FAQ

I CAN’T FIND WHAT I NEED AND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO SOMEONE

Questions about computing science programs, admissions, enrolments:

Visit or Contact the Applied Sciences Advising Office

Note that advising phone inquiries are routed via our email system and are answered in the same priority as an email sent at the same time.

Questions about admissions requirements and documents, financial aid and some basic advising questions can be answered by the registrar’s office.

I’m an employer and want to discuss options for engaging with CS students: Contact the School of Computing Science at: csdept@sfu.ca

Other questions about computing science? Contact the School of Computing Science.


ADMISSION TO COMPUTING SCIENCE

Prospective students from high school, technical institute, college or part way through a university program not a SFU should see the SFU Admission page.

Students transferring from another program at SFU should see our School of Computing Science admissions page.

Students entering who already hold a degree should see admission requirements.

Enrollment in classes/registration

Most enrolment questions are answered at the Registrar’s office FAQ/AskSFU service. The registrar’s office is responsible for the student system, fees, refunds, loans, and international student advising. See:

http://mycusthelp.ca/SFU/_cs/FindAnswers.aspx

PROGRAMS, COURSES & GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY

APPEALS AND COMPLAINTS

Enrollment in classes/registration

What department is responsible for MACM (Math and Computing) courses?

If the course is a first year course, it is offered by Computing Science. If the course is second year and above, it is offered by the Math department.

I am on a waitlist for a CMPT/MACM course. What can I do to get into the class?

While there isn’t usually anything in particular students can do to improve their ability to get in to a class, you can do the following:

-Check that there isn’t another section at a campus/time that is possible for you to take.

-Attend the class at the beginning of the semester. The waitlist will stop running after the 5th instructional day of the semester, after that, students go the an advisor to be registered in the course if a spot comes up. Those seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

-If this is the third semester that you have been trying to get into the course, and it is a required course, see an advisor. While it is not always possible, we do try to prioritize students who have been waiting for multiple semesters.

When do waitlists stop automatically enrolling students?

On the 5th day of classes E.G.: If courses start on a Tuesday, the system stops enrolling them on the following Monday night.

I have the pre-requisites for a CMPT course, but I can’t enroll. What do I do?

This may be one of several issues:

-There is a general pre-requisite for all CMPT courses numbered 200 or above that you must have a 2.4 GPA. You may get this pre-requisite waived by bringing a plan of study to an advisor. Students below 2.4 must see an advisor to be approved. Unless you are unable to see an advisor in person because you are out of town, or have work requirements that truly prevent your visiting an advisor at any of the available advising times, this must be done in person.

-The system may not be recognizing your pre-requisite, especially if you are a 2nd degree student. Please see an advisor or email evidence of your pre-requisite to the advising office. See the top of the FAQ for contact information.

I’m an undergrad computing science student, can I take a graduate computing course?

Yes, an undergraduate student in an approved CS program can take a CMPT grad course for unit. You will need to fill out a CS appeal form stating why you wish to take a graduate course and how this course fits into your program plan. You will also need to obtain permission of the grad course instructor. Print out a copy of your unofficial advising transcript (available from the SIS) and attach it to the completed Appeal form. Return this package to the CS main office at the Burnaby campus ASB 9971, or at the Surrey campus room 4100, Galleria level 4.

You may also be interested in our new dual admission program for graduate studies in Computing Science. This program allows you to be admitted to the Computing Science program directly from high school or college and have an assured pathway into our Master’s in computing science as well.

When can I register in Upper Division (UD) CMPT courses?

Upper Division CMPT courses are reserved for students who have been admitted to an approved CMPT program. These restrictions remain in place for the first 4 weeks of enrollment after which U/D classes open up to non-computing students who meet the course prerequisites.

Students who otherwise meet all prerequisites for a course but who still experience problems enrolling should send an email to asadvise@sfu.ca with their name, student number, lecture and preferred lab (if applicable). If possible, include the type of error message produced by the SIS (Student information system / go.sfu.ca).

How late into the term can I add/drop/swap a CMPT course?

Please refer to the SFU deadlines page for more information. Students can seek entry into a course in the 2nd week of classes by seeing an advisor. Students seeking entry in the 3rd week need instructor permission and will then be enrolled by an advisor. If you believe your case is exceptional, please see an advisor.

There is a time conflict with a course class date or exam, can I get permission to enroll?

If you believe there is a reasonable solution to the conflict, then you may approach the professors of both courses for permission to enroll despite the conflict. If both professors agree to your proposed solution, an advisor is able to enroll you in the course. Professors may choose to withhold permission for any reason and are not required to accommodate conflicts.

 

I have three final exams in one day, what do I do?

 

 

SFU publishes final exam schedules to help students make course choices that include the implications of their exam workload. If you are not able to take alternate courses, accommodations are usually made by the instructor of the middle exam. If that instructor does not make an accommodation, see the advisor for the department in which the course is offered.



