Going into Second Year

Second year is all about making choices. Select your plan by the end of your first year, choose your electives plus supporting courses, and where to live. There are new awards to apply for as well. Get started by determining your GPA and academic standing.

Program/Plan Selection - May 15-26, 2017

Students who have completed 24 units or more must participate in the Program/Plan selection process in May.  This involves choosing the area of study (plan) that you wish to pursue.  For some students this may involve requesting to change your degree program.  For example, students may request a change of degree program from:

  • Bachelor of Arts Honours (BAH)  to Bachelor of Science Honours (BSCH) or Bachelor of Computing Honours (BCMPH)
  • BCMPH to BAH or BSCH
  • BSCH to BAH or BCMPH

NOTE:  Students who were admitted to the following programs do not participate in plan selection:  Bachelor of Fine Art, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Physical and Health Education; or Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

For more information on degree programs offered in Arts and Science, please visit Degrees at a Glance.

To request your Program/Plan, log into your Student Centre in SOLUS.  Program/Plan Selection is NOT first-come first-served and you may access the page as often as you wish.  Please keep in mind, though, that each time you are accepted into a plan, a record of that change will be recorded on your student record and transcript. 

If you need help navigating SOLUS please visit this link.

All plans in Arts and Science have minimum academic requirements that a student must satisfy in order to be admitted to that plan.  To view the thresholds for all plans in Arts and Science please visit your department page and see the "What it takes" handout under Degree Plans and Options.

Each plan will have an automatic acceptance threshold and a pending list threshold. Once you have decided which plan you wish to pursue, access SOLUS to request that plan.  Be sure to enter your desired plan first.  When you enter your request one of three outcomes will occur:

  1. Automatically Accepted - If you meet the automatic threshold for the plan you have requested you will receive a message on SOLUS telling you that you have been accepted into your plan.  Once accepted, your plan information in SOLUS will be updated and a new entry denoting the change will be recorded on your SOLUS record and transcript. Every time you request a plan change and are accepted to a different plan, a new entry will be recorded on your SOLUS record and on your transcript.

  2. Placed on a Pending (waiting) list- If you receive a message on SOLUS telling you that you have been placed on a pending list this means that your request will be manually reviewed by the department following the Plan Selection period (see below). In addition to being informed that you are on a pending list, SOLUS will also inform you that you must select an alternate plan that you can be automatically accepted to.

    Students can only be on one pending list.  If you are placed on a pending list, you must choose an alternate plan that you are automatically accepted in to.  If you choose to leave SOLUS without being automatically accepted to a plan, you will be removed from the pending list.  If you do not participate in plan selection you run the risk of not getting into the plan of your choice.  It is critical that you are automatically accepted into a plan before the Plan selection period ends.  Otherwise, you will not be able to register in your classes in July.

    Following the Plan Selection process on SOLUS, departmental administrators will manually review all students on their pending lists.  If a department accepts you from their pending list, your plan information in SOLUS will be updated and a new entry denoting the change will be recorded on your SOLUS record and transcript.

    REMEMBER:  Departments will be reviewing their pending lists until June 2nd so you may not see a change to your plan until after that date.

    3.  Refused Admission for that Plan?  If you do not meet the minimum requirements for the plan you want, please consider the following strategies: 
    Plan selection strategies

Program Plan Selection Flowchart >

Slides from the Plan Selection Video >

What it takes to get accepted to a Plan

The Plans found below indicate the minimum academic requirements to be automatically accepted or placed on a pending list for every available Plan in Arts and Science. All requirements include a minimum GPA and/or a minimum grade in a single course. If a course number is labelled with a #, this denotes a “wildcard”, and any course number is acceptable. For example, PHYS 1## indicates that any of PHYS 104, PHYS106 or PHYS117 are acceptable.

Some Plans have other minimum prerequisite standards that must be met before a student can access second year courses. These are indicated in the “Notes” section of the tables. While the SOLUS system may accept a student into the Plan, if they do not hold the correct prerequisites they may not be able to complete the degree within the usual timeframe, and may be at a significant academic disadvantage in upper year courses.

