Arts Essential Information


Welcome to your home in Arts!

Whether you’re striving to become a skilled economist, renowned performer, intrepid archaeologist, or basically anything else you can think of, we’re so excited to have you as a part of our vibrant community. To set you up with the information and resources you need to succeed, we’ve collected (and will continue to update) this information for you to access whenever you need it!

Arts Essentials

Where can I find a guide to help me navigate my Arts degree?

Check out our Degree Guides on the Faulty of Arts website, there's one for every regular Arts major/minor program and they include helpful information about your required courses in each path!

For more information generally about Arts programs, visit our Undergraduate Programs website.

What’s the difference between my Department and my Faculty in Arts?

As a UAlberta Arts student, you belong to two different levels of administration and support.

The Faculty of Arts covers all students in the Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and generally deals with questions/issues you have when it comes to your degree. Your department has more to do with your program of choice. For example, an English major belongs to the Department of English and Film Studies, which offers help with their courses and other specific academic questions.

Both levels have advisors that you can reach out to you if you need help! Generally, either can help you with:

Faculty advisors: 

  • Your degree progress
  • Applications for a letter of permission
  • Course overloads 
  • Petitions
  • Grade/academic appeals
  • Admission queries 
  • Request for Program check (Honours/After degree only)

Department advisors: 

  • Specific course details
  • Sessions available for courses
  • Course consent/Restrictions 
  • Information about your program of study
  • Research opportunities   
Mental health supports: what's available?
  • UAlberta Counselling & Clinical Services: provides psychological treatment services to the students at the University of Alberta using a short-term therapy model. The intention is to help students cope with situations that impact their current level of mental health or illness to assist them to function successfully during their University experience.
  • UASU Peer Support Centre: a service that offers non-judgmental support in a safe, and confidential space to students and the campus community. They recognize that our clients are the experts of their situation, so we aim to empower our clients and refrain from offering advice. They strive to provide our service in a professional, and inclusive manner - and to do no harm.
  • UASU Cares: a registry of different wellness resources ranging from mental and physical wellness to financial assistance and help with relationship violence.
Where do I find the list of available courses offered at the University?

If you're looking to browse all of the courses offered by the University of Alberta your best bet is the University Course Catalogue!

You can search by keywords, subject, number, instructor, subject, or faculty using the catalogue. For Arts-specific course listings, check head here.

Remember that you'll need to use Bear Tracks to enroll in any courses, but the catalogue is a great way to find ones that interest you.

What is an “unsatisfactory standing” and when would I be “required to withdraw” from my program?

Although we hope that you'll never find yourself in this situation, we understand that things come up in life that affect your ability to meet your academic goals during your degree.

Note that a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 1.6 or below is deemed unsatisfactory standing. If a student's GPA lies within the 1.7 to 1.9 range, they are deemed to have marginal standing and are marked as being under academic probation. Students can only take up to 12 credits each term under academic warning (3 regular courses). Students with a GPA below 1.6 are Required to Withdraw (RTW) from the faculty. Students are guaranteed admission back to the faculty after they take a year off.

After their first RTW, a student is required to withdraw for a year. After their second RTW,  a student is required to withdraw for 5 years, (3 years if they take 24 credits elsewhere and have a competitive GPA). A third RTW means that a student is ineligible to return to the Faculty of Arts. 

Where do I go to find the important dates and deadlines?

Basically, every important University of Alberta date and deadline can be found in the UAlberta Calendar. Just make sure you've selected the correct year!

Inside the UAlberta Calendar you'll also find all of our UAlberta regulations and procedures which can be really important to brush up on, details about all of our undergraduate and graduate programs being offered, and more.

How can I declare or change my major/minor?
The Faculty of Arts has a simple form that you can use to declare a new major or minor, or request changes to those that have already been declared.
How do I drop a course?

If you want to drop a course, you can head to the "Drop" section under the "Manage Classes" tab on Bear Tracks.

Make sure you haven't missed the add/drop deadline for the term you're taking classes in, if you've missed that deadline you may face financial and academic penalties for dropping! You can find more details here.

What is the minimum course load to be considered as a full-time student?

In order to be considered a full-time student at the University of Alberta, you'll need to remain registered in at least 3 courses (9 credits).

You don't need to be registered for every term (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) to remain a student, but you'll have different funding options depending on what your enrollment status is in any given term.

Learn more about how full-time vs part-time status affects Government of Alberta Student Aid eligibility here.

What are the ways to enroll in the courses with no open seats?