PROGRAMS, COURSES & GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

I started at one campus and now want to switch to the other, is this possible?

Absolutely. In general, you should finish the first year sequence of the program you start. When considering changing, it’s usually best to see and advisor.

What classes should I register for?

You should read the SFU Calendar and work through your program checklist (Link to CS Forms Page). Specific questions about which courses to choose can be answered by Applied Sciences advisors.

What is WQB/ What is Writing Quantitative and Breadth?

All students at SFU must complete certain requirements. Check the requirements here.



ACADEMIC DIFFICULTY

When am I in academic difficulty?

Students who are above an overall GPA (CGPA) of 2.4 (C+) are considered to be doing well in their program. You are considered to be having academic difficulty if:

  • Your CGPA is below 2.4.
  • You have reached the maximum of 5 repeated courses over your degree.
  • You have failed 2 attempts of a required course.

When you are in academic difficulty, your enrolment choices might be limited, and you are often required to meet with an advisor and present a plan for how you will ensure your success in the courses you have selected.

For example, students with a CGPA below 2.4 must have advisor approval to enroll in 200-400 level courses in Computing Science. If you are in severe academic difficulty, with a GPA below 2.0 in a semester or overall, or have taken 4 or more course repeats, you are potentially at risk of failing out of the program and should definitely see an advisor to learn about possible resources for students in academic difficulty.

I am not doing as well as I would like in the program, what should I do?

Computing Science is a difficult and rigorous program, many students find they have difficulty along the way. Ensure you are attending classes, asking questions in your professor’s office hours and seeking help from your peers in class. You can also visit an academic advisor for help.

There are also a number of resources at the Student Learning Commons in the Library.

I’ve heard you can only retake up to 5 courses in total during your degree, is this true?

Yes. In some cases, permission is granted by the Associate Dean of the Faculty in which you are enrolled to repeat more than 5 courses. If you are in this situation, you are in danger of failing out of your program and you must see an advisor in person as soon as possible. The student system may allow you to enroll in repeated courses. This does not mean that you are approved and you may find that there are consequences for ignoring this rule up to and including an inability to graduate from a program that you have otherwise completed.

I want to take a course for the third time, but the system won’t let me. What do I do?

You will need to get permission from the department that offers the course and usually the program in which you are enrolled. This usually starts with seeing the advisor for that department. Needing to take a third attempt at a course is a good sign you should talk to an Applied Sciences advisor about what you could be doing to do better in your courses.



APPEALS AND COMPLAINTS

How do I appeal a grade?

Note that there are many approaches in place to ensure that the grades professors give students are fair and generally consistent across students and multiple offerings of the same course. To be successful, a student appealing a grade usually requires clear evidence of a mistake or miscalculation. Begin with speaking to your professor about your grade, in particular, ask about why the grade was what it was, what an example of work to the grade level you had hoped would look like, and how you could improve in the future. If you feel that the professor’s explanation is not in line with the work you did, you may ask them about re-evaluation. If the professor is not open to re-evaluation, you may follow the procedure at:

http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching/t20-01.html

We encourage you to first see the SFU Ombudsperson to see if they believe your case is a good one:

http://www.sfu.ca/ombudsperson.html

Following your discussion with the professor and the ombudsperson, CS students appeal a grade to the Chair by submitting a CS Appeal Form

How do I appeal to get into a course for which I do not have a pre-requisite?

You may do this following a pre-requisite waiver form, available here.

I have not met the admission requirements to get into the program, how do I appeal to get admitted?

In most cases, admissions appeals are not successful. If you are a current SFU student seeking a transfer, you should see an advisor. If you are not yet an SFU student, you should see:

http://www.sfu.ca/students/appeals/admission.html

Note that there are usually many opportunities in the course of one’s education to be admitted to the program and several pathways designed for people with different profiles. In general, people who have demonstrated they are likely to be successful in the program are able to gain admission. We recommend talking to an Applied Sciences advisor if you would like to explore how to be admitted in the future.

I need to repeat courses beyond the normally allowable amount, how do I appeal?

First, review and draft your letter for the form at: https://www.sfu.ca/computing/undergraduate/important-forms.html

Then see an advisor – bring your draft and your transcript. They will advise you about the process and then you may submit the form for consideration.

I would like a degree requirement waived, how do I do this?

In some cases, degree requirements can be waived when a student makes the case that their circumstance is exceptional. You can make a case using the CS appeal. It is best to consult an advisor with a draft of your appeal and the documentation you have to support your case first.

How do I make a complaint?

If your complaint is about something happening in a course, or about a TA, you should speak in person with the professor for the course during their office hours.

If your complaint is about a professor in a course, you should contact the undergraduate program director.

If your complaint is about advising services, you may email the Manager of Student Affairs for the Faculty of Applied Sciences

If you are not sure about about who should receive a complaint you would like to make, you should contact the Manager of Academic and Administrative Services