FAQs

Faculty Transfer

I’m currently in a different faculty, but I would like to transfer into the Faculty of Science. How can I transfer over?

To switch from your current faculty to the Faculty of Science, you must first meet these specific admission requirements:

  • Minimum SFU CGPA of 2.00
  • Minimum SFU UD CGPA of 2.00 (if you have taken upper division units at SFU)
  • Minimum 12 units completed at SFU
  • Minimum of 3 Faculty of Science courses, with a minimum C+ in each of the three courses (one must be Math 150, 151, or 154). Faculty of Science courses are any of the following: BISC, BPK, CHEM, EASC, MATH, MBB, PHYS, STAT, and ACMA.

Once you have met these requirements, contact Carlye Vroom at science_advisor@sfu.ca to be transferred into the Faculty of Science.

I completed MATH 157 and would like to transfer into the Faculty of Science. Do I have to repeat Calculus 1 in the form of MATH 150/151/154?

Not necessarily. The reason why we require MATH 150/151/154 to transfer into the Faculty of Science is that MATH 150/151/154 is required for most programs in our faculty. MATH 157 is acceptable for Calculus 1 if you plan to major in Math, Statistics, Data Science, or Operations Research (note: Math, Operations Research, and Data Science require at least a B). If you completed MATH 157 (with the minimum required grade, if applicable) and would like to get into one of these programs, please contact Carlye Vroom (science_advisor@sfu.ca) about transferring into the Faculty of Science. Furthermore, in some cases, MATH 157 may be acceptable for other majors in the Faculty of Science. Please consult with the departmental advisor for your desired major.

Declaring a major/minor

How do I declare a major/minor in the Faculty of Science?

To declare a major, joint major, or minor in the Faculty of Science, you must first meet the specific department's admission requirements. Admission requirements can be found in the SFU Academic Calendar or on the program’s website. If you have program specific questions regarding admission, program planning, or program completion, please contact the departmental advisor directly.

When do I need to declare my major? Is there a deadline?

Technically there is no deadline for declaring your major. However, there can be benefits to declaring a major, including access to upper division courses (see below). Also, program requirements can change over time. Declaring your major fixes your requirements as those specified in the calendar for your term of entry. If you wait to declare your major, the requirements may change from what you had been planning around. 

Thus, it is recommended that a student declare a major as soon as she/he is eligible for admission to the program. New students who are unsure of what to major in should aim to have their major declared by the time they reach 60 units.

What are the benefits of declaring a major?

Benefits may include: access to program-specific scholarships, awards, and bursaries; access to upper division courses; and opportunities that are available only to students in specific majors.

How do I figure out what to major and/or minor in?

Such decisions are subjective and should be based on your personal goals, interests, passions, and strengths. You may find it helpful to talk to people in different departments to get a sense of what each area of study is like. Speaking to a Career Advisor in Career Services may also help you make a decision about what to major and/or minor in.

Course Repeats

Can I repeat a course I have already attempted?

Students are allowed to repeat a particular course once. Ultimately both attempts will appear on your transcript but only the higher grade will factor into your GPA and CGPA. See here for details.

Note: It is not advised that students repeat a course simply to raise their CGPA. In many cases, repeating a course will have a negligible effect on the student’s final CGPA (e.g., for a student with 120 units, upgrading one grade from a C to an A increases their CGPA by only 0.05). We recommend that course repeats are used sparingly, as only five total repeats are allowed over the course of a degree (see below). Courses should only be repeated when doing so is necessary for completing program requirements (e.g., if a student failed a required course or if a student didn’t meet the minimum required grade for a course).

Can I repeat a course a third time?

In certain situations, a third attempt of a course may be permitted. Permission must come from both the student’s advisor as well as the advisor from the department that oversees the course.

How many course repeats are allowed in total?

The total number of course repeats allowed throughout a degree program is limited to five. See here for details.

What if I need to exceed the five allowable repeats in order to graduate from my program?

If you would like to enroll in a sixth or subsequent repeat course, you must discuss your plan with your departmental advisor. Exceptions are rarely granted, and must be approved first by the departmental advisor and then by the Manager of Academic Programs. Please review the repeat policy here, complete the repeat request form, and submit the form to your departmental advisor before enrolling in any further repeats. Note: Students who do not obtain approval and register for the course will either be removed from the course or have the repeat course changed to ‘Illegal’ and the repeated course/units/GPA will not count towards their degree.

If you are unable to get permission, switching into a different program and/or faculty may be necessary. Those students who will not be able to meet the requirements for their intended major may want to consider the General Science Double Minor program. For details about this program, see its section below.

Course Enrollment and Coursework

I’m a new student. How do I know which courses I should take?

For incoming high school graduates, course enrolment and sample program tables are found in the SFU 101 Canvas modules. Many of the departments in the Faculty of Science also outline typical/recommended course lists for their majors on their website (e.g., Biological Sciences). Furthermore, if you have a declared/intended major, you can consult with your departmental advisor. If you are undeclared (and under 60 units), you can consult with a Student Services Advisor.

I know I want to study science, but I’m undecided on a major. What courses should I take in my first year to keep my options open?

There are some core courses that are required by many of the majors and minors in the Faculty of Science. Most notably, almost all majors and minors require Calculus I (MATH 150/151/154) and Calculus 2 (MATH 152/155). Taking MATH 150/151 for Calculus 1 and MATH 152 for Calculus 2 will keep your options the most open. If you are drawn to the Life Sciences (BISC, BPK, MBB), you can take MATH 154 for Calculus 1 and MATH 155 for Calculus 2.

Most programs also require two first-year Physics courses. See here for the different streams of introductory Physics courses.

Other introductory courses that are common to many programs in the Faculty of Science include: Chemistry (CHEM 121, 122, and 126), Biological Sciences (BISC 101 and 102), and Statistics (STAT 201 and 270).

