Program Outline

Physiology Honors Program Planner - Requirements, Course selection, and course approval

Honors in Physiology is offered by the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry through the Faculty of Science.

The Honors program is designed to prepare students for advanced study leading to careers in academia, industrial research, or for entry into health-related professions. A choice of courses is available for students with interests in particular branches of the life sciences (e.g., cell and molecular biology, endocrinology, cardiovascular physiology, and neurobiology).

1. How to Remain in Good Standing in the Hons PHYSL program:

In order to maintain good standing in the Honors Physiology program, and ultimately graduate, you must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA on a minimum *24 in the fall/winter terms each year you are in the program. This means that if you have been granted University credit upon entry to the U of A (typically this is for IB or AP courses), you must still take a minimum of *24 at U of Alberta each fall/winter. If you have IB or AP credit and do not need to take certain first year courses you can replace them with second year required courses or options to reach *24. The majority of students in the program take *30 per fall/winter. Assuming you enter the program with no IB/AP credit, if you take *30 each fall/winter you can graduate in 4 years. If you take only *24 per year it will take you 5 years to meet the requirements for graduation. Note that you are allowed to take as many courses you like in the spring/summer terms and these can count towards your degree but do not count towards the *24 minimum for the fall/winter terms.

2. Obtaining Transfer Credit:

The Faculty of Science office in CCIS is responsible for granting credit for all transfer credits and all IB/AP credits, we cannot do that at the Departmental level.

3. Graduation Requirements:

In order to graduate, in addition to meeting the requirements for the Hons PHYSL program as outlined in the course calendar you must also choose your options such that you meet the following Faculty of Science requirements:

a) minimum *120 total
b) minimum *90 in SCI courses
c) minimum *18 in ARTS courses
d) maximum *42 at the junior level (i.e. 100 level) courses
e) maximum *18 in Non-ARTS/Non-SCI courses (aka Outside options)

When checking the course calendar make sure you are looking at the current version. The UofA website has a strange habit of showing outdated versions of the calendar with outdated requirements/courses. The red arrow below indicates where to look to make sure you are accessing the current version.

4. Course Selection and Approval of Courses:

You do not need to meet with the undergraduate coordinator to discuss course selection each year. When you have selected your courses for each school year, simply fill out THE COURSE PLANNER SPREADSHEET (or update your existing Course Planner) and email it back to the undergraduate coordinator at before the start of the school year (see the "Instructions" and "Sample Student" Tabs at the bottom of the sheet for detailed instructions on how it should be completed. (There are some more tips at the bottom of this page in point #7).

Each year you only need to fill out the courses you have already taken as well as the ones you will take for the upcoming year. We do not have a list of approved options, approved options can be any course offered by the University of Alberta. SCI options can be any course offered through the Faculty of Science, ARTS options can be any course offered through the Faculty of Arts- note that some PSYCO courses are ARTS courses and some SCI. Outside options are any courses offered through Faculties other than SCI or ARTS (example- all ANAT, LABMP, MMI, and ONCOL courses are offered through Medicine and are outside options). We provide no guidance for choosing your options, and we encourage you to take courses that interest you. Again, you can take any course offered by the University as an option. The undergraduate coordinator only wants to take a look at what you are taking each year to make sure that you are staying within the guidelines laid out by the Faculty of SCI (see point 2 for the guidelines).
Once you send the completed spreadsheet, the undergraduate coordinator will check it and send you an email either approving your selections or identifying problem selections. In order to approve the planner the undergraduate coordinator needs to see all the courses you have already taken as well as the courses you are planning to take in the upcoming year. If you do not do this your courses cannot be approved. There are 2 Tabs on the Course planner spreadsheet that can be filled out: "Thesis" or "Non Thesis". You do not actually have to decide which stream you will choose until the summer between 3rd and 4th year. Years 1-3 are identical in either stream. For years 1-3, it does no matter which tab you fill out on the spreadsheet.

5. Taking Courses "Out of Order":

The specific years in which we have the courses listed on the planner and also on the course calendar are simply a guide. If you follow the order we provide you will never have a problem with prerequisites. Realize however that the only important thing for graduation is that you finish all of these courses, so you are welcome to take them "out of order" if you like. For example students often decide to take CHEM263 in second year. This is no problem at all, if you want to do this and keep a full course load simply take an option or a course we have listed in second year (i.e. PHYS124) in place of CHEM263 in first year. You do not need my prior approval to do this, just register and send me your planner for approval, I will let you know if there are any issues with what you propose.

6. Registration for PHYSL courses as well as those inaccessible on Beartracks:

For all PHYSL courses and for many courses offered by other departments you need to register manually (as opposed to using Beartracks). I cannot do this for you, you need to contact the PHYSL main office ( for PHYSL courses, or the office of the department offering the course for non-PHYSL courses.

7. Tips for completing course planner:

i. The only columns you will enter information in are B, C, D, E.
ii. Column B should only have the course name if column A offers a choice (such as an option or CELL201 OR BIOL201).
iii. Column C should include a "1" if you are taking the course listed in this row for the upcoming year. Column D should have a 1 if you have already taken the course or if you are currently taking it (we assume you are going to pass all courses you are currently taking).
iv. Column E- For all options enter a "1" in this column if the course you have taken, are taking, or are going to take is a SCI course, a "2" if its an ARTS course and a "3" if its an outside option.

Do not, under any circumstances change the name of the courses in column A or add courses at the bottom of a given year as this will render the planner useless.

If you are going into second year and took BIOL107, CHEM101, CHEM102, ENGL102, ENGL103, STAT151, PSYCO104, SOC100, CELL201 and ANTHRO101 in first year and are planning to take
CHEM261, CHEM263, BIOCH200, BIOL207, PHYSL212, PHYSL214, PMCOL200, MMI133, ANAT200, PSYCO105 in second year your planner should look like this.