Please note: These academic thresholds are for students applying to plans from first-year going into second year. They are not applicable to upper-year students wishing to change their plan. All upper-year student change of plan requests are pending departmental approval which may or may not reflect the thresholds below.

While every attempt is made to ensure our web pages are up-to-date and accurate, sometimes errors occur. The content on these pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.

Art History




Classical Studies (including CLST and CLAS)

Computing (including BMCO, COGS, COMP, CSCI, SODE)




Environmental Science

Environmental Studies

Film and Media

French Studies

Gender Studies




Global Development Studies

Health Studies


Jewish Studies

Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Life Sciences

Mathematics and Statistics




Political Studies


Religious Studies


Stage and Screen Studies

Electives & Supporting Courses

With a few limitations, electives may be chosen freely from any course offered through the Faculty of Arts and Science and are in addition to those required for the Plan component of the degree. Check with your subject of interest for a list of electives available to take.

Course from other Faculties and Schools at Queen’s may also be used towards the elective component of the degree. Some of the most common choices are noted below, but also consult the Degree Programs section of the Arts and Science calendar for a complete list.

School of Business

Up to 6.0 units in any Commerce (COMM) course offered by the School of Business may be used as an elective in Arts and Science. However, not all COMM courses are open to registration by Arts and Science students.

Engineering and Applied Science

Engineering and Applied Science courses may be used as electives, or towards the Plan requirements of Programs in Arts and Science. Special permission is required for registration in these courses, and students should consult with the Student Services Office and the Undergraduate Chair in their home department before attempting to register. Students should also note that the unit weighting system in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science differs from that in all other faculties at Queen’s. Therefore, such courses may be reweighted when applied as credit towards an Arts and Science degree Program.

Schools of Nursing, Urban Planning, Religion, and Faculty of Law

Selected courses are available as elective choices from the Schools of Nursing (NURS), Urban Planning (SURP), Religion (THEO) and the Faculty of Law (LAW). Most of these courses are only available to students in certain Plans, or with permission of the other School or Faculty concerned.

Supporting Courses in Arts and Science

Some Plans in Arts and Science require the student to take supporting courses. These are courses in a subject different from that of the Plan but are required prerequisites for upper year courses. An example would be a first year calculus course in a Physics Plan.

When combining Plans in Medial or Major-Minor degrees, courses common to the two Plans cannot be shared between the requirements of the two Plans. In such cases, an alternative must be chosen. Supporting courses are the exception to this rule: a supporting course in one Plan can be used towards the requirements of the other, increasing the number of electives available to the student. See the Degree Programs section of the Arts and Science calendar for complete details of how courses are shared between Plans.

GPA and Academic Standing

Dean’s Honour List and Dean's Honour List with Distinction

Achieving a 3.50 or above GPA on all courses taken during an academic year (from Sept 1 to Aug 31) will place a student on the Dean’s Honour List.

To be placed on the Dean's Honour List with Distinction, a student must have achieved an academic year GPA in the top three percent (3%) of all students within Arts (BA, BAH, BFA, BFAH, BMus, BPHE, BPHEH) or Science (BSc, BScH, BCMP, BCMPH).  Based on previous performance levels, a minimum academic year GPA of approximately 3.90 in Arts and 4.10 in Science will be required. These values may vary from year to year. In addition, there may be no Incomplete (IN), Deferred (GD), Failure (F) grades, or repeated courses during the year in question.

Requirements to Graduate

To graduate, students must have a minimum GPA on all courses taken at Queen’s (cumulative GPA), as follows:

Cumulative GPADegree Eligibility
1.60 or above3-year degree:
B.A., B.Sc., B.Cmp., B.F.A., B.P.H.E.
1.90 or above4-year Honours degree:
B.A.(Hons.), B.Sc.(Hons.), B.Cmp.(Hons.), B.F.A(Hons.), B.P.H.E.(Hons.), B.Mus.

Specific course requirements for all these degrees remain unchanged.

Academic Progression

Students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 1.60 or above to remain in good academic standing. Students who fail to achieve the following cumulative GPA standards when they are evaluated in May of each year may receive an academic sanction.

