Program Questions  |  Math Courses  |  First Year Students  |  Other Questions | SAI 


Program Questions

1) What courses can I use towards the ethics and social responsibility requirement of my program? 

In addition to the courses listed in the calendar program requirements, we will also accept the following: 


If you would like to use 
one of the above courses to satisfy your ethics requirement, please email math.undergrad@utoronto.ca requesting a program update. Please make sure to include your student ID number. 

If you would like to use a different course that is not on this list, please fill out the Program Exception Form. You will be required to provide a copy of the course syllabus, your unofficial transcript, and a statement of reason. 

2) CaI use a different course than what is listed in the calendar to meet my program requirements? 

This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and usually is allowed when students wish to take a specialist course and apply it to their major program. Requested course substitutions should be of the same year of study e.g., you cannot use a 100-level course in place of a 200-level requirement, and the substitution course must be similar in content and difficulty.  

If there is a course you would like to use in place of a required course, please fill out the Program Exception Form. You will be required to provide a copy of the course syllabus, your unofficial transcript, and a statement of reason. 

3) What is the difference between math minor, major, and math specialist program?

The math major and minor programs are intended for students who want to combine mathematical skills with work in other subjects. In contrast, students in the specialist programs will acquire in-depth knowledge and expertise in mathematical reasoning and the language of mathematics, with its emphasis on rigor and precision. These programs are designed for students wishing to pursue graduate studies.

Students can view program requirements for the math minor, major and specialist programs in the academic calendar. Here it will list the required courses that students need to take in order to complete each of these programs. Please note that program requirements can vary quite a bit between the minor, major and specialists, so it is important to be familiar with the required courses for your program and plan ahead to make sure you meet prerequisites and can continue with program progression.


Math Courses

1) How do I get into a reading course? 

A reading / research course is an independent study that is supervised by a faculty member.  The topic must be outside the undergraduate offerings and is not eligible for CR/NCR option. A minimum GPA of 3.5 in math courses is required, as well permission from the prospective supervisor and Undergraduate Associate Chair. Math reading courses can be repeated for credit as long as the topics are different. 

Reading courses: MAT295H1, MAT296H1, MAT395H1, MAT396H1, MAT495H1, MAT496H1, APM496H1 

Research courses: MAT297Y1, MAT397Y1, MAT497, APM497Y1 

Students wanting to take a reading course are responsible for finding a supervisor. Eligible supervisors should be Math Faculty at UTM, UTSG or UTSC. Once you have found a supervisor who has agreed to supervise your reading course, students fill out section 1 of the Reading Course Form, then the instructor fills out section 2 and signs. The completed form and a copy of your unofficial transcript can be sent to math.undergrad@utoronto.ca.

2) I want to take a math course, but I am missing a prerequisite, can I still receive permission to take the course? 

We expect students to meet all prerequisites for the courses they register in so they will have the foundation and knowledge to be successful in their program. However, in cases where students have completed courses at other faculties or Universities and have strong rationale to support their request, a prerequisite waiver may be considered. 

Students can fill out the online Prerequisite Waiver Form. The request will then be reviewed by our Associate Chair, Undergraduate, to determine if it will be approved or denied.

Please be aware that prerequisite checks are conducted at the start of every term and are ongoing up to the add class deadline, so students can be dropped if they do not plan ahead and ensure they meet all prerequisite requirements.

3) I am missing a corequisite for a math course, will I be removed? 

As of Fall 2020, corequisite checks will be enforced in the Math Department. Students not meeting corequisite requirements can expect to be removed from the course when corequisite/ prerequisite checks are underway. Please note that prerequisite checks are conducted at the start of every term and are ongoing up to the add class deadline, so students can be dropped if they do not plan ahead and ensure they meet all prerequisite requirements.

4) What is the difference between MAT223H1F, MAT223H1S and MAT223H1Y in the summer? How many credits is MAT223H1Y worth?

Please note this is the same course and is worth 0.5 credit in each of the cases. The differences are: 

  • MAT223H1F runs in the first semester of the Summer (May-June) and is run at an accelerated pace 
  • MAT223H1S runs in the second semester of the Summer (July-August) and is run at an accelerated pace. 
  • MAT223H1Y runs throughout the ENTIRE Summer (May-August). This is a two-semester course and runs at a normal pace as it would in the fall or winter term. We offer this version to our students since accelerated summer courses can be quite condensed and difficult for some students to follow along with as the F and S terms are very short. Again, note this course is also worth 0.5 credits.           

*The same applies to the following summer courses: MAT135H1F/MAT135H1S/MAT135H1Y, MAT136H1F/MAT136H1S/MAT136H1Y, MAT224H1F/MAT224H1S/MAT224H1Y


First Year Students

1) I am supposed to take first-year Math course, but I have not taken Calculus in High School, will this be a problem?


