Credit/No Credit Option – Department of Psychology
All courses offered by the Department of Psychology during the Winter 2015 Session are open to the Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) option. A CR graded course will count towards fulfillment of program requirements for any Subject POSt offered by the department. PSYA02H3, CHMA11H3 and BIOA02H3 as CR graded courses can be used to satisfy admission requirements for programs offered by the department however students will not be exempt from meeting the grade requirements for admission. The department will have access to all numerical grades of current PSYA02H3, CHMA11H3 and BIOA02H3 students who apply to our Subject POSts. These grades will only be used to assess admissibility into our programs.
Some fourth year students feel they are having issues enrolling in D-level Psychology classes, why is this the case?
It is a testament to the growth and popularity of our programs, and enthusiasm demonstrated by our undergraduate population as it relates to their thirst to specialize in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Mental Health. We have never seen such demand in the history of our department, and we applaud our students for wanting to help us cultivate a culture and society that will benefit from a generation of mental health workers and psychological practitioners that have been well prepared for the workforce. We are doing our best to meet this demand and facilitate the process. As you will note below there are ways in which we, as a department, and you the student, can work together to ensure that we grow together in harmony.
Are students forced to take an extra semester at UTSC when they cannot get into D-level classes needed for graduations?
No Specialist nor Major enrolled in one of our Department’s programs, who has planned appropriately and consulted with our Department, has ever been “forced” to take an extra semester beyond their final trimestered year only because of an inability to enrol in a D-level class. It is important to emphasize that UTSC is on a trimester system. This provides more course offerings than a traditional fall/winter schedule. Hence, there is opportunity to take courses in both the summer before, and the summer after, each fall/winter semester, of which students should take advantage.
We want to emphasize that it would be wise of all students to ensure that you plan your academic program early in your academic career so that you are not faced with predictable enrolment issues in your final year.
Why are the D-level class sizes so small?
Our D-level courses are created with very specific learning goals and outcomes in mind. We want to expose our students to primary source material, and to use these materials to prepare them for further advanced study, and/or the workforce, by practicing critical independent thinking, writing, oral presentations, and discussion. We limit our D-level courses to 24 students so that it is possible to accomplish this in the classroom. In our experience, if enrolment expands much beyond this, the ability to accomplish these goals breaks down. We have members of our Department actively engaged in research exploring ways to use technology to overcome these size limitations, but at this point, we maintain that the small class seminar method is the best solution for our goals.
How are enrolment priorities determined?
Beyond our Specialists and Majors, students who have the fewest number of credits remaining left to graduate will have the highest priority to get into courses. It should be emphasized that all students who want to graduate get into our D-level courses that they need for their programs. Students who require a certain type of D-level course will be given priority as already noted. For instance, in the past we had numerous requests from students who asked to get into a course because of their interest (e.g., a Neuroscience Specialist or a Psychology Minor who were interested in a social psychology D-level course). Those interests are indeed commendable. However, it would be unfair if we did not serve Psychology Specialists and Majors first. In addition, students will often get removed from a D-level course because they have not taken appropriate prerequisites. Finally, some students do not pay attention to course enrolment instructions, and sign up for D-level courses beyond their program requirements – this is frustrating for all, because it prevents entry to students who have followed the rules, and genuinely need into one of the courses to meet their requirements.
Is there anything students can do to address D-level enrolment issues?
You are strongly encouraged to plan ahead from the onset of your academic careers and, more specifically, your entrance to UTSC and our program. The campus offers many wonderful resources to help you succeed with this! The Psychology Departmental website, and more specifically the Frequently Asked Questions section and contact information, is a great starting point that all students (current and prospective) should take the time to review. Any follow-up questions and concerns should then be directed to the Program Manager. Within the department, the Program Supervisors serve as additional resources to support students with academic decisions, and the Department Chair has an open-door policy when it comes to addressing student concerns and feedback on program/department-related issues.