Unfortunately, there are very few ways to get into courses that are full unless another student drops out of that course during the first few weeks of the term.

The most reliable way to get into full courses is to use the Watch List feature on classes that you would like to add to your schedule. You'll be alerted when any slots open up in your Watch Listed courses.

Student Life Information

Who are my student representatives and what do they do?

All Faculty of Arts students are represented by the Organization for Arts Students and Interdisciplinary Studies (OASIS), which is known as your faculty association.

Most students will also have a departmental association, which represents students in specific programs of study. You can find a listing of these using BearsDen.

All University of Alberta students have faculty representatives on your Students' Union Council and on the UAlberta General Faculties Council, and they're tasked with representing your interests on a higher-up level.

All of these student representative associations host elections every year and students like you are able to run in them!

What’s a good way to balance my studies with extracurricular activities?
  1. Try to keep a tight schedule! If you're hoping to manage a full course load, spend time with friends, or even hold a part-time job during school, your best first step is to make a concise and accurate schedule. Just make sure that you make time to relax!
  2. Consider your priorities! If you'd like to get more work experience during your degree, it may be a good idea to take fewer classes. If you're hoping to get into a graduate program, you'll definitely want to put your studies first. By having a good idea of what you're looking to get out of your degree you can add to or take away from different areas of your life to accomplish your goals and not burn yourself out in the process.
  3. Find casual volunteering or involvement opportunities! Not everything you're involved in has to be super intense, there are plenty of student groups here at the University of Alberta that exist to give you the chance to have some fun. Browse those using our BearsDen tool.
What are some good strategies for making friends during my degree?

Most new students have this question, which is actually a good thing for you! People come from all walks of life and parts of the world to get to the University of Alberta, and that means everyone gets a fresh start.

Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you in your classes, at events, or even during your orientation. You'd be surprised how many people are just waiting for someone to say "hi"!

Besides this, another obvious place to start would be joining a club or student group using the BearsDen tool. With ~400 registered groups there's something out there that matches your passions.

How can I get involved as a volunteer?

Your Students' Union also hosts a Volunteer Registry, letting you know about the ways that you can use your time to benefit others throughout the year!

If you also follow different faculties or departments that interest you on your social media of choice (find us on Instagram), or through their regular newsletters, there are always new ways to get involved announced every single week in the UAlberta community.

Is there a good way to find a job during my degree?

After completing part of your degree, you can apply for our Arts Work Experience (AWE) program that lets you get credits for working as part of your degree!

The University of Alberta campusBRIDGE tool is a great place to find job opportunities targeted toward students from all faculties. This is a really good place to start!

If you need any kind of skill-building, coaching, or help to understand the AWE program, you can always reach out to our HUB Career Centre team. 

What are some good ways to find a place to live during my studies?
For on-campus options, you'll always want to start by browsing the numerous options available to you through UAlberta Residence. They have helpful staff, useful resources, and all of the application details you need to find your ideal home at the University of Alberta.
What are my rights and responsibilities as a UAlberta student?

All information about what the University of Alberta expects and affords its students in relation to university procedures is covered by the Code of Student Behaviour, designed by the Office of the Student Ombuds.

Generally, students can use the Ombuds Office when they are dealing with academic, discipline, interpersonal, and financial issues during their studies.

Financial Information

How does Arts Work Experience (AWE) work?

Arts Work Experience (AWE) offers career related, paid work experience for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts. AWE is flexible, with many program options allowing students to complete 4, 8, 12, or 16 months of work experience beginning in September, January, or May.

This program programs provide students with a range of meaningful career development and work term opportunities in a supportive environment which builds student confidence in their abilities to achieve academic and career success. It demonstrates the value of an Arts degree on and off campus.

What are my options for receiving money from the University of Alberta?

The University of Alberta offers students a wide range of financial support options, including undergraduate scholarships, entrance scholarships, bursaries, emergency funding, and more.

Other groups on campus such as the Students' Union also have their UASU Awards program which gives out thousands of dollars every year to student applicants.

How do I apply for Alberta/Canada student loans

To qualify for Alberta Student Aid, you must:

  • maintain academic progress (stay in school)
  • meet residency or citizenship requirements
  • have financial need
  • be enrolled in a program approved by Student Aid

Student Aid is a government service that provides student loans, grants, scholarships, and awards to help you pay for your post-secondary education. Student aid may not cover all of your costs, so you’ll need to plan to make up the difference.

