Bachelor of arts gets a reboot

Starting fall 2016, the faculty of arts will be making major changes to their bachelor of arts (BA) degrees. This will include changes to the overall average, number of required courses, new specializations, and course requirements for majors.&nbsp;</p>

On Sept. 20, an email was sent out to all current arts undergraduate students pursuing a BA about changes to the degree requirements. “These changes are intended to streamline the curriculum, to open up choices for our students, and to allow them to move more freely between programs, but mainly between honours degrees and non-honours degrees,” said professor Katherine Acheson, associate dean of arts undergraduate programs. 

Led by associate dean of undergraduate students William Chesney and administrative co-ordinator of arts undergraduate studies Danielle Jeanneault, each department discussed within themselves about program changes according to the priorities set for plan standardization. Departmental changes include inactivating plans, changing plan names, and creating specializations.

Major changes across all departments include consistency in course requirements, a lower average for honours and four-year general plans, and a lower number of required courses for majors. This means the averages for co-op will also be lowered, and students can switch between honours and non-honours plans without running into issues such as being unable to transfer courses they’ve already taken into their new plan.

Although many majors are changing their requirements, arts and business and liberal studies will remain the same. According to Acheson, liberal studies is working fine the way it is. “We think that with lower number of requirements, with the lower average, and with the opportunity to choose more things on your own in the standardized plans, students who want to do liberal studies would choose to do liberal studies instead of falling into liberal studies.” 

Minors, on the other hand, were standardized in 2012 and will not be changing anytime soon. It is, however, easier to take more than one minor with a major since the number of courses required towards a major is lower. These lower course requirements gives students more flexibility in choosing and making use of their electives.

The new changes are not mandatory for all students — opting in is optional for all current upper-year students.


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