Students may also consider enrolling in 400-series Psychology courses at the St. George or Mississauga campus. With the exception of a few courses, most 400-series Psychology courses can be used to fulfill D-level requirements. Please check the Psychology section of the most recent course calendar for a list of specific courses that are excluded from counting as a D-level credit.
To facilitate academic and program planning, the Academic Advising & Career Centre is an excellent resource that you should take advantage of early on and continuously throughout your UTSC tenure. Academic and Learning Strategists are on hand to advise you on your academic plan to graduation, including reviewing course selection related to completing program and degree requirements. Besides academic planning, they also offer a variety of support for improving academic performance.
In addition to the UTSC Calendar, all students should familiarize yourselves with the following websites:
Choosing my program
What are the fields of psychology, mental health studies, neuroscience? Which one should I pursue?
Psychology is defined as the study of human behaviour and underlying processes. Some areas examined in this field include the following: how humans learn, adapt, and remember; how they change over their lifetimes; how they are affected by the presence of others; how their behaviour relates to their physiological functions; how mental processes can exhibit pathologies and how these pathologies can be treated.
Mental health studies particularly looks on this last area, focusing on dysfunctions of normal processes of human behaviour. As such, it applies the science of psychology to understanding and treating those who have been affected by psychopathologies.
Finally, neuroscience literally means “the study of the brain,” and aims to link psychological functions to underlying biological processes. Neuroscience looks at many different levels of functions, starting with genetic and molecular mechanisms to synaptic circuitries to entire brain systems. Both normal processes and dysfunctions can be studied, and often, evidence is gathered from humans and non-human (e.g. other mammals, computational, etc.) models.
Deciding whether to pursue the psychology or mental health studies or neuroscience ultimately depends upon your interest and future goals. You should first browse through the Calendar for each of these programs and look at the specific courses you would study - Which ones grab your attention? Which of these are restricted to just one of the programs? For example, if you have a very high interested in taking the course “Psychotherapy,” then keep in mind that it is restricted to only those students in the Mental Health Studies programs. With regards to future goals, these programs prepare you with a foundation for graduate studies in these respective fields, whereas mental health studies is particularly targeted to those who plan to pursue clinical psychology or related disciplines (counseling, social work, rehabilitation services, etc). Nevertheless, all three of these programs can prepare you for a wide variety of options outside of research, such as in organizational settings.
What types of programs do you offer (specialist, major, minor, co-op), and how do I decide which one to pursue?
We offer specialist and co-op specialist programs in all three areas (psychology, mental health studies, and neuroscience). We offer major programs in psychology and neuroscience. A minor program is only offered in psychology. When choosing between program types, consider your own interests and future goals. If you already know that you have high level of intellectual and professional interest in one particular field of study, then, pursuing a specialist program will enable you to really explore and gain an in-depth knowledge in that field. On the other hand, if you are unsure or if you have multiple areas of interest, it might be a wiser idea to take a major or even a minor. You can also use your electives and extracurricular opportunities to further explore your options or gain a better understanding. Finally, note that the co-op option is limited to specialist programs. Just remember that for your degree requirements, you need a minimum of [a specialist only] or [major + another majors] or [major + minor + another minor].
What are the entrance requirements for your programs?
Prospective Applicants: For direct admission from secondary school or for students who wish to transfer to U of T Scarborough from another U of T faculty or from another post secondary institution, please refer to Admissions and Recruitment.
Current U of T Scarborough students: Please follow the application procedures listed for your program of interest in the most current UTSC Calendar. Our Specialist and Major programs have enrolment limits, which means that you must meet course admission and cGPA requirements; the Minor programs are open enrolment. Every year students will be admitted to these programs if they meet the program admission criteria. Application procedures can be found at the Registrar's Office.
All students admitted to their program of interest are responsible for completing all course requirements and in the correct sequence (i.e. prerequisites then more advanced courses).
How do I apply for one of the Subject POSt's in Psychology, Mental Health, and Neuroscience? What grades do I need?
