Frequently Asked Questions
Many commonly asked questions are answered within the categories below. However, students must remember that ultimately they are held responsible for knowing regulations and the requirements for their own program. If you have any doubts, read the SFU calendar thoroughly.
I have a BPK-related question...How should I contact the BPK Advisor?
- Quick question? Come in during drop-in advising (click here for schedule) OR Send an email to the advisor by clicking here (Response time typically 1-2 days)
- Have one or more questions that would take more than 5 min? Hoping to do a grad check or a check on your program progress? Make an appointment using our online booking system at: https://bookings.science.sfu.ca/bpk/
Who/where is the BPK Advisor?
Sophie Dunbar, Undergraduate Advisor, K9633 (the back of the main BPK office)
I'm interested in one of your BPK programs. How do I apply and can I get transfer credit for work done at another post-secondary institution?
Regardless of which program you are interested in, all students must apply for and meet general University admission requirements before they can be approved in to a particular program. If you have admissions related questions, when you're on our Burnaby campus, drop in to see the new Student Central. To meet with an Admissions Advisor or to ask general admissions or program questions please call at 778.782.6930 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have attended a local community college and you want to see how your courses will transfer, visit the BC Transfer Guide's website at www.bccat.bc.ca. A transfer guide does not exist for post-secondary institutions outside of B.C. Transfer students from outside B.C. may be required to submit detailed course information for evaluation of transfer credits.
What are the admission requirements for grade 12 students?
Direct admission to the Biomedical Physiology or Kinesiology major programs from high school is based on a calculated grade point average.
High school requirements for direct admission are found under British Columbia and Yukon Secondary School Requirements. Please see SFU Student Services: Admissions for more information about how to apply to SFU.
I am a grade 12 student, but I only have one of the Science courses. Does that mean I can't get approved into BPK?
SFU offers the grade 12 equivalent of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Please refer to the appropriate department for details. You may take the grade 12 equivalent and apply that in the elective portion of the overall major program. You will not be offered direct admission if you do not have the right selection of courses. However, you may still apply to SFU and complete the Internal Transfer program.
I am currently an SFU student but in a different program. How do I switch to BPK?
Please refer to the Internal Transfer section of this website; you may also download the Program Approval form for details. The approval GPA fluctuates from semester to semester, depending on the number of seats available and the number of applications. In recent semesters, the approval gpa has been 2.7 on Set 1 and Set 2 courses. The admission GPA for Set 1 alone is higher. If you have started on Set 2 you will need to complete a minimum of 4 courses in Set 2 in order to be admitted with the GPA for Set 1 and Set 2.
I am applying from a BC College. What are the requirements for me?
All students must apply for general admission to the University first. Complete information about Simon Fraser University is available on the Registrar's/Admissions Office website at: students.sfu.ca From this site, you can access the complete university calendar, on-line admissions application, scholarship and financial assistance information and the current timetable and exam schedules.
To ensure fairness in our admissions procedures, Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology has made changes to the college/post-secondary transfer pathway. Students transfering to SFU for any of our majors in Kinesiology or Biomedical Physiology or Behavioural Neuroscience will first transfer to SFU Science or Arts as an 'intended major' and then apply for approval (ie. internal transfer) to these programs once they are in progress at SFU. The change was effective January, 2010.
Approval into BPK
When can I declare my Major?
There are 3 Major programs under the BPK umbrella: Kinesiology, Biomedical Physiology and Behavioural Neuroscience.
If you were admitted directly to BPK from high school, you do not need to declare your major. For students completing an internal transfer into the program, applications are due by June 1 for Fall term, October 1 for Spring term and February 1 for Summer term. These applications are processed 3 times per year. Applications turned in between deadlines will be held until the next processing period. Applications will be reviewed and processed. Students who are approved will be able to see their new program status on their advising transcripts towards the end of the month in which they applied, i.e. end of June for Fall term. Those students not meeting the approval criteria will be sent an email regarding the status of their application and counselled regarding available options prior to registration for the subsequent semester.
What are the benefits of being an approved major?
Once approved, you will have priority access for first and second year BPK courses. Only approved students have access to upper-level BPK courses via GoSFU. Also, the semester of approval dictates your graduation requirements, because you are governed by the calendar for the year when you are approved. If the Department subsequently makes changes to requirements, you will be exempt from these; unless you choose to follow the new Calendar requirements. (You can follow a new Calendar's requirements but not a Calendar from before your approval semester.) Make sure you know which calendar requirements you will need to satisfy.
If I repeat a course, how is my GPA calculated for approval into a BPK major program?
