Selecting Courses

Although the school year is wrapping up, June is a good time to start planning ahead and choosing your courses for next term. The Ontario Ministry of Education has made this process a little easier with the recent publication, Course Descriptions and Prerequisites Grades 9-12 (2010) (find it here: It contains detailed course descriptions for all courses Grades 9 to 12, as well as course lists (that include course codes, course type, course names, grade and prerequisites) and prerequisite charts, which visually outline the courses required to advance in particular areas of study. The Course Descriptions and Prerequisites document was written to help students choose courses that will guide them to their post-secondary destinations.


The term ‘prerequisite’ refers to a course that is deemed essential for successful understanding and completion of a subsequent course – it is needed to facilitate the transition from one level of a subject to another. The prerequisite charts in the document provide a visual outline of the relationships between courses.  Although prerequisite courses are generally required for enrolment in certain senior level courses, it is possible to have them waived. According to the ministry document, “if a parent or an adult student requests that a prerequisite be waived, the school principal can determine whether or not the prerequisite can be waived”. This is something to keep in mind as you plan your final courses.


If you’re curious about the content and material covered in courses, the ministry document provides paragraph descriptions that summarize what students will learn in each course. The course descriptions are organized in separate sections according to various disciplines, or areas of study. Each section is preceded by a course list and prerequisite chart to help students understand what is required for each grade level in the various disciplines.


The Course Descriptions and Prerequisites document is an essential tool for students who are planning their post-secondary paths.


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