Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to see the same advisor every time?
Student Services has more than one advisor. Students who are in Arts, Science, Phys Ed, Fine Arts, and Environmental Science can make an appointment to see the same advisor that they have seen previously, or a different one if they prefer or if they can get an appointment sooner with someone else.
Q: What can I do if a desired course is full?
You can attempt to register for it. If it is full, you will be asked if you want to be placed on a waiting list. If you indicate yes, then you will see what position you are on the waiting list. If a spot becomes available for you, then Financial & Registration Services will send you an email via BU Webmail, and give you two days to add that course. If you do not add the course within the two days, then your name is removed from the waiting list and they will email the next person on the list. Therefore it is vital that you either check your BU Webmail every day or else have it automatically forwarded to an email address that you check frequently. If you periodically log in to the Student Information page, you will see if your position on the waiting list has changed. Sometimes the capacity (size) of a class is increased, so you might be offered a spot surprisingly quickly. Therefore, even if you are not near the top of the list, it is important to check your email regularly. Here is a link that explains how to forward your BU Webmail.
Q: How do I drop a course?
You can drop a course either by filling out and submitting a Change of Registration Form available from Financial & Registration Services or by dropping the course using the online registration system available at the BU homepage. Please note that if you are dropping the course using the online registration system, if you do not get a tracking number after you submit the request, the request will not be processed. Be aware that you have to complete and submit the Change of Registration Form or drop the course using the online registration system; simply stopping your attendance at class is not sufficient to drop the class.
The Voluntary Withdrawal Date (VW Date) is the last date of each term by which any courses can be dropped. After the VW Date, a course may still be dropped as an Authorized Withdrawal for exceptional circumstances, according to the BU calendar. Be sure to talk to an Academic Advisor about this option.
Q: If I drop a course, will I get a refund?
Within approximately the first two weeks of each term, you can change your registration by dropping and/or adding courses. If you drop a course and do not replace it with another course, you will get a refund if you have already paid your tuition. After this two week period, you can still drop the class up to the Voluntary Withdrawal date, but there are no refunds for dropped courses after the two week period at the start of the term. Please contact Financial & Registration Services for the full refund schedule for the year.
Q: I registered online for my courses. Why did I not get into those courses?
Many students do not use the online registration system correctly. When using the online registration system, after you have completed adding and/or dropping all desired courses, you must scroll to the bottom of the page, complete any statistical questions that appear, agree to the statements at the bottom of the page by clicking the agree box, and hit submit. If you do not get a tracking number, you have not fully completed the online registration process.
Q: Is there a limit on how many 1st year courses I can take?
Depending on your program, there may be a limit on the number of 1st year courses you can take. You can consult the requirements for your Degree, Major, or Minor in the BU Undergraduate Academic Calendar, or you can talk to an Academic Advisor for more information.
Q: What is the process for transferring courses?
Please be aware that a letter of permission to take a course elsewhere does not guarantee that the course will be relevant to your Degree. The course may transfer to BU, but you may not need that particular course for your program.
It is definitely helpful to look up your desired course on the BU transfer database. If another student tried to transfer in the same course within the last five years, then that course will already have been assessed for transfer credit and the results of that assessment will be in the database. If your desired course is not in the database or it was assessed over five years ago, then you are responsible for getting a course syllabus, and then the relevant department will be asked to assess the course for transfer credit, which can take significantly longer.
If you are considering taking a course elsewhere to transfer back to BU, you should meet with an Academic Advisor to review your options.
Q: If I repeat a course, will the first grade disappear?
If you repeat the same course, the earlier grade will no longer be part of your Degree or Cumulative grade point average and the new grade will count. However, the new mark will count regardless of whether it is better or worse, and your earlier grade will still appear on your Academic Transcript.
Q: What is the Undergraduate Academic Calendar?
The Undergraduate Academic Calendar is a document that dictates the rules and requirements governing BU degrees, as well as providing course descriptions and other course-specific information.