For courses that are used towards approval into a BPK program, if one or more courses have been duplicated (repeated), currently the higher grade from all course attempts at SFU will be used in calculating the BPK Approval GPA. If you have any questions about this process, please contact the BPK Advisor.
In calculating a student's overall cumulative grade point average (CGPA) on your transcript, the University uses the higher grade in the course when repeated.
Does SFU limit the total number of course repeats a student can do?
A student can only repeat a particular course once at SFU. The total number of courses which a student can repeat is limited to 5. The Department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology is strict about upholding these limits.
In the Department of Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology you can only take a class two times. There can be no third attempt to take any class.
If you received a poor or incomplete grade due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control (e.g. illness), you may be able to appeal to be withdrawn under extenuating circumstances - the procedures are outlined here. If you are permitted to 'withdraw' from a class, even after receiving your grade, then that class will not count against your two permitted attempts.
Students attempting a course for the first time shall be given the opportunity to register prior to any students who are presently registered in the course or who have passed the course with a C- or better.
Students should see an advisor if they need to re-take a course.
Can I register in a course if I am just finishing up the prerequisite course/s now and don't have my final grade/s yet?
If a prerequisite course is in progress, the system will allow a student to enroll in a course that requires that prerequisite for the upcoming term. However, if the student does not achieve the required minimum grade, in most cases this is a C-, the student will be dropped from course/s that require it.
Can I register in a course if I do not have the prerequisites? I do not have the prerequisites for BPK XXX but I'm sure that I can handle the course.
BPK has a strict policy regarding prerequisite waivers. It is important for students to take courses in the correct sequence so that faculty can build on previous knowledge rather than starting from first principles. Students should plan in advance so that they have the required prerequisites for the courses they wish to take. Students will not be granted permission to take a prerequisite for a particular course concurrently with the course.
I do not have the listed prerequisite for a particular course but I have taken something equivalent at another institution. Can I register for the course?
You will need to request a prerequisite waiver from the BPK Undergraduate Advisor. To do so you will need to provide the following documents:
- a transcript from the other institution showing your grade in the course;
- a detailed course outline showing the weekly topics covered.
This request must be submitted in advance of your enrolment date to allow time to get the necessary waiver processed and entered ahead of registration. Please note that a prerequisite waiver can be denied if we determine that the student has not covered equivalent knowledge in a prior course.
I really want in to BPK XXX and I know someone who is going to drop it. Can I just attend classes and then get their space later?
A student cannot "give" a space to another. When a student drops a course, that space will go to the next eligible person on the waitlist. The system does not do this immediately, but does run a couple times per day.
I checked the available space in a particular course on GoSFU and it said that there was space available; but I was unable to add the course. Why couldn't I get in to the course?
Some courses have registration restrictions placed on them. This means that a number of spaces in the course are reserved for specified student groups. For more detailed information, please go to the FAQ section on seat restrictions in BPK.
If a course is full, how can I get in?
GoSFU keeps wait lists for all BPK courses until the end of the first week of classes each semester. During this time, all adds and drops are handled by GoSFU. Spaces open up as a result of students doing course changes and dropping courses; either because their co-op job is finally realized or they failed the prerequisite. After the end of the first week of class, GoSFU no longer permits students to add classes.
To summarize how waitlists work in the first two weeks of the term, for the BPK department:
Week 1 of class: Waitlists are still in effect. If a space opens up in your class, the spot will go to the next eligible student on the waitlist.
Week 2 of class: Waitlists are frozen, and there are no more adds for online courses. Some professors will keep their own waitlists at this point (based on who has been attending the class, etc.) and some will not. If you are on the waitlist and see a space open up in the class, email email@example.com and include your full name, student number, course name/number, preferred tutorial/lab and attached advising transcript. I will be reviewing these requests by email only (not in-person), and will prioritize based on when the email (with all the complete information) was received, and if the professor was keeping a list of students. If you send a request, I will email you to let you know whether or not you were added to the class. Remember, it's not helpful to send follow up emails to see if I received your request.
We do our best to be fair to everyone. However, if there isn't space in the class, then a student cannot be added.
How do I increase my chances of getting into a class?
If you have to waitlist yourself, remember that you must have a space in a tutorial/lab in order to get into the class. Therefore, it generally tends to be a better idea to focus on getting a good waitlist spot in a lab/tutorial, rather than look at your waitlist position in the lecture. Some tutorial/lab times are less popular, for a number of reasons. Ultimately, if a space opens in the class, the system will look at where there is space in the lab or tutorial (if there is one) and add the next student from that waitlist.
