Frequently Asked Questions

At every stage of your degree, you may have questions you need answered. Before you make the trip to the Undergraduate Student Services (USS) office, please check out the following Frequently Asked Questions. You may discover the answer you are looking for and save yourself a trip!

Degree requirements

My friend received an e-mail from the USS office but I didn't. Did I miss something?

Perhaps. Come to the USS office and we can check your file to see if anything we mailed to you recently was returned to us. Note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your contact information in Bear Tracks is current. This includes your mailing address, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

You must also ensure that you regularly check your e-mail account. This is your We send many important messages to that account.

What if I have missed a deadline?
It is the student's responsibility to be aware of and meet all deadlines or accept the consequences associated with the specific missed deadline. Deadlines are set by the University of Alberta and cannot be altered by the Faculty of Arts for any reason. Check the U of A Calendar for details.
What is the Non Arts 6 Credit Residency requirement and how do I know which courses meet it?
All students in the BA must complete at least 6 credits in courses taught outside the Faculty of Arts or Faculty of Native Studies. Check in the Course Listings section in the Calendar to confirm which faculty is offering the course. If you are considering completing this requirement with a course in PSYCO or EAS, make sure the course is offered by the Faculty of Science, not Arts.
How do I know if I am on the right track for my program?
In order to confirm that you have met the requirements for your basic requirements, your major, minor or double major, and that you have not exceeded your junior course weights, you must check your Academic Requirements tool on BearTracks. If you have not declared a major/minor or double major, we will only check your basic requirements. We will e-mail the completed form to you when the check has been completed. On average, this takes approximately three weeks to complete, BUT keep in mind that during busy times of the school year (end of the Winter term, beginning of Fall term), these requests will take longer than three weeks to process. Contact the USS office for more information.
How many junior level (100-level) courses am I allowed to credit to the BA program?
The maximum is 48 credits (equivalent to 16 courses worth 3 credits). Take your transcript and count the number of 100-level courses units passed. If you would like us to check, please submit a Request for a Program Check form and we will confirm your junior course weights, as well as the rest of your program.
Is there a time limit to complete my BA degree?
No. As long as you have registered in at least one course and it shows on your transcript in a calendar year (September - April), you will continue to be a Faculty of Arts student. If you interrupt your program for more than 12 months, you will have to reapply for admission to the program, meeting all admission and program requirements in effect at that time.
Are there a minimum number of courses I must take in order to continue in the BA program?
Yes. As long as you have registered in at least one course and it shows on your transcript in a calendar year (September - April), you will continue to be a Faculty of Arts student, assuming you maintain satisfactory Academic Standing.
How do I withdraw from a course?

First, check the withdrawal deadlines before dropping any courses from your schedule. If the add/drop deadline has not passed, go to BearTracks and drop the course using the Drop feature without any financial penalty or record on your transcript. If the primary add/drop deadline has passed you can still use BearTracks to drop courses, but you may not be refunded course fees after incremental withdrawal deadlines have passed and you will receive a grade of "W" (no GPA penalty) for the course on your transcript. Also note that some courses require Departmental Approval (e.g., Chemistry, Art & Design, Biochemistry) before a withdrawal can be completed, but this is very rare. You can find out if a condition like this applies to your courses by checking your courses' syllabi.

What is the tuition deposit?

New-to-the-UofA students who are offered admission must pay a non-refundable $500 Tuition Deposit in order to become eligible to register in courses. Students can pay this deposit on Bear Tracks, and it will be credited towards their final tuition amount.

See Student Tuition Payment Options for details on how to pay tuition and fees

Majors, Minors and Double Majors

When do I have to declare my major, minor or double major?
We strongly suggest you declare your major, minor or double major by the end of your second year. However, you are free to change these as often as you wish as long as you submit another form each time. There is no fee.
How do I declare or change my major, minor or double major?
Fill out a Declaration or Change of Major/Minor form online and submit it to the USS office. If you would like us to check your program and you have not declared a major/minor or a double major, we will only check your basic/core requirement
I'm not sure what I want my major/minor to be.

