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Canadian course levels

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    Hello chaps.

    I'm currently trying to put together a course proposal as part of a study abroad (one semester) application to Canadian universities, and have a question about course codes. Does the number that a course code starts with correspond to the university year that it is expected to be taken? It seems like a silly question, but there doesn't seem to be the same explicit distinction between levels of courses.

    Following on from the above, is the difficulty of an X year course in Canada roughly comparable to that of an X year course at a UK university? Are undergrads allowed to take, for example, courses starting with the number 5?

    Ta.
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    (Original post by Gimothy)
    Hello chaps.

    I'm currently trying to put together a course proposal as part of a study abroad (one semester) application to Canadian universities, and have a question about course codes. Does the number that a course code starts with correspond to the university year that it is expected to be taken? It seems like a silly question, but there doesn't seem to be the same explicit distinction between levels of courses.

    Following on from the above, is the difficulty of an X year course in Canada roughly comparable to that of an X year course at a UK university? Are undergrads allowed to take, for example, courses starting with the number 5?

    Ta.
    Well, each university has its own system; but generally, YES, a high number usually indicates that the course is supposed to be taken towards the end of the program.

    For example, at McGill, a course number of 1XX means that it is supposed to be taken in your first year. 2XX is for second-year courses and it goes on like that... Then, there were also 5XX which were for students in their last year or Master's students, and then 6XX and up are courses reserved for graduate students (Masters & PhD).

    But the number is not necessarily restrictive to a specific year. You can take a 2XX course in your 3rd year or even in your 4th year if you want. The other way around (taking a 3XX in your 2nd year) is also possible, but more rare as there are often some other prerequisite courses necessary.

    Plus, it gets really complicated because not everybody enters uni at the same level. Some people get credit for IB, A-levels, French Bac, etc... and enter into U1 (second year) even though they sometimes still need to take first-year classes...

    So to sum up, its complicated - you should contact the uni directly with your questions about equivalency. But in general, the higher numbers mean that some previous knowledge is required (so check all the prereqs) while low numbers indicate that it's more likely to be an intro class.
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    (Original post by chad_bro_chill)
    Well, each university has its own system; but generally, YES, a high number usually indicates that the course is supposed to be taken towards the end of the program.

    For example, at McGill, a course number of 1XX means that it is supposed to be taken in your first year. 2XX is for second-year courses and it goes on like that... Then, there were also 5XX which were for students in their last year or Master's students, and then 6XX and up are courses reserved for graduate students (Masters & PhD).

    But the number is not necessarily restrictive to a specific year. You can take a 2XX course in your 3rd year or even in your 4th year if you want. The other way around (taking a 3XX in your 2nd year) is also possible, but more rare as there are often some other prerequisite courses necessary.

    Plus, it gets really complicated because not everybody enters uni at the same level. Some people get credit for IB, A-levels, French Bac, etc... and enter into U1 (second year) even though they sometimes still need to take first-year classes...

    So to sum up, its complicated - you should contact the uni directly with your questions about equivalency. But in general, the higher numbers mean that some previous knowledge is required (so check all the prereqs) while low numbers indicate that it's more likely to be an intro class.
    Thanks for a great reply.
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    (Original post by Gimothy)
    Hello chaps.

    I'm currently trying to put together a course proposal as part of a study abroad (one semester) application to Canadian universities, and have a question about course codes. Does the number that a course code starts with correspond to the university year that it is expected to be taken? It seems like a silly question, but there doesn't seem to be the same explicit distinction between levels of courses.

    Following on from the above, is the difficulty of an X year course in Canada roughly comparable to that of an X year course at a UK university? Are undergrads allowed to take, for example, courses starting with the number 5?

    Ta.
    I think chad_bro_chill has pretty much said it; it really depends on the university itself and the courses you already have from your home institution in the UK. Also, note that the system here is 4 years, so you might want to choose courses that are supposedly a year "higher" than the courses that you have in the UK.

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Updated: December 19, 2011
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