Welcome to the Bachelor of Science!
First-year course selection for the Bachelor of Science offers a lot of options. Whether you know exactly what you want to study in first year, or you are looking for ideas and want to explore new subjects, the BSc program can accommodate you.
There are only two required courses for the Bachelor of Science degree programs. All students must complete Calculus I and II - MATH 106/107 or MATH 126/127. Both sets of calculus courses cover the same material, use the same textbook, and have the same common final exam. The difference between the two is the number of hours of class time each week. See Question 1 below, or the course descriptions in the Academic Calendar, for guidance on the appropriate course choice for you.
Beyond Calculus, there is a basic first-year course pattern to consider, and there are a few things to remember when choosing your courses, but you have a lot of options from which to choose.
When choosing courses, remember that most science courses have accompanying labs. These labs are required components of the courses, and take up additional time in your course schedule. First-year Earth Sciences courses are exceptions; ESCI 171 and 172 do not have labs, but they do have one-hour tutorials.
Note that some first-year courses in the sciences and the arts are full-year, 6-credit courses. Other departments have two 3-credit courses (one each term) that together provide 6 credits of introductory study in that subject.
First-Year Course Patterns
In first-year BSc, there are two basic course patterns from which students will choose.
Option 1 is the most common pattern. Your 30 credits will look like this:
MATH 106 or 126 – Calculus I – 3 credits (first term)
MATH 107 or 127 – Calculus II – 3 credits (second term)
Science courses – 12 credits (6 credits in each of two science subjects)
Arts courses – 12 credits (normally 6 credits in each of two arts subjects)
Option 2 will result in your 30 credits looking like this:
MATH 106 or 126 – Calculus I – 3 credits (first term)
MATH 107 or 127 – Calculus II – 3 credits (second term)
Science courses – 18 credits (6 credits in each of three science subjects)
Arts course(s) – normally 6 credits in one arts subject
With the three sciences in Option 2, you may have either two or three laboratory courses. If Earth Sciences is one of your chosen science subjects, for example, you will have only two lab courses this year. If you choose biology, chemistry, and physics, you will have three lab courses. Three lab courses in first year should be attempted only by those students with a superior high school record (recommended minimum average of 85).
Your choice of science courses will depend upon your intended major. If you are as yet unsure what that will be, choose courses that will allow you the flexibility to choose among your options at a later date. For a full list of science subjects, and links to the relevant subject pages, see below.
Applied Forensic Psychology: If you intend to do a program with Applied Forensic Psychology as your major subject, you will register in PSYC 101 and 102 and 110; BIOL 111 and 112. If you choose to take a third science, CHEM 101 and 102 or 121 and 122 (normally 101/102) is the standard choice. (Students who intend an honours program in psychology will be required to take one of these introductory chemistry courses. The major program in psychology does not require chemistry.) Note: Psychology is considered a science only for students whose major subject is psychology. For all other students, psychology is an arts subject.
Biology: You will choose BIOL 111 and 112 (3 credits each) and CHEM 101 and 102 (3 credits each). If you want a third science, you may choose from physics, Earth sciences or computer science. If you intend an honours degree in biology, note that PHYS 101 and 102, (or 121 and 122 if you would prefer) will be required at some point in your program, though not necessarily in first year.
Chemistry: You will choose CHEM 121. PHYS 121 and 122 is the best option for your second science, as these are required courses for chemistry majors and must be completed before the end of second year. However, if you would prefer to take biology or Earth sciences in first year, and take PHYS 121 and 122 in second year instead, you may do so.
Computer Science: You will choose CSCI 161 and 162, and 6 credits of introductory course(s) in any one of the other sciences.
Earth Sciences: You will choose ESCI 171 and 172 and either CHEM 101 and 102 or 121 and 122. It is recommended that you take a third science. If you intend the geochemistry concentration, you should take either PHYS 101 and 102 or PHYS 121 and 122. If you plan the environmental science concentration or the geoscience concentration, PHYS 101/102 or 121/122, or BIOL 111 and 112, are the options from which you should choose.
Mathematics: You are already taking MATH 106/107 or 126/127, which are the foundational courses for students intending mathematics as the major subject of study. For your two sciences this year, you may choose from biology, chemistry, Earth sciences or physics. You may also choose computer science, in place of one of these two sciences, or as a third science. If you plan to do an advanced major or honours in mathematics, you will eventually need to take CSCI 161 because it is a required course for those programs. CSCI 162 is also recommended (though not required), so you may wish to take these courses this year.
Physics: You will choose PHYS 121 and 122. Your second science should be CHEM 101 and 102 or 121 and 122 (normally 121/122). The other primary science subject for physics students is math. As you are already taking MATH 106/107 or 126/127 as part of your first-year course pattern, you will likely opt to take two arts courses rather than a third science, though you are permitted to take a third science if you wish, within the recommendations of “Option 2” above.
Psychology: You will choose PSYC 101 and 102 and BIOL 111 and 112. If you choose to take a third science, CHEM 101 and 102 or 121 and 122 (normally 101/102) is the standard choice. (Students who intend an advanced major or honours program in psychology will be required to take one of these introductory chemistry courses. The major program in psychology does not require chemistry.) Note: Psychology is considered a science only for students whose major subject is psychology. For all other students, psychology is an arts subject.