Please note that our first-year Math courses (MAT133, MAT135, MAT137, MAT157MAT223 and MAT240) do require high-school level calculus as a prerequisite, but in our Department this is not strictly enforced. Students can add the course and will NOT be removed from it even if they do not possess high school calculus. However, we do caution students that the material is definitely a jump from high school math and will require some self-study to make sure you are prepared for the content. 

If you think you will require further help, you can consider taking either PUMP level 1 or 2, whicare non-credit courses that our Department offers as preparation for University-level math. 

Additionally, please see our Guide to First Year Calculus to see the difference between our first-year courses, and which ones might be best for you. 

For further help in preparing for first year calculus, you can check out the Precalc page which has further review materials and quiz assessments (though please note, answers are not provided).  Also, students can visit the Exam Repository for further practice with old course exams. 

Please be aware that prerequisites for math courses beyond first year calculus are very strictly enforced in our Department, and students are required to complete all listed prerequisites before enrolling in higher level math courses, or they will be removed during prerequisite checks.  

2) I really liked math in high school, but I am struggling in the first- year courses. Am I the problem?

It is extremely unlikely that you are the problem. There is a lot to get used to in university, and the transition itself can be a lot. In mathematics classes, it can be especially difficult in first year courses because they have enormous class sizes and students are coming in from a wide variety of backgrounds. It is still likely that you enjoy and are good at mathematics even though you may not be enjoying the structure of the course, and that is different from whether or not you like mathematics.

If you are struggling, please do not blame yourself. Grappling with new topics and ways of thinking is a part of learning mathematics, but it should not be painful, overwhelming, or traumatic. If that is happening to you, please consider going to the Math Aid Centre, emailing or contacting your course instructors, finding a Recognized Study Group, or discussing the issues you are facing with the Undergraduate Chair. If you are not finding relief through those avenues, please contact equity@math.toronto.edu.

3) If I hate calculus or my first-year course, should I stop studying mathematics?

Lots of mathematicians struggle with calculus and/or have a challenging time in first-year courses. This is not an unusual reaction as there is a lot to deal with while adapting to the university setting, and the transition to college-level mathematics classes or proof-based curriculum is incredibly difficult, especially when doing it without support. Students who succeed in mathematics enjoy some part of what they are learning when equipped with the support of a welcoming community of colleagues, fellow students, and teachers. If you do not feel supported or part of the mathematical community at Toronto, please contact equity@math.toronto.edu.

4) Everyone else in my classes seems like they are more prepared than me or they are following material I am not comprehending. What should I do?

One of the unfortunate aspects about mathematics culture is that there seems to be a universal tendency for individuals in math classes to “suffer in silence.” What this means is that it is very likely that if you are not following the material, there are many other students also not following the material. Although it seems counterintuitive to the way a classroom environment at the University of Toronto works, students who can be publicly honest about what they are not following or what they have not seen before make the environment better for everyone.

One mathematical myth is that how deeply you understand a mathematical concept is related to how fast you learn it. In reality, these people who seem speedy have typically seen the material before, or they have A LOT of time outside of class to actively and slowly engage with the material. Speed has absolutely nothing to do with mathematical potential.

If you feel comfortable with your instructor, you could consider sharing your relationship with the material with them. It is possible that they can help you or you can find on your own other class members who are in the same position and try to work together on the class and study techniques. You can ask classmates, students who have taken the class in the past, or the instructor about particular strategies for studying, but take note that these proposed learning styles might not be the best for your individual needs. Other ways to find a sense of community in your classes are through Recognized Study Groups, the Math Student Union, AWM Chapter, or other student groups.

If none of these options are available to you, you may want to discuss the issues you are facing with the Undergraduate Chair of Mathematics or the Diversity & Equity Committee.

 5) I took Calculus and Linear Algebra in high school, why do I have to take these courses at the University again?

Please note that there is a difference between high-school level vs. University-level Math courses. If you are interested in a University degree program, you will be required to take University-level courses. Additionally, you should always follow the requirements of the academic program you are interested in, as different programs will require different courses from you, and you need to make sure the courses you are taking will suffice for your program requirements. If you are in doubt, you can also follow up with the Department that hosts the program you are interested in, and further ask about their specific program requirements.

Finally, if you have taken some courses at another post-secondary institution, and you want to evaluate them at UofT, you should get in touch with the Transfer Credit Office. The Math Department does not evaluate credits from other institutions directly, whereas Transfer Credit Office can award you with credits on your transcript if the courses you have taken are equivalent to some of the UofT courses.


Other Questions

1) I am interested in applying for a TA position, how can I do this?  

Students are eligible to apply for a TAship if they are a registered student at U of T. Normally TA positions are given to students in fourth year and sometimes third year. It is uncommon for first- and second-year students to be given TA positions.  All TA positions are posted on the HR website with the following timelines: 

  • Fall courses (F and Y terms): on or before June 30 
  • Winter courses (S term) on or before October 31 
  • Summer courses (F, S and Y terms): on or before March 15

The link to apply will be provided within the job posting, and the application will be submitted online. 