You are allowed your initial registration and two changes of that registration within the regular session for free. When making changes to your registration, you can include multiple course adds and/or drops on a single Change of Registration Form or online registration submission, and all course requests submitted at the same time will count as one transaction. After using those two additional free changes, you will be charged a fee of $20 (subject to change) for each additional change. Please note that a change involves adding courses; you can always drop a course without incurring additional fees.
Q: Can I take more than 15 credit hours in a single term?
Yes, it is possible to take more than 15 credit hours in a single term. Arts and Science students need written permission from the Dean of their Faculty to register for additional credit hours, called an overload. The Dean will consider various factors in granting this permission, including your reason for needing the overload, your previous marks, and how far along you are in your Degree. Bachelor of Physical Education students do not need to obtain a signature from their Dean since they must take more than 15 credit hours in a term in order to complete the 99 credit hours required for a Bachelor of Physical Education Studies in three years.
Q: What is the Grade Point Average (GPA)?
GPA stands for Grade Point Average. Your GPA is calculated by dividing the number of Grade Points you have accumulated for your grades (according to the Letter Grade System found in the BU Undergraduate Academic Calendar) by the relevant number of credit hours. Brandon University has three commonly used GPAs: Sessional GPA, Cumulative GPA, and Degree GPA. The Sessional GPA is based on the credit hours you have taken in this academic year. The Cumulative GPA is based on all credit hours you have completed, including failures but excluding earlier attempts at courses you have repeated. The Degree GPA is based on the credit hours that will count towards your Degree.
Your Cumulative GPA determines your academic standing at Brandon University. If your Cumulative GPA drops too low for the number of credit hours you have attempted, you can be put on probation, suspension (not allowed to take courses for a minimum of 12 months), or withdrawal (not allowed to take courses for a minimum of 36 months).
The fastest way to improve your Degree and Cumulative GPAs is to repeat courses you have already taken and done poorly in, achieving a better grade in your next attempt. Be advised, however, that if you do worse in the next attempt, it is the most recent grade for the course that counts towards your GPA. You can also improve your Degree GPA by taking more courses than are required for your Degree, giving you extra credit hours which can be used instead of the credit hours in which you have received low grades.
Q: How do I figure out my progress towards completion of my Degree?
Degree completion is based on the number of credit hours you have completed, the number of requirements you have met, and your GPA. Different Degrees require different GPAs, but in all cases the minimum GPA is at least 2.0, and may be higher. For example, in a three-year Bachelor’s Degree, you have to successfully complete 90 credit hours with at least a 2.0 GPA in your Degree, in your Major, and in your Minor. Within that 90 credit hours, you must meet the course requirements for your Major and your Minor. The Major and Minor requirements are based on the Undergraduate Academic Calendar from the year you declared your Major, or on the Undergraduate Academic Calendar from any year since then, although both Major and Minor must come from the same calendar year.
To find out when you declared your Major, and so to find out which Undergraduate Academic Calendars are available for you to use, you can go to the Student Information portal on the Brandon University homepage, under Student Resources. In the Student Information portal, there is a tab labeled “Degree.” On the “Degree” tab, you will see your declared Major and Minor, which indicates the declared date. Currently, the Undergraduate Academic Calendar year is May 1 to April 30, so if you declared your Major on April 12, 2014, you could go by the 2013-14 Undergraduate Academic Calendar or any year after that, while if you declared your Major on May 5, 2014, your earliest Undergraduate Academic Calendar option would be the 2014-15 Undergraduate Academic Calendar. Please note that if you stop taking classes for three or more years, you can only use Undergraduate Academic Calendars from the time you resume taking classes.
Once you know your eligible calendar years, you can review the required courses for your Major and Minor in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar, available from the Brandon University homepage.
In addition to meeting the GPA, Major, and Minor requirements, you must also fulfill the Liberal Education Requirement (see FAQ regarding the Liberal Education Requirement) and meet the Residency Requirement (see FAQ regarding the Residency Requirements).