Our programs are limited enrolment and, as such, each of our Subject POSt's have specific requirements. Please refer to the following websites for specific grade requirements and to familiarize yourself with the necessary application procedures and deadlines:
For general Subject POSt information click here.
For Psychology and Mental Health Subject POSt requirements click on the Calender link here
For Neuroscience Subject POSt requirements click on the Calender link here
Choosing my courses
What courses are offered by the department? How do I read the calendar?
Please refer to the Calendar for our course listings, under the specific program name. Click here for a general understanding of course codes. Specifically for psychology courses, the course codes are grouped by number to reflect certain areas, as follows: "01 to 09" as in PSYA01 refers to a general "feeder" course such as an introductory course, a general methodology course or a statistics course. "10 to 19" as in PSYB10 refers to a course on social psychology. "20 to 29" as in PSYD22 refers to course on developmental psychology. "30 to 39" as in PSYB32 refers to a course on personality or abnormal psychology. "40 to 49" as in PSYB45 refers to a course on learning through conditioning. "50 to 59" as in PSYB51 refers to a course on perception and cognition. "60 to 69" as in PSYB65 refers to a course on physiological psychology / neuroscience. "80 to 89" as in PSYC85 refers to a course on the history of psychology or on theoretical psychology. "90 to 99" as in PSYD98 refers to a supervised research course. Exclusions, prerequisites and corequisites are defined in the Academic Regulations . Check with the Program Advisor before enrolling in an exclusion to be sure there will not be any conflicts with meeting program requirements.
I want to plan my program in advance. How can I find out about future courses?
The Registrar’s office has a list of future course offerings, and this information should provide you with a general and tentative picture of what might be offered in the future. That being said, changes do occur, so please be cautious and check the finalised lists posted online for each semester.
Can I take a course on another campus? Will it still count towards my program requirements?
All courses on those campuses will count toward your degree requirement, either as part of your program requirements or as electives. If the course is also a program requirement, always check with the Program Advisor before enrolling in the course. Also, remember that the Registrar’s office has rules for taking courses on the other campuses and have count towards your degree at UTSC, including a limit of 5.0FCEs. Generally, for the psychology program only, if a UTSG or UTM course is listed in the calendar as an exclusion to a UTSC course, then it will be counted as equivalent to the UTSC course for all purposes. The content of the UTSG or UTM course will determine which program requirement it will fall under. If the UTSG or UTM course is a personality, abnormal, developmental, or social psychology course, then it will count as a UTSC 10/20/30 psychology series course. If the UTSG or UTM course is a memory, cognition, learning, or biological psychology course, then it will count as a UTSC 40/50/60 series course. Because the numbering systems on the other campuses are different from that of UTSC, some of their 300 level courses are exclusions with UTSC D-level courses. Such courses will count as .5 C-level credits toward your program, but they will not fulfill the UTSC D-level course requirement.
I took an exclusion to PSYB07. Will it still count towards my program requirements?
Yes, it will. PSYB07 is a statistics course required for all psychology, mental health studies, and neuroscience programs, and it lists a number of other courses as exclusions (ANTC35, ECMB09, ECMB11, ECMB12, PSY201, STAB22, SOCB06, etc.). Suppose a student has taken STAB22, which is one of the listed exclusions. This student cannot take PSYB07 because it will not count for credit (i.e. it will be an Extra course). For the purpose of program requirements, therefore, STAB22 is considered equivalent to PSYB07, and the same is true of all the other PSYB07 exclusions.
I do not have the prerequisite for a particular course. Can I still take the course?
No. Prerequisites provide valuable guidance in course selection and protect you against taking courses for which you are not well prepared. All PSY and NRO courses will have prerequisite checks done before the course begins. Any student who does not meet the prerequisite requirement will be removed from the course. Only under exceptional circumstances might a prerequisite be waived. If you have a good reason for taking a course without a prerequisite, speak to the Program Manager about it first before enrolling in the course.
