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Understanding your degree requirements

About program guides

PROGRAM GUIDES are available for every program offered by the Faculty of Fine Arts.   They are a one-page snapshot of how the credits required for your degree are distributed within your degree intended to help you track your progress through your degree. It is critical that you follow the program guide for the year you entered into that specific program. 

Program guides can be found on the Faculty of Fine Arts website (

Understanding the program guide

To use the guide, you must know program length of your degree.  This can be found in your Offer of Admission. Students admitted to an MEP (108 credit) or ECP (120 credit) program are required to complete additional credits than the regular 90 credit degree program based on their previous studies.  These additional credits are “free electives” and are entered in the top box on the program guide.  Students admitted to a 90 credit program can ignore the top box altogether.

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The specific components of your BFA degree


All BFA students are required to complete the 6-credit course, FFAR 250, in order to obtain their degree.  It is normally recommended that students take it in their first year of study. Learn more about this course.

It is a full-year course running from September to April.  Students unable to register for it in their first year - either because the course is full to capacity or because their particular program recommends other first year courses—may take it in their second year. 

The structure of this course is unique.  There is both a lecture component and a tutorial component. The lecture component meets every week and will be attended by approximately 450 students.   The tutorial component of the course is comprised of smaller groups of approximately 25 students.  The tutorial component does not begin meeting the first week of classes.  They begin meeting either the second or third week of classes, and continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis for the remainder of the year.  The tutorial is where the actual work of the course takes place.  As such, it is mandatory to attend.

** Some sections of FFAR 250 have a tutorial which is taught in French. NO SECTION CHANGES ARE PERMITTED FOR THIS COURSE so it is very important when registering for this course that you select a section of the course with the tutorial in your preferred language of instruction.

It is your responsibility to ensure you are in the correct language tutorial.

All degrees must contain a Major or Specialization.  Majors and Specializations in the Faculty of Fine Arts range from 48 credits to 72 credits depending upon the program.  The more credits allocated to the major or specialization, the less “elective credits” available in the degree.


Some students opt to add a Minor to their major or specialization.  If so, the Minor credits replace some or all of the elective credits in the degree.  (If the minor is from another Faculty, it can also replace the elective credits chosen from outside the Faculty of Fine Arts (also called the “General Education Requirement” - see below).  If your degree does not have enough “elective” or “out of Faculty” electives to cover all the credits required for the Minor, your minimum program length will be extended accordingly.   (You can find your minimum program length on the second page of your Offer of Admission)

There are two types of elective courses:

Out of Faculty Electives (also called General Education Requirement) – 6 credits

All BFA students must satisfy the General Education Requirement by completing a minimum of 6 credits from course offerings OUTSIDE the Faculty of Fine Arts.  Most students select courses from the Faculty of Arts and Science.  Others opt to take courses from the John Molson School of Business or the Gina School of Engineering and Computer Science.  Students wishing to take courses from these Faculties must meet the prerequisites of the course and must understand that first availability of these courses goes to students enrolled in programs within these Faculties.

Free Electives

All programs (generally excluding Major or Specialization/Minor combination programs) offer the opportunity to take some free electives of your choosing. Free electives can be chosen from course offerings in any Faculty including additional courses within your own program or other courses from within the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Please be aware that although ANY course can be applied as a free elective, many courses are reserved for students in that program and are therefore NOT available to students outside of that program. If you wish to take a course from another department that you are blocked from registering into, you may contact that department to see if special permission can be obtained.

Residency requirements are of importance for students who have received transfer credits from another institution.  Although we will award the maximum number of credits an applicant is entitled to receive, it is often the case that not all transfer credits can be applied within the degree.  This is in part due to residency requirements.  There are two types of residency requirements: university residency requirements and program residency.

University Residency Requirements

University residency requirements defines the number of credits that MUST be completed at Concordia University in order for you to be granted a Concordia degree.  The rule of thumb is that a minimum of 45 credits must be completed at Concordia.  There are some exceptions to the rule which allow a higher number of transfer credits to be applied.  More details of these regulations can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Program Residency Requirements

Every plan (major, minor and specialization) has a program residency requirement which defines how many credits with that plan must be completed at Concordia University.  Every program guide indicates the program residency requirement of that program in the text at the very top of each program guide. 

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