Q1. Can I take more than 5 courses in a term?
Yes, it is possible. A sixth course must be approved by the undergraduate advisor in order for you to add it on Quest. Generally, we will evaluate whether we think a student can handle the workload without a negative impact on the obligation to meet the average requirements. We may also approve a sixth course if it is absolutely necessary to completing a degree requirement (and there is no other alternative course of action). Generally, we do not approve a sixth course for first year students.
Q2. Can I take less than 5 courses in a term?
Students are normally expected to take 5 courses a term. If a student finds themselves facing personal circumstances that make completing one or more courses impossible, they are to obtain approval from Carol/Darren to drop a course. Struggling with course content is normally not considered legitimate grounds for dropping a course.
Q3. Can I take courses in the spring term following first year?
Yes. The spring term after 1B is an off term for AFM students (the only off term in the program). Students can do whatever they want during this term including taking courses. However, the courses taken cannot be AFM courses. Further, students are still expected to take a 5 course load in subsequent terms. Please note- if you opt to take a course following your 1B term, you would be considered a 2A student and the higher course tuition for the AFM program will be charged.
Q4. Where can I get tutorial assistance for a course?
There are a variety of resources potentially available to you. The School has a tutorial pool available for first year required courses which runs Monday through Thursday. The Living Learning Community also provides a weekly tutorial open to all AFM students. You may also find there are resources in other faculties as well (e.g., the Math Faculty may provide a tutorial pool for math courses). Finally you could tap into your own contacts and student organizations (e.g. ASA) to canvas/advertise for volunteer and/or paid assistance. Generally, more supports are available at the entry level of the program as students are making major adjustments at that time. However, some of the options identified above are still present for upper year students seeking assistance.
Q5. How do I challenge a grade I have received?
Generally, while a course is in progress, your best option is to approach the instructor (or TA as appropriate) and see if you can resolve the issue. If you do not reach a satisfactory resolution during, or following, the course with the course instructor there are formal appeal options using available university procedures (Policy 70). You can contact the undergraduate advisor and receive further advice on how to proceed.
Q6. What happens if I fail a course?
If a student fails a course (less than 50%) then they must retake the course (or an equivalent approved by SAF) as they have yet to earn an academic credit for it. A failed course may be repeated only once. When a course is repeated, the two marks are not averaged together. Rather, both marks are entered with all other marks in calculating the student's cumulative overall average.
A student repeating a course is then required to pick up 41 course attempts for the degree.
Assuming that all other degree progress requirements are acceptable, a failed course does not prevent a student from proceeding in AFM. However, due to the structured nature of AFM it may take some communications with Carol/Darren to determine how to best address the course failure. In extreme situations it is possible for a course failure to delay your graduation- again due to the structured nature of the program.
Q7. Can I retake a course I have already passed to bring up my average?
The School does not normally approve retaking a course to bring up a student’s academic average. A passed course may not be repeated except under exceptional circumstances, and then only once and only under the following conditions:
1. If the student's academic advisor recommends the repetition,
2. If, in the event that the course in question is not within the student's major, the department offering the course also recommends the repetition, and
3. If the Examinations and Standings Committee approves the petition for repeating of the course in advance of registering for the course.
Only one of the two attempts will count for credit towards the degree.
If consent is granted to retake a course, when a course is repeated, the two marks are not averaged together. Rather, both marks are entered with all other marks in calculating the student's cumulative overall average.
If a student is unilaterally able to register for, and complete a previously passed course, the retake will not be considered in any academic standing decisions made by the School.
Q8. I have experienced a personal emergency/situation which is impacting my ability to meet course obligations, what should I do?
Generally speaking, you first want to identify if the impact of the situation is fairly limited (e.g., it will only impact a single assignment/test in a particular course(s)). If it is a very limited situation (e.g., getting sick before a test/exam) you can normally deal directly with the instructor or course administrator as appropriate.
However, it is always good to contact Carol/Darren if the situation will involve an extended impact on your studies. We can then provide some advice on how to proceed and assist as necessary. An extended impact could be a situation where you will be unable to attend a number of classes (e.g., over a couple of weeks) and/or it is impacting your ability to complete a number of assignment/tests across multiple courses. An example of this might be a personal emergency that requires you to leave campus for a couple of weeks to deal with the situation and which, during that time, you would be completely unable to attend courses or address course completion matters.
Q9. Do I have to take the courses I was pre-registered in?
Yes you do have to take a course you are pre-registered in. If you have been pre-registered in a course it means you are expected to take the course in the term you have been registered for it.
Q10. Can I change the section of a course I was pre-registered in?
There may be some flexibility to move between sections after initial registration (during your enrollment appointment) but you should do some investigation of this beforehand. For example, are all the AFM students in a single section? Are the sections being taught by different instructors? Are the requirements different? Is there any coordination between sections? Frankly, convenience of schedule should not be your only consideration in making a section switch. We encourage you to remain in the section that you are pre-registered in although we recognize there may occasionally be good reasons to consider a switch to another section. Sometimes students indicate they do want to switch a section because they are worried about being able to get to the next class on time. Do not worry about back to back classes- 10 minutes is enough time to move between buildings on the main campus.
Q11. Do I have to get my courses approved by an advisor?
You are not required to get your courses approved by an AFM undergraduate advisor. However, you are certainly free to contact Carol about course selection questions you might have.
Q12. How much freedom do I have to choose my remaining courses?
Course sequence sheets are provided on the AFM website (http://www.saf.uwaterloo.ca/afm/DegreeRequirement.html) and students are strongly encouraged to take the courses identified in the terms identified. If you depart from this you do so at your own risk.
In addition, you will need to identify certain courses to be taken towards degree requirements that do not appear on the sequence sheets. For example, we do not tell you how to complete the one course language/culture requirement that is part of the AFM degree, but you are expected to address this before graduation. This comment also applies to the Area of Interest requirement- we do not tell you how to complete it (although we do outline the parameters of it) but you are expected to address it before graduation.
Once you ‘plug in’ all of the above, the typical student will have 4 completely free course elective choices included in the 40 courses taken during the AFM degree. This isn’t a lot of flexibility but does give you, on average, approximately one free elective course choice per year (although how you distribute these free choices is up to you).
In addition to the course sequence sheets, degree checklist forms are also available on the AFM website which you may find helpful in planning your study schedule. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for knowing the AFM degree requirements, and meeting those degree requirements for graduation. The tools we provide are simply aids of assistance.