Direct Entry

By James Keller

For first year students at the University of Calgary, Direct Entry is nothing new. It’s the way it is–the way it’s always been.

The registration system where new students enter directly into their desired faculties begins this year. Prior to its introduction, students destined for faculties other than Fine Arts, Engineering, Nursing and Kinesiology had to spend at least one year in the Faculty of Communication and Culture (formerly General Studies) completing pre-program studies. After taking at least one year of degree-applicable courses, students would apply to enter their faculty of choice.

As first year students should know, the new system forces you to pick a faculty immediately, instead of "testing the waters" (the ultimate buzz-phrase in the aimless first-year’s vocabulary) and falling into place further on.

This is all fine and good if you’re part of the 65 per cent of incoming students who already know what they want to study. However, the fair-sized minority who doesn’t could be in a very confusing position right now. You’re undoubtedly asking yourself one question: will I be able to switch?

"It is important for students to know they can change their mind," Associate Vice-president Student Affairs Peggy Patterson told the Gauntlet. "We don’t want to do anything to restrict students [seeking a transfer]."

While students have to pick a faculty when they apply for admission, it will be easy for them to switch afterwards. And, if all goes to plan, there should be a number of simple ways to do so.

As always, there are "change of program" forms at the Registrar’s Office. Like all methods of switching, these do take a number of weeks to process, and like everything else, can be done as early as the beginning of the winter semester for applications affecting the following academic year.

If you don’t feel like filling out the form and waiting in line, public access terminals around the Registrar’s Office will also do the job. And, for the lazy student, you will be able to apply for a change of program online over the InfoNet at

Students applying for programs with competitive admission or admission quotas–like Nursing or Management–were also asked to list a second, non-quota choice. If you applied for one of these and did not get in, the opportunity will certainly be there to try, try again once admitted.

Lastly, most programs require you to declare a major. Despite fears that students will be forced to declare a major within a faculty immediately as well, the university maintains that this is not the case. Most faculties will require the declaration of a major or specialty after ten full courses (two years), while students in the Faculty of Science will only be able to declare after completing four full courses (one slack year).

Information about this or any other issues related to Direct Entry can be found on the U of C website ( ) or by consulting the Undergraduate Programs Office in Social Sciences 209.

Leave a comment