Help & FAQs

FAQs Queen's University Arts and Science

Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Don't worry - we understand. Read through our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) below and if you still can't find what you need give us a call - we're here to help you out.

Access to Courses

The following principles are designed to facilitate student's access to the courses necessary for the degree and to enable departments to manage enrolments:

  1. All first-year Arts and Science students should have priority in access to 100-level courses. There are several reasons for ensuring access for first-year students:

    • First-year is often a period of academic discovery for students, and therefore as many options as possible should be available to allow students to test out their interests in a number of fields.
    • Given the different backgrounds of students entering Queen's, the grades given at the end of first year establish a common bench mark for evaluation of student progress by departments and by students themselves.
  2. Departments will offer priority in upper-year courses to concentration students. Some special consideration to students pursuing a General degree must be given under this heading. When we speak of concentrations, many think only of the Honours students.

  3. All Departments must maintain a degree of "service" teaching for a number of purposes:
    • To allow for electives in student programs;
    • To maintain supporting credits for degree programs (i.e. Physics needs Math credit (Math 121 or 120 or 122) even though it is not directly part of the student's concentration courses but is required for the degree);
    • To make available the courses necessary for completing such interdisciplinary programs as Gender Studies, Global Development Studies and Environmental Studies.

Access to Programs/Plans

Principles Governing Access to Programs, Plans and Courses in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Access to programs, plans and courses is controlled by Faculty Enrolment Priorities (Academic Regulation 4); consult the Faculty Calendar for details.

Calculator Policy

Calculators acceptable for use during quizzes, tests and examinations are intended to support the basic calculating functions required by most Arts and Science courses. For this purpose, the use of the Casio 991 series calculator is permitted and is the only approved calculator for Arts and Science students. This inexpensive calculator sells for around $25 at the Queen's Campus Bookstore, Staples and other popular suppliers of school and office supplies.

Distance Courses

Continuing and Distance Studies (CDS) offers courses through web-based and online delivery in the fall, winter and summer sessions.

Please visit the CDS website for more information.


Queen's offers a number of formal exchange programs, which enable students to study at our partner institutions while paying standard tuition to Queen's. We have more than 80 exchange destinations available in over 20 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the West Indies. Most of our exchange partners feature English as the language of instruction, although immersion in the host country languages is often available. Students in almost any Arts or Science discipline can find a matching academic program from among our exchange partners. You are eligible to spend one or two terms on exchange during your third year, and must apply at the beginning of the Winter term of your second year to be considered. Visit the International Programs Office for more information.

How has the change from percent to letter grades been explained on the transcript?

All Queen’s transcripts contain a legend.

It is also important to note that Queen’s University is by no means alone in changing its grading scheme. Many major Canadian universities, such as the University of Alberta, have changed their grading scheme in the recent past.

How important are Failures under the GPA system?

Under the old academic regulations, failures were not counted in your average.  However, the number of failures were used, at least in part, to determine your academic standing.  The GPA includes failures.  The academic regulations now evaluate academic standing using a single GPA threshold.  Students should reasonably expect the same academic outcomes under this system as in the old. 

How is the Integrity of my transcript maintained?

Integrity of the academic record is paramount in all Queen’s transcripts.  Thus, when we switched to the letter-based grading system, all previous percent-based grades remained unchanged. All previous academic rulings also remained. A student will never be allowed to “switch” a letter for a percent grade, or vice versa.

How will my transcript be evaluated externally?

Your Queen’s transcript is an important record of your academic achievements in university, but it is by no means the only indicator of your overall abilities: building a good resume and a network of individuals who can act as references is also very important.

Having said this, it is important to remember that those evaluating your transcript are likely to be looking at a lot more than just your GPA. They are going to be far more interested in such things as: what courses did you take? How long did you take to complete your degree? How consistent is the student’s performance? How applicable are the skillsets and knowledge you have acquired as an undergraduate to the position/award to which you are applying? The following links deal with some specific examples.

How will my transcript be evaluated by a graduate school?

Generally, the people evaluating transcripts for entry into a graduate school are frontline faculty members, just like those you have encountered in your classes as an undergraduate. They will be particularly interested in your performance in courses relevant to the discipline to which you are applying, probably far more than the overall GPA. They will also be looking for trends in your academic performance: a student who starts out weakly in first year but who ends up as an A student at the end of their undergraduate career may be viewed more favourably compared to a student with a more consistent, but ultimately less impressive, record. The courses you choose will also be important: what electives you choose to complement your discipline are critical to showing that you are intellectually mature and prepared to do graduate work. Remember that your reference letters and any previous research experience are likely to be considered to be at least as important as your overall grades. You should contact the appropriate admissions officer or the appropriate graduate school website if you have questions about your academic eligibility.

