Frequently Asked Questions - Students

  1. When did the writing/quantitative/breadth requirements take effect?
  2. Who has to fulfill the requirements?
  3. How will I be affected by the requirements?
  4. How will the W/Q/B requirements affect admissions?
  5. What is the LPI?
  6. What is the Q Placement Test?
  7. What grade do I need in English 12 in order to register directly in W courses?
  8. If I have at least 75% in English Literature 12 but not in English 12, can I still register in W courses?
  9. What grade do I need in math in order to register directly in Q courses?
  10. I need to take a Foundations course. When do I need to attempt this, what grade do I need, and what if I don't pass?
  11. Will W, Q, and B courses be labeled as such in the Calendar, the course timetable, and on my student record?
  12. What courses can I take to fulfill the W/Q/B requirements?
  13. I have taken some courses at college that transfer to SFU. Do I follow high school admission or transfer student admission regulations?
  14. Are any of the courses I transferred eligible to count toward my W/Q/B requirements?
  15. Can a course fulfill more than one requirement (e.g., as a Q and a B)?
  16. What is the difference between "Designated" and "Undesignated" Breadth courses?
  17. Would a minor count as meeting the Breadth requirement?
  18. Requirements for a second degree include only 45 units of coursework. Which W/Q/B requirements must I fulfill to complete a second degree?
  19. Who should I talk to if I have questions about how I can fulfill the new requirements?
  20. What kinds of academic support do you offer SFU students?

For further information, please Contact Us.


1. When did the writing/quantitative/breadth requirements take effect?

  • The requirements are effective as of September 2006.

2. Who has to fulfill the requirements?

  • All students entering SFU in September 2006 onwards who wish to receive a Bachelor’s degree from SFU must meet the requirements.

3. How will I be affected by the requirements?

  • You will have the opportunity to become a better writer, problem solver, thinker, and learner.

4. How will the W/Q/B requirements affect admissions?

  • Students with grades below 60% in English 12 or in Principles of Math 11 will not generally be admitted.  If a student with a grade below 60% in Math 11 has 60% or higher in Principles of Math 12 or Applications of Math 12, the higher-level math will be used for admission.
  • Students with grades between 60%-74% in English 12 must either write the LPI exam and score a minimum of 4 on the essay and 50% on each of the other parts or register directly in Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99) and achieve a C grade before being eligible to register in W courses.
  • Students with grades between 60%-69% in the high school math course used for admission must either write the Quantitative Placement Exam and score a minimum 20/30 or register directly in Foundations of Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning (FAN X99) and achieve a C before being eligible to register in Q courses.

5. What is the LPI?

  • LPI stands for Language Proficiency Index, a test developed at the University of British Columbia and currently offered by ARES. Click here for more information.
  • Grade 12 students in BC are recommended to submit LPI scores with their applications. Such students generally write the LPI before or during the application process. Check with your high school advisor regarding LPI writing times and locations. Admitted out-of-province and International applicants should arrange to write the LPI upon arrival at SFU. SFU hosts LPI test sittings, but students should check the LPI website for sittings in other locations and times.

6. What is Q Placement Test?

  • The Q Placement Test has been designed by SFU's Mathematics Department to test whether your mathematics knowledge is sufficient to succeed in the Q course of your choice. If you are unsure whether you can succeed in Q courses or if your mathematical background is not recent, or you wish to bypass registering for FAN X99, you should take the Q Placement Test or at least try the online practice test. Click here for more information.

7. What grade do I need in English 12 in order to register directly in W courses?

  • 75% or higher. In addition, Departments may have additional prerequisites for some of the W courses they offer. Please check the course calendar or contact the Department for more information.

8. If I have at least 75% in English Literature 12 but not in English 12, can I still register in W courses?

  • Yes, 75% or higher in English Literature 12 will substitute for a poorer English 12 grade.

9. What grade do I need in math in order to register directly in Q courses?

  • 70% or higher in the math course used for admission. In addition, Departments may have additional prerequisites for some of the Q courses they offer. Please check the course calendar or contact the Department for more information.

