First-year McGill science courses - help?

kiwifruit11
Posted: 7:07AM July 14, 2011 UTC
Course selection doesn't start till the 28th, but I'll be on vacation in China then, so I'd like to figure it all out beforehand. 

According to the site, the Freshman science program is 30 credits. I'm planning to major in any of the biology-ish things (don't know yet), and my current hypothetical schedule goes like this:

Sem 1:
Organismal Bio
General Chem 1
Calculus 1
Physics 101

Total: 14 credits

Sem 2:
Cell/Molecular Bio
General Chem 2
Calculus 2
Physics 102

Total: 15 credits

I'm not confident enough my physics/math skills to take the harder streams of physics/math, so my total credits only add up to 29. I want take an elective during first semester, but there are no electives that carry fewer than 3 credits, and apparently "taking 17 credits is not recommended". Why? Is this really too much work for most people?

I wanted to take French as an elective, but after thinking about this, I realized it would probably be a lot of work (there's a language lab with the course). But I've always promised myself I'd continue with French, so now I can't decide between that and 
some other electives (i.e. philosophy, world religions, the art of listening).

If you've already completed your first year, what did you take, and what would you recommend I take? Can you recommend any easy electives? And if you're like me and have yet to start your first year, what are you planning on taking?

Any help would be appreciated. (:

Sorry for the rather long/confusing post (I have a headache for absolutely no reason)
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3 Responses
bp42
Posted: 7:07AM July 15, 2011 UTC
I did my first year in life sciences at McGill last year. Your schedule right now is basically what everyone in life sciences usually takes. The 29 credit thing is annoying, as it means some point later on you will probably have to take an extra course, but just about every other life science student has the same problem. The only other major difference is some take MATH 139 (4 credits)in place of MATH 140(3 credits), but if you've taken high school calculus they don't usually let you take MATH 140. As for electives, I recommend Natural disasters (ATOC/EPSC 185), terrestrial planets, or the art of listening. I took ATOC 185 last year, and it was a very interesting class. Every few lectures you get to watch a documentary-type film, and the only course work is a midterm, final, and one research paper that they give you plenty of time to do. Provided you don't skip every class, study a fair amount for the midterm and final, and put some effort into the paper, you can get an A quite easily. They don't recommend taking a 5th course during 1st year because the courses have a fair amount of work, you will have 3 labs and a calculus tutorial each semester in addition to the lectures, so they probably dont want people to be overwhelmed in their first year.
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kiwifruit11
Thread Creator
Posted: 7:07AM July 15, 2011 UTC
Thread Creator
Wait, so you're able to take less than 30 credits? Do people usually take 29 credits instead of 30? 
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bp42
Posted: 7:07AM July 18, 2011 UTC
You are definitely able to take 29 credits, seeing as that is what I currently have after completing first year. As fas as I know most life sciences students take 29 credits first year, unless they had MATH 139, because the schedule they recommend for everyone (which is your current schedule) is 29 credits. I think it is a bit ridiculous because it makes everyone start off 1 credit short, but that's the way McGill set it up.
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