Are you in the middle of the application process for a semester abroad in Canada and now have to specify your course choice? Or do you have the acceptance of the university in Canada to which you applied and are now planning the first semester of your bachelor’s or master’s degree? In both cases, this means that you now have to familiarize yourself specifically with the courses offered by your university in Canada, a major country in North America listed on fashionissupreme. Anyone who completes a full course of study in Canada should now be familiar with the examination regulations or the curriculum of their degree program at the latest deal with. Because the sequence of the courses to be attended is usually regulated and corresponds to a thematic and temporal logic.
The exact list of the courses on offer including the course description (syllabus) can be found in the university’s course catalog. Those of you who are studying in Canada as visiting students may have already looked at them during the orientation phase when it came to choosing the right university for the semester abroad.
Course catalogs at Canadian universities
Colleges and universities in Canada usually publish the course catalog online as a PDF file for download per semester / term. In this catalog you will find all courses that take place in the respective semester
- Course title
- Course number: This number, also known as a course code, provides information about the course level (based on the academic year), the number of credits and the subject area. Canadian universities do not use a uniform code. The respective key is usually explained in the course catalog.
- Course description (indication of the topics covered by the course)
- Course type (e.g. lecture, seminar, lab, etc.)
- Requirements (e.g. degree course, technical requirements)
Above all, read through the first pages of the catalog, because here you will often find a lot of useful general information, for example on the grading system used, the academic year or information on various student support. Information and deadlines regarding the so-called add & drop period are usually also given.
Types of examinations and grading in Canada
As mentioned above, the individual courses in Canada have continuous performance reviews during the semester. For this reason, Canadian students take a maximum of five courses per semester – a number that German students may initially appear to be small. However, the constant workload should not be underestimated. Attendance at the courses is checked, by the way, and oral participation is often included in the final grade. So it is essential to always stay on the ball in order to get a good grade in the end.
While undergraduate students often have to take small intermediate tests (quizzes) and work on assignments in their courses, things are not quite as schooled in the master’s program. However, the reading workload is extremely high in the master’s program and the students have to write homework or papers parallel to the seminars, which they then have to hand in at the end of the semester. There are also essays, case studies and assignments. And active oral participation is also recommended, because the graduate courses are rather small and reluctance would certainly be noticed negatively. In addition, there is close contact with the lecturers in the Master’s / PhD program and the events are of a high standard.
The following forms of performance assessment are common at Canadian universities:
- Assignment: Comprehensive questions that have to be worked on and can be compared with the “exercise sheets” at German universities.
- Quiz: Quizzes are short, multiple-choice tests on passages in the textbook that should be prepared for the session. Are very common in the courses for Bachelor students and take place at the beginning of a session.
- Journal: The journal is a seminar diary in which the students document their thoughts and findings on the subject matter of the course.
- Paper (Exposé / Essay / Case Study): Shorter written work of up to five pages that the students write and hand in during the course. The form of this written work varies depending on the subject area. In linguistic and cultural studies subjects, exposés and essays predominate. In the fields of natural science, engineering or economics, students tend to work on case studies (case studies) or write papers on research topics. By the way, learning based on case studies is more widespread at Canadian universities than at German universities.
- Term Paper / Research Paper: Long term paper that usually has to be written during the semester and submitted on the last day of the course.
- Presentation / group work / project: As in Germany, presentations, group work and smaller projects are often part of seminars in Canada.
- Midterm Exam: In the middle of the semester, an exam in which the subject matter dealt with up to now is queried. Often with a high proportion of multiple choice questions.
- Final Exam: Final exam at the end of the semester in which the entire subject matter of the semester is queried.
Grading in the courses in Canada
As can be seen above, the workload of studying in Canada should not be underestimated. While the final exam is the most important thing at German universities, continuous performance is required in Canada. Because every quiz, assignment and paper is included in the final grade. Of course, this has the advantage that a less good grade in the final is not so bad if the other partial performances were rated good. The percentage of the individual performance reviews on the final grade varies and is usually communicated by the lecturer in the first session.
The composition of the final grade can look like this, for example: Assignments (15%), Laboratory (20%), Project (25%), Midterm (15%), Final (25%).
Atmosphere in the courses in Canada
In their experience reports on studying abroad in Canada, the students often rave about the very personal atmosphere that is usual in the courses in Canada. The lecturers are usually addressed by their first names and in a short time the lecturers also know the names of their students. Especially in smaller events, such as seminars or labs, the students quickly get to know each other. Discussion and interaction play an important role.
Canadian universities see themselves as service facilities, not least because of the high tuition fees. The lecturers are tasked with helping their students to achieve a good academic degree within the standard period of study, and there is an open-door policy. It is unthinkable in Canada that there are hundreds of students for one teacher, as we sometimes know from Germany. The regular performance assessments, especially in the bachelor’s degree, are primarily there to be able to react in good time if a student no longer “comes along”.
Canadian courses and differences to Germany
On the whole, the courses in Canada can be compared with those in Germany. The biggest difference is probably the type and frequency of performance reviews during the semester. The fact that they have to perform at their best right from the start and throughout the semester certainly means a change for German students. However, you will also quickly find out how pleasant it is when everything does not depend on a single exam at the end of the semester.
Another difference to Germany is the student-lecturer ratio, both quantitatively and qualitatively. The tuition fees in Canada are admittedly high, but the students benefit from the large number of teaching staff and the close-knit support that this provides.