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Switching faculties

Old 12-30-2009 at 03:34 PM   #1
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Switching faculties
Like many first years at McMaster, I have been pressured to become a doctor by my parents all my life. I'm in the Life Science program and until very recently was planning on doing pre-med. However, my true passions are visual arts and French. I am taking French as an elective. Art, I've taken all through high school. I really want to switch into the humanities next year. I want to double major in studio art and French. Is this too crazy? I know it's too late for me to take the visual arts courses this year. The only art course that I can take next semester is Art History 1AA3. I would love to get some advice on what I should do, what courses should I take so I can make the transition into the these programs without having to stay an extra (which I guess I don't mind that much)...

Any advice... ANYTHING is appreciated!


First-year in A LOT of turmoil

Last edited by Needlenose : 12-30-2009 at 04:23 PM.
Old 12-30-2009 at 04:49 PM   #2
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That's definitely possible! I'm sure tons of people entered programs and have ended up switching into a totally different one.

I'm not sure if it's possible to do without staying an extra year though. You should check out the Undergrad Calendar under the School of Art and Department of French ( /calen...ent/index.html ). If you re-arrange your courses properly, you might not have to stay an extra year. For example, you could use the credits you took this past term to fill your electives, and you might be able to take summer school courses.

However, it looks like you need to take Art 1F03 and 1FF3, which require a portfolio interview process. I'm not too sure about this, but you should definitely talk to the School of Art to see how this works. (http://sota.humanities.mcmas )

You may not be eligible to enter a double major in art and French, but since you have first year French, I think you can at least apply for French for Level II, and then switch into a double major for the next year.

Last edited by nh999 : 12-30-2009 at 04:53 PM.
Old 12-30-2009 at 04:49 PM   #3
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The best person to talk to would be an academic advisor. People on here with experience changing their possible majors can probably give a little advice about the process but an academic advisor would be able to start you in the right direction, tell you exactly what you need to do, point you in the direction of other people who can help you with the transition.

I never switched faculties but I know many students have decided after first year to switch and go in a different direction.

This might be a wasted year though in terms of time and money, but if you really want to change directions and aren't happy with what you're doing now you'll probably find it worth while and just have to take it as a life lesson.

Sorry I can't be of more practical help, I feel like I'm constantly telling people to go talk to an academic advisor.
-Stefanie Walsh-
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Old 12-30-2009 at 05:07 PM   #4
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As Stefanie said, talk to an AA when you get a chance. They'll give you the best answer.

Having said that, I talked to one during the summer, for pretty much the same reason. I applied to Humanities, but was accepted to Social Science. When I asked one of the Soc Sci advisors about getting in to the Linguistics program in second year, she told me all I had to do was meet the requirements of the linguistics program (complete ANY year one program, get an overall CA of 6, and a 7 in Ling 1A03 and 1AA3). She helped me pick courses to do Humanities I this year, so that when I finish, I have all requirements, despite not completing the Level I program for my faculty.
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Old 12-30-2009 at 05:16 PM   #5
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It definitely is possible. You could also major in Art and minor in French. If you apply to major in French you should be able to get in for next year.. you will need to get a B- in the class you are taking now. You should check the Course Calendar though to make sure you will meet all the requirements.

As for art, you might be able to apply for next year. Usually the portfolio interviews are held in February or March, so it's probably not too late to apply. You could talk to somebody at the SOTA office, the website is here: and the office is on the 4th floor of Togo Salmon Hall. The portfolio interview is very informal, all you do is bring in about 20 pieces(or photos) and a sketchbook and talk about your work. Then you'd find out around April I think. It's competitive to get in as it's a really small program but they tend to take special consideration for students already at Mac.

Definitely take Art History 1AA3 because it's a required course for the art program and so is Art History 1A03, although they usually only have that class first semester. If you haven't already taken it you could take it next year though. Also, there are usually some French courses offered over the summer so it might help you to consider taking summer school to get ahead a little. As someone already mentioned above, you should really talk to an academic advisor... they will be able to tell you what to do.
Emily Hochheimer
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Old 12-30-2009 at 06:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the helpful advice everyone! I will talk to an academic advisor as soon as the second term begins!

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