How will my transcript be evaluated by a professional school (education, medical, law, etc.)

Professional schools all have different criteria for admission. The transcript is one of them, but aptitude tests (MCAT, LSAT) and references are also important. Some useful information on the evaluation of transcripts by professional schools in Ontario can be found at the links below:

Ontario Medical Schools (OSMAS)

Ontario Faculties of Education (TEAS)

Ontario Law Schools (OSLAS)

Ontario Rehabilitation Science Programs (ORPAS)

How will my transcript be evaluated by a scholarship agency?

Certainly it is true that “A” students tend to get scholarships. But it is important to remember that many external scholarship agencies use grades as just one criterion when assessing you for scholarships: research experience, job experience, and evidence of communication, leadership and interpersonal skills are all important components, particularly for the most prestigious scholarships. If applying for a major scholarship, you should carefully review the instructions from the scholarship agency, and if necessary contact them directly if you have questions.

How will my transcript be evaluated by a potential employer?

Interestingly enough, many employers don’t place a lot of importance on the grades you got in university. Many of them will want a transcript merely to confirm your academic credentials. They will often be much more interested in your skillsets, interpersonal skills, teamwork and previous job experience.

How will repeating a course affect my GPA?

If you repeat a course, only the highest grade earned will be used when calculating the cumulative GPA. However, all attempts, passed and failed, will remain on your transcript.

Repeating a failed course

If you repeat and pass a course that you previously failed, your GPA will increase, likely to a significant extent. The previous failed attempt will remain on your transcript but the failing grade will be excluded from your GPA.

How will taking a course that is an exclusion of another course affect my GPA?

An exclusion* is a set of two or more courses that are not the same, but that have considerable overlap in content such that both may not count towards the requirements of your degree. Students are not normally permitted to enrol in a course that excludes one that they have already taken.

If you obtain permission to take a course that is an exclusion of another course(s) that you have taken, the grades in all excluded courses will contribute to your GPA, but only the course with the highest grade will count for credit. 

For example:   SOCY 211/3.0 and STAT 263/3.0 are exclusions.  

*Exclusions are identified in the Academic Calendar course descriptions or in SOLUS in the following manner:

EXCLUSION:   No more than 3.0 units from BIOL 243/3.0; ECON 250/3.0; GPHY 247/3.0; KNPE 251/3.0; POLS 385/3.0; PSYC 202/3.0; SOCY 211/3.0; STAT 263/3.0.

Leave of Absence

Students may wish to take time away from school for a variety of reasons. If you make this decision before you have registered in the upcoming academic session, there are no forms to fill out to do this; you simply do not participate in the registration process. However, note that if you are in receipt of a scholarship or bursary, you may wish to speak to Student Awards to arrange a deferral of the funding until you return.  If you have participated in the course selection period in July but not yet made your tuition payment, you are still required to drop your courses.  These courses are considered active so tuition charges will apply and they will appear on your transcript with a failing grade, if abandoned.

There are times when a leave of absence from studies is unplanned. If, during the academic session, an illness or other extenuating circumstances will prevent you from attending class, attending an exam, or handing in an assignment, you must contact your instructor(s) and teaching assistants directly to make alternative arrangements. You should speak to an academic advisor in the Faculty of Arts and Science Student Services Office if you will need to be absent from your studies for a long period of time, or over a significant period of the academic session, such as midterms or final exams. Make sure to obtain doctors' notes or other relevant supporting documentation to verify that the time you are taking away from your studies is indeed medically necessary. Your instructors may wish to see your doctor's note upon your return, and it is within their rights to require you to provide that documentation.

If you have a parent or other representative call on your behalf, remember that they will not be able to discuss your academic or financial information with the University unless you have specifically designated access rights to them on your SOLUS account.

If you are away from your studies for an entire academic session or more, and have not attended another post-secondary institution during your time away, please notify the Faculty of Arts and Science Office by submitting a Return to Studies Form when you are ready to take classes again. No matter how long your leave of absence may be, you can resume your studies. However, along with all students registering in the academic session in which you wish to return, your record must be academically competitive and meet departmental requirements for proceeding in your concentration for that session.

