Admin & Advisor FAQ

  1. Which students need to take the language and quantitative proficiency tests?
  2. What are Foundations courses?
  3. Who will be required to take the Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99) course?
  4. Who will be required to take the Foundations of Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning (FAN X99) course?
  5. Do students required to take FAL or FAN courses need to complete them within a certain time period?
  6. What are the minimum WQB requirements for graduation?
  7. When should students be advised to take their WQB courses?
  8. Can a course fulfill more than one requirement (for instance, as a Q and a B)?
  9. What happens if programs, including professional programs, joint majors and double majors, do not have enough elective credit hours available to enable students to meet the new requirements?
  10. Are W, Q and B courses labeled as such in the SFU Calendar, the course catalogue, and on students’ records?
  11. What if the faculty member trained to teach a W course is not available to teach it in a particular year?
  12. How can we project course offerings in ways that enable students to plan, while at the same time ensuring that the courses qualify as W?
  13. Can any course outside the major qualify as a B?
  14. Would a minor count as meeting the breadth requirement?
  15. Could a department in, for example, the Social Sciences offer a Designated Breadth course in the Sciences or Humanities?
  16. Will Designated Breadth exemptions apply at program, course or student level?
  17. What kinds of academic support do we offer SFU students?

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1. Which students need to take the language and quantitative proficiency tests?

  • Students admitted directly from high school and who have obtained a final grade of 74% or lower in BC English 12 or its equivalent must take either take a language proficiency test or register directly in Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99) before taking their first W course. Students who have obtained a final grade of 69% or lower in BC Principles of Mathematics 11, BC Applications of Mathematics 12 or BC Principles of Mathematics 12 need to take the Quantitative Placement Test or register directly in Foundations of Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning (FAN X99) before taking their first Q course.

2. What are Foundations courses?

  • Foundations courses are designed to prepare weaker students for W and Q courses.

3. Who will be required to take the Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99) course?

  • Students who are admitted with a final grade of 74% or lower in BC English 12 or equivalent must take the FAL X99 course. Students who fail to achieve the required threshold on the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) test (Level 4 on the essay and 50% on each of the other parts) must also register in FAL X99. Click here for a full course description of FAL X99.

4. Who will be required to take the Foundations of Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning (FAN X99) course?

  • Students who are admitted with a final grade of 69% or lower in BC Principles of Mathematics 11, BC Applications of Mathematics 12 or BC Principles of Mathematics 12 must take the FAN X99 course. Students who fail to achieve the required threshold of the Q Placement Exam (20 out of 30) must also register in FAN X99. Click here for a full course description of FAN X99.

5. Do students required to take FAL or FAN courses need to complete them within a certain time period?

  • Students who must take FAL or FAN courses must register in them as soon as possible and must complete them successfully within 3 enrolled semesters at SFU (normally 45 units). If students do not successfully complete (obtain a minimum C) these courses within this time frame, an advising note will be put on their record that will prevent them from registering before they have consulted with an advisor.

6. What are the minimum WQB requirements for graduation?

  • The following university-wide graduation requirements come into effect for students admitted to Simon Fraser University in the Fall of 2006:
  • 6 credits of Writing, including at least one course from the upper division, within the student's major, taken at SFU;
  • 6 credits of Quantitative;
  • 24 credits of Breadth, including:
  • (a) 18 credits of Designated Breadth (DB) (6 credits of Social Sciences, 6 credits of Humanities, and 6 credits of Sciences); and
  • (b) 6 credits of Undesignated Breadth (UB) (courses taken outside the student's major program).
  • A grade of C- or better is required to earn W, Q or B credit.

7. When should students be advised to take their WQB courses?

  • Students should be advised to take their first W and Q courses during their first 30 credit hours, and must complete them within their first 60 credit hours. The second required W course must be an upper-division course, and it must be taken at SFU. B courses should be taken in a timely manner, keeping in mind that students should average roughly one B course per semester.

8. Can a course fulfill more than one requirement (for instance, as a Q and a B)?

  • Yes. Some courses may fulfill two requirements. For instance, a course may count as both a Q and a B, a W and a B, and so on. Students will receive credit for both designations. B courses may be designated as one or more B types (for example, B-Hum and B-Soc), but students receive credit for only one type. Click here for lists of existing courses that have been designated W, Q, or B.

9. What happens if programs, including professional programs, joint majors and double majors, do not have enough elective credit hours available to enable students to meet the new requirements?

  • If a program is unable to accommodate the minimum requirements without requiring students to accumulate additional credit hours, representatives should contact the Undergraduate Curriculum Office in VP Academic to resolve the problem. Possible solutions include (a) reducing program requirements, (b) making currently required courses W or Q courses, (c) designing writing-intensive or quantitative-intensive breadth courses, thus enabling students to fulfill breadth requirements and writing or quantitative requirements in the same course, (d) counting certain non-designated breadth courses as designated and (e) seeking exemptions according to guidelines prepared by the VP Academic’s office.

10. Are W, Q and B courses labeled as such in the SFU Calendar, the course catalogue, and on students’ records?

  • Yes. The labels also appear on graduation reports.

11. What if the faculty member trained to teach a W course is not available to teach it in a particular year?

  • Programs are encouraged to have more than one instructor trained to teach W courses. However, where this is not possible, courses will be given two identification numbers so that we can differentiate between W and non-W offerings of a given course.

12. How can we project course offerings in ways that enable students to plan, while at the same time ensuring that the courses qualify as W?

  • Programs need to keep these requirements in mind as they plan yearly offerings and develop new courses to ensure, as best possible, that students will be able to fulfill the requirements in an efficient and effective manner.

13. Can any course outside the major qualify as a B?

  • “Designated” Breadth courses are those that appear in the Calendar and elsewhere with the identifier: B-Soc (fulfills the Social Sciences Breadth requirement); B-Hum (fulfills the Humanities Breadth requirement); and B-Sci (fulfills the Science/Applied Sciences Breadth requirement). All undergraduate students must complete at least 6 credits of each of B-Soc, B-Hum and B-Sci outside of their major in order to graduate, unless otherwise exempted from one of these groups by their program in order to graduate (see question 14 below).
  • An “Undesignated” Breadth course is any course outside a student’s program. Which programs/courses are outside a student’s home program is determined by the student’s program. All undergraduate students must complete at least 6 credits of Undesignated Breadth courses in order to graduate.

14. Would a minor count as meeting the breadth requirement?

  • Students taking a minor may qualify to count courses in their minor towards fulfilling the designated and undesignated B requirements. The designated B requirement must be met by taking courses labeled B-Soc, B-Hum or B-Sci in the Calendar.

15. Could a department in, for example, the Social Sciences offer a Designated Breadth course in the Sciences or Humanities?

  • Yes, provided the course meets the criteria and there is rationale for such a designation.

16. Will Designated Breadth exemptions apply at program, course or student level?

  • Exemptions will apply only at the program level. That is, a program that wishes to seek an exemption from the DB requirement should apply to Senate via SCUS. A detailed rationale explaining why the exemption is necessary is required. Senate has not allowed for exemptions of any other requirements (W, Q, or Undesignated Breadth).

17. What kinds of academic support do we intend to offer SFU students?

  • SFU provides university-level academic support to help students develop their writing and quantitative abilities. Students can be directed to the Q Support Centre in AQ 4100, next to the Math department, for Q testing, Q assistance and FAN X99, or to Math Advising. The SFU Student Learning Commons, located in the Bennett Library, provides students with academic learning support in many areas, including academic writing.
  • Students should be directed to look off-campus for remedial help (assistance acquiring high-school level skills).

See also, FAQs for students and for faculty.