Cumulative GPASanction
Below 1.60Placed on Academic Probation
(if you are a new student or are currently in good academic standing)
Required to Withdraw
(if you are currently on academic probation)
Below 0.70Required to Withdraw

The first time a student is required to withdraw, it will be for a period of one year. They may then return to Arts and Science on academic probation. If they are required to withdraw a second time, it will be for a period of three years.

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. 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.

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?

Second Year Awards

Once a student has completed at least one year of studies at Queen's they may qualify for an upper year awards.

Awards Requiring a Separate Application

Some upper year awards require students to submit an application to the Student Awards Office or their Faculty.  To apply for the majority of these awards students should submit a resume and letter explaining how they meet the selection criteria for the specific award. Please review the specific details of each award for deadline dates and how to apply. A list of all upper year awards requiring a separate application can be found on the Awards List section of the website.

Awards Not Requiring a Separate Application

At the end of each academic year Faculties review student achievement and top students are selected to receive one (or more) of the many upper year scholarships, prizes and other merit-based awards. Students do not need to submit an application as these upper year awards are granted automatically by your Faculty. You will be notified by the Student Awards Office if you have been selected for an award.  For a complete list of the upper year awards not requiring an application, please visit the Awards List section of the website.

Notification of an Award

You may see all of your Queen’s administered awards and scholarships on SOLUS (Student Center)! To view your awards, simply log into SOLUS (using your Queen’s NetID and password) and click on the “View Financial Aid” hyperlink, available in the “Finances” section. Once there, you will be able to view your scholarships and awards broken down per academic year.

Where to Live in Second Year

Thinking about where you are going to live next year? There are limited spaces available in residence for upper-years’ – applications will be accepted until February and will be selected by lottery. Visit the Residence website for more information.

Other resources to help you find a home:

Information Sessions for 2017

Please take a look at the various information sessions listed here.

Six most asked questions at Major's Night

Q: What is the difference between a Major/Minor/Medial/Specialization?

  • Most Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majors consist of 60 units in one subject area; whereas, a Bachelor of Science (Honours) major or a Bachelor of Computing (Honours) major consists of 72 units, made up from core courses and supporting courses. The remaining courses required to complete your degree are made up of electives.
  • For a Major-Minor combination, students complete 60-72 units for the major (depending on the major you choose) and an additional 30-48 units for the minor (depending on the minor you choose). The remaining courses required to complete your degree are made up of electives.
  • A medial is only available in the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree program. As a medial you will complete 42 units in one subject area and 42 units in a different subject area. The remaining courses required to complete your degree are made up of electives. You cannot add a minor to a medial.
  • A specialization is a very focused area of study and is made up of 84-108 units (depending on the specialization you choose). Most specializations are either Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Bachelor of Computing (Honours) programs; although there are a few Bachelor of Arts (Honours) specializations.

For more information, visit our Degrees at a Glance page.Q: Do I have to choose a major now? Can I stay undeclared next year? If you have completed (passed) 24 units or more, you must choose your major. You cannot remain undeclared. If you have completed less than 24 units you MAY but are not REQUIRED TO choose your major.Q: Can I just do a general Arts degree with no major?No, in order to complete your degree, you must complete the requirements of a valid degree Plan (i.e., major, medial, specialization).Q: Do I have to have a minor? No, you do not have to have a minor to go with your major. Some students choose to pursue a major without a minor so that they have more flexibility with their elective courses. It is entirely up to you whether or not you pursue a minor. Depending on what you plan to do after your undergraduate degree is complete, the major-minor combination may help you down the road.Q: Can I do a double minor?No, we do not offer a double minor.Q: Can I change my major/minor later if I change my mind?Yes! We know that things can change as you work through your degree. Many, many students change their degree plan (major, medial, minor, specialization) in third year and some even change in their fourth year. However, changing your major in upper year may mean that you need to "catch up" so it could mean that it will take you longer to complete your degree. The important thing to keep in mind is that changing your Plan is a definite possibility.