Foundational Year Programs


Broaden your first-year experience to discover your real academic or professional passions. UTSC One is a suite of innovative courses that emphasize experiential learning and the practical application of academic themes – all in small-group settings. Accomplished instructors lead unique seminars, field work and even travels abroad, designed to open your mind to a wide range of academic possibilities.

Options include conducting geological fieldwork, designing and executing public opinion surveys, decoding the socio-economic commentary in early blues recordings or mapping your own genome sequence. Courses are available in the Fall and Winter terms, but most are conveniently offered in the third trimester through the UTSC One: Summer Institute.

Application Details

Number of credits: 0.5 credit for each academic course; other options not-for-credit.
Program structure: Range of small seminars, travel, fieldwork, co- and extra-curricular activities.
Eligibility: Students registered at UTSC entering first year.
Procedure: Online enrolment through ACORN for academic courses.

Courses Offered through UTSC One

Name of Course & Code Description
Life on Earth: BIOA01 and A02 These courses provide enhanced experiential learning opportunities and exposure to environmental issues and challenges by including a fall field trip to the Highland Creek valley and along the trail to Lake Ontario as far as Colonel Danforth Park, and a winter guided trip through the Toronto Zoo through its enclosed pavilion.
Calculus Slowly: MATA30H (Section Y) and MATA32Y (Section Y) These are newly-designed sections of introductory calculus courses available to science and management students that will be taught at half the speed, and will run for two semesters: fall and winter. The students in these sections will be taught the same material and will have the lectures and tutorials as in the regular sections. But in addition they will have extra tutorials and seminars in which group exercises, games, and competitions will be used to engage them more fully and to help them meet the challenges of this material.
Introduction to Computer Programming: CSCA08H (Self-paced Section Y) For this particularly challenging introductory programming course students may choose an extended version that provides flexibility in both the deadlines by which concepts must be mastered, and the order in which the student chooses to master them. It will be delivered entirely online, using a variety of multimedia technologies.
Language Practice I and II - French in Context : FREA01/A02 This course will help students develop a richer understanding of Francophone culture by bringing four Francophone speakers to UTSC each semester to give broad-themed workshops. Students are required to attend two of these workshops each semester.  After attending the workshops of their choice, students in FREA01H3 are required to go into the community to interview a native French speaker on a subject related to the theme of one of these workshops; students in FREA02H3 are required to create an end-of-year poster presentation on a subject related to the theme of one of the workshops.
Introduction to Planet Earth Field: EESA06 Students enrolled in EESA06 (Planet Earth) will go on a weekend field trip to the Niagara region to explore the glacial history of southern Ontario. The trip will also demonstrate to students the many biophysical impacts on ecosystems across the Greater Toronto Area arising from rapid urbanization of watersheds.
Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics: ASTA01/A02 In these courses students will utilize the newly-refurbished UTSC Observatory to observe planets, stars and other celestial bodies and their changes through the seasons.
Fields to Forests: This non-credit course, offered by the Department of Biological Sciences is a unique opportunity for students completing their first year at UTSC to learn basic ecological monitoring principles and become involved in long-term field research at the University of Toronto’s research station, the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill (KSR). Over the course of five days, participants will collect data on plant diversity in several different types of forest at KSR. Data will be archived, analyzed, and compared to discuss the ecological and conservation implications of species distributions and demographic patterns.
Bringing Reason to Life: PHLA10/A11 Each of the introductory Philosophy courses, PHLA10 Reason and Truth and PHLA11 Introduction to Ethics hold two in-class debates conducted by invited speakers of prominence in the relevant area.  Each debate will address a question at the heart of material being discussed in class. Students will be engaged in the debate by means of two in-class votes, before and after hearing the debate, and a short assignment to support their view of which debater won by explaining who argued better and why.
WikiScholar: PSYA90 Wikipedia is increasingly the go-to location for anyone interested in learning about any topic, including topics related to Psychology. Given this important educational role, it is vital for errors, omissions and oversimplifications in Wikipedia articles to be corrected. Students work in groups, with each group examining Wikipedia entries related to a set of psychology topics. They then work collaboratively to address shortcomings, a process that requires additional research, the synthesis of information and its effective presentation.
Labels, Attachments and Identities: From Apple to 'Zed': POLA11 Working with faculty, students design an original survey of the public to measure opinions towards consumer brands, political parties, and personal identities. This survey will bridge the boundaries between marketing and political science, to find commonalities and reveal distinctions between consumer attitudes and political opinions.
Magic of Numbers: MATA02 This course is intended for students with no background in mathematics beyond grade 10 and who may shy away from standard courses in the curriculum in mathematics or statistics. It is intended to introduce them to some basic but interesting mathematics in a broad context of human cultures and history. Topics may include: the number sense (neuroscience of numbers); numerical notation in different cultures; what is a number; Zeno’s paradox; divisibility, the fascination of prime numbers; RSA encryption; golden mean, Fibonacci sequence.
Experiencing Development in Africa: IDSA02/AFSA03 This course was born from a collaboration between UTSC faculty and the Canadian and African Business Women’s Alliance. It provides students with opportunities to learn first hand the realities, challenges, and opportunities of working with development organizations active in Africa. Classes and field trips focus on issues facing African women and youth.
Poetry and Popular Culture: ENGA18 How does poetry make an impact on popular culture? How does popular culture find its way into poetry? As a seminar for first-year students, this course deals with a range of popular art in which the students may be interested and will provide for “eureka” moments in which students see that poetry is not just the elitist undertaking many take it to be, but is rather entirely enfolded into our actual lives. Its pedagogical goals are to expose students to a range of poems while giving them tools with which to read them.
Igenome: A Journey From Microbes to Genes This is a non-credit discovery based course offered by the Department of Biological Sciences. Students experience all aspects of a scientific project involving the identification of microbial genomes present in an environmental sample. Students collect samples and use molecular tools to identify the microbiological diversity. Applicable to all areas of biology from biotechnology to microbial ecology and molecular evolution.
The Great Scarborough Mashup: GGRA35 Scarborough is a place of rapidly changing social geographies, and now contains one of the world’s most extraordinary mixes of people. What do these changes mean, how can we understand and interpret them? This course introduces Human Geography as the study of people, place, and community through field trips, interviews, and guest lectures.
Writing Practicum for Non-Native Speakers of English: CTLA01 This is a highly interactive course designed to fast-track the development of critical thinking, reading, writing and oral communication skills in academic contexts. Through the specific emphasis on academic writing and rapid expansion of core vocabulary, students will gain practical experience for coping effectively with university-level academic texts and assignment expectations.
Cross Cultural Perspectives on Research and Knowledge Communication: CTLA02 This course will explore knowledge acquisition and academic discourse in our digital world, comparing knowledge authentication from different cultural perspectives. Students will select a research topic of global significance, investigate the topic, develop a traditional academic research paper, and create an alternative venue for communication of their findings. Alternative venues might include a website, blog, play, film, etc.