Frequently Asked Questions

Fall/Winter 2020-2021 Geography Registration FAQs

Will classes be held in-person or virtually?

To address physical distancing requirements, most of the geography undergraduate courses will occur in virtual formats. Courses that are being delivered in-person, are clearly listed in the timetable. In geography there are just a few labs/tutorials that fall into this category.

My timetable lists a weekly timeslot for my Geography class, but it also says the class is online. Does this mean I need to log in to OWL or a videoconferencing platform (e.g., Zoom) at that time?

Yes. If the class has a timetable spot listed, the instructor will offer at least some “synchronous” (e.g., all students together in a Zoom classroom) content. This may occur weekly or on a less regular schedule. The instructor will provide additional detail about when and how to connect with your class on OWL. We ask you to keep that timeslot free in your schedule so that you can participate in virtual classroom activities.

My timetable doesn't show timeslot for a particular course, but the lab/tutorial has a timeslot and says it is online. What does this mean?

An online course without a specified day and time will deliver the lecture materials 'asynchronously' and students can access them at any time. This does not mean however that the course has no structure - you can expect that most courses will provide progression of materials on a weekly basis. It is important to keep up to date with your courses. Your course instructor will provide more information in the course outline. Courses with a scheduled day/time for a lab or tutorial component require students to be present online at those times. This is 'synchronous' delivery of course materials. It may involve instruction or discussion that are otherwise not possible.

My class has a virtual lecture but an in-person lab. Why is that? Do I have to attend the in-person lab?

Some of our courses, particularly those in the area of GIScience require use of particular facilities such as a computer lab to provide access to software or resources that cannot be provided virtually. We have set up the labs to accommodate for appropriate physical distancing measures. Students in these courses are expected to attend the in person lab component because it is providing an important learning outcome for the course.

If my class runs online, do I need to return to campus for exams?

If a Fall-term class is scheduled to run online (with either synchronous [all students together in a Zoom classroom] or asynchronous delivery [students access the material at times that are convenient to them]), students will NOT be required to return to campus. Instead, even if exams are scheduled for in-person delivery, students who are not in residence or located within a reasonable day’s commute (e.g., students not located in Southern Ontario) will be offered suitable assessment opportunities that can be completed virtually. These may include exams that are identical to printed exam versions, exams that have similarly difficult questions, provided in an alternate format (e.g., essay instead of multiple-choice exams), as well as non-exam assessment formats. This information will be clearly noted in the course outline. Note that as with in-person exams, online exams may also be subjected to proctoring and additional scrutiny.

I tried to add a course (on the first day that I was given from the Registrar) but the web site kept telling me that the course is full. How is that possible?

The comment that you received "This section is full" may not mean that there is no space left in the course. Many of our courses have constraints placed on them to give preferential access to students in particular modules or years of their program. If you do not have this status, you will have to wait until a later date when the constraints are lifted.

For example if the timetable constraint states, "Priority to Hons. Geography programs, major in Geography. Open in July 20 to all programs." then only students who are registered in an Honors Specialization or Major in Geography will be able to add the course until July 20th. If you are, for example, registered in the Minor in Geography and you attempted to add this course you would receive the error message "This section is full" even though there still might be space in the class. The solution is to wait until after July 20th when the constraint is lifted.

Can I get special permission to override those constraints?

No overrides will be given.

Why are so many courses not being offered?

We are not able to offer all of the courses that appear in the calendar in any one year. When a professor is on sabbatical leave, for example, the upper year courses that are taught by them are often not offered. Most times, the course will be offered the following year.

I am registered in the field camp course Geog 3000Y and although I am only registered in 4.5 courses the system would not allow me to add another 0.5

This happens because the Y designation means that the course is not offered in a regular session, but the system reads that as being a full year course. Geog 3000Y is actually offered in fall so you should be able to fit 2.5 courses in fall and 2.5 in winter, with this course included in fall.

We have notified the registrar's office and the problem should be fixed, but in case you do run into it call the helpline at 519-661-2100.

I want to take an extra course next year.

You will need the permission of your Dean's Office. If you are a Social Science student, please visit Social Science Academic Counselling Special Permissions website to find out if you qualify and how to get permission.

I need special permission to waive a course prerequisite.

Please see the Geography Undergraduate Advisor Angelica Lucaci in SSC 2322A, the geography main office, or the course instructor.

I tried to get into a course but it is full, now what do I do?

You will need to monitor course enrolments online and wait for a space to become available. For some courses we will allow a small number of extra students in.

I haven't completed the Intent to Register and cannot register in courses, what do I do now?

You need to contact your faculty counselors to complete a paper form. If you are in Social Science they can be reached at 519-661-2011 or

Note: there are also university graduation requirements that you must meet for your degree through appropriate course selection.