10. I need to take a Foundations course. When do I need to attempt this, what grade do I need, and what if I don't pass?

  • You must register for this course as soon as possible, and you must obtain a grade of C or better (a second attempt is permitted) before you complete 3 enrolled terms at SFU (normally 45 units). If the Foundations course is not successfully completed within 3 enrolled terms, you will be blocked from registering in further course work at SFU until the relevant competency (English and/or Math) is demonstrated. Please refer to this link for information on what to do about FAL/FAN registration blocks.

11. Will W, Q, and B courses be labeled as such in the Calendar, the course timetable, and on my student record?

  • Yes. The labels will also appear on your graduation report.

12. What courses can I take to fulfill the W/Q/B requirements?

13. I have taken some courses at college that transfer to SFU. Do I follow high school admission or transfer student admission regulations?

  • If you have fewer than 24 units of transferable work, you will be considered equivalent to "direct from high school" for admissions purposes and must meet the same minimum writing and quantitative standards as students entering from high school. If you have 24 units or more of transferable work, you must meet the requirements for "admission by college transfer". Please see our New Admissions Standards pages.

14. Are any of the courses I transferred eligible to count toward my W/Q/B requirements?

  • Courses that transfer to SFU courses that are designated as Q and B will automatically be granted Q and B credit. Transfer courses are only  granted W credit after individual evaluation for W designation. Check the online BC Transfer Guide to see if your courses transfer as W. Students transferring courses that receive unassigned credit, or from outside the BC college system, including BC universities, can request course evaluation for designation, provided the courses meet particular criteria. Please refer to the WQB Evaluation Request Form located here, and follow the appropriate steps.

15. 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, or a W and a Q. No course, however, may fulfill two B requirements. Some courses may have multiple B designations (such as B-Soc and B-Hum), but students will have to select one designation for their requirement. See the links to courses that meet the W, Q and B requirements in Question 12.

16. What is the difference between "Designated" and "Undesignated" Breadth courses?

  • There are two types of Breadth (B) courses:
  • 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 each of B-Soc, B-Hum, and B-Sci in order to graduate. It is important that students stay aware of the types of B courses they take, and whether those course are inside or outside of their programs. No B course within a student's major will count toward their B credits.
  • Undesignated Breadth courses are any courses outside a student's program. The program will determine which courses fall outside a student's home program. All undergraduate students must complete at least 6 credits of Undesignated Breadth courses in order to graduate. Such courses may include extra Designated Breadth courses.

17. Would a minor count as meeting the Breadth requirement?

  • Students taking a minor may qualify to count courses in their minor towards fulfilling the Undesignated Breadth requirement. The Designated Breadth requirement must be met by taking courses labeled B-Soc, B-Hum, and B-Sci (see Question 12 above).

18. Requirements for a second degree include only 45 units of coursework. Which W/Q/B requirements must I fulfill to complete a second degree?

  • Students admitted to a second degree program are exempted from all of the breadth requirements (designated and additional), three units of the Q requirements, and the lower division W requirement. The remaining W and Q courses must be three units each. Second degree students must meet the FAL and FAN prerequisites in order to enrol in W and Q courses. The W course must be upper division in the student's major. Second degree students who have met WQB requirements in a first degree at Simon Fraser University are required to meet this W and Q requirement for the second degree.

19. Who should I talk to if I have questions about how I can fulfill the new requirements?

  • Most students should be able to find the answers to most of their questions on this Curriculum website (www.sfu.ca/ugcr). You should also check the Calendar in the section on the program you are interested in, as many programs will describe how students can fulfill the requirements. If you cannot find answers to your questions there, you should speak to an Academic Advisor in Student Academic Affairs (Office of the Registrar) or in your home department.

20. What kinds of academic support do you offer SFU students?

  • SFU provides university-level academic support to help students develop their writing and quantitative abilities. Students can go to the Q Support Centre in AQ 4100, next to the Math department, for Q testing, Q assistance and FAN X99, or contact Math Advising. The SFU Student Learning Commons, located in the Bennett Library, provides students with academic learning support in many areas, including academic writing.