Important Terms

Five important terms to know

Major: your area of primary study. For instance, you could be pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in History, Anthropology or English etc. A major requires the completion of approximately seven courses in one subject area.

Double major: lets you concentrate your studies in two main areas. This flexibility gives you the chance to combine two related or unrelated areas of interest.

Minor: an area of secondary concentration. A minor is a collection of five courses completed in an area other than your major.

Degree: the designation you earn after completing your university studies. They are commonly referred to as Bachelor’s (BA, iBA, BSc, BES, BAS, iBSc, BFA etc.), Master’s (MA, MBA, MSc etc.) or Doctorate (PhD) degrees.

Semester: a specific period of academic study. At York, a year is broken into three academic semesters — September to December; January to April; and May to August.

Course load and study time

When a student is admitted to York University, it is mandatory that they attend an enrolment appointment either online or in person depending on their program. During this appointment, students will get help picking their courses and planning their academic schedule and learn how to enroll in courses.

However, we do get questions from parents about how many courses their son/daughter must take and how much time all these courses take. While each program has different requirements, here are some general terms to keep in mind:

  • York University offers courses with varying credit value, for example a 3, 6 or 12 credit course. The credit value normally correlates to the length of the course and the number of hours the course meets per week.
  • A full course load is considered to be 30 credits or 5 full courses during the Fall/Winter terms. Students taking a full course load will proceed through their degree in three to four years (depending on their degree requirements).
  • For the assessment of OSAP funding and other scholarships, to be considered a full-time undergraduate student by the University you must be taking 18 credits or more in a fall/winter session (September to April) and nine credits or more in a summer session (May to August). Part-time status is given to students who are enrolled in fewer credits.
  • Many students work part time while in school. Keep this in mind: a full course load (30 credits or 5 full courses during the Fall/Winter terms) is a full-time job, roughly equivalent to a 40-50 hour work week. Some students may be able to do an additional 10 hours of part-time work on top of this, but more than 10 hours would likely compromise your course work. Summer courses are twice as intensive, so you need to consider that extra time commitment when taking summer courses.