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how does university work?

A photo of nice nice
so i know that you declare your major in second year, but i already know that i wanna go to med school.. so do i have to take all sciences courses in university or can i take other subjects that i like, like philosophy?

how does it work especially first year?( yeah, i know this is really a vague question)

and how many courses do you take per semester?

i want to go to U of T, ive heard a lot of bad comments.. is it really that bad?
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A photo of mynameismattgotmlgo mynameismattgotmlgo
I'll speak generally (as in, how it works 90%+ of the time).

You apply for a program. Acceptance in that program essentially guarantees you a spot in the first-year courses related to that program (which for a biology-type program typically means bio, chem, calc, physics). You COULD take any course you want, as long as you have completed all the prerequisites, there are no restrictions that would bar you from taking it, and there is still a seat left in the course for you. If you were accepted into a biology program, you may not chose to take any of bio, chem, calc, or physics, although spots in those courses would be reserved for you, at least up until a certain point.

You take five courses a semester, for two semesters a year. Each semester of a course counts as 0.5 credits, according to probably the most popular system of setting values to courses. This means you have 2.5 credits per semester and 5.0 credits per year, for four years - that means you take 20.0 credits to finish a four-year degree. An honours program typically requires about 9.0-10.0 upper-year (second year and up) courses, leaving 5.0-6.0 credits as electives. What you take in first year really depends on your program and your interests. Bio students usually take bio and chem for sure, as they are usually prereqs to second-year bio and chem (i.e. orgo) courses, which in turn are usually prereqs to third-year courses, which in turn are usually prereqs to fourth year courses. Depending on the school and program, physics and calculus/math may be required and are usually taken in either first or second year. They are also rather commonly required for acceptance into biology-related professional and graduate schools.

Basically, you don't get "into" a program and then take the courses required by that program; you take courses, whatever they may be, to get a degree in the program of your choice. i.e. "I take all these courses, and then I end up with this degree". It's not, "I am in this program; therefore, I must take all these courses," though people will typically be "working toward a degree in a program," and, therefore, consider themselves in that program. This is why people "declare a major." Doing so doesn't mean that you absolutely will earn that major; it is just stating what major you are working towards. And that actually confers a, perhaps, fairly important advantage: you can get into courses restricted to only students in that major and get priority to courses related to the major but not restricted to only students in the major. This isn't a big advantage in first and/or second year, when classes are usually large and can handle students of all different sorts, but it does help in third and fourth year, when classes are much smaller and may not be able to handle all the students who want to take them.

Med hopefuls usually take 1.0 credits in each of bio, chem, physics, and calculus and then take 1.0 credit "elective" in a social science and/or arts course of their choice. If philosophy interests you, then you should take it as that course.
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A photo of inthemaking inthemaking
Yes you can take other subjects, though it will depend on how much elective space your particular major offers you. My major is health sciences but I'm minoring in psychology and take at least 1 psych course per semester. And you actually declare your major at the end of 1st year, usually (in early April, I think it was).

As matt said ^ you take 5 courses/sem typically, but in upper years you can choose to overload (ie. take 6 or 7 courses/sem). I took 6 courses/sem in 2nd year to finish all my prereqs for vet school in time but I don't recommend it unless you're taking easy courses that semester since it means you will have no social life and will be dedicating pretty much all your time to school. First year usually involves general courses (bio, chem, calc, etc) to ease you into university and then after that courses become more specific (eg. organic chem, physical chem, eukaryotic genetics, etc).
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A photo of KateDorotheou KateDorotheou
So they pretty much answered it, but there are elective places and degree requirements that need to be filled, which means, yes you can probably take your philosophy because youll need humanities or social sciences courses to earn your degree.

Also, I have a couple friends who went to U of T and they love it so Im pretty sure youre just hearing the usual bad press that goes with any University. None of them are perfect, but U of T is pretty good :)
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