You only have to submit one application to be considered for loans and grants from both Alberta’s government and Canada’s government. Most students get money from both, which means you may get two smaller loans instead of one big one. Learn more about scholarships and awards.

What is an emergency loan?

A UAlberta Emergency Loan is a form of immediate funding support for temporary financial shortfalls due to delays in funding (e.g., government student loan is late), unexpected expenses (e.g., necessary car repairs, emergency dental work), or temporary inability to cover essential living expenses, such as rent or groceries. Emergency loans are not issued to pay for any university tuition or fees.

In order to qualify for an Emergency Loan, you must apply online and demonstrate the ability to repay the loan within a six-month time period. Your financial situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and eligibility is not guaranteed. If your financial shortfall is not temporary or short-term, please refer to the Supplementary Bursary program for non-repayable funding support.

Are there any bursary/emergency loan options available for International students?

Yes! To assist students in an emergency financial situation to help cover their living expenses, International Student Services administers an International Student Emergency Bursary and Loan Fund.

These funds are not intended to cover expenses that should have been budgeted for in advance of coming to Canada. Students applying for an emergency loan or bursary will need to demonstrate how their financial shortfall is outside their control and beyond their budgeting expectations.

Emergency Loans and Bursaries from the International Student Services cannot be granted for:

  1. Tuition and fees
  2. Paying off any outstanding debts
  3. Transportation and other costs involved in returning home during or at the end of studies
  4. Research expenses and thesis costs
  5. Sending money to your family back home, even in the event of an emergency
  6. Cosmetic medical costs (e.g. non-emergency dental care)

Only registered University of Alberta students with valid study permits can apply for this fund.

Are there any resources available to help me plan out my finances during my degree?

Yes! Managing your financial and academic success can be difficult, but you don't have to conquer it alone. We have information and resources to help support you financially throughout your degree.

Check out the University of Alberta's Financial Literacy resource page which can help you understand budgets, spending habits, credit and debt, and more so that you can make good financial decisions during your degree and beyond. 

Academic Information

Note that we also have another entire degree question FAQ page for you here!

What is a course credit and how do I earn them?

Course credits are gained by passing courses during your degree, and most courses are worth 3 credits. University of Alberta undergraduate (Bachelor's Degree) programs require 120 credits total to be completed!

Credits associated with courses can be seen attached to their description in places like Bear Tracks, eClass, and the Course Catalogue. They usually look something like "★ 3 " (see below).


When do I need to have degree requirements like Junior English or second language completed?

The honest answer is any time before you apply for convocation (graduation)! Many students assume that these need to be done quite quickly, but the only reason most students would rush the completion of courses is to gain access to upper-level courses in that same field of study (see the question here about course restrictions for more info).

This means that you don't need to complete things like your junior English course requirement right away if the courses are full or you'd rather arrange your schedule differently, but you'll need to complete it eventually.

What’s the difference between Bear Tracks and eClass?


  • Used for course registration, dropping courses, and general enrollment tools.
  • Hosts your exam schedule in each Term of study.
  • Shows you financial information about account balances, awards, and more.
  • Provides your official correspondence records, transcripts, and other essential documents as both a UAlberta student and/or staff member.


  • Shows you all of the course content uploaded by your professors and teaching assistants (TAs).
  • Allows you to submit assignments digitally.
  • Hosts the syllabus for each course, a document that outlines learning objectives and expectations from your professors and the University.
What do I do if a class is full but I need to take it?

Make sure you add that course to your Watch List on BearTracks. If any other student drops that course in the first few weeks of a Term you'll be alerted and have the chance to take that free slot. 

If you're late in your degree and absolutely can't miss a course to meet a specific condition, you can reach out to your Department Advisors in extreme circumstances. Note though that nothing is guaranteed through this method and we have to emphasize the "extreme circumstances" part of that last sentence.

What is a syllabus and how do I use it?
Your syllabus provides you information about:

  • The structure of a course, including details about things like an introduction to the topic, units of study, and learning goals.
  • Important deadlines for things like exams, assignments, field trips, or other key dates when it comes to your studies.
  • University procedures and guidelines that pertain to your studies such as rules around plagiarism.
How can I tell what classes I need to take for my degree?

Your BearTracks page has a super useful Academic Requirements tool that you can use to figure out what you need as part of your degree program. Make sure to check back on this course each year/Term to keep track of the kind of courses you need.

All of your academic requirements listed need to be completed before you can apply for convocation (graduation), so this is pretty important!

