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Dean of Arts Office | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Simon Fraser University Calendar | Summer 2023

Certificate in Liberal Arts (CLA)

Admission to this program has been suspended effective Summer 2019.

This program, which provides broad exposure to areas of knowledge and inquiry methods essential to a liberal education, is for students who desire breadth of learning. It may be completed in conjunction with a degree program, or by students not seeking a degree.

The certificate requires ten courses comprising at least 30 units from the designated course list. These courses, which include both lower and some upper division courses, were carefully chosen for suitability in providing accessible and valuable material.

Please note that courses must be chosen from the CLA course list. Substitutions or equivalent courses to those on the CLA list will not be accepted.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program has been suspended effective Summer 2019.

Grade Requirements

A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.0 or a C average is required for all courses applied to the certificate. No more than eight courses completed before fall 1987 (0877) may be applied to the certificate.

Course Sets

To qualify for the certificate in liberal arts, students must complete 10 courses, distributed as follows:

  • two courses from Set 1
  • two courses from Set 2
  • two courses from Set 3 
  • two courses from Set 4
  • two courses from Set 5

A brief description of the kinds of courses in each set are as follows. Visit to view the course list.

Students must include one writing (W) course, one quantitative (Q) course, one Breadth-Humanities (B-HUM) course, one Breadth-Sociology (B-SOC) course, and one Breadth-Science (B-SCI) course.

Sets 1-3 address approaches to knowledge; sets 4 and 5 are thematic.

Set 1 - Speaking to the World

The language, literature, and the arts that enable us to communicate with and understand the world.

Set 2 - Theories and Methods

The assumptions and methodologies of disciplinary research and the intellectual tools needed to interpret data.

Set 3 - The Sciences

The disciplines that study the natural and physical phenomena of the universe.

Set 4 - Society and the Individual

The forces that define our Canadian experience and ourselves.

Set 5 - The Global Experience

The world outside of Canada and beyond our era.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 15 transfer units are permitted towards the certificate in liberal arts. Normally, only credit assigned as directly equivalent to a course regularly listed within the program may be transferred.