Remember that you need to receive a Letter of Permission from the Faculty in order to take any courses at another post-secondary institution while you are away from Queen's. For more information download the PDF application for a Letter of Permission to take courses at a Canadian university or college. For international institutions, click here. Taking courses elsewhere without a Letter of Permission can jeopardize your status as an admitted student at Queen's.

Level of Study

Your Level of Study can be defined in two (2) different ways. Your Level at the University is determined by the number of passed credits completed:

0.0 - 21 units completed = Level 1

24.0 - 45 units completed = Level 2

48.0 -  81 units completed = Level 3

84.0 + credits completed = Level 4

Your Level in your Program of Study is determined by the number of passed units completed toward the requirements of the plan, as specified by the Department.

Open Enrolment Instructions

When open enrolment begins, students who have paid their tuition in full may make changes to their course registrations provided:

  • There is space available in the class.
  • The student has the requisite(s).
  • The student meets the departmental criteria.



For details and deadlines specific to the upcoming registration cycle see New Students or Current Students students.

Selection of Plan for Students Entering Year 2

Departments confirm/deny requests based on the Academic Thresholds set. These thresholds are set according to:

  • Academic criteria and performance
  • Number of spaces available in each concentration
Selection of Courses (July)

Select your courses according to your enrollment appointment time. Priority for courses is given to students who participate in the registration process. Students must be registered in a valid degree plan prior to selecting courses.

Spaces in courses will be available according to the following guidelines:
  • Registration is controlled by Faculty Enrolment Priorities (Academic Regulation 4)

    Enrollment in courses offered in the Fall-Winter Session normally will be determined according to the following priorities listed in descending order, students for whom the course is:

    • required in their concentration
    • an option in their concentration
    • part of their recognized concurrent-education teaching subject
    • an elective, or an option in the concentration beyond the normal load

    Within each category, priority will be given to students who have the specified prerequisites and:

    • are furthest along in their program
    • are not repeating the course.
  • Maximum enrollments are enforced

  • Degree program type, plan and level checking is in effect during registration

  • Course prerequisite checking is in effect during registration (checks of prerequisites, corequisites, exclusions, and weighted averages)

Students requesting courses later, including those admitted too late to participate in the course selection period, will be considered subject to space availability in courses.

Selecting a Program/Plan

Selecting a Program/Plan

At the end of first-year all students must select a program/plan before they can register for 2nd year courses. During an appointment of this nature you and your student should review the courses attempted in first year and discuss the student’s interest in each area. Sometimes students have a very clear idea of what they wish to declare and your job is to ensure they have taken the correct prerequisites and have the grades required for entry to the program. Refer to the Degree Path for assistance.

Adding a Minor to a Major

Students may add a minor to a Major during the Plan Selection period in May. Students will often ask about the advantages of completing a major versus a major/minor. One approach is to weigh the advantages of completing one or the other against the additional courses that will be required.

Please note that courses that are cross-listed for the major and the minor may not be double counted toward the degree requirements.

Rules governing the double counting of courses can be found in the General Degree Requirements section of the web Calendar, under BAH and BSCH.

Changing a Plan

Declaring a plan is not a binding contract. Students may change majors and/or minors, or drop the minor all together.  Students often feel that once they are accepted into a Plan that they are committed to it indefinitely. It’s your job as an academic advisor to make them aware that further change is possible and provide them with a sense of how this is done. Be sure to explain that a change of Plan in Yr 3 or 4 may, in all likelihood, result in additional time required to complete the degree. You should also note that ASC does not have a time limit for completing the degree like some faculties.

It’s also important to note that students must meet the minimum academic requirements for their plan in order to continue in that plan.  While students will not be removed from their plan they may encounter difficulty enrolling in required courses if they do not meet the requisites for those courses.  In other words, a student would not be able to complete their degree if they are unable to enrol in the core courses required for their plan.  If a student is unhappy in their major, or they are not performing satisfactorily in core courses, they should be encouraged to explore alternatives. This exploration is best undertaken early in the academic career. Career Services encourages students to make an appointment early in their program.

For more information go to Choosing or Changing your plan.

Student On-Line University System (SOLUS)

SOLUS is Student On-Line University System is used to register for Fall-Winter courses, register for the Summer Term sessions, add and drop courses, update address information, view financial and other academic information.

SOLUS is available through the Office of the University Registrar's web site. SOLUS is available 24 hours a day Monday through Saturday. There will be times during the 24-hour period when SOLUS will not be available due to backups, system maintenance.


What is SOLUS?

