Posted By: Sheila Pan on June 28, 2010
Okay, so for you first years out there who are currently looking at electives to choose, here are three important sites to look at for your entire career at Queen’s. The first is the Queen’s Arts & Science calendar which is here: http://www.queensu.ca/calendars/artsci/index.htm and the second is the Commerce calendar, which is here: http://www.queensu.ca/calendars/business/, and last but not least the Commerce portal: https://commerce.queensu.ca/commerce/2006/commerce.nsf/homepage?OpenForm§ion=National which will be your lifeline that connects you to the Commerce office and everything else. You will likely be checking the Commerce portal at least 3 times a day when you start in September, so might as well bookmark it now.
Now as for which electives to choose from, I strongly suggest that you keep certain considerations in mind:
- Writing Credit: You need 1.0 credits of eligible “writing” courses over your 4 years at Queen’s. These courses are the ones that have essays or writing assignments that count for over 50% of your final grade.
- Queen’s Option: You need 2.0 credits of courses that have the same prefix, for example taking 4 semesters of ECON or POLS. 1.0 credits need to come from upper year courses, so 2nd year or above; these courses are the 200 level courses or up.
- Certificate for Corporate Social Responsibility (Certificate of CSR)*: I’ve mentioned this a few times in my previous entries, so look back at them if you don’t know what this is. Basically you need 2.0 credits of approved CSR courses over 4 years, 1.0 of them must come from Arts & Science courses, the other 1.0 credit must come from Commerce courses.
- International Business courses: You need to take at least one course (0.5 credits) in an approved International Business course. Many people elect to do this during exchange, but Queen’s offers some amazing International Business courses right at home, so I would suggest looking at those as well.
*The good thing is, if you do decide to do CSR, your CSR credits can be “doubled up” with your Queen’s Option or Writing credits. So for example if you decide to take something like GPHY 101, that course is approved for both the writing credit as well as the CSR credit, so by taking that one course you hit two birds with one stone. Unfortunately you cannot double up on your writing and Queen’s Option, so you must do those two separately.
Some tips from me:
- Get these required electives done early! I finished my option in Politics in 2nd year because I did all Politics courses as electives in my first and second year. Your option is probably the hardest requirement to finish because you basically need to do 4 semesters, but if you get it done early and keep your courses focused, you should be able to get it done quickly.
- Plan ahead. You might not know what you want to concentrate in yet, but I strongly suggest you at least plan out your Arts/Science electives early. Those are more flexible and may or may not correlate with your Commerce classes. By planning early you can get all of your requirements in and graduate on time.
- If there is a course that you might be interested in, and from speaking to the program coordinator in that department or the professor of that class, you believe it can count towards one of your requirements, then speak to the respective Commerce coordinators of those requirements. If you provide them with a class syllabus (semester schedule) of that class as well as a course description, they will be able to see if that course can count.
- MATH 121 and 126 are very popular courses for first year students because they open the door to many good electives that you can take later on. But if you have no interest in math, or if you have no interest in the courses that you can take with those as prerequisites, then there is really no point in taking them is there? This is why I suggest planning early, because you can take a look at the courses that you would be interested in taking in your upper years and then looking at the prerequisites for those before deciding which lower year electives to take. Don’t take something just because its popular, take it because you will find it useful.
- Talk to upper years who have taken the electives that you are interested in. That is probably the best use of your time because you can get a sense of what electives are really useful and what aren’t. Just for reference in case you want to contact me about any of my electives, I took POLS 110 in first year, POLS 261 and 262, as well as ECON 240 in second year. In third year I took WMNS 360 and GPHY 101.
- When time comes for preregistration, always do it early! Some hot courses fill up really quickly so you need to do it right away to ensure a spot, especially if you need it as a prerequisite for other courses you plan on taking later on.
- If you’re not 100% sure about certain courses, you can always look for its schedule on QCARD and when the time comes for classes to start, you can drop in to those lectures to get a feel of what its like. If you decide you want to switch, then there is an add/drop period for all classes that is in September. You get two weeks to get a feel before you need to finalize everything.
I hope you at least learned something from all of my rambling, and again please do not hesitate to contact me via Twitter or email. If you happen to see me in the hallways at Goodes, don’t be shy and please say hi! I always love to hear from you =)