If you are unsure of your career path, HUB Career Centre has resources to assist in career planning as well as your employment search before and after graduation. They also offer other services such as career planning, work searches, employer information sessions and more! or 780-492-6022

HUB Career Centre (8917 HUB Mall)
Monday to Friday 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. (September to April)
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (May to August)

Can I minor in Business in the Faculty of Arts?
Yes! Starting for Fall 2022 the Faculty of Arts now offers a Minor in Business. The minor has limited enrollment and has a competitive selection process to get into it, including pre-requisite courses (ECON 101, 102, STAT 161, and 3 credits in 100-level ENGL/WRS), a minimum of 24 credits completed,, and a competitive GPA (minimum GPA is 2.3, but a higher competitive GPA may be needed depending on the number of applicants). The minor will include a variety of foundational Business courses, including MARK, B LAW, SEM, and ACCTG. Admission to the minor will be assessed once per year. The deadline to apply is March 1, and selection will happen after the Winter term is completed. The application form is in our Forms for Students page. Any questions can be directed to the Undergraduate Student Services office.
Can I minor in Science? Which Science minors are available to me in the BA program?
You bet! Check the Calendar section for more information. As well, after you have declared your Science minor and have requested that your program be checked, you can discuss specific questions with the undergraduate advisors of those departments.
I just received my new calendar and the requirements for my major/minor have changed. Does that mean I have to take those courses too?
Not necessarily. You must meet the requirements of the year you were admitted (or readmitted, if you had to reapply at any time), so those new courses may not apply. Your program form will state at the top of the page which year's calendar requirements you must meet. If you would like to have us go over your program and let you know how you are doing, submit a Request for a Program Check form or check your Academic Requirements tool.
I want to go into Law - what should I major in?
To enter Law, you need an undergraduate degree in any area, so we suggest you choose a major that you are passionate about. The more you enjoy your courses, the more likely you will receive a higher GPA and a competitive average! Contact the Faculty of Law for more detailed information.
I'm considering changing my minor subject to a second major but I want to know first how many extra courses the double major will require. What do I do?
There is a What If tool located in your AR report in Bear Tracks which can help run scenarios for you.
What are Option courses?
Option courses are any courses not applied to your core/basic, your major/minor, or your double major. Faculty of Arts or Science option courses are unlimited, as long as they fit your program. Non-Arts or Non-Science courses have a maximum of 18 credits applied to your program. You are not required to take option courses - you can also choose to take more courses in your major or minor, as long as do you not exceed the maximum.

FGPA (Faculty Grade Point Average) & GPA (Grade Point Average)

Do courses taken in Spring/Summer in the Faculty of Arts count towards my GPA?
Spring and Summer term grades are no longer included in academic assessment. However, these grades are included in your overall Grade Point Average (GPA) for graduation. For most programs, students must achieve a minimum 2.0 on all courses applied towards their degree, and minimum 2.0 on senior courses applied to their major.
How and when is the FGPA calculated in the Faculty of Arts?
Please refer to Academic Standing and Promotion in the most up-to-date version of the University of Alberta Calendar.
Am I eligible for the Fresh Start program?
Please refer to Academic Standing and Promotion in the most up-to-date version of the University of Alberta Calendar.
I'm really struggling with my classes and I need some academic assistance. What should I do?

1. Speak to your instructor about your concerns.

2. Check out the Student Success Centre. They have all kinds of information on study habits, exam writing difficulties and individual tutorials on research papers and writing problems. Contact them early to avoid a last-minute rush!

3.Consider reducing your course load, so that you can concentrate on fewer courses. Make sure you know when the withdrawal deadlines are.

4.Contact the USS office to speak to an advisor. We are here to help.

Taking courses at other institutions

What is the Cortona program?
An amazing study abroad opportunity facilitated by the Faculty of Arts. Check out their website for more information!
If I want to take courses for credit to my degree at another institution while I am a student in the Faculty of Arts, do I have to notify the Faculty of Arts?
Yes. You must have permission from the Faculty of Arts in advance or credit may not be granted. You need an Application for Letter of Permission form and must fill it out in full. The reason for the request must be academically justifiable (i.e. student's family has been transferred to another city).
Can I go on a foreign exchange program and have my courses taken there credited toward my Faculty of Arts degree?
Yes. In the case of a formal exchange program with the International Centre, certain forms are required (See International Centre). We encourage Arts students to participate in official exchange programs.

You must complete an Application for Letter of Permission if the institution does not have a exchange program from the International Centre. See the USS office for details.


What do I need to do to graduate?
Even if you do not plan to attend the convocation ceremony, you must apply for your degree on Bear Tracks by the deadline. There is no fee to apply.

Make sure to run an academic requirements check to ensure you have completed (or on track to complete) all of your required courses and credits needed to finish your degree.
Final application deadlines:
February 1 - Spring Convocation

September 1 - Fall Convocation
Note that you cannot convocate in Spring if you are still taking classes towards your degree in May/June (Spring) term. Similarly, you cannot convocate in Fall if you are still taking classes towards your degree in the September (Fall) term.