Have a Question? Contact the Humanities Office or an Academic Unit


Course Enrolment

Q: I received an error message that says, “Available seats are reserved and you do not meet the reserve capacity criteria”. What does this mean?

A: This message means that though there are seats available, they are currently open only to certain groups of students (for example, students majoring in that subject). This is often done to ensure that students requiring the course for their program can obtain a seat. Continue to check Mosaic regularly to see if the department makes more seats available to other students as registration continues.

Q: There is a specific course I want to take, but I do not meet the prerequisite. Is there any way I can still sign up?

A: Prerequisites ensure that students have the appropriate background to succeed their courses. If you do not meet a prerequisite, but still wish to attempt a course, you must request a prerequisite waiver from the undergraduate counselor of the department. Please contact the department in question (e.g. Department of History) if you do not know who the undergraduate counsellor is.

Q: I received an error message that says I do not meet the prerequisite for a Humanities course, but I know that I do. Who should I contact?

A: If the course is in Humanities, please contact the Humanities Academic Advising Office, and we will look into this for you. If a course states you need ‘Departmental Permission’, then you must seek permission from the department offering the course before you can enrol. If the course is offered in a different faculty, please contact that faculty directly.


Q: Are there wait lists for full courses?

A: The Faculty of Humanities does not keep wait lists for our courses. Please continue to check Mosaic regularly for seat availability.

Programs and Requirements

Q: I’m almost finished my Level I program. How do I choose my major?

A: Click here.

Q: What courses do I need to take for my program?

A: If you are a Level I Student, click here.

If you are a student in an upper-year Humanities program, your Advisement Report is the best resource for tracking your program. Based on your past and current courses, this report breaks down the program requirements that have been satisfied those that are still outstanding. You can find your Advisement Report through the following steps:

  • Go to your Mosaic Student Centre
  • Choose ‘My Academics’
  • Choose ‘view my advisement report’

If you need any assistance or feel there is an issue with your advisement report, please contact the Humanities Advising Office.

Q: What courses can I take for my electives?

A: In most cases, any courses from any faculty can be used towards your electives (please check your program requirements for any exceptions to this). Keep in mind the limit of how many level I courses a student can use towards their degree (42 units for a Bachelor’s program, and 48 units for an Honours program).

If you are having trouble choosing electives that interest you, the Undergraduate Calendar has a section entitled, Availability of Upper-Level Classes, which you may find helpful. Level I students should look at Elective Courses Available to all Level I Students. Use Mosaic to view the offerings for each academic year.

Q: How do I switch to a different program?

A: Click here.

Q: Can I use the same course to meet two requirements?

A: No. If a course can be used to satisfy different areas of your degree, you may choose which requirement to use it towards, but it cannot counted more than once towards your degree.

Academic Performance and Standing

Q: I’ve missed some attendance and work in my courses. What should I do?

A: Click here to read more on relief for missed academic work.

Q: What is the different between Academic Probation and Program Probation?

A: Academic Probation, which may be assigned to students whose Grade Point Average (GPA) is at least 3.0 but less than 3.5, will allow a student to continue at the University for one reviewing period. If a student on academic probation does not have their average to at least a 3.5 by the next reviewing period, they will not be eligible to continue. Students may be on academic probation only once during their undergraduate career.

Program Probation which may be assigned to students in an honours program whose GPA falls within 4.5 and 4.9 may continue in their program on program probation for one reviewing period. If a student on program probation does not have their average to at least a 5.0 by the next reviewing period, they will be required to transfer into a different program for which they do qualify. Students may be on program probation only once during their undergraduate career.

Q: I am no longer eligible to continue at the university. Is there anything I can do to return to studies at McMaster?

A: Click here to learn more about the reinstatement process.


Q: I think one of my final grades is incorrect. What should I do?

A: Contact your instructor and ask for a breakdown of your grade. You can indicate that you believe there has been an error. If a grade change is necessary, your instructor can submit one.

Q: I do not agree with a grade I received on an assignment and/or my final grade in a course. What should I do?

A: It is recommended that students first try and resolve any grade concerns with their instructor. If after the discussion you do not feel the matter is resolved, you are then encouraged to contact the chair of the department offering the course. If after the discussion with the chair you do not feel the matter is resolved (or, if your instructor is also the chair), you can then explore a more formal appeal process. Click here to visit the student appeals page.


Q: My final exams are too close together and/or conflict. How do I address this?

A: As per the general academic regulations, special examination arrangements may be made in some circumstances:

  • conflict with Religious, Indigenous, or Spiritual Observances (please see the RISO information page)
  • conflict between two Registrar-scheduled examinations
  • schedule with three examinations in one calendar day (midnight to midnight)
  • schedule with three consecutive seatings (e.g. 4:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:00 am the next morning)

If any of these circumstances pertain to you, please visit the Scheduling and Examinations Office in Gilmour Hall-114.

Q: I missed one of my final examinations due to unforeseen, extenuating circumstances.  What should I do?

A: Click here.

Q: I have an exam scheduled at the same time I am supposed to be traveling. Can I have my exam rescheduled?

A: The university does not reschedule or defer examinations for the purposes of travel. The final exam periods are posted in the sessional dates prior to the start of the academic year. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are available during the final exam period.