I want to change the class/tutorial/lab I am enrolled in/waitlisted for, as it conflicts with another class/personal schedule. Can you please switch me to a new tutorial?
From the start of enrolment to the end of the first week of classes, students have full access to make changes to their enrolment in SIS. If you are trying to fix a class conflict, or if your work (or other personal) schedule has changed, then it is your responsibility to make the necessary changes to your classes. If you are officially enrolled in a course, i.e. not on the waitlist, you can use the swap function to make a change. If you are waitlisted for a course and you want to switch to a different tutorial/lab, you must drop the class entirely, and re-add with the new tutorial/lab. This will result in you being lower on the waitlist for the lecture, but if it improves your position on the waitlist for a particular tutorial/lab it improves your chances of getting into the course. When a space opens up in the tutorial/lab that you are waitlisted first for, you will roll into that tutorial/lab and you will be automatically enrolled in the accompanying lecture for the course.
It is a student's responsibility to understand how the enrolment system works and to make decisions and changes accordingly. If you accidently drop a course, the advisor or staff in the department will likely not be able to get you back into the course as the next person on the waitlist may have rolled into your vacated seat.
Please also see the FAQ above re. If a course is full ... re.waitlists in Week 2
Do I need to maintain a specific GPA to remain in a BPK program?
After a student has completed 24 credits, a Science cumulative grade point average (SCGPA) of not less than 2.20 is required for continuance in the major. This applies for all students admitted Summer 2013 - Summer 2017.
As of Fall 2017, i.e. for those students approved in their major in the Fall of 2017 onwards, the continuance SCGPA will be 2.5.
Students, whose Science CGPA falls below 2.20 or 2.50, will be sent a warning letter and if in subsequent terms the Science CGPA is less than 2.20, these students shall be withdrawn from the BIF or KIN Major.
Students who have completed 90 or more units and whose Science CGPA fall below a 2.20 or 2.50 but are at a minimum of 2.00 will be allowed to complete their Biomedical Physiology or Kinesiology major. Students must achieve a minimum of a C- grade in all required courses.
Behavioural Neuroscience majors have a different continuance GPA and should refer to the information in the Academic Calendar
Can I re-apply to a BPK Program after I've been withdrawn?
If you have been withdrawn for not meeting the continuance GPA and wanted to be re-admitted into one of our 3 majors, you would need to meet the competitive approval GPA to do an internal transfer.
The BPK department would assess the core BPK and Science courses you have completed to date; the total GPA for these core courses would need to meet the same competitive GPA standards that new internal applicants are required to meet. For the last few years, the minimum competitive approval GPA has been 2.7.
How do I improve my GPA to re-apply for the program?
It will be up to you to determine which courses to either take and/or repeat to meet the approval GPA in this scenario. Please note that the number of courses which you may repeat in a degree program is limited to five; the number of times you may repeat a course is once. You must take the SFU Repeat Policy into account when deciding how best to meet the approval GPA.
You are advised to meet with the BPK advisor, if you have any questions about re-competing.
Would I still be eligible for reserved seating?
If you have been withdrawn from a BPK major, then you are not eligible for seat reservations. However, like other non-BPK students, if you meet the prerequisites for a BPK course, you may waitlist yourself for courses until the open enrolment period. If there is space in the class, students from the waitlist may be added to the course. This does not apply to 300 and 400 level BPK courses that will remain reserved.
What happens if I am not able to meet the competitive GPA to be re-admitted to one of these majors?
You are welcome to book an appointment with the BPK advisor to discuss alternative program options.
What is the Department of BPK's grading policy?
BPK Grading Policy
In BPK, examination of student learning fulfills many purposes:
(i) it provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate and celebrate their learning;
(ii) through the processes of preparing for, taking examinations, and receiving feedback on their work, it provides a learning opportunity;
(iii) it provides a means for instructors to assess student learning, enabling the documentation and discrimination of learning achievements, and permitting the fair assignment of course grades.
The grading of examinations should be conducted in a transparent, fair and consistent manner. Grading should be equivalent between course sections with different instructors, across consecutive offerings of courses with the same instructor, and across different formats for the same course (such as between courses offered on-campus, and through the Centre for Online and Distance Education).
Instructors should make plain in the course outline the general means by which grades will be assigned (assessment format, general expectations, and relative weighting for final grades). Additional work will not be considered in lieu of grading criteria as outlined.
Typical grade boundaries and distributions for lower and upper division courses can be seen below. It is expected that grades will approximately fit a normal distribution, with discrimination between learners of differing ability, and that letter grades will correspond approximately to the percentage scores provided.