If you are taking two arts courses this year, as most students do, you will normally choose 6 credits in each of two subjects below. (Exceptions would include Development Studies and/or Public Policy and Governance; see Questions 2 and 3 below.) Please note that it is not advisable in first year to take two different language courses from the Department of Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish); Question 4, below, explains why.
Please note that the subjects displayed in the following table are also links to their respective pages on this website. If first-year, 100-level courses are offered in a particular subject, their course descriptions are displayed at the bottom of the applicable subject page.
*Psychology is an arts subject for all students except those who choose to major in psychology, for whom it is considered a science.
When making your arts choices for this year, explore your options! You may decide to choose courses in subjects that are familiar to you, but don’t hesitate to be adventurous and try something new.
It is advisable to choose at least one subject in which you think you might be interested in taking an additional course or two in the future. All degree patterns in the Bachelor of Science require the completion of one 12-credit “pair”, plus 6 credits in a second arts subject. (A “pair” is 12 credits in one arts subject – see the Glossary of Terms for a full definition.) If you really like one of your arts subjects this year, you can take an additional 6 credits in that subject over the remaining years of your program and complete your pair that way.
However, if you find at year-end that you are not interested in taking additional courses in either of your first-year arts subjects, don’t worry. You won’t have to. The courses will still be usable in your BSc degree pattern, and you can try a new subject the following year.
Whether or not you ultimately decide to pair one of the arts subjects that you choose for this year, be reassured that those courses will be usable in your BSc program. You can choose your arts courses this year risk-free!
Questions You Might Have
You can take any other 3-credit course from the arts subjects listed above, as long as there is no first-term prerequisite for the course. If you decide to do a pair (see explanation above) in DEVS, you will need to complete 9 additional credits of DEVS, to include DEVS 201 and 202, over the remaining years of your degree. If you decide to do a minor in Development Studies (see Question 8 below), you should complete DEVS 201 and 202 in second year, plus an additional 15 credits of DEVS over the remaining years of your degree.
3. I am interested in Public Policy and Governance, but there is only one 3-credit course available at the 100-level. What else should I take in the second semester to fill out my schedule?
You can take any other 3-credit course from the arts subjects listed above, as long as there is no first-term prerequisite for the course. If you decide to do a pair (see explanation above) in PGOV, you will need to complete 9 additional credits of PGOV over the remaining years of your degree. If you decide to do a minor in Public Policy and Governance (see Question 8 below), you will need to complete either ECON 101 or 102 as part of that minor, so you may wish to take ECON 102 in second term if that course is not already in your plan for first year.
4. What if I am interested in taking a course in a subject that is not mentioned above?
The other subjects offered at StFX are in our professional or applied programs: Aquatic Resources; Business Administration; Engineering; Health; Human Kinetics; Human Nutrition; Nursing. Most courses in these departments are restricted to students in these programs. There are a couple of exceptions, however. BSAD 101 and 102 are available to non-business students, if there are seats available after registration has concluded for first-year students, but these courses are only usable as open electives in the BSc program (except in the BSc with Advanced Major in a Science with Business Administration, in which they are required courses, though often taken in second year). There are also a 200-level Human Nutrition course and two 300-level Nursing elective courses that are open to upper-year students outside of those programs. If you are interested in taking other courses from one of these departments you will need to contact the relevant department chair, but such permission is not routinely granted.
5. The Academic Calendar refers to “Science A”, “Science B” and “Science C”. What do these mean?
“Science A” is your major (or advanced major or honours) subject. It is your primary area of study.
“Science B” is a second science in which you will need to complete a total of 12 credits (with 6 credits above the 100-level). Normally, you will take 6 credits of 100-level “Science B” courses in your first year. (For students planning a joint advanced major or joint honours degree, Science B is the secondary subject of study.)
“Science C” is a third science in which you will need to complete a total of 6 credits.
One of your three required science subjects (Science A, Science B, Science C) must be from the department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, and must include MATH 106 or 126, and 107 or 127. (Students who do not major in mathematics or computer science will require Science B or Science C to be mathematics.)
6. The Academic Calendar refers to “Arts X” and “Arts Y”. What do these mean?
“Arts X” is a pair (see the Glossary of Terms for a full definition) and “Arts Y” is 6 credits in a second arts subject.
Arts X and Y must be from different departments. For example, you may not do Arts X in French and Arts Y in German (because all French, German and Spanish courses are offered by the Department of Modern Languages). For this reason, it is not advisable for first-year students in your program to take two different language courses. (As an exception to this, a Celtic language course or a Latin course, CLAS 110, may be taken in addition to one of the three languages offered by Modern Languages because Celtic Studies courses and Classical Studies courses are offered by different departments.)
7. What if I am interested in an honours or an advanced major degree?
Course selection is no different for first year. You may wish to check table 7.1.5 in your Academic Calendar for grade and average requirements, so that you are aware of the grades you will need for admission to these programs at the end of second year.
8. Can I do a minor in my Bachelor of Science degree?
The BSc with Major degree program does allow an optional minor. Students may opt to do a minor in a science subject or in an arts subject. Minors are not available in Business Administration or in any of the professional / applied sciences (Aquatic Resources, Engineering, Health, Human Kinetics, Human Nutrition, or Nursing).
At present, the advanced major and honours degree programs do not have an option for a minor.
9. I am interested in Applied Forensic Psychology; PSYC 110 is in 1st term, what else should I take in the second semester to fill out my schedule?
You can take any other 3-credit course from the arts and science subjects listed above, as long as there is no first-term prerequisite for the course.