honours BA Computer Science program. Why is my program listed as Honours Science?

The Honours BA Computer Science program is a Combined Honours program and can only be taken in combination with a second major. Once you declare your second major, your program will be changed to Honours BA Computer Science and XXXX where XXXX is the second major.

What is a double degree?

The double degrees in Honours Computer Science and Business Administration and Honours Computing & Computer Electronics and Business Administration combine two Honours programs into a custom 25-26 credit program over 4 2/3 to 5 years. Students in the double degree programs meet all the requirements from both programs and graduates receive two separate and distinct degrees.

I have received an offer to study a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program. Does that mean I am in the Faculty of Arts?

Not necessarily. Several programs offered by our Science departments offer BA degrees. The BA degree in Biology, Computer Science, Kinesiology, Mathematics, and Psychology have a higher proportion of courses in the arts, humanities, or social sciences than programs in these disciplines leading to a BSc degree. The Faculty in which you are registered is the administrative home of the department that offers your program or major.

I have received an offer to study a Bachelor of Science (BSc) program. Does that mean I am in the Faculty of Science?

Most students in BSc programs are in the Faculty of Science. However, the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies has its administrative home in the Faculty of Arts, and offers BSc degree programs.

Why would I receive an offer to a BA program when I really want to study science?

BSc programs have particular entrance requirements that include certain mathematics and science courses to be taken in high school (called prerequisites). If an important prerequisite is missing, you may have received an offer to a comparable BA program. In many cases it is possible to transfer from a BA program to a BSc program after your first year of studies. Your department's academic advisor can provide information regarding the feasibility of the switch and what would be required to effect the program change.

My offer is to Honours Mathematics, or Honours Computer Science and Mathematics. What does this mean?

These two programs have identical entrance requirements and the UAC code used by the Ontario Universities Application Centre in Guelph does not distinguish one from the other. When you receive an offer like this, it means that you are qualified to study in either of these two programs. When you register, you can indicate the particular program that interests you. You can wait until later in the academic year to make your selection but you should be aware of any differences in the first year requirements of the programs.


Can I get help in selecting my courses and registering on-line?

During the summer, the Faculty of Science offers HeadStart, an academic advising program that provides you with an opportunity to work with a faculty member and a number of our senior science students to construct your first year course timetable. Our first goal is to answer your questions and help you with the transition to university studies. Our second goal is to ensure that your visit results in the selection and scheduling of your first-year courses. Finally, we want you emerge from this campus visit with the knowledge required to complete on-line course registration through the LORIS system in the future.

I have some other questions. How can I get answers to them?

We're always happy to answer your questions.

Undergraduate Student Advisor: Dr. Ilias Kotsireas
pcsadvising@wlu.ca
519-884-0710, ext 2218
Administrative Assistant: Mrs. Kelly Kuepfer-Crane
kkuepfercrane@wlu.ca
510-884-0710, ext. 2118
Chair: Dr. Marek Wartak
mwartak@wlu.ca
519-884-0710, ext 2436