Frequently Asked Questions

Declaring a Sociology or Anthropology Major

1. If I applied for admission to SFU as a Sociology or Anthropology major, do I still need to declare?

Yes. The plan (major) designation you chose on your SFU application indicates your intentions, but you must contact the department to declare once you are enrolled in the last of the lower division requirements.

If you were declared in a Sociology or Anthropology plan at a previous institution, you will have to meet the SFU declaration requirements and declare once you are at SFU.

2. What do I need to do to declare my major or minor?

If you have completed or are registered in the last of the lower division requirements, and both your Cumulative GPA and SA GPA are 2.0 or above, contact SA advising by: attending drop-in advising , or emailing one of the advisors. Please include your full name and student number everytime you contact an advisor. Make sure to specify which plan you want to declare (Sociology/Anthropology? Major/minor?).


3. How do I apply to graduate?

Students must apply for graduation via goSFU. You can apply through your Student Services Centre on goSFU starting in the first week of your last term of classes, with the early deadline being approximately 6 weeks into the term.  Please see Student Services for further information.

4. How do I figure out how close I am to completing my degree?

We are happy to review your degree progress for you. You may send an e-mail with your SFU student number to, or visit us in AQ 5055 during our advising hours.

Course/Program Requirements

5. What is a directed readings course? How many can I take within my major?

Directed readings provide an opportunity to students whose normal course registration does not fulfill their academic needs. Students must contact a faculty member willing to supervise them in this project. This initial contact and planning should take place in the semester before the semester in which the directed reading is to be completed. Prior to the end of week 2 of the new semester, students must submit to the student advisor an outline of what is to be undertaken including reading list and break down of grading. The outline should include the student’s name, student number, and signature of both student and faculty member. Once received and approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the advisor will register the student in the directed readings. Students may only complete one directed reading course (4 units) towards their major or minor.

6. Can a sessional instructor supervise a directed readings course?

Directed readings courses can only be taken under the direction of continuing faculty, who have an ongoing employment contract with the university which provides an accountability structure governing all of the teaching assignments undertaken in the name of the department.

7. Can I use another department’s course in place of the SA research methods requirements (SA 255, 355, 356)?

Generally, no. The methods courses from other departments do not always have sufficient depth to meet the expectations of the SA methods courses. If you are completing a joint major in Anthropology and Criminology or Sociology and Criminology, you have the option to take CRIM 220 in place of SA 255, but that option is only open to students in SA-CRIM joint major programs.


Transferring Courses

8. How many courses can I transfer from a different school?

Under the Bachelor of Arts, students can have a maximum of 60 transfer credits. No more than 15 upper division credits can be used towards completion of your major or degree. Refer to the SFU Calendar for further information regarding transfer credit. Students who wish to attend a university outside of Canada are advised to contact SFU International.

9. How can I find out whether a course will transfer to SFU?

Most BC college courses have been articulated at the BC universities and are listed in the BC Transfer Guide. Students who have completed courses at universities or colleges outside of BC can contact Admissions in Student Services ( to ask whether and how a course has been articulated at SFU. Students transferring courses to SFU should be prepared to submit the detailed course syllabus for each course they wish to transfer to SFU.

10. What does it mean if I receive transfer credit such as SA 2xx? Or GE 1xx?

If a course does not have the same content as a course at SFU, you may still be able to obtain transfer credit. SA 1xx or 2xx means that you have been given lower division credit, and SA 3xx or SA 4xx means that you have been given upper division credit in the Sociology/Anthropology Department.

Transfer courses designated as, for example, SA 3XX cannot be used for specific requirements, such as a specific course or a course of a specific designation, but can be used towards SA non-designation-specific elective requirements.

GE 1XX means that the course is not the same as any department’s courses but you have received SFU lower division credits towards your degree.  

11. Can I go back to a college to take a course if I am already going to SFU?

Yes, but only in rare and exceptional circumstances. You must apply for a Letter of Permission (LOP) through the Registrar’s office if you wish to complete a course for transfer credit. A Letter of Permission may take 6 – 8 weeks to process, and even longer for out-of-country courses. Many schools require an approved Letter of Permission before allowing you to register at their school. Plan early if you intend to apply for a Letter of Permission.

Letters of Permission are not granted because of academic difficulty--i.e., you cannot take a course at another institution because you think it will be easier.


12. Can I register for a course for which I do not have the pre-requisites?

Course pre-requisites for most SA upper division elective courses have been set at the point of requiring only 1 entry level sociology OR anthropology course and students are expected to have at least this basic knowledge in order to access our courses. Please check the course calendar description for the exact pre-requisites.

If you do not meet the pre-requisites and would like to gain access, please contact our Undergraduate Advisor. Please note that NO pre-requisite waivers are given for all required courses in our programs.

SA 450 and 451, which are offered along with the graduate level courses, require the instructor's permission as well as meeting the pre-requisites. If you wish to take either of these two courses and have met the pre-requisite requirements, you must contact the instructor. Please do so via email, including your name, student number and the course number you wish to access, and once permission is granted, you must forward that permission to the student advisor for clearance.