SOLUS is Student On-Line University System.
Students access SOLUS to register for Fall-Winter courses, register for the Summer Term Sessions, add and drop courses, update address information, view financial and other academic information.

What do I need to access SOLUS?

You need your NetID, a password, and access to a web browser.

Where can I access SOLUS?

Access SOLUS through and click the SOLUS button. Use any computer with a current browser that is connected to the Internet.

At public computing sites on campus, including Stauffer and Douglas Libraries. For a list of computing sites on campus, access the web.


Make sure you read each screen carefully; often, there are instructions/messages displayed at the top of the screen.

If you make a mistake, don't panic! You can access SOLUS as many times as you wish within the relevant timelines to correct your mistake.

Questions? Problems?

If you are experiencing problems with connecting to SOLUS from your computer you may contact the Information Technology Services Helpdesk at Queen's: 613-533-6666 (during regular office hours) or filling out the online help form.

If you are connected to SOLUS and are experiencing problems with registering your Fall-Winter courses, or changing any other academic or biographic information, contact Student Services at 613-533-2470.

What You Can do On SOLUS

Once you log into SOLUS, you can:


  • Course Offerings
  • Fee Account Information/AMS Opt-Outs
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Grades
  • OSAP
  • Scholarships, Bursaries, etc
  • Timetable
  • Tuition and Education Amounts Certificates (T2202A)


  • Add and Drop Courses
  • Address Biographic Information
  • Preregistration
  • SOLUS Password
  • Release of Information
  • Who's Where Settings


  • Transcript (credit card required)


  • Application to Graduate

Switching Programs


Non-Arts and Science Queen's students who wish to transfer to a degree program offered in the Faculty of Arts and Science must submit an application to Undergraduate Admissions by the deadlines below. Online applications are available at the Office of the University Registrar's web site.

Switching your Faculty

Choose from the programs below to learn more about the requirements and restrictions.

Information on Cross-Faculty Transfer to...

N.B. Concurrent Education does not accept upper-year students (a minimum of 4.0 full year courses, or equivalent). Please consider the Consecutive Education Program.

Taking Courses at Another University

Are you an Arts and Science student thinking about taking courses at another university to fulfill your Queen's degree requirements? If you are, then you must apply for a letter of permission from the Faculty of Arts & Science Office prior to registering with the other university.

You should note that it is your responsibility to apply for admission to the host university and to confirm their application deadlines.

Please note that the Faculty of Arts and Science will NOT approve Letters of Permission retroactively.

Who Can Apply?

Any Arts & Science student on a degree program, in good academic standing with an overall grade point average of 1.60 or better. If you wish to take your 3rd or 4th year of an Honours plan away on a Letter of Permission, you must appeal in writing to the Associate Deans (Academic) and the Undergraduate Chair in your department(s) and have a grade point average of 1.90 or better. You will need to explain in your letter the reasons why you cannot attend Queen's for your 3rd or 4th year. For more information, please refer to Academic Regulation 14 and Academic Regulation 16 or drop by the Arts & Science Office, Main Floor Dunning Hall.

How many courses can I take at another university?

There is a limit to the number of courses from the other university that you can count toward your Queen's degree. The majority of your core and elective courses must be completed at Queen's.

How do I apply?

Application forms [PDF] are available online. Apply early, as it could take two to three weeks to process a letter of permission.

Does It Cost for a Letter of Permission?

Yes, there is a non-refundable service charge for each Letter of Permission, per session, per university. The fee must accompany the LOP application. [PDF]

How are credits transferred to my Queen's record?

After you have successfully completed course(s) at the host university and received a mark of C in each course (unless otherwise stated on your Letter of Permission), you must arrange for an official transcript of marks to be forwarded directly from the other institution to the Letters of Permission Office, Faculty of Arts and Science. Some universities do not send out transcripts automatically; they must be requested by you. Once the official transcript is received, and provided you have achieved a mark of at least C- (this mark may vary depending on what the undergraduate chair stated on your Letter of Permission), the credit(s) will be entered on your Queen's transcript. When you request a Letter of Permission to study at another University and you complete two half credits at the host University, you must achieve at least C or better in each 3 unit course in order to receive the transfer credit toward your Queen's degree (unless otherwise stated on your letter of permission by the undergraduate chair).

Please note: numerical mark(s) will NOT be transferred to your transcript. The course will appear on your transcript with a grade of TR. TR notations have no weight on your GPA.