2)  What kind of research opportunities are available in the Math Department?

3) What are some other ways I can get involved with the Math Department or on campus?

Students are encouraged to participate in student groups and events to enrich their undergrad experience and meet some new friends along the way! Here are a few ways you could get involved:

4) What careers are available for someone with a degree in math (major or specialist)?

Starting off in your studies you might not know what field you want to enter, but for math graduates there are a lot of opportunities!

Math students have a lot of skills that employers look for as they are keen problem solvers and able to make sense of advanced equations.

Many of our math specialist students go on to complete graduate degrees, leading to careers in academic research or teaching. For example, our Mathematics & Its Applications Specialist (Teaching) (Science Program) - ASSPE1580 is intended to lead into a career in teaching. Other common career paths include positions in business, economics, banking, the tech sector, and other specialized fields such as law or medicine. We have highlighted a few specific careers here:

Math graduate students often find work as an:

  • Auditor
  • Data or Research Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Medical Scientist
  • Financial Analyst
  • Statistician
  • Actuary
  • Economist
  • Software Developer
  • Data or Research Scientist
  • Professor or Instructor

There are a wide range of opportunities for individuals with a math background, as there is a universal need for graduates with strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills.

Don’t worry if you are unsure of what field you might like to eventually work in, starting your studies and following your academic interests and strengths is a good first step. Throughout your program we highly encourage students to get involved and join clubs, seek out research opportunities, internships, study abroad or exchange programs, work as teaching assistants, and participate in events that can help connect you with Faculty, students, alumni, and employers. All these things can be a great help in orienting your career goals.


Student Academic Integrity

1) I would like to take a course next semester, however, I need to pass my current course to register as a prerequisite. Will I be kicked out of my course next semester if I have an academic offence in my current prerequisite course?

If you have confessed to your first academic offence in the university that is worth less than 10% of your final grade, you will receive the penalty for the offence and you will receive your final grade at the earliest it becomes available. If with the penalty you have a passing grade that meets the grade entry requirements for the course you wish to enroll in, you will not be removed from the course.

If you have not confessed to your first academic offence that is worth less than 10% of your final grade or you have multiple offences in your current prerequisite course, your case will need to be forwarded to SAI. Cases unresolved within the department and are forwarded to SAI may take time to be resolved. SAI usually prioritizes the cases related to student’s graduating in the coming term or first year students entering subject POSts before other cases from academic units. You must understand that your case will take time to resolve. At the department level, we are unable to predict or make promises as to when your case will be resolved with SAI. If your unresolved case from the course that was a prerequisite for the course you plan on taking is not resolved by the time you are in you are enrolled in your planned course, you may be removed by the academic unit related to the course you are enrolled in.

2) I have been contacted in relation to an alleged academic offence in my course. I have confessed to the allegations, but the penalties strongly effect my final grade. Is there a way I can ask for a reduced penalty?

Unfortunately, a course is unable to change the penalties based on the individual student’s situation. The penalties usually pertain to the entire assessment submitted even if the offence was in one section of the submission. Penalties are put in place so the student will understand the consequences of their offence and to reflect on the actions that took place resulting in these penalties.

3) Is there a way my file doesn’t have to be on record at the SAI office?

Following University procedures, your case record will be sent to SAI. A record of your case will be in your "academic record" which is a file internal to the U of T. Only certain high-level U of T staff can access that file. Your professors cannot see this file, department staff cannot see this file, the Chair of the Department of Mathematics cannot see this file, future employers, award committees, or graduate school programs cannot see this file. The only actual consequence is that, if you commit a second offense, SAI will flag it as such, it will have to be resolved at the Dean's level (not at the department's level), and the consequences will be more severe.

4) I have an academic offence in another course. Will I be suspended from taking courses next year?

Students who have a previous offence in another course will have their current case moved forward to SAI. The penalty will be left up to SAI. The department is not able to apply penalties on a student’s offence if it is their second academic integrity case.

5) I would like to apply to graduate school or a post-graduate program such as law school. Will this academic offence effect my chances of getting into a program after undergraduate studies? Will the offence be visible on my transcript?

In the past, a good number of students in this position were more concerned about the SAI database than about any other aspect of the sanction. If this is your first offence (on an assessment worth 10% or less of final grade), then this issue is too small an offence to be noted on your transcript.

6) I had a meeting with a course representative, and I would like to have another meeting with them to clear up my questions regarding the investigation. How do I book another meeting?

Simply email the course team, thank them for giving you an opportunity to meet and kindly request for another meeting with the course team to walk you through the submission. If you have a solid understanding of why your submission had been flagged and wish to continue the investigation by moving forward in meeting the Undergraduate Chair of Mathematics, you may also request this through emailing the course Team. Please be aware that when meeting with the Chair, the meeting will be less related to going over submission issues. The meeting with the Chair will mainly pertain to answering your questions related to the SAI process and what to expect if you wish to continue through the investigation.

SAI Resources