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Selecting a Course

The problem of choosing fifteen or twenty courses from the enormous number listed in the Faculty of Arts & Science Calendar may appear formidable. Few students begin their first year with a clear idea of which program they will eventually follow, yet each student must choose a first year program that will keep open a number of options from which a choice must be made in second year. Much thought and careful planning must go into the choice of first year courses, so that students do not find themselves excluded from desirable programs in later years.

Useful starting points are the sections in the Faculty of Arts and Science Calendar on Programs of Study that precede each Department's listing of courses. Glance through these and see which of the many programs might be of interest. Then list the first year requirements for these programs and find out what range of choice is available by taking a given collection of first year courses. Consider carefully the level of the first year courses that might be taken. Generally, the higher numbered courses in a particular subject will be more suitable for further work in that subject or may serve as more useful prerequisites for later year courses.

For all the specialist programs and the major program sponsored by the Chemistry Department, the strongly recommended first year chemistry course is CHM 151Y. The program descriptions also list other requirements such as BIO, PHY and MAT courses. However, students who take CHM (135H + 136H) are by no means excluded from Chemistry's programs. Students are encouraged to discuss any concerns, doubts or misunderstandings with Departmental Advisors as early as possible and as often as necessary.

Whatever program is eventually chosen, it is normally advisable to follow the yearly sequence of courses that is prescribed. Delaying courses from one year to another may mean that there is less adequate background preparation for work in other areas, and will almost certainly result in complex timetable difficulties.


CHM 151Y is the course for students who are likely to specialize in chemistry or a field related to chemistry. If the B.Sc. program that appeals to you includes several chemistry courses at the second and higher years, then CHM 151Y is the course in which you should enrol. It will fulfill the first year chemistry requirement for other programs and for admission to other faculties. The five specialist programs which the Chemistry Department sponsors, and for which a substantial number of chemistry courses are needed, are: Chemistry, Chemical Physics, Materials Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, Synthetic & Catalytic Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry. It is also possible to enrol in a Chemistry major program, a Chemistry minor program and an Environmental Chemistry minor program. You will find a complete list of programs that lead to a B.Sc. degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science calendar. Students who enrol in CHM 151Y are expected to take both a first year mathematics course and a first year physics course together with the chemistry course.

CHM135H and CHM136H

The combination of CHM135H with CHM136H is recommended for students who intend to take many of the biologically-oriented programs in the Life or Health Sciences (e.g. Human Biology, Immunology), which do not require a large amount of chemistry. It is also the most appropriate course for students applying for entry into professional programs. These courses may not be taken in the same session, but may be taken in any order.

Together with these two half-courses, a first year Mathematics course and a first year Physics course are recommended co-requisites. Please understand, however, that some higher level CHM courses have MAT/PHY pre-requisites.