Academics

Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer: the information on this page is a summarized version of the University of Toronto Undergraduate Faculty of Engineering’s online available resources. Use this page as a starting point and place to find more information. Visit all of the appropriate official Faculty Pages (many of them linked below), and see the appropriate Faculty Staff before taking academic action. If you find any outdated or inaccurate information on this page, or have any questions, please e-mail vpacademic@skule.ca.

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  1. EngSoc Academic Resources
  2. Ancillary Fees
  3. Academic Advisors
  4. Petitions
  5. Appeals
  6. Extra Academic Support

1. What Academic Resources are Offered by EngSoc?

  • Past midterms, exams and syllabi on courses.skule.ca.
  • Find a tutor on tutors.skule.ca.
  • Bring forward larger issues to VP Academic at vpacademic@skule.ca. Issues can be brought to the Academic Advocacy Committee as a project to take on or dealt with through EngSoc.
  • The Academic Advocacy Committee has monthly meetings that all students are welcome to attend where academic advocacy projects are tracked throughout the year (check out the Skule Calendar on this site for the next meeting date)!
  • F!rosh Anticalendar - found on courses.skule.ca. A resource that gives a description, tips and important skills for all first year courses.
  • Stop by the EngSoc Office (accessed from the Pit) Monday-Friday 9-5pm to use office tools like staplers, hole punchers, tape, etc. or to talk to one of the Officers.

2. One of my courses has a mandatory/ancillary fee, what does this mean and what can I do about it?

Background Information: Each year, the University of Toronto Governing Council approves ancillary fees for certain courses, making them mandatory for the completion of a course or program. Non-approved fees can still be made optional to student (ie. an online resource that costs $10 to access), however if the fee is not approved, the student has other options (read steps below).

Ancillary Fees: Ancillary fees are defined as fees mandatory to successfully complete a course or program. They include:

  • Field trip costs
  • Personal equipment that becomes the possession of a student (such as a lab coat or dissection kit)
  • Administrative fees such as transcript fees or library fines

Read more about Ancillary fees here.

For the Official Policy on Ancillary Fees: University of Toronto Governing Council Policy on Ancillary Fees

Find this Year’s approved fees: Publication of Approved Ancillary Fees

What you can do when your course has a fee:
  1. Check the Ancillary Fees approved for the current academic year that you’re in, found here 2017-2018 Approved Ancillary Fees. Look for your course-code and which specific fees were approved.
  2. If the fee was approved in the document, this fee is mandatory and must be paid for successful completion. You can always approach your class reps, or the professor directly, if you would like to raise concerns; however, the fees are legal.
  3. If you do not find your course or fee in the Approved Ancillary Fees for this academic year, it was not approved. If you would like to verify, or ask any questions, you may email planning.budget@utoronto.ca.
  4. Since there is a course fee that is not mandatory, the professor must be able to provide a free alternative that will allow you to complete the course/degree. For example: if an online problem set costs $10 to access, but the fee is not mandatory, the professor may offer to accept paper submissions of a different set of problems.
  5. Talk to your class reps, or e-mail VP Academic (vpacademic@skule.ca) if you need additional support or have further questions.

3. What is an Academic Advisor?

Each year and discipline is assigned to an Academic Advisor within that department. Academic Advisors are individuals who know about the Faculty’s various policies and resources, and can help with a broad range of issues from academic to personal to career-related.

Find out who your Academic Advisor is, and what they can help you with here!


4. How do petitions work?

By the University of Toronto Engineering Faculty definition, a petition is: “your formal request for an exception to a Faculty or University rule, regulation or deadline.” This means that you can petition midterms/exams/assignments/labs if there is an extenuating circumstance that prevents you from being able to attend/complete them.

For information on reasons to file a petition, and the 3 types of petitions (term work, final exam, special consideration), visit the UofT Engineering Undergrad Petitions webpage. Ensure to click on the link for each type of petition. You will need to know the petition deadlines and required documentations for each specific type of petition. These sections will also outline how soon you can expect a decision on your petition after submitting (your Academic Advisor can also provide more information).

Process of filing a petition:

  1. (Recommended) visit your Academic Advisor (see section 3) as soon as possible. If you are ill before a midterm/exam/lab, see your advisor before the evaluation if possible.
  2. Determine whether your circumstance is appropriate for a petition (your Academic Advisor can help with this), and what type of petition you need to submit.
  3. Ensure that you are meeting the petition deadlines, and that you have the documentation required.
  4. Log into the Engineering Portal with your UTORid (for more information about the Engineering Portal, click here). Once logged in, click the link under “Online Requests” and then “Request for Petition / View Petition Results”. Choose the type of petition that you are looking to submit and complete the appropriate form.
  5. Your petition should be approved within the time period stated on the information page for that petition.
  6. If your petition is granted, ensure to be aware and follow through with the conditions and next steps (ie. re-writing a midterm, or grade weight re-distribution).
  7. If your petition is not approved, you have the option of submitting an appeal within 30 days of the decision being made (See Section 5).

5. Academic Appeals

Academic appeals can be filed if the outcome of a petition is not satisfactory, and the student wants the decision to be reevaluated by a different body. An appeal also often contains information that was not provided during the initial petition (such as supporting medical or professional documentation). The appeal must be made within 30 days of the petition’s decision.

All information pertaining to the process of submitting an Appeal can be found here and in the Policy on Academic Appeals. Ensure that you know your deadline, required documentation and way of submission. Once again, your Academic Advisor can help with details pertaining to Academic Appeals.


6. Extra Academic Support

Whether you had a rough start to the term and need some help catching up, or are looking to refine your studies, there are many ways to get extra academic support. Here are some of them:

  1. Office Hours - I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but that’s because it works. Office hours give you the opportunity to sit down one-on-one (or bring a friend for a group session) and sort out all sources of misunderstanding. Protip: many TAs are also willing to have office hours, or schedule meetings with you (or you and a friend) to review course material. If you learn well from a specific TA, approach or e-mail them and they will surely find a time to sit down with you.
  2. Tutors.Skule.ca - The tutors listed on this site include the courses that they know well, so it’s easy to find very specific help. You can also often find past TAs and UofT Engineering students who know your course content very well. Protip: Some tutors offer group sessions, where multiple students can get help at the same time, and the cost per session is reduced. Ask tutors if they offer this option, and buddy up with a peer for extra help for less money!
  3. P.A.S.S. (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) - These study sessions are hosted by ~2 upper year students per course. They are organized and facilitated by the First Year Office, and they are run throughout the term for many first year courses. You can find out more, including the schedule for upcoming sessions here. The students who run these sessions are usually current undergraduate students, so not only can they help with course material, but they can often provide tips and insight to help you perform better overall. Plus, many other first year students attend these sessions, so there is an opportunity to work with others and learn from your peers.
  4. Organize your own study sessions with classmates! All you need is a space to work:
    • Book a study room at one of UofT’s many libraries here!
    • Use the Engineering and Computer Science Library on the 2nd floor of the Sandford Fleming building. The upper level of the library has open desks often used for group-work.
    • Use a common room or discipline-specific study room if you have one available.