How do I know whether or not a course is restricted when registering?

Each class's BearTracks page (not to be confused with eClass) will list class restrictions under its course notes, and these can limit a course's registration to students in a specific program, who have other prerequisite courses already completed, and more.

We recommend always looking for class notes and course restrictions before registering in a course, there's nothing worse than realizing on the first day of classes that you accidentally enrolled in "English for Engineers"!

What can I start doing now to set myself up for graduate studies (i.e. Masters, PhD, etc)?

Focus hard on your studies! A high GPA and academic relationship-building are crucial when you're setting yourself up for graduate school.

The other largest concern is definitely understanding which areas you'd like to focus your Masters or PhD on. Many different streams involve research in your chosen field, and developing a passion for your particular subject during your undergraduate degree can set you up extremely well for those paths.

Honors programs also gives many students the chance to work closely with professors in their program to produce an Honors Essay (often referred to as a Thesis) before the end of their degree, giving them a taste of what graduate school may have in store. 


Your undergraduate Degree at a glance

Year 1 (0-29 Credits Earned)

  • Don't feel pressured to take 5 courses per term in your first year! You can if you would like, but we recommend taking a lighter course load to help you transition into university without getting too overwhelmed. Everyone completes their degree at a different pace!
  • At the beginning of your Arts degree, you have a world of possibilities ahead of you! You can explore a wide variety of subjects, take introductory (100-level) courses to get a better understanding of the fields that interest you (e.g. PSYCH 104, ECON 101, etc), and at this point, you don't need to commit to your choices of major(s) and minor(s) yet.
  • Attending your Arts and UAlberta orientation programs and the Fall and Winter Clubs Fairs are great ways to meet other students and get involved with groups that you find interesting!
  • International and Indigenous students can get in touch with their Arts support services.
  • We recommend that you take lots of courses in different subjects in your first year, although you should familiarize yourself with the types of Arts Degree Programs that are available for you to choose.
  • If you're still in the process of applying for your Arts program during high school, consider applying for Entrance Scholarships!
  • Take some time to enjoy your experience. Things move fast once you start University, but sometimes just having coffee with a friend after class can make your whole week.

Year 2 (30-59 Credits Earned)

  • Apply for Arts Work Experience! Once you've earned at least 24 credits you might be eligible to get started. This program helps you gain skills, knowledge, and networks that will help you find success in the workplace and can set you up with paid work experience terms as part of your degree!
  • You can begin applying for UAlberta Scholarships! Get money for your academic achievements, demonstrations of leadership, or community involvement.
  • Get involved in student governance! Your Arts representatives at OASIS are always looking for new members, or you can even work with student representatives in your specific field of study (department associations).
  • By the end of your second year we would recommend locking in your chosen major(s). Having these declared will massively help you figure out which courses you need to register for in the future to satisfy your degree requirements, and many upper-year (300/400-level) courses will require you to be declared as a student in that subject to enroll in them.
  • The University of Alberta has a TON of Study Abroad programs! Consider taking your learning to a global scale by studying at one of our partner institutions across the world.

Year 3 (60-89 Credits Earned)

  • If you haven't seriously considered adding a minor (or multiple minors) to your degree, this is a good time to add them on if you have areas outside of your major subject that really interest you. You can have multiple minors as long as you're able to fit all of their requirements into your 120 total degree credits!
  • Love your major area of study? Consider becoming an Honors student. Honors programs allow you to take more credits in your chosen subject, work closely with your professors, and often get the chance to conduct research during your degree.
  • Look into the Community Service Learning (CSL) options available to you! CSL helps you take your learning into the community to do some real good. Build relationships, ground your studies in lived experience, and challenge yourself!
  • Seriously, apply for Arts Work Experience!
  • If you're not sure whether you're on track to completing your degree requirements by the end of your studies, come and chat with one of your Arts Undergraduate Student Services advisors.

Year 4 (90-120 Credits Earned)

  • On track to complete all of your degree requirements and credits by the end of your fourth year? Remember to declare that you intend to graduate using Bear Tracks! Completing your degree and getting your parchment is not automatic. We have convocation ceremonies in the Fall and Spring here at the University of Alberta.
  • If you're interested in pursuing your Master's Degree as a graduate student, you should seriously start considering applying for those programs during your final year.
  • Even if you aren't interested in participating in Arts Work Experience, let our Arts Careers team help you brush up on your resume building, job hunting, and interview skills. They host workshops, do career advising, and can help you chart a course for your career after graduation!