The Faculty of Science operates on a credit system which gives flexibility to the timing of an individual student's program. However, there is a sequence to Chemistry instruction, such that the order in which courses are taken is an important consideration. Thus, most CHEM courses have prerequisites which must be successfully completed first and/or corequisites which must be taken either at the same time or successfully completed earlier.
For example, the normal sequence in Organic Chemistry is
CHEM 1000, CHEM 1001 → CHEM 2020 → CHEM 2021 → CHEM 3020 → CHEM 3021 → CHEM 4021, CHEM 4023
Prerequisites and corequisites are given in Chart form (currently being updated).
They are also listed in the course descriptions. Course directors have the prerogative of their enforcement.
- Often, space restrictions require that prerequisites be completed to give priority to students with the prerequisites completed, and enrollment may be restricted. Those with transfer credits, on Letters of Permission or on exchange programs can use the permission form to get in if they are denied enrollment for lack of prerequisites.
- Otherwise, enrollment might not be restricted for practical reasons but students lacking the prerequisites may be de-enrolled, especially when space is limited.
- In these and other cases, the Course Director may issue permission to take a course without the prerequisites, and such permission will protect against any de-enrollment. Students can request permission using the permission form.
- In other courses, the prerequisites are not enforced. This does not mean that the prerequisites are meaningless, nor that students will not be de-enrolled. It is always best to consult the Course Director on the wisdom of enrolling or staying enrolled in a course if the prerequisites are missing.
- For a few courses, enrollments are only allowed by permission of the Course Director.
The prescribed selections of courses in any program are based on a 3-year (for the BSc degree) or 4-year program duration (for Honours and Specialized Honours BSc degrees), at an average 30-credit-per-year course load in the normal (8-month) academic year (Fall and Winter terms). Some students will be constrained by circumstances to a lighter load and may take longer to complete the degree requirements but may also take advantage of the limited Summer course offerings in Chemistry as well as summer courses in cognate subjects (EECS, MATH, PHYS, etc.), including those that fulfill the non-science General Education requirement.
The programming of course offerings assumes that the year of study is recognizable (as first, second, third or fourth year) and the course numbering reflects the normal progression. However, it is possible to take some 4000-level courses in year 3, or any 3000-level course in year 4, and so on. Importantly, the timetabling of lectures, tutorials and laboratory periods has been carried out accordingly, so as to avoid conflicts between courses in the same year of study. Students should bear in mind that it may not be possible to avoid timetable conflicts between courses at different year levels.