How many D-levels do I need for my program? How many D-levels can I enrol in?
Students in the major programs in Psychology, Mental Health Studies or Neuroscience need to complete 0.5 D-level FCEs from the courses offered by their program. Students in the corresponding specialist programs need to complete 1.0 D-level FCE. Due to limited space in D-level courses, students who enrol for more than the required number of courses may be removed from the additional courses. Thus, students in the major program should carefully choose and enrol in only 1 half-credit D-level course for their entire program, and students in the specialist program should similarly enrol for only 2 half-credit D-level courses.
Degree and program requirements
Is there a difference between degree and program requirements?
Yes, degree and program requirements refer to two separate things, so please check the Calendar to ensure that you are meeting all requirements, and we have briefly highlighted the key points here. In order to obtain your degree, a minimum of [a specialist only] or [major + another major] or [major + minor + another minor]. Each of these programs will have their own sets of requirements, including number and type of courses, as specified in the Calendar for that program. Above and beyond these program requirements, you must complete your breadth requirements (if enrolled in the 2010-2011 academic year or later) that are not already built into the program. Finally, including your program requirements, you must complete a minimum total of 20.0FCEs to graduate.
The Calendar keeps changing. How will this affect my completion of the program?
Any student declaring a subject POSt as of April 5, 2013 must complete the program requirements that are in effect as of April 1, 2013, as described in the 2013-14 Calendar or any subsequent Calendar. This will be true of students who are declaring a subject POSt for the first time AND students who change their subject POSt (regardless of what they change it to). For example, if a student enrolled in UTSC in Fall 2010 selects the Specialist in Psychology in April 2013, then they must complete the program requirements that are described in the 2013-14 Calendar or any subsequent Calendar.
Any student who declared a subject POSt prior to April 5, 2013 will have the option of completing the program requirements that are in effect as of April 1st of the year they enrolled in UTSC, as described in that Calendar year or any subsequent Calendar. For example, if a student enrolled in UTSC in Fall 2010 selects the Major in Psychology in April 2012, then they will be able to complete the program requirements from either the 2010-11 Calendar or any subsequent Calendar.
How do overlapping courses between my programs affect my program / degree requirements?
In order to qualify for an Honours Degree, students completing combinations of programs must present a total of at least 12 distinct full credits between programs, in order to satisfy program requirements (this rule does not apply to specialist programs). This means that a minimum of 12FCEs cannot be shared between any of the following program combinations: [major + another major] or [major + minor + another minor]. The Academic Advising & Career Centre have put together a worksheet on the 12 distinct credit rule to help students figure out the maximum number of courses that can overlap between program combinations from a variety of disciplines. It is highly recommended that students work through this activity earlier rather than later in their undergraduate study so that their plans for graduation are not delayed. Although this applies to all students, this concern is especially prominent for students who are pursuing psychology and neuroscience majors, or neuroscience and integrative biology majors. Also, note that you cannot pursue a psychology and mental health studies major in order to obtain your degree, because they violate this 12 credit rule.
How can I check that I have met all my degree and program requirements?
The Registrar’s office uses Degree Explorer to process graduation requests. Whether you are graduating or not, Degree Explorer (DEX) is a great tool to help keep track of your progress as you study. It is a web-based program (synchronized with ROSI) that provides both advisors and students up to date information on which courses (both completed and in progress) are being counted towards degree and program requirements and which course requirements have yet to be met. It can also audit hypothetical programs which can be helpful if one is contemplating changing their POSt. DEX will not produce any false positives. That is to say, if DEX evaluates your degree and program requirements as complete then you can rest assured you are on your way to graduating. It will however produce false negatives, in which case you can contact the Program Manager for assistance. DEX also does not check for overlapping credits. Please read the FAQ, “A lot of my courses are being counted towards both of my majors, how do I know how many courses I am allowed to have overlap?” for clarification. The Program Requirement Checklists can also assist you with your course planning and help ensure you are on track to complete the appropriate program requirements.