Students are encouraged to meet regularly with an Academic Advisor or the Department Chair of their Major to review their progress in their Degree since students are responsible for ensuring that all Degree, Major, Minor, and GPA requirements are met prior to graduation.
Q: What is the Liberal Education Requirement (LER)?
The Liberal Education Requirement is a rule that states all Arts, Science, Fine Arts, Environmental Science, and Physical Education students must successfully complete 6 credit hours in Natural Science courses, 6 credit hours in Social Science courses, and 6 credit hours in Humanities courses. In most Degrees, the Major will fulfill one of the three categories. It is possible that the Minor will fulfill another of the three categories. In such cases, the courses count towards the Major and/or Minor while also meeting parts of the Liberal Education Requirement. Any Liberal Education Requirements not met by the Major and/or Minor will count as elective courses within the Degree. To learn which courses are considered Natural Science, Social Science, or Humanities courses, consult the Liberal Education Requirement list in the BU Calendar or ask an Academic Advisor.
Q: What Residency Requirements must I meet for my Degree?
For all Degrees, students must normally complete 15 credit hours of BU courses before taking courses from another institution to transfer back.
Also, students must complete a minimum number of credit hours at Brandon University prior to graduation for the degree to be considered a Brandon University degree. Overall, students in a three-year Degree in the Faculties of Arts or Science must complete 48 credit hours of courses at BU or the final 30 credit hours in the Degree at BU. Students in a three-year Bachelor of Physical Education Studies must complete 48 credit hours of courses at BU or the final 33 credit hours in the Degree at BU. Students in a four-year Degree in the Faculties of Arts or Science must complete at least 60 credit hours of courses at BU including 18 credit hours of the final 30 credit hours.
For more information, consult an Academic Advisor.
Q: How do I declare my Major/Minor, if applicable to my Degree?
You can declare your Major and/or Minor online through the online registration system or on paper using the Registration Change Form available from Financial & Registration Services. In the online registration system, go to the “Degree” tab on the blue bar near the top of the page. Select “Edit” and enter your desired Major and/or Minor from the available drop-down menus. Select “Submit” underneath the menus, and your Major and/or Minor will be updated. On the Registration Change Form, near the middle of the page are boxes titled “Major Change” and “Minor Change.” On the “To” spaces, write your desired Major and/or Minor, then fill out the top portion of the form and sign and date the bottom of the form. You then need to take the form to Financial & Registration Services on the 2nd floor of Clark Hall, where the selected Major and/or Minor will be processed.
Students in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science must declare both their Major(s) and Minor(s). Students in a Bachelor of Fine Arts must declare their Major. Students in a Bachelor of Business Administration or a Bachelor of Physical Education Studies must declare their Minor.
For more information, consult an Academic Advisor.
Q: How do I change my Major/Minor?
You can change your Major and/or Minor online through the online registration system or on paper using the Registration Change Form available from Financial & Registration Services. In the online registration system, go to the “Degree” tab on the blue bar near the top of the page. Select “Edit” and enter your desired Major and/or Minor from the available drop-down menus, replacing the previously declared Major and/or Minor. Select “Submit” underneath the menus, and your new Major and/or Minor will be updated. On the Registration Change Form, near the middle of the page is boxes titled “Major Change” and “Minor Change.” On the “From” spaces, write your current Major and/or Minor, and on the “To” spaces, write your new Major and/or Minor, then fill out the top portion of the form and sign and date the bottom of the form. You then need to take the form to Financial & Registration Services on the 2nd floor of Clark Hall, where the change of Major and/or Minor will be processed.
Q: Which calendar do I need to use for my Degree requirements?
There is definitely some confusion about this. Students used to be able to use any calendar from the year that they were admitted and onwards from that year. However, for programs that have a Major, students can use the calendar from the year in which they declared their Major or any future calendar from that time. However, if students have not taken any courses for a three year period, they have to use the BU Calendar from the year that they returned to their studies or any newer calendar after that.
Q: How do I change my Degree?
