November 9, 2008

Majors at Mount A

One of the things I like most about going to Mount Allison is that I have some flexibility when it comes to choosing my classes. For most majors, you pick from a predetermined list of classes worth 60-84 credits (at 3 credits/course, that's 20-28 classes), depending on the major and whether or not you'll pursue an Honours degree. For Arts students, with the remaining credits you have to fulfill certain distribution requirements (you have take a couple courses each from Arts and Letters Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Science). The requirements are different depending on your program of study. See the Academic Calendar for details. Depending on your major, you may fulfill most of the distribution requirements just with your degree courses. In terms of degree options, you can choose between graduating with a Major plus a Minor, a Double Major, a General degree of three Minors, or an Honours degree. After fulfilling those requirements, you can choose whichever classes you'd like.


I know this is going to sound like blatant propaganda, but one of Mount Allison University's strengths is its size. Mount Allison is large enough to offer a variety of interesting classes while being small enough to allow for small class sizes. Students come to Mount Allison to avoid being just a number at larger Universities which are primarily concerned with graduate work and research. While Mount Allison does offer a Master's degree in Science, and professors here also do research; the main focus is on undergraduate students. The professors here commit to their posted office hours and are available for help if you ask. The teachers here care about your academic progress and are generally are flexible when it comes to assignments. I know of many instances in which teachers have given extensions even for non-emergencies and have been lenient with students with a good reason who make the effort to talk to them.

I am planning on taking a B.A. Honours in International Relations (we don't have to declare a major until the second semester of our second year). There are the required classes, but after those you are given choices between different classes from a list. For instance, I need 4 semester classes in French, German, Spanish, or Japanese. The freedom to chose expands a the 3rd and 4th years, with the requirement to take 7 classes out of about 100. I carefully chose my first year classes... but when I found out I was the only non-immersion student in my french class and that it was over my head completely it was easy to switch to a lower class next semester. I also easily switched from taking Government of Canada to Government of the US (don't worry, I'm going to take Canadian Government next year). It's always good to plan ahead, but it's reassuring that you can switch if need be.

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