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Course Enrolment

Q: How do I enrol in courses? I’m not sure where to start!

A: Check out our course selection and enrolment guides by clicking here.

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 enrolment requirements. Is there any way I can still sign up?

A: Enrolment requirements (i.e. prerequisites) ensure that students have the appropriate background to succeed in a course. If you do not meet a prerequisite, but still wish to attempt a course, you must request a waiver from either the instructor or 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 counselor is. Please note that even with a waiver, enrolment is still pending a seat being available in the course.

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: How do I enrol in a multi-term course (e.g. English 1C06 A/B)?

A: You need only enrol in Part A of a multi-term course for the fall, and Mosaic will automatically enrol you in Part B for the winter. You must be in the same section of the course in both terms.

Q: I’m enrolling by my requirements and Mosaic says one of my multi-term courses isn’t scheduled for this session. What should I do?

A: You are not able to enrol in multi-term courses through your requirements. Instead, you must search for the class you need in the fall and enrol in Part A. The system will then automatically enrol you in Part B for the winter.

Q: Is there any way to get into a course that is full?

A: If a course is full/closed, then there are no other seats available. If the course is specifically required for you to graduate, please contact your faculty office.

Q: Are there waitlists for full courses?

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

Q: How long do I have to make changes to my courses?

A: Check the Registrar’s Office’s website for important dates and deadlines.

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 and 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 with understanding your report or feel there is an discrepancy, please contact the Humanities Advising Office.

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 be counted more than once towards your degree.

Q: Can I ‘fast-track’ my degree by overloading and/or taking courses in the summer?

A: A student will graduate at the convocation ceremony following the completion of their degree requirements. Generally, it isn’t likely that a student can complete their program any faster than the normal completion time. In the spring/summer, typically only electives are offered and overloading should be requested only in special circumstances (e.g. one extra course needed in final year to graduate on time). If you wish to discuss your degree progress, please contact the advising office.

Q: Can I take an extra year to finish my degree?

A: Yes. There is no deadline by which you must complete your undergraduate degree. You will graduate upon completion of the degree requirements.

Q: How do I switch to a different program?

A: Click here.

Q: What courses can I take for my electives?

A: In most cases, any course from any faculty can be used towards your electives (please check your program requirements for any exceptions to this). Make note the limit of how many level I units you can take towards your 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: What is a minor?

A: A minor is is an option available to students enrolled in an Honours program. A minor normally consists of at least 24 units of which no more than six units may be from Level I that meet the requirements set out in the program description of that Minor. Program descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Q: How do I enrol in a minor?

A: Students do not need to enrol in a minor, though there are a few exceptions such as the Specialized Minor in Commerce. Normally, students need only follow the requirements for their minor and declare it upon graduation. If successfully completed, it will be notated on a student’s transcript. Students must be graduating from an Honours program to declare a minor.

Q: I can’t get a seat in a course I need for my minor. What should I do?

A: Unfortunately, seats cannot be guaranteed for the purpose of completing a minor. Continue to check Mosaic for availability or select an alternate course.

Academic Regulations and Standing

Q: How many courses do I need to be taking to be considered a full-time student?

A: A full-time student, for academic purposes, is an undergraduate student who is registered in at least 9 units in a term, including Extra Courses. However, students should be consulting with any relevant financial areas (e.g. Student Financial Aid and Scholarships) in regards to full-time definitions for financial purposes, such as OSAP, RESP’s, etc.

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 is at least 4.5 but less than 5.0, 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.

Students are eligible for reviewing when they have taken at least 18 units since their last review. We review students in May at the end of the Fall/Winter, in August at the end of the Spring/Summer, and after each deferred exam period as needed.

Q: I’m not doing well in my courses and am worried I won’t be allowed to continue at McMaster. What should I do?

A: There are lots of resources on campus to help you with your academics. Ensure you visit all your instructors and/or T.A.’s during their office hours to get extra help. The Student Success Centre hosts academic workshops to assist students with their academics. If your studies are particularly affecting your mental and/or physical wellness, please visit the Student Wellness Centre for support.

The Humanities Academic Advising Office is available as well to discuss your academic options with you.

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

A: Click here to learn 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 a piece of work. 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

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.