Courses Commonly Required for Undergraduate University Admissions

2023 Course for University Admission Header

For students in Grade 11 and 12, it’s important to start planning ahead to your post-secondary applications when it comes to selecting your courses. Unlike Grade 9 and 10, where the majority of your courses are compulsory subjects, Grade 11 and 12 offers far more elective options and choice. It can be daunting to try and select courses both based on the subjects you find interesting and the courses you’ll need to have in order to apply to the post-secondary school of your choice.

In this article, we’ll discuss the common requirements for most programs depending on your major.

General Subjects

Before we take a look at individual majors, it’s important to discuss some common courses that are required by a variety of programs. This is especially helpful if you’re not certain which university program you’re interested in, these subjects are wonderful to give you some options.

Grade 12 English – ENG4U

Grade 12 English is a requirement for all high school students to graduate, however there are different levels of Grade 12 English including university, college, and workplace. It doesn’t matter what university program you’re applying to, whether it’s science or the humanities, Grade 12 University level English is a requirement for every university program.


Prerequisites for ENG4U include ENG3U Grade 11 University English, NBE3U Grade 11 English: Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Voices, or ESLEO English as a Second Language Level 5.

MHF4U - Grade 12 Advanced Functions

Grade 12 Advanced Functions – MHF4U

This course is required by several different types of majors, including but not limited to Engineering, Health Sciences (including Nursing), Computer Science, and Business. If you are at all science or business oriented, even if you’re not sure specifically what you might like to study, Advanced Functions is a very common requirement and will give you options moving forward. It is also a prerequire or co-requisite for MCV4U Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors which is often a recommended, if not required, course for several different majors as well.

Prerequisites for MHF4U include MCR3U Grade 11 Functions, as well as MCT4C Grade 12 Mathematics for College Technology

Sciences – Engineering, Computer Technology, Health Sciences

Along with ENG4U and MHF4U students who are interested in the sciences have a group of courses that can apply to one or multiple fields of study, everything from Engineering to Health Sciences (such as Nursing) and more.

Here is a list of courses you should take if you have a strong interest in pursing science in your post-secondary education. While some of these subjects lean more towards one discipline than others, all of them will help create a solid foundation of knowledge while also helping you meet university admission requirements.

Grade 12 Chemistry SCH4U

This course is a requirement for programs in Engineering, Nursing and Health Sciences

The prerequisite for this course is SCH3U Grade 11 Chemistry

Grade 12 Physics

Grade 12 Physics SPH4U

This course is a requirement for programs in Engineering and often, but not always, Computer Science.

The prerequisite for this course is SPH3U Physics

Grade 12 Biology SBI4U

This course is a requirement for programs in Health or Life Sciences.

The prerequisite for this course is SBI3U

Grade 12 Computer Science ICS4U

This course is often recommended and sometimes required for students entering a Computer Science program.

The prerequisite for this course is ICS3U.

Humanities – Sociology, Psychology, English etc.

Besides Grade 12 English, many humanities programs don’t necessarily have many specific course requirements, beyond need six Grade 12 U/M credits. However, the following courses are highly recommended, as they allow students to develop essential skills in writing, sociology and psychology that are important for most humanities-based programs.

        1. Grade 12 Challenge and Change in Society HSB4U
        2. Grade 12 Philosophy: Questions and Theories HZT4U
        3. Grade 12 Writer’s Craft EWC4U
        4. Grade 12 Canadian and World Issues CGR4M

The prerequisite requirements for these courses are any Grade 11 or 12 university (U) or university/college (M) preparation course in Social Sciences and Humanities, English, or Canadian and World Studies.

Again, the above-mentioned courses are not typically requirements for humanities programs, but they are beneficial in covering a variety of subjects and providing necessary knowledge and skills to be successful on your post-secondary journey.

Business – Administrations, Economics, Marketing

Last, but certainly not least are suggested courses for students who might be interested in a business program, whether is focusing on accounting, economics, marketing, or other aspects of business, it’s important to have a well-rounded knowledge. Many business programs require advanced math, as mentioned earlier, MHF4U is quite commonly required or recommended for business related fields. Beyond that there are some additional courses you should take if you’re interested in business.

Grade 12 Mathematics of Data Management MDM4U

While some business program may require the more advanced level math, others will accept any Grade 12 university level math or they may want MDM4U specifically.

The prerequisites of this course are either MCR3U Grade 11 Functions or MCF3M Grade 11 Functions and Applications.

Grade 12 Business Leadership BOH4M

Though this is not a required course, it is highly recommended as it teaches student important interpersonal and management skills important not just for work but life as well.

There is no prerequisite requirement for this course.

Grade 12 International Business Fundamentals BBB4M

In today’s modern world it’s almost impossible to do any type of business without understanding how to operate at an international level. This course teaches student about culture, politics, economics, international trade, as well a marketing and logistics on an international level.

There is no prerequisite requirement for this course.

Grade 12 Financial Accounting Principles BAT4M

Even if you’re not overly interested in accounting or understanding numbers as a whole, an important part of any business program is learning about finances and how things like budgets and operational costs affect a business entity as a whole.

The prerequisite for this course is BAF3M Grade 11 Financial Accounting Principles.

Grade 12 Analyzing Current Economic Issues CIA4U

Another important aspect of business, beyond accounting and budgets, is knowing the ins and outs of the economy, both locally and international. 

The prerequisite for this course is any Grade 11 or 12 university (U) or university/college (M) preparation course in Social Sciences and Humanities, English, or Canadian and World Studies.

While not every one of these courses will be a requirement for a business program, taking them at the high school level will help you create a foundation of knowledge to build from for your university courses.

Whether you know what your post-secondary plans are or you’ve just started thing about them. The courses listed throughout this article are a good base point for difference programs, especially if you aren’t sure what you would like to study post-secondary. Having a starting point for which subjects would be most beneficial can help any student achieve success in high school and beyond.