[Answering My Own Questions]: What are Specialist, Major, and Minor? What do they differ?

What are a Specialist, Major, and Minor? How do they differ?

UofT has three types of programs: Specialist, Major, and Minor. Since a specialist is a UofT term, people get confused about what a specialist is.

First, there are three significant differences:

  1. They contribute differently to your degree requirements.
    • At Arts & Science, to earn the Bachelor’s degree, you need to do at least one of the following:
      1. One specialist
      2. Two majors
      3. One major + two minors
  2. They have different enrollment requirements.
    • This is case-by-case. A specialist may be easier to get in than other minors. So you need to refer to the UofT Arts & Science calendar.
    • In general, for the same study, take Computer Science as an example, in 2019, the difficulty to get into a specialist equated to major, and they were harder than minor.
  3. They have different completion requirements.
    • First, specialists and majors may require you to take some specific course(s).
    • Secondly, the specialist needs you to take more courses than the major, and the major needs you to take more courses than the minor, in addition to the potential extra required courses.

Other differences include that specialist students are usually given the highest priority to enrol in some courses (at least no lower than a major).

In my own experience, my CS specialist is very similar to a CS major because they came with the same priority in the courses I took, and even if I didn’t do the specialist, I might still take extra courses. But my Stats major is very different from a Stats specialist I think, at least I didn’t get the chance to choose a focus (I will take more about what a focus is in the next post), if I’d taken a Stats specialist, I might postpone graduation for one more year. My Math minor gave me a chance to look into mathematics better, but I know it’s very different from a math major/specialist.


Smart Lock – What I love most about my Samsung Devices

Have been using a Samsung smartphone for nearly one year and a half, a feature I love most is not anything fancy but Smart Lock.

This is not the Smart Lock that I installed at my front door – it’s for unlocking the smartphones.

In short, it automatically keeps the devices unlocked in certain scenarios, for me, I set it up as follows:

  1. I am in my house (it’s not always accurate unfortunately), OR
  2. My device is connected to my Galaxy Buds Pro, OR
  3. My device is connected to my Galaxy Watch 4

The last two are very accurate and reasonable. If I am wearing buds or a watch, I no longer need to unlock the screen manually.

When I am going to buy a new phone this year or next year, I will do some research if the new smartphone has something similar. This is the feature I love most.


Samsung health doesn’t include the one extra hour today when the daylight saving time ended.

Today is the time: the daylight saving time ended – the time was rolled back one hour at 2PM.

I woke up checking my Samsung Health app. I am using a Galaxy Watch 4. I have made some complaints about the sleep tracker although the product overall is great. This morning I am disappointed again – it seems like the sleep tracker doesn’t include the extra one hour.

As you can see, I slept from 1:26 AM to 9:25 AM, which’s ~ 8 hours. But if you include the one extra hour, I should have slept for ~ 9 hours.

Anyway, I should watch to get to bed early and get up early😂. This screenshot discloses my bad habit.



I registered PAN.XYZ some time last week. It is renewed at a regular price of ~$10 even although it is a pretty short and meaningful domain.

The reason why I registered this domain is that PAN is my first name. However, PAN.XYZ does have another special meaning, which I thought of. Let me explain.

PAN in English is the word root for “All” according to Wikipedia, and we live in a three-dimensional world, which means all things have X, Y, and Z attributes in space. Therefore, PAN.XYZ means everything, every opportunity, the infinite possibility in life – which is my life philosophy.


No longer an Apple user – sold my iPad today

I have never been an Apple fan, however, more than 2.5 years ago in 2019, I bought my first and only Apple product – iPad wifi 128GB (6th gen). I used it mainly for taking notes paperlessly. The experience was great.

But today I sold my iPad together with Apple Pencil, which would be replaced by Samsung Tab S7 & S Pen. It is a result of my embracing into Samsung’s ecosystem, not Apple’s. I like the openness & customizability of Android, and iOS UI is just not my type. Additionally, S Pen works well so far, at least better than my sold 1st gen Apple Pencil.

Yet, I acknowledge iPad as a good product. If you love Apple’s ecosystem, definitely use it. The ecosystem is very important as I realize now.