If you want to change Degrees within the same Faculty (e.g. from a four-year Arts Degree to a three-year Arts Degree or vice versa), you need to complete a Registration Change Form available from Financial & Registration Services. In the middle of the page on the left hand side, you will see a box titled “Degree Change.” In the “From” space, write your current Degree, and in the “To” space, write the Degree you wish to switch to. You must fill out the top portion of the form and sign and date the bottom of the form. You then need to take the form to Financial & Registration Services on the 2nd floor of Clark Hall, where the change of Degree will be processed.
If you want to change from one Faculty to another (eg Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of Science), you need to complete a Registration Change Form available from Financial & Registration Services. In the middle of the page on the left hand side, you will see a box titled “Degree Change.” In the “From” space, write your current Degree, and in the “To” space, write the Degree you wish to switch to. You must fill out the top portion of the form and sign and date the bottom of the form. You will then need to take the form to the Dean of the Degree you wish to enter for her/his signature. If the Dean is not available, often you can leave the form with his/her administrative assistant. Once the Dean has signed the form, you then need to take the form to Financial & Registration Services on the 2nd floor of Clark Hall, where the change of Degree will be processed.
Be advised that students exiting a Degree in Health Studies, Music, or Education After Degree will need the signature of both the Dean of the new Faculty and the Dean of the former Faculty.
Q: What courses do I need in my first degree to be eligible to apply to the Bachelor of Education After Degree at Brandon University?
To apply for Early Years or Middle years, you need the following:
- 6 credit hours of English Literature or French Literature
- 6 credit hours of Geography and/or History
- 6 credit hours of Math including Contemporary Math (unless you have a Math Major or Minor)
- 6 credit hours of Science (consult the Calendar, and Academic Advisor, or the Education Office for applicable subjects)
- 18 credit hours in a Teachable Subject with no “D” grades
- 12 credit hours in a Teachable Subject with no “D” grades
You are allowed to count courses from the 6 credit hour requirements towards the Teachable Subjects. For example, if you have chosen English Literature as a Teachable Subject, you can use the same 6 credit hours of English Literature to fulfill the requirement for 6 credit hours of English Literature and as half of the 12 credit hours in the Teachable Subject.
To apply for Senior Years, you need the following:
- 30 credit hours in a Teachable Subject with no “D” grades
- 18 credit hours in a Teachable Subject with no “D” grades
Please note that your Teachable Subjects do not need to be the Major and/or Minor of your Degree. For more information, meet with an Academic Advisor or consult the Faculty of Education Office.
Q: If I graduate with three-year Degree, can I continue on to a four-year Degree?
Yes, you can apply all of your former courses from your three-year BA or BSc to your new Degree and then graduate again with a four-year BA or BSc (regular or Honours). However, if you do so, you don’t have two different Degrees, so once you graduate the second time with a four-year Degree, your transcript will no longer indicate that you graduated with a three-year Degree. You will be asked to return the Degree parchment for your previous three-year Degree.
If I graduate with a four-year (regular) BA or BSc and want to graduate again with an Honours Degree with the same Major by increasing my gpa or completing any remaining requirements such as a thesis, can I do so?
No, you cannot. Therefore, if you think that you will ultimately want an Honours Degree, it is better to meet the requirements and graduate with an Honours Degree in the first place.
Q: What is the impact of dropping a course on my Degree completion?
The impact of dropping a course will vary for every student according to each student’s Degree, Major, Minor, and credit hours completed, among other factors. At the very least, dropping a course now will mean adding a course to replace it in a future term, keeping in mind that the regular maximum number of credit hours per term is 15 credit hours. If your goal is to graduate in the least amount of time possible, you may have to take a spring or summer course to make up the course you dropped. If the course you want to drop is the pre-requisite for another course, you will have to delay taking the other course. This can prolong the time it will take for you to complete your Degree if the course is required for your Major or Minor. For more information on how dropping a course will impact your specific road to graduation, meet with an Academic Advisor.
Waivers / Appeals / Sick Days
Q: How do I get a pre-requisite waiver or the permission of the instructor?