I’ve completed MATH 157 and/or 158. Are these courses acceptable for science programs?

MATH 157/158 may be acceptable for Calculus 1 and 2, depending on the program. Consult with the departmental advisor responsible for your desired program for further advice.

Can I get into a course if I don’t meet all of the prerequisites?

Generally no. However sometimes a student may have a good reason as to why she/he should be able to handle the course without the prerequisite. In such a case, please check the departmental FAQs website for information on the procedure for obtaining a prerequisite waiver, and/or consult with the advisor in the department that oversees the course.

Do I have to take courses every semester? Is there a minimum course load?

Unless you have had certain course load restrictions placed on you (e.g., because of a scholarship you have received, because you’re a student athlete, because you’re receiving a student loan, or for a student visa), there isn’t a minimum course load and you are free to take a semester off if you’d like. Keep in mind, however, that if you do not enroll in any courses for three semesters in a row, you will become deactivated. While you are away from SFU, if you do not take coursework at a different post-secondary institution, becoming reactivated is a fairly simple process. If you do take courses at a different post-secondary institution while away from SFU, you will need to apply for readmission. See here for details on reactivation and readmission.

Can I take a course at a different post-secondary institution for credit towards my degree at SFU?

If you would like to take a course at a different post-secondary institution while still active at SFU, you must apply for a letter of permission. See here for details.

I’m a newly admitted second degree student. How do I proceed?

Students who have already completed an undergraduate degree must contact the departmental advisor for their intended program prior to course enrollment. The student will need to provide a copy of his/her transcript to the departmental advisor so that he/she can get prerequisites waived for entry into upper division courses.

Co-op and Career Planning

Should I do co-op?

Doing co-op is an excellent way to get valuable, hands-on experience in your field, and will likely put you in a better position when it comes to seeking a career after you graduate.

The Science Co-op website can be found here.

What can I do with my degree?

SFU Career Services has put together a website with careers for various majors. Listed careers go beyond those that you would think of offhand (doctor, teacher, dentist...).

Enrolled students moreover have the option of booking a one-on-one appointment with a Career Advisor in Career Services to talk about career options and how to maximize their career prospects.

I want to be a doctor/dentist/pharmacist/other health care professional. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Many students enter Science with the goal of eventually becoming a health care professional. In your first year at SFU, you can enroll in first year foundational science courses required as prerequisites for most professional programs. We also advise you have a back-up plan - professional schools are extremely competitive, and every student should always have at least one other career idea in mind as they go through their studies.  Click here for our tips on succeeding in the Sciences.

Self-Assessment - Is professional school realistic for me and my circumstances?

  1. How do my grades and admission test scores compare to the historical entrance averages for the professional schools I wish to attend?
  2. If my grades are below historical entrance averages, how much time and effort am I willing to spend to strengthen my candidacy to professional school?
  3. How have I demonstrated commitment to this profession? How willing am I to take steps to show further commitment?
  4. How have I demonstrated a foundational knowledge of this profession? Am I willing to build upon this knowledge? 

Thanks to Lyman Briggs College for these self-reflective questions.

What if I don't get into the professional program I want?

This is where your back-up plan comes into play. Co-operative education job placements would help you explore different paid science positions and help you "get your foot in the door" for future employment at these organizations. There are also many alternate health-related careers that could be entered via different education programs such as certificates or technical diplomas. A university science background helps with success in these areas.

General Science Double Minor Program

What are the requirements for the General Science Double Minor program?

Students need to meet three sets of requirements: the requirements for their first minor, the requirements for their second minor, and the General Science Double Minor program requirements.

How do I get admitted into the General Science Double Minor program?

You will need to contact the two departmental advisors for which you would like to have minors in and get approved into their program before you can be added to the General Science program. The requirements for each minor program can be found in the SFU calendar.  Each department has their own requirements for entry into their minor programs. You may need to contact the departmental advisors directly to find out what the competitive admission CGPA is for their program.

Here are the steps:

  1. Read the program and course requirements and planner.
  2. Review the program minor requirements found in the SFU Calendar and/or contact the departmental advisor for admission and course requirements for each department that you are interested in.
  3. Once you have met the requirements for transfer into both minors and the advisors have added the minors to your transcript, send an email to Carlye Vroom at science_advisor@sfu.ca and the General Science Double Minor program will be added to your student plan and transcript.

What minors do I have to choose from for the General Science Double Minor program?

At minimum, one of your minors needs to be in the Faculty of Science. The options are: Biological Sciences, Environmental Toxicology, Biomedical Physiology, Kinesiology, Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Nuclear Science, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics.

You are free to choose a second minor from any faculty. However, note that one of the requirements for the General Science Double Minor program is that students have at least 80 units in Faculty of Science coursework, which must include at least 28 upper division units. Students who choose a second minor outside of the Faculty of Science may have some difficulty meeting this requirement. If you are having difficulty finding additional upper division Faculty of Science courses to meet this requirement, please contact Carlye Vroom (science_advisor@sfu.ca).

Can I do more than two minors?

Yes, students in the General Science Double Minor program are free to complete more than two minors if they would like.

What will I graduate with if I complete the General Science Double Minor program? What will it say on my parchment?

You will receive a Bachelor of Science (BSc) upon completion of the General Science Double Minor program. Like any other degree awarded by the Faculty of Science, your parchment will simply say “Bachelor of Science” on it.

Links

Have more questions?

Please see the FAQs section for the department of your (intended) major:

BISC FAQs  |  BPK FAQs  |  CHEM FAQs  |  MATH FAQs  |  MBB FAQs  |  PHYS FAQs  |  STAT and ACMA FAQs

Note: The Department of Earth Sciences does not have an FAQs page.