Last course for your degree? You must access SOLUS in order to apply to graduate. Further information available on the Registrar's website (click on Graduation Information).

You can find the Application Form [PDF] and pay on-line by visiting this page.  Include detailed course description(s) and the non-refundable fee, per application, per university, per session.

Timetable conflicts

You can find the times that courses will take place in your student centre on SOLUS by "search for classes".  Click on browse course catalog to find a course and view the weight (units), the components (lecture, lab, tutorial), when it is being offered (fall or winter term) as well as the course description. From there you can view the class sections to see how it can fit in your schedule.  You can also search for a course by the time it is offered.  Enter your search parameters (for example, Thursday mornings) and SOLUS will bring up a list of all the courses offered during those time slots.

When adding your courses, add the required or concentration courses first.  If you find that there are conflicts in the times that your courses are offered, you will need to switch sections and/or courses.  Electives should take last priority for scheduling.  If you want an elective course that won't fit in your schedule, you could add it to your planner and take it during another year when it will fit in your schedule.

SOLUS will not permit any timetable conflicts.

Transfer Credits

Now that you have made the decision to transfer and have reviewed the curriculum, you are ready to determine how your transfer credits will apply toward your degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University.

Statement of Transfer Credit (STC)

Understanding how your transfer credits fit into your degree requirements at Queens can be a bit confusing. Our degree requirements may be very different from the requirements at your former school. Before you can map onto the degree requirements here you first need to have your former credits assessed for equivalency. This assessment is carried out by the Office of the University Registrar (OUR), Admission Services who will provide you with a Statement of Transfer Credit.

Frequently Asked Questions about Transfer Credits:

How will I know which credits from my old school transfer to Queens’?

The Statement of Transfer Credits will list the Arts and Science equivalent courses and the credits (Queen's units) you have transferred.

What do I do if I haven’t yet received my STC?

If you have not yet received your STC you may be able to tentatively identify Queen’s course equivalents by speaking with the Undergraduate Chair of your intended degree program.

I took a course at my former school that I think should transfer but didn’t? What do I do if I feel my credit(s) should have been assessed differently?

If equivalent credit was not awarded for a particular course, or you feel it should have been assessed differently, you may request that the appropriate academic department re-evaluate your transfer credit. Most departments require a course syllabus and course description in order to make the evaluation. Contact the specific department for more information on their procedure. Usually, departments require that you leave the documents with them; after they evaluate the course, they notify the OUR of their decision. The OUR then makes the adjustment on your transcript.

What is an 'unspecified (UNS) credit'?

It is not uncommon for several courses to transfer as general elective credits or as ‘unspecified’ (no specific subject or number assigned). While these credits will count toward your degree, they may not count toward your degree concentration, refer to the notes on the STC for information.

Do my grades from my former school affect my Queen’s average?

Grades from your previous university do not transfer to Queen’s, therefore they do not affect your Queen’s GPA. Your ‘year’ level will be based on the number of credits transferred and will not necessarily be the same number of credits that you completed at your previous university.

Is there a minimum number of units I must complete through Queen’s?

Yes, there is a minimum number of units you must complete within Arts and Science at Queen’s (see Regulation 16).

When should I register for Fall/Winter courses?

If possible you should not wait for your Statement of Transfer Credits to Register for Fall/Winter courses. Without a STC you will likely require departmental assistance to register for courses yourself. Unfortunately SOLUS cannot read your transfer credits and you will have difficulty registering in courses that require prerequisites that you have satisfied elsewhere. You will likely need the assistance of the Departmental Chair of Undergraduate Studies (DCUS) or their assistant. We also recommend that you discuss your academic plans with the DCUS in person or by telephone to ensure that you will be making satisfactory progress toward your intended degree. See the list of Department links for more information.

Advanced Placement Transfer Credits

The Faculty of Arts and Science grants credit for some Advanced Placement courses. A maximum of 18.0 units may be granted for Advanced Placement examinations passed with a grade of 4 or higher. For complete information, please visit the Admission website.

International Baccalaureate Transfer Credits

The Faculty of Arts and Science grants credit for some International Baccalaureate Higher Level courses. A maximum of 18.0 units may be granted for International Baccalaureate examinations passed with a grade of 5 or higher. For complete information, please visit the Admission website.

Tuition and Fees

For the most current information on tuition, fees, and payment deadlines, please consult the Registrar's Fees webpage.

For all undergraduate students registering for the 2011-2012 academic session, remember that your tuition payment is due before September  1, 2011.