How many courses should I take each semester? Does it look bad if I am taking less than 5 courses each semester?
Please consult the Registrar’s Office for part-time and full-time status and details on course loads. Ultimately, how many courses you opt to take each semester depends on your priorities and ability to handle a heavier course load. Just remember, the fewer courses you take, the longer it will take you to reach the 20.0FCEs needed to graduate. Another caveat is that medical schools highly encourage students to take the maximum course load, so keep that in mind if this is an area of interest for you.
Why and when should I drop a course?
Deadlines are present for when you can drop a course. There are three [approximate] deadline dates you should be aware of for dropping courses: full refund of your course fees up to the second week of the semester; course removed from transcript (as if it were never there) up to the last month of the semester; and, late withdrawal (LWD) status appearing on your transcript if you withdraw your course at the end of classes for that semester. It is tricky to decide whether or not to drop a course, and again, it comes down to your priorities; thus, there may be many reasons for why one may drop a course. Typically, students tend to drop courses if they perceive that they will fail the course or it will have a strong negative impact on their GPA, and this perception can be formed based on feedback / evaluations received, declining interest / motivation in course content, or feeling overwhelmed by their current course load. At the same time, you also need to consider whether dropping the course will affect your ability to complete the rest of your program requirements (such as, if it is a prerequisite), especially in time for your planned graduation date. It is best to consult the Academic Advising and Career Centre regarding standing in a course, including the decision of dropping a course.
How can I do well in a course? What should I do if I am not doing well in a course?
There is no simple formula which guarantees success, but the following are a few good tips: Go to class and listen to the instructor. Don't try to write down everything the instructor says, for you will miss much more than you get. Some students like to just listen to the instructor and record the lecture or rewatch it through WebOption (if available). Later, they utilize the tape and any textbook aids to write out a set of notes. Don't get behind. It is recommended that students spend at least one hour outside class for every hour of lecture. If you go over your notes in a timely fashion, you can sort out things that don't make sense before the next lecture and see the Professor or the TA to straighten them out. The instructor may want to build on his/her last lecture and if you didn't fully understand the last lecture, you could have trouble making connections. Keeping up in class makes studying for exams much easier, because you already will be familiar with the material. Seek out new friends in your classes. Not only is this socially rewarding, but this provides you with peers to discuss the class material. Often friends are good at different aspects of the same problem, so this gives you a better perspective of the subject matter. One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to others! Don't be afraid to ask questions in class, through e-mail or discussion boards in the course, or to visit the instructor during office hours (or by appointment). This is also a good way to get to know your Professors at a more personal level, which is useful when it comes time to ask for reference letters. Don't overdo it. The transition from high school to university is a difficult one for most students. This is primarily because students don't realize that being a university student is equivalent to having a full time (or more) job. Unless you are very disciplined, try a term or even first year with minimal extracurricular activities. It is extremely important to get off to a good start and being a good student doesn't come naturally to most people. If you see that you have things under control, then broaden your horizons with other activities. Participating in student clubs and social groups can be a very rewarding, but you need to keep your primary goal in mind: You are here to get an education. Finally, make use of university services, including the Academic Advising and Career Centre, Accessability Services, the Health and Wellness Centre, the Centre for Teaching and Learning (including the Writing Centre) and Library Services.
What should I do if I have a concern with a particular program or instructor?
The first thing you should do if you have a problem with a course is to discuss the problem with the instructor. You can approach the instructor during a break in class to make arrangements for a meeting, you can go directly to the instructor's office during his or her office hours, or you can e-mail the instructor to explain your problem. If your concern is with your psychology program, such as if you are not sure if you are fulfilling your program requirements, if you need advice about the direction of your studies, or if you want to discuss your strategy in applying to graduate school, you should discuss the matter with the Program Advisor Hanan Domloge or the Associate Chair. If your problem is with what you consider to be seriously inappropriate behaviour by an instructor and if you feel that the matter should be brought to the attention of someone "higher up", then the person to contact is the Chair of the Psychology Department. Please note that if you wish to have some support or remain anonymous, you may make a complaint through the SCSU Vice President of Academics or the PNDA President.
