Faculty FAQs

  1. What criteria define a W/Q/B course?
  2. What is the process to propose a new course or certify an existing course as W/Q/B?
  3. Where can I get help with designing a W, Q or B course?
  4. Should B courses be designed for lower-division or upper-division students?
  5. Do I have to run a pilot offering of my new course or can I directly request certification?
  6. Can my course have more than one designation (for instance, as Q and B)?
  7. If my department is in, for example, the Social Sciences, can my course be designated Breadth-Science or Breadth-Humanities?
  8. Can I get release time to develop a W/Q/B course?
  9. What other resources may be available to help me?
  10. What if I find I need more TA support for my W course than I have while the course is a non-W?
  11. Will W, Q and B courses be labeled as such in the SFU Calendar, the course catalogue, and on students’ records?
  12. What if the faculty member trained to teach a W course is not available to teach it in a particular year?

For further information, please Contact Us.


1. What criteria define a W/Q/B course?

2. What is the process to propose a new course or certify an existing course as W/Q/B?

3. Where can I get help with designing a W, Q or B course?

  • Please contact Susan Rhodes (slrhodes@sfu.ca) in the University Curriculum Office, who can direct you to the appropriate Support Group faculty representative. Also, all Faculties now have a W coordinator available to assist with the development of W courses and with training TAs for W courses.

4. Should B courses be designed for lower-division or upper-division students?

  • Breadth courses should be designed for students of all levels. Since students will need to take 8 breadth courses in total, they should be able to spread them throughout their program. It would be useful, therefore, to have a number of upper-division courses that just have credit-hour prerequisites, rather than specific course prerequisites.

5. Do I have to run a pilot offering of my new course or can I directly request certification?

  • You do not have to run a pilot offering, provided you intend to permanently offer the course as designated. The designation request forms have a section where this intention can be checked off when you apply for certification.

6. Can my course have more than one designation (for instance, as Q and 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. If you are requesting designation in more than one category, please fill out the relevant form for each. Breadth courses seeking more than one type designation should have each rationale page on the B form filled in.

7. If my department is in, for example, the Social Sciences, can my course be designated Breadth-Science or Breadth-Humanities?

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

8. Can I get release time to develop a W/Q/B course?

  • The Curriculum Office no longer has funds available for this purpose.

9. What other resources may be available to help me?

  • Contact the Curriculum Office to discuss what is needed.

10. What if I find I need more TA support for my W course than I have while the course is a non-W?

  • As of September 2006, all certified W courses receive additional instructional assistance funds (extra TA support) at a rate of $75 per enrolled seat in the semester in which the course is offered. Funds will be disbursed to Faculties to be distributed to Programs.

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

  • Yes. The labels will also appear on graduation reports.

12. 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. Programs must maintain the same type of offering within an academic year. In other words, a course may not be offered as W in the Fall semester and then as non-W in the Spring semester in the same academic year because of Calendar designation and student planning.

See also Student FAQ and Admin Advisor FAQ.