If you wish to take a course for which you do not have the required pre-requisite course or if a course requires the permission of the instructor to register, you may request a pre-requisite waiver or the permission of the instructor to take the course by completing the Pre-Requisite Waiver/Permission of Instructor form available online or from Financial & Registration Services. After completing the “Student Information” portion of the form, the form is submitted to the professor of the desired course. After the professor has signed the form, the completed form is submitted to Financial & Registration Services. This form acts as your registration in the course, so no further form or online registration is required. However, course pre-requisites have been established to ensure students are academically prepared to succeed in a course, so professors are under absolutely no obligation to waive a pre-requisite.
Q: Because of exceptional circumstances, I need to appeal a grade. How do I do that?
The complete process is described in the Undergraduate Academic Calendar available online, but it starts by talking to the professor to learn more about how the grade was obtained. If, at this point, you still feel the grade is insufficient, you can appeal by submitting a written request within 30 days to the Dean of the Faculty of the course. For more information about subsequent steps, consult the Undergraduate Academic Calendar or talk to an Academic Advisor.
Q: What should I do if I am sick on a test day or an exam day?
It is always better to contact your professor prior to the test or exam than afterwards. Try phoning your professor. If there is no answer, leave a voicemail and/or send an email. Also, some professors require a sick note from a doctor to document your medical absence from a test, so as soon as you are able, you should visit a doctor to get a sick note in case one is requested by your professor.
Q: How do I get Degree, Major, and/or Minor requirements waived or substituted?
To get permission for a waiver or substitution, you first need to meet with the professor, Department Chair, or Dean who supports your request and complete a Degree Requirement Substitution/Waiver Form available online or from the Senate Office. In the case that you are working with a professor or Department Chair, the professor or Department Chair then needs to obtain the signature of the Dean of the Faculty. The Dean’s Office will submit the completed and signed form to the Associate Registrar’s Office, where the substitution or waiver request will be reviewed. You will be emailed a copy of the form that includes the final decision at your Brandon University email account.
Q: When can I graduate (convocate)?
Students can graduate in October, February, or May/June each year. If you graduate in October or February, you will receive your degree parchment by mail or you can arrange to pick it up at the Senate office. There is one formal Convocation ceremony in May/June each year for students who are graduating in May/June as well as students who graduated in the previous October or February. In other words, you can receive your diploma by mail in October or February but still “walk across the stage” in front of your family the following May/June.
Q: How do I apply to graduate (convocate)?
There is a tab in your Student Information page that will take you to a short, simple, painless form. Just be sure you know which BU Calendar (i.e. which year) you are using for your Degree requirements. You will also find a link on the BU homepage that takes you to the same Student Information page. Just as when you register online, be sure to click on the “submit” button and be sure you get a message saying that your application was received! If you check back on that page periodically, it will show the status of your application. Please be aware that there is a deadline to graduate, which is approximately two and a half months prior, and this deadline is held firm. Therefore, even if you are not sure if you will successfully complete all of your courses, it is better to apply to graduate, and then change the graduation date later if needed.
Q: How do I transfer to another university?
You can apply to the other university, but please be aware that Degree requirements are not the same in all universities. If you plan to transfer and then graduate from another university, then BU Degree requirements will not apply to you. You should also be aware that universities typically have “residency requirements,” which means that in order to graduate from a particular university, there is a minimum number of credits you need from that university. It is very common for universities to require that you take the final two years of a four-year Degree at that university, so transferring after three years is difficult. Also, be aware that split courses can transfer awkwardly if you only have one out of the two parts. For example, it is often better to take Intro Psych I and II rather than just Intro Psych I if you plan to transfer elsewhere.
Q: If I am already a BU student, can I take courses at another university (e.g. in a summer session or by correspondence) and transfer those courses to my Degree?
Yes, but be aware that there is a limit to the total number of credits you can transfer and when you are allowed to take courses elsewhere (see the Residency Requirements FAQ).
Please be aware that you must receive a grade of C or higher for the course to be accepted for Transfer Credit at Brandon University, even after you have completed the Letter of Permission process