Guide to Taking Arts & Science Courses

As an Engineering student, you will need to take Arts & Science courses to fulfil your elective requirements.

Because the courses are offered by the Faculty of Arts & Science, you are subject to their enrolment regulations, dates, protocols, examination rules and regulations which are different from those of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

Visit the Arts & Science website for information on course enrolment.

Types of Electives

There are four types of electives: Humanities and Social Science (HSS) electives, Complementary Studies (CS) electives, Technical electives and Free electives.

Please consult the Faculty’s Academic Calendar to see which electives you need to take to fulfill your program requirements. If you are having trouble deciding which elective(s) to take, we encourage you to consult your Academic Advisor.

Choosing Half-Year or Full-Year Courses

Arts & Science courses are either half-year or full-year courses. The last letter of the nine-character course code (e.g. ENG 140Y1 Y) is the course’s session code and indicates when the course is offered during the year.

  • Y: Full-year courses (September–April)
  • F: Fall Term courses (September–December)
  • S: Winter Term courses (January–April/May)

Because the Engineering curriculum is divided into two terms—Fall and Winter—you will only be able to enrol in a Y code course if the course does not conflict with either your Fall or Winter schedules.

If you are enrolled in a Y code course, your final course mark counts toward the weighted session average and grade point average of your Winter Term (second term), not the Fall Term.

Enrolment Controls (For Fall & Winter)

Enrolment dates for A&S courses are staggered and they give preference to A&S students by allowing them to enrol in courses first. Engineering students may begin to enrol in A&S courses during a period called “Open Round.”

Some A&S courses have enrolment restrictions. While most courses are open to students in any program of study, some courses have enrolment conditions, which consist of enrolment indicators and enrolment controls that govern who can take certain courses.

If a course has an enrolment control, it typically means it’s a popular course and has limited enrolment space. Therefore, the Faculty of Arts & Science needs to restrict enrolment to students who need to take the course to satisfy their program requirements.

Enrolment Indicators and what they mean for Engineering students:

  • P: Students in a specific admission category or subject POSt and/or year of study will receive priority until a specific date. Please review the Registration and Enrolment Guide for the date.
  • R: The course is restricted to a specific group of students. This restriction does not change anytime during the enrolment cycle. Engineering students will not be able to enrol in courses with this Enrolment Indicator.
  • RP: The course is restricted to a specific group of students until Open Round. During the Open Round of enrolment—review the Registration and Enrolment Guide for dates—priority remains in place for certain students. However, some spaces may be made available to other students. This enrolment control typically applies to CSC or ECE courses. Engineering students must get permission from their respective departments to enrol in “RP” courses.
  • E: Students must enrol for the course through the A&S department offering the course. Departmental enrolment instructions are located in the timetable listings. You cannot request an “E” course in ACORN. Waiting lists are not available for “E” courses.
  • PE: Students in a specific admission category or subject POSt and/or year of study will receive priority until a certain date (review dates in the Registration and Enrolment Guide). On the date the priority is removed, remaining spaces are made available to all students. However, you must enrol through the department that is offering the course.
  • AE: Students must receive approval by the A&S department that is offering the course in order to enrol in an “AE” course.

Waiting Lists (Fall-Winter Terms)

After a course is full, students may add their names to a waiting list in ACORN. If a student cancels their enrolment in a course, the student at the top of the waiting list will automatically be enrolled in the course.

ACORN will notify you when you have been added to a course that you were on a waiting list for; however, the message will only be sent to you if you have a valid University of Toronto email address listed in your ACORN profile.

In addition to the email, a notification message will also appear on the first page of your account the first time you log in after the course was added to your record. You will also receive an email if you are removed from a waiting list after the waiting list period has ended.

Engineering students should take note of the following:

  • Being on the waiting list does not guarantee you a space in a course. We recommend you do not risk adding your name to long waiting lists.
  • Use the waiting list function as a last resort to get into a course you desperately would like to enrol in. You should have back up courses in mind in case you do not get your first choice.
  • Waiting lists will be removed in September for F and Y courses and January, for S code courses. After the waiting lists are removed, enrolment works on a first-come, first-served basis. However, be mindful of the last day to add courses for the Fall Session. The current Academic Calendar and Enrolment and Registration Guide lists the dates.
  • You may be on a waiting list for a maximum of 2.0 full course equivalents (i.e. four half courses or two full courses), depending on your program and year of study. However, you must not carry more than a regular course load by the last day to add courses for the Fall Session. The regular course load for your program and year of study is outlined in the Academic Calendar.

Taking Summer Courses

Many Engineering students take A&S courses during the Summer Session to satisfy either elective requirements or personal interest. Students registered in summer courses are considered part-time students. If you take an A&S course in the summer, you will be charged Engineering course fees because you are an Engineering student.

Because the Summer Session is not seen as an official Engineering session — with the exception of select first-year courses, Engineering courses are not typically offered in the summer — Summer Session weighted session averages are not used to assess the Faculty’s promotion regulations. In order to pass and retain credit for a Summer Session course, you need to obtain a final grade of 50% or greater. There are exceptions if you are in the T-Program. For more information on the exceptions regarding Summer Session and the T-Program, contact the First Year Office.

UTSC & UTM Courses

You may also take courses at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) and Mississauga (UTM) campuses. As with all electives, you should consult your Academic Advisor if you plan to take an elective at UTM or UTSC. Your Advisor will be able to let you know if the course you would like to take will fulfill your degree requirements.

Late Withdrawal

It may be possible to drop your Arts & Science elective course after the last day to drop courses. To find out more, review the Faculty’s policy on late withdrawal from an Arts & Science course.

Arts & Science Exams

To view the exam schedule for Arts & Science courses, visit the Faculty of Arts & Science website. If you have any exam issues regarding your A&S courses, you must contact U of T Engineering’s Office of the Registrar.

Exam Conflicts

If two of your final exams are scheduled for the same time slot, or three consecutive final exams in a single day, contact U of T Engineering ‘s Office of the Registrar. The Office of the Registrar can attempt to make special accommodations with the Faculty of Arts & Science so that you can write your exams at another time.

Exam Deferrals

Arts & Science exam deferrals are typically granted under extraordinary circumstances. If you have to miss your exam for personal or medical reasons, you must submit a petition to the Engineering Office of the Registrar. If your petition is granted, you will likely have to write a deferred exam. In most cases, you must write the final exam when the course is offered next, which could be months in the future. Arts & Science will charge you $70 to write a deferred exam. Please note that Arts & Science does not typically grant students permission to rewrite an exam.


If you wish to petition an Arts & Science final exam, you should consult U of T Engineering’s Office of the Registrar immediately. You must submit your petition and all supporting documentation within seven days of your last exam. All petitions go through your registered Faculty (Engineering).

Exam Copies, Re-checks and Re-reads

The Faculty of Arts & Science stores their own course exams, and they offer both exam re-checks and re-reads. You may also order a photocopy of your exam, or view your exam for free in a supervised room. For more information, please review the information on the Faculty of Arts & Science’s website. All exam-related services go through the Faculty providing the course (Arts & Science).

Visit the Faculty of Arts & Science’s website for additional information on exams, policies, rules of conduct, locations and more.