However, scaling of grades may be necessary, particularly to enable instructors to incorporate novel pedagogical approaches in their teaching and assessments that may produce unusual distributions of percentage scores when first implemented, or to ensure equivalency between courses or instructors, without unfair advantage or disadvantage to students. Accordingly, BPK instructors have the right to scale grades. Additionally, grades are subject to approval by the Chair of BPK, who may require that grades be scaled, particularly in cases where the distribution of grades is not normal, or where effective discrimination between learners has not been achieved. For this reason, students should not assume that a specific percentage score will be always associated with a specific letter grade. In the case of scaling of grades, student ranking within a class will not be affected.
Further details on grading and the reconsideration of grades can be found in SFU Policy T20.01 (http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching/t20-01.html).
What is the standard grade distribution in BPK?
Table 1 Typical grade distribution in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology All grade categories should be considered when assigning grades. The percentage ranges provided represent those expected when effective discrimination between learners has been achieved. Typical lower division course mean grade ~65-76% (C+/B-) with ~5-15% D/F category. Typical upper division course mean grade ~70-80% (B/B+) with ~2-7% D/F category.
I'm also working towards a different Major/Minor/Certificate. May I use any of the BPK credits towards that program?
This depends on which combination of degrees you are completing. For the most up-to-date information on how courses can/cannot be used towards multiple programs, refer to the SFU Credential Definitions page.
Should I check with an advisor as I get close to graduation? If so, when should I see an advisor?
Yes, definitely. If you expect to be graduating in the next 2-3 semesters, it is strongly recommended that you meet with an advisor to review graduation requirements. Please bring your advising transcript when you come for this check. Students must remember that ultimately they are held responsible for knowing regulations and the requirements for their own program.
How do I apply to graduate?
You apply to graduate in the second week of the start of your last semester of courses at SFU to avoid missing any deadlines. Deadlines are posted here: http://students.sfu.ca/deadlines.html
You apply on the Student Information System.
For more information go to: http://www.sfu.ca/convocation/students/howtoapply.html
Remember that if you are completing a degree and a certificate, you need to apply separately for each of these credentials.
Seat Restrictions in BPK
What are seat restrictions (also known as 'reserve requirements')? Why do BPK courses have so many restrictions?
Seat restrictions are set by the BPK department because we want priority to be given to BPK students who need our courses to complete their program. Entry/approval into our programs is competitive and those students who have successfully competed, are given the best chance to get into the courses as possible.
Do all BPK courses have the same restrictions?
No. We set the restrictions to benefit which type of student needs the course. Restrictions are different for our first vs. second vs. third and fourth year BPK courses.
What are the restrictions for first year BPK courses?
In first year BPK courses some seats are reserved for approved BPK major, minor, & certificate students, the remaining seats are open to non - BPK students. The seats for non - BPK students may fill fast leaving only reserved seats open. In that case, non - BPK students should wait list themselves on their enrolment day. These restrictions remain in effect until Open Enrolment when any remaining seats will be filled from students on the waitlist.
What are the restrictions for second year BPK courses?
All seats in second year BPK courses are initially reserved for approved BPK major, minor, and certificate students who require them for their program. Non - BPK students should wait list themselves for these courses on their enrollment day. These restrictions remain in effect until Open Enrolment when any remaining seats will be filled from students on the waitlist. (The exception to this is BPK 201 where a small number of seats are also reserved for approved Biomedical Engineering Science students.)
What are the restrictions for third and fourth year BPK courses?
All seats in BPK 300 - and 400 - level courses are reserved for approved BPK major, minor, & certificate students who require them for their program. These courses will remain restricted even after Open Enrolment. A limited number of non - BPK students with excellent academic records may be able to register in upper division BPK courses, space permitting and prerequisite(s) met, with permission from the BPK advisor. Students seeking permission will need to visit the BPK Advisor during drop-in advising times and bring their Advising Transcripts with them, or contact the BPK advisor with the relevant documents. (The exception to this is BPK 325 where the restrictions are lifted come Open Enrolment allowing non-BPK students with the prerequisites to roll in off the waitlist, spaces permitting.)
Are there any exceptions made for non - BPK students interested in enrolling in restricted BPK courses?
Generally speaking no exceptions are made.
What to do if you are having academic difficulty
What to do if you are having academic difficulty
This site explains the different academic standings, such as Academic Probation, required to Withdraw and Extended Withdrawal. It advises you on what to do if you are finding yourself in difficulty.
You can visit the Student Learning Commons (SLC) which can assist you with issues such as academic writing, study strategies etc.