What's the difference between a major, a minor, an honours, and a certificate?


A major is your primary area of study — designed to be approximately half of the course work you complete towards your chosen degree — 60-78 credits, depending on the degree.


A minor is your secondary area of study and consists of a selection of courses worth 24 credits. A minor must be combined with a major/degree program. No more than 9 credits can be counted in common between a major and a minor.


An honours represents an even higher level of specialization than a major. Honours programs can be coursework or thesis-based and may include supervised research, depending on the program. An honours requires you to maintain high academic standing and generally provides the best preparation for post-graduate studies. The requirements for honours extend beyond that of a major, so no minor is required, but you may complete a minor if you choose.

NEW! Certificates

An undergraduate certificate consists of a selection of courses worth 12-18 credits comprised of available courses related to a theme. Certificates must be combined with a major/degree program and must be taken at the same time as your degree.

Credits by degree

One of the following must be completed for a BA or BSc: 

  • a major + minor (most common)
  • a double or joint major
  • a general degree with three minors
  • a specialized degree with an honours (no minor required)


Though every 120-credit degree will be different, the typical credit distribution for degrees will look like this:

Bachelor of Arts - credits Bachelor of Science - Credits

Bachelor of Commerce - credits Bachelor of Music - credits Bachelor of Fine Arts - credits