The Academic System in Canada

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I am on my year abroad at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. (Canada) As a joint honours student I was slightly apprehensive about spending a year at a different institution purely because it can be complicated in Leeds, never mind in an entirely different system.

I was surprised at how easy it was to adapt my course over here, with there being a huge range of course open to me that I have never had the chance to study in England. Definitely make the most of this! I have been able to get an insight into some of the courses I am considering for final year.

The academic system in Canada is slightly different to that at home. As a humanities student I am used to spending minimal hours in lectures and tutorials, and most of my time in independent study. Over here that is totally not the case. Despite doing the same number of courses, I am in university two times as much as I was in second year at Leeds – a bit of an adjustment!

In terms of assessment, many of the courses include discussion participation for part of the grade, even if it is small amount. This is a good incentive to not put off doing a reading! Whilst the amount of coursework is similar, many courses in Canada also incorporate midterms into the module. This is great as it takes off some of the pressure for finals.

Over all, the on-going system of assessment has worked well for me – pushing me to keep up and taking some of the pressure from the final exams.

Written by Hannah Ramalingam – McMaster University, Ontario, Canada

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