Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section attempts to address some common questions and concerns First Nations Studies students may have. There are many requirements that students have to be aware of during the course of their studies. Some are addressed here. If you need further clarification, please visit Academic Counselling or the First Nations Studies Program office.

First Year Courses

Students in their first year must choose courses that fulfill the basic requirement of completing 5.0 courses numbered 1000-1999, including at least four different subjects with no more that 2.0 courses in one subject. Students preparing to enrol in any First Nations Studies program modules should complete FNS 1020E with a minimum grade of 60%.

Part-time students who have completed 1.0 first year course are eligible to register in senior courses (numbered 2000-4999) for which they have completed the prerequisite(s).

Please refer to Westerns Academic Calendar for more information.

Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirement for First Year

First year students must include 1.0 course credits from each of TWO of the three categories: A, B and C. Category A courses are Social Science and Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary courses; Courses in Category B belong in Arts and Humanities and Languages while Category C courses are from Engineering, Medical Science, Science and Communications Sciences and Disorders (under "Various").

Part-time students who have completed 1.0 first year courses are eligible to register in senior courses (numbered 2000-4999) for which they have completed the prerequisite(s)

Breadth Requirement for Graduation

At least 1.0 courses must be completed from each of the three categories - A, B and C before you may graduate. Meaning: if you completed 1.0 credit each from A and B in first year, then a 1.0 courses from Category C has to be completed before you can graduate. Any outstanding breadth requirement not completed previously MUST be completed in order to graduate.

Please refer to Westerns Academic Calendar for more information.

Entrance Requirement

You have to complete First Nations Studies course 1020E with a minimum grade of 60% in order to enrol in First Nations Studies courses.

Progression Requirements

A Progression Requirement is the minimum requirement you need that will allow you to continue in your program each year. Should you not meet the minimum progression requirements, you may be asked to withdraw from the University.

After you have attempted 3.0 to 7.5 courses, you reach a Level 1 Progression. At this time you are "In Good Standing" if you have ≥ 55% (greater than or equal to 55%). However if you are between 50-54% you may be placed "On Probation". With <50% (less than 50%), a student  is "Required to Withdraw".

When you have attempted 8.0 courses or more, you are at Level 2 Progression. A ≥60% places you "In Good Standing", a 55-59% put you "On Probation", while with a <55% would be a "Required to Withdraw".

With a 70% or higher you achieve a Honors Progression.

Dean's Honor List & Graduation with Distinction

An 80% cumulative average places a student on the Dean's Honor List. When your cumulative average is 80% and NO mark is less than 70% you graduate with Distinction.

Prerequisite, Corequisite and Antirequisite


A Prerequisite is a course that has to be completed successfully before enrolling in the course for which it is listed as a prerequisite. For example FNS 1020E is a prerequisite for First Nations Studies courses and has to be successfully completed with a minimum of 60% before enrolling in other First Nations Studies courses. One can view prerequisites in the Western Academic Calendar


An Antirequisite is a course that overlaps sufficiently in course content that both cannot be taken for credit towards the degree requirement. For example, Anthropology 2220E is an antirequisite for FNS 2101E. Course antirequisites are listed in the Western Academic Calendar.


A Corequisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with (or prior to registration in) the desired course.

About Courses & Course Load

About Courses

In Canada a "course" is a unit of teaching. A half course is usually a half credit (0.5 credit) while a full course is one credit (1.0 credit). Typically it describes an individual subject and lasts one academic term. A course has a fixed roster of students and is led by one or more instructors. Upon completion of a course students may receive a grade (or mark) and an academic credit. 

An Essay course is one that has a significant writing component.

A Principal course is a first year course that is listed by a program/department offering a module as a requirement for admission to the module. For example FNS 1020E is a principal course that is required for admission to all First Nations Studies modules. For admission to an Honors Specialization module or Double Majors modules in an Honors bachelor Degree, at least 3.0 courses will be considered principal courses.

A Subsidiary/Optional course is from an elective or optional subject within an Honors program.

Course Load

  • Normal course load for first years is 5.0 courses numbered 1000 to 1999.
  • Students enrolled in 3.5 courses or more in Fall/Winter session are considered full-time students
  • Students enrolled in fewer than 3.5 courses in any term are considered part-time students

Spring/Summer Session

  • The workload for the Spring/Summer sessions (from May to August) at Western or any other university is a maximum of 3.0 courses
  • No more than 2.0 courses can be taken simultaneously
  • Where 2.0 courses are taken simultaneously, only 1.0 of them may be a laboratory course.

Distance Studies Courses

  • Students may not take more than 1.0 courses by Distance Studies during the spring/summer session
  • In the fall/winter sessions, students may not take more than 2.0 courses
  • If a student wishes to take more than the allowed number of courses with Distance Studies, they must get permission from the Dean of their academic faculty prior to selecting the courses.

Switching Degree/Program - Intent to Register(ITR)

Each year students have the opportunity to select which degree they want to follow. This process is know as Intent To Register (ITR) and typically happens in February - March each year. You must complete the Intent to Register process by its deadline to be able to access and select courses during the summer registration through the Student Center.  This is mandatory for all returning students.

It is recommended that you attend one of the information sessions offered during the program counseling period. During the Intent to Register period, you have the opportunity to select or change the program module(s) or degree that you want to follow. There are a number of steps that have to be followed and details on what to do and how to do it can be found at:

Intent to Register Planning Guide

You may access the Online Intent to Register service by logging into Student Services. You then click on "myPossibilities" and then click on "Intent to Register". You then follow the instructions provided on the online  process. Once you have completed the Intent to Register form online, you will receive an email confirming your choices to your UWO email account.

What is a Module?

A module is a self contained standard unit or segment of an educational course or training program. It can be combined with other different but compatible modules to assemble or build a combination of courses  and earn a degree, certificate or diploma. A module can function as a standalone class or be combined with other modules to build courses and earn degrees, certificates, and diplomas.

Modules provide flexibility. You are free to pick and choose the modules that meet your educational goals. If you want to learn a specific skill or learn about a specific topic or area of interest, you can enrol in courses for the specific module. You thus have the option to build your degree module by module.

Course Selection for your First Nations Studies Modules

When selecting courses for your First Nations Studies modules, you have to remember to select courses as follows:

  1. For ALL Modules
    • you are required to complete courses FNS 3140F/G and FNS 3722F/G
    • you need a 1.0 credit by completing FNS 2217F/G and FNS 2218F/G (=1.0) or FNS 2901E (1.0)
    • for Honours modules you must complete FNS 4141F/G. This course is offered every other year.
    • 2 essay credits from the table of courses listed in the "Modules and Course Selection" section on the left on this page. On the "Modules and Course Selection", click on the  Modules and Course Combination Requirements tab.
  2. Additional Essay Credits
    • FNS Honours Module - 4.0 credits selected from the table in the "Modules and Course Selection" section and under the "Modules and Course Combination Requirements or the "Approved Course List"
    • FNS Major - 2.0 credits selected from the module sheet (see bullet 4 above) course lists or "Approved Course List" (see link above).

The above is an abbreviated summary. Further details can be found under the  "Modules and Course Selection" section on the left. Again on this page click on the the Modules and Course Combination Requirements tab. If you wish to discuss your options and course selections further, please contact the Acting Director, First Nations Studies or the First Nations Studies Program Coordinator.