What should I do if I fall sick or there is an emergency on the day of an evaluation?
Every course will outline in its syllabus what the procedure should be for such cases. The Registrar’s Office provides all the details regarding missed final exams. Typically, if you miss a term test, you are required to notify your instructor and have a physician's declaration that you were found to be too ill to write the term test. For many large classes, make-up exam dates are scheduled in advance and are on the syllabus. If you miss a final exam, you must have the physician's declaration and you must also petition to take the final exam. Deferred exams are written in the final exam period of the following semester, as per the details provided by the Registrar’s. However, think carefully! Probably the best advice is to take the exam if that is at all possible, as the material will be fresh in your mind, the instructor is not required to provide you with preparatory material, and there will be no additional paperwork or fee.
In general, what can students do with a degree at the undergraduate level from psychology, mental health studies or neuroscience programs?
Following undergraduate studies, one can either enter the workforce directly or pursue further studies. A Bachelor’s degree can lead to opportunities in academic, medical or industrial environments in areas as diverse as research, testing and quality control, advertising or business management. There are many and varied potential job opportunities, some of which will directly apply your in-course learning, others that will make use of your knowledge in a more indirect way, and still others which will use the more general skills you have obtained during your years at university (e.g. communication, scientific writing, etc.). Finally, these programs provide an excellent background for students planning to pursue graduate studies or professional studies, such as medicine, dentistry, other paramedical professions (chiropractic medicine, naturopathy, etc), and law.
How do I prepare myself for entrance into programs of professional studies (medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, clinical psychology, law)?
Each of these professional schools have their own sets of regulations, and each school may have somewhat different requirements. Research the programs you are interested in, and then, follow their entrance requirements to best prepare yourself. Due to the highly competitive nature of these programs, entrance requirement go beyond the GPA to include performance on standardized tests and extracurricular involvements. Many professional programs have standardized tests that you need to complete prior to the application, such as the MCAT, LSAT or GRE; you would be responsible for preparing and performing those tests in a timely and successful manner. Extracurricular involvement can be demonstrated by activities beyond the classroom that may be more-or-less targeted to the field of interest. This can either on- or off-campus and can include a volunteer / work study / studentship or participation / leadership in a club.
How do I prepare myself for entrance into programs of graduate studies (“research”)? Will it be affected by my program type, courses or doing a thesis project?
To start, you may want to better understand what graduate school is and if it is the right fit for you. The Canadian Association of Graduate Studies has put together a handbook for prospective students and is a great resource for those exploring next steps.
To find out what graduate programs require of their applicants, you should visit their websites. A simple Google search can lead you to the department website at any university, where you can find out more about their programs, faculty, and admission procedures. Different graduate psychology programs vary in their requirements for admission. The best way is to check out requirements for all of your programs of interest, and to cover all your bases! The university website will give you an idea of what type of program (e.g. specialist), courses (e.g. thesis course), grades (GPA and/or GRE scores), experience (e.g. one year in a clinical setting), letters of recommendation and graduate funding opportunities that will be considered during the admission process. Regarding the type of program, experience suggests that the requirements for many graduate programs can be satisfied with the classes taken for completing a major. Regarding experience in research, whether it be through a course, paid position or volunteer experience, remember that it will better prepare you for graduate studies by giving you an opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in the field, gain an understanding of what graduate school will be like, and allow you to demonstrate your merit to future referees! Even if the program does not require you to have this experience, you should aim for as competitive an application as possible. Finally, an important consideration is seeking sources of funding for your graduate project, and this can begin at the time of application to the graduate program. This can include scholarships by NSERC, CIHR, OGS and SSHRC, as well as program-dependent competitive scholarships.