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[Answering My Own Questions]: What are Specialist, Major, and Minor? What do they differ?

What are a Specialist, Major, and Minor? How do they differ?

UofT has three types of programs: Specialist, Major, and Minor. Since a specialist is a UofT term, people get confused about what a specialist is.

First, there are three significant differences:

  1. They contribute differently to your degree requirements.
    • At Arts & Science, to earn the Bachelor’s degree, you need to do at least one of the following:
      1. One specialist
      2. Two majors
      3. One major + two minors
  2. They have different enrollment requirements.
    • This is case-by-case. A specialist may be easier to get in than other minors. So you need to refer to the UofT Arts & Science calendar.
    • In general, for the same study, take Computer Science as an example, in 2019, the difficulty to get into a specialist equated to major, and they were harder than minor.
  3. They have different completion requirements.
    • First, specialists and majors may require you to take some specific course(s).
    • Secondly, the specialist needs you to take more courses than the major, and the major needs you to take more courses than the minor, in addition to the potential extra required courses.

Other differences include that specialist students are usually given the highest priority to enrol in some courses (at least no lower than a major).

In my own experience, my CS specialist is very similar to a CS major because they came with the same priority in the courses I took, and even if I didn’t do the specialist, I might still take extra courses. But my Stats major is very different from a Stats specialist I think, at least I didn’t get the chance to choose a focus (I will take more about what a focus is in the next post), if I’d taken a Stats specialist, I might postpone graduation for one more year. My Math minor gave me a chance to look into mathematics better, but I know it’s very different from a math major/specialist.

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