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 Too much material in too little time?!

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PostSubject: Too much material in too little time?!   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:51 pm

Hello everyone,

I've always just accepted the statement coming from iSci faculty that "this program prepares you for EVERY Level 2 degree program" without challenging it. Then I got my Faculty of Science information booklet mailed to me the other week and I did some serious searching. I looked at all the prerequisites needed for all the programs. In order to be eligible for EVERY Level 2 program, this is a streamlined list of the courses a student would need to take in his/her first year:

Bio 1A3, 1M03
Math 1A03, 1AA3, 1B03
Chemistry 1A03, 1AA3
Physics 1B03, 1BA3
Environmental Science 1A03, 1G03
Psychology 1X03, 1XX3

So iSci is claiming to jam 13 courses of material into just eight?! Is this right? I can't see this being possible at all without some serious short cuts.

Now, that said, I can see a potential ability to do this. Knowing iSci as being an elite program, you guys may have been able to apply some quantum theory to large body objects and are doing crazy things like going to multiple lectures (sorry...iConS) at once. Razz But the feasibility of doing this is questionable. Smile

Anyway, can anyone address this and put my fears to rest? I recall someone voicing the concern that this may be a "Jack of all trades, master of none" type of deal which I don't want to believe. My other concern is that if someone has decided that they want to go into a particular field, other programs would do a better job of preparing you for that field exclusively because iSci does not have the liberty of focusing on one topic/field in depth, right?

Thanks,

Adam
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Prateek Gupta
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PostSubject: Re: Too much material in too little time?!   Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:53 pm

Edit: See Rachel's Post to the correct outline of courses first!

All students coming into the program are meant to have exceptional marks in the sciences already, and to be very interested in all the sciences.

It is a tougher program, if you cannot handle it, then really you should not be applying. But otherwise, iSci year 1 covers all subjects sufficiently to prepare students for any second year program.

This being said, there are some cases (for example geography, math, physics), where you will need to take one or two first year classes in second year to facilitate a concentration (and these are accounted for in the whole concentration layout).

But yeah, this is part of what makes iSci so appealing. And I am very confused at your reference to 'jack of all trades, master of none'... any other first year science program, you will basically taking these some subset of these courses, this program really just covers more to facilitate those students who are high-achieving in science with an innovative, problem solving-, team-based curriculum. All science programs in Canada are general in first year (and have to be as almost every professional degree -- from masters programs to medical schools -- requires accreditation in first year sciences).

As per your 'too little time,' yes in iSci you have more class hours and more lab hours. If you were to talk to any iSci student saying that there is too little time in iSci, they will think you are crazy.


Last edited by Prateek Gupta on Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:37 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Yohan Yee

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PostSubject: Re: Too much material in too little time?!   Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:29 pm

BIO 1M03 can be covered in 2 lectures...and that's what my Poli Sci friend says...
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Rachel Charney



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PostSubject: Re: Too much material in too little time?!   Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:30 pm

I have a couple more points to add.

Firstly:
iSci does not cover psych 1X03 or 1XX3, but this is not a problem because any prior knowledge that is needed in second year psych courses is covered through iSci biology lectures.
iSci also does not cover Math 1B03 (and it does not purport to cover this course)

Secondly:

(disclaimer- the information here has not yet been officially published. it is from page 84 of this pdf: http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/associatedean/appc/2011APPCreport.pdf )

It seems like next year iSci won't be an antireq for envirosci 1A03 or the astronomy course.

So all first year covers is:
two terms of math
two terms of bio
two terms of chem
two terms of physics
one term of earth sci
=9 courses fit into 8 courses... not a big deal

as prateek was saying: exactly what you would take first year in any other science program, at any university

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Prateek Gupta
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PostSubject: Re: Too much material in too little time?!   Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:31 pm

Cool, thanks for the clarification and update Rachel!!

So yes, really in addition to some of the scientific literacy, lab techniques, research skills, and group-based activities, iSci seems to really only claim to fit 9 courses into an 8-course equivalent course, which as I agree with Rachel, is fully understandable.

Moreover, enrollment in iSci will often allow you to waive certain prerequisites so long as you maintain a high average (however this is department specific). If you are really concerned about your course-breakdown, I'd advise you to contact a science counselor at Mac, but in all seriousness, the first year breakdown does not limit you in any way for any science program. (The only exceptions is that you may have to do the first year astronomy or linear algebra class as one of your electives, in summer school, or in second year... which is otherwise pretty OK in my opinion)
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PostSubject: Re: Too much material in too little time?!   Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:19 pm

Ok, thank you for the replies. If it is only nine then that makes much more sense.

Rachel, your link is very helpful, thank you very very much. Smile
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