13. How do I add a course or swap a tutorial during week 1 of classes?

All adds, drops, and swaps are done by the student via goSFU.

14. If I am registered for a course but want to switch tutorials to one that is currently full, how can I do that?

If you try to switch tutorials and the one you want is full, with or without a wait list, you will be dropped from the course and put into the last spot on the wait list for the tutorial you want. You cannot be enrolled in the lecture and without also being enrolled in a tutorial group.

You can get in touch with the SA advisors in the first week of classes, and we can see then if it is possible to switch you into your preferred tutorial.

15. How do I add a course or swap a tutorial during weeks 2 or 3 of classes?

GoSFU closes to adds and swaps at the end of week 1 of classes. The Advisor’s office will continue to honour the waitlist until the end of week 2. Please contact the Advisor ( if you are first on the waitlist in week 2 and a space becomes available.

If a space becomes available in week 3, and if you have been attending classes, you may come in person to see the Advisor (AQ 5055) to enquire about being added into the course – note that adds in week 3 are not possible for all courses, and require written permission from the instructor. Any adds in week 3 are handled on a first-come first-served basis.

16. If a course is full, can I get on the wait list?

Yes, waitlists exist for all SA courses. If you are unable to access the wait list, it usually means it is full and you would have to keep checking to see when a space opens up before your wait list request would be fulfilled. The Advisor will not hold separate wait lists for students unable to access the computerized wait list.

If you want to be placed on the wait list for a course, make sure you select "wait list if class is full" when adding the course to your enrollment cart. You can see where to select this option here.

* Please note that wait lists only run automatically until the end of the first week of classes. During week 2, waitlists remain visible and honoured by the department.

17. I was first on the wait list and a spot came up but I was not moved into the class. Why not?

Occasionally, waitlisted students are unable to move up the list for one of three reasons:

1) Students are waitlisted by tutorial group in lower division courses. If a spot comes available and you were not moved up, then it is because the spot came open in a different tutorial from the one you were wait listed for. You will only move forward if a space opens up in the same tutorial group for which you are wait listed.

2) Students who have a course or exam conflict with the course they are currently waitlisted for cannot move into the class. You must ensure the courses you are enrolled in do not have a conflict with the course you are waitlisted for.

3) Students will not be automatically be enrolled in a course from the waitlist if doing so would cause the student to exceed the maximum term enrollment limit of 18 units.

18. I can see there are open seats in a class, but when I try to enroll, it say I don't meet reserve requirements. I do have the prerequisite. What does this mean?

Some SA courses have enrollment reserves on some or all of the seats, meaning that those seats are reserved for specific student groups until open enrollment.

A small number of seats are reserved until open enrollment in lower division required courses  for SA intended students (those who indicated they plan to complete an Anthropology or Sociology major in their applications to SFU).

All upper division SA classes are reserved until open enrollment for declared SA students.

Advisors cannot bump students into these classes ahead of these reserves in any circumstances.

19. I am a declared SA student, and I'm still getting the "don't meet reserve requirements" message. Why?

a. Required Upper Division Courses (SA 350, 355, 356W)
The majority of seats in upper division SA classes which are required for specific majors or minors (SA 350, 355, 356W) are reserved until open enrollment for students in those plans. So, if you have a Sociology major declared, you will have priority access to the bulk of SA 350 seats, as it is required for you. If you have a Sociology minor, you will have priority access to a smaller number of SA 350 seats, as you do not specfically require that course.

b. Reserved seats for SFU NOW students
SFU NOW is a program that gives students who work full-time priority access to evening and weekend classes. We reserve a portion of our seats in evening and online courses for SFU NOW students.You can learn more about this program, and see if you qualify, here:

20. How do I drop a course?

Students can drop course on the goSFU system until the end of week 5 of classes. Students must consult the current Undergraduate Schedule for the course add/drop deadlines, refunds, penalties, and notations. You can also consult the Registration section of the SFU Calendar. For information on withdrawal due to extenuating circumstances, please view Withdrawals.

Academic Difficulty

21. How many times can I repeat a course?

Repeated courses are referred to as ‘duplicates’ and you are permitted a total of five duplications (repeats) at SFU, and you may duplicate a specific course only once. Duplications taken previously at other institutions are not counted, however if you repeat a course at SFU which you already took elsewhere that does count as a repeat. Exceptions are rarely granted, and must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Chair, the Department Chair, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

22. If I feel I have been graded unfairly, what can I do?

First plan of action is to discuss your concerns with the course instructor.

Secondly, if you feel you have been graded unfairly you may register a written appeal, including all original marked assignments to be reviewed independently by another instructor and the Chair of the department.

Before commencing an appeal, you must read the policies and procedures related to grades and appeals. Please be aware that if you request a grade appeal, your course work may receive the same grade, a lower grade, or a higher grade after the re-evaluation.