U of T offers a program in what?! PoSt selection adventures with The Da Vinci Code, Star Wars and yoga

Are you a first-year student and clueless about how to choose your Subject PoSt (Program of Study)?

Are you an upper-year student and unsure if your current program(s) is/are for you?

Well, worry not, my friends, because lifeatuoft is here to answer all your questions! Since I’ve already written a whole lot about the fundamentals of PoSt selection (here and here), I won’t bore you with those details.

Instead, I bring your attention to some cool programs that most people don’t know much about, but might actually make your studies pretty exciting. Although you can switch programs at the end of first year, sometimes the smaller and less popular programs (albeit the more interesting ones) are designed in such a way that if you are not enrolled in them from the beginning, you’ll end up missing a lot of prerequisites for upper-year courses.

The key is to do your research. Talk to students from upper years: What are they doing now, and what programs did they enjoy or not enjoy and why? What programs would they recommend, especially for a specific career path you’d like to follow?

True, U of T is a pretty big place and it takes time to master the ins and outs of program and course selection – you know, all the little things that are never stated explicitly in the Calendar or Timetable but might make a whole lot of difference to your undergraduate education. The good news though, is that along with these hidden pitfalls there are also hidden benefits.

The few programs I’ve listed below are great examples of hidden benefits at U of T. Many students hear very little about them because they are often offered through a specific college and appear under the college’s name in the Calendar. These programs are often interdisciplinary and unique. You’ll get to meet many interesting people with a wide variety of backgrounds, engage in intimate discussions in small seminar classes and you may even have the rare opportunity of having professors address you by your first name. Check them out! I bet it’ll make you say “No way!” at least once.

1. Writing & Rhetoric (Innis College)

  • Minor only
  • Type 2

Let’s face it: writing is hard. The sight of a clean, blank page induces panic and fear in even the best writers. Writing and Rhetoric offers courses that help you brush up on the fundamentals of written discourse, such as elements of style, grammar and all that jazz. It also offers more advanced courses that connect writing to the┬ámedia, the creative writing process, as well as writing in the workplace. Just when you think that university courses can’t get anymore theoretical (and relatively speaking, any less hands-on), life throws you a curveball!

2. Paradigm & Archetype (New College)

  • Minor only
  • Type 1

Honestly, I had no idea what exactly these courses entailed until I gathered enough courage to enroll in one (NEW302Y1 C.G. Jung: Stories, Dilemmas, Rituals). Perhaps it was because it offered the perfect opportunity for me to explore the strong link between literary canons and psychology. Or perhaps it was the that tedious course requirement of watching Fight Club and Star Wars in an academic setting. Seriously, if you don’t like watching movies, I wouldn’t recommend this course.

3. The Buddhism, Psychology and Mental Health Program (New College)

  • Minor only
  • Type 1

Let me show you the course description for NEW431H1 Cultivating Consciousness: Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness in Practice:

This is a course on the scientific study of subjective experience. Students’ own consciousness will be the laboratory for self-study using awareness-raising techniques from Buddhist and Yogic traditions, including breathing exercises, conscious movement, concentration and mindfulness. Students will objectively measure their experience and will be expected to maintain a daily meditation practice.

Hmm…read two papers a week on cell microscopy, or this? Tough decision. Touuughhh decision!

4. Book and Media Studies (St. Michael’s College)

  • Major, minor
  • Type 1

If you are a literature junkie and taking only English courses isn’t enough to curb your enthusiasm, try this program. From learning about the history of reading practices to theories on mass communications, these courses totally beat the program name in terms of generating excitement and awe.

5. The Semiotics and Communication Theory Program (Victoria College)

  • Major, minor
  • Type 2L

I once asked my friend, who is currently enrolled in this program, “So, what is semiotics again?” He desperately tried to communicate through a clear definition, but eventually, he gave up, looked at me and said, “You know the Da Vinci Code? You know Robert Langdon and all his code deciphering? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.”

Although I took his words with a grain of salt, the program nevertheless piqued my interest. There are many undergrad courses that I would’ve wanted to try had I been given more time (and money) to stay in school, and these semiotics courses are definitely at the top of my list.

6. Employment Relations (Woodsworth College)

  • Specialist, major
  • Type 2L

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this program has not been eaten up by the huge and exclusive Commerce program at U of T. If you’re planning to go into human resources, or if you’re just interested in studying how people are actually hired (from an academic perspective, of course), this is the program for you.

I hope that all of these programs have made you more excited about PoSt selection than before. Don’t hesitate to comment with any questions you may have regarding the process, or maybe even a particular program you’re interested in (among us five UpbeaTers, I’m sure we’ll come up with a satisfactory response for you). Good luck and take care!


3 comments on “U of T offers a program in what?! PoSt selection adventures with The Da Vinci Code, Star Wars and yoga

  1. U of T makes me angry for this very reason… “Cultivating Consciousness”? That’s amazing. Semiotics? Equally amazing. Ugh… the “have no regrets” adage is kind of redundant if you don’t know what’s out there. >_<

    whatever i’m just bitter

  2. Oh man, I’ve always thought that book and media studies looks amazing. I think they have a big section on medieval manuscripts? So amazing.

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