General Education at SFU enhances undergraduate degrees by informing and complementing students’ programs of study, encouraging students to develop understandings and skills that equip them for life-long learning, and preparing them to appreciate, critique and contribute ideas and values of diverse, complex, and interdependent local and global communities in an ethical and comprehensive manner.

Please note: these Foundations courses are for students who have been admitted to SFU. They do not constitute a stand-alone program nor are they pre-admission courses. Effective Fall 2023 FAN and FAL courses will be for integral credit (i.e. they will be included in a student's 120 unit degree requirements). 

The content of W and Q courses presumes that students have met a basic competency standard. Two Foundations courses are available to students who do not meet the grade threshold to enroll in W and/or Q courses:

  • Foundations of Academic Literacy (FAL X99), and
  • Foundations of Analytical and Quantitative Reasoning (FAN X99)

Students will be advised prior to enrollment if they are required to register in one or both of these courses. Students required to register in one or both of these courses are strongly recommended to take these courses as soon as possible and must successfully complete the course(s) within their first 3 enrolled terms at SFU.

A grade of P is required to progress from FAL into W courses. A grade of C or better is required to progress from FAN into Q courses. Students may attempt these courses no more than twice. If the required grade is not achieved in two attempts or within their first 3 enrolled terms at the university, students will be blocked from enrolling in further course work at SFU until competency in English and/or Math are demonstrated. Please refer to this Student Services web page for more information on FAL/FAN blocks.

This competency can be demonstrated by:

  • retaking English 12 or high school Math, or
  • achieving a score of 20 out of 30 on the SFU Q Placement Test (if the student has not taken this test earlier) for Math competency, or
  • registering in transferable post-secondary English or Math courses

Students transferring to SFU with 60 units are recommended to enroll as soon as possible in FAL or FAN if they are required to complete one or both of these courses, to ensure future access to W and Q courses.

Students who opt to upgrade high school math via a college adult education course should ensure it will be recognized for appropriate high school equivalency. Such courses do not provide university credit.

FAL X99 and FAN X99 are 4-credit courses and will be charged at the regular tuition rate.


This course introduces students to the kinds of reading and writing they will encounter in lower-division courses across university disciplines. Effective Fall 2023, units earned in FAL X99 count towards the total credits required for a degree. Students must achieve a P in this course to proceed to a W course. Students may attempt this course twiceClick here to be redirected to Education for course details of FAL X99.


This course is for students who need to upgrade their quantitative background in preparation for Q courses, or for those who wish to refresh their skills after several years away from mathematics. Effective Fall 2023, units earned in FAN X99 count towards the total credits required for a degree. The grade received in FAN X99 is included in calculation of the cumulative grade point average. Students must receive a C or better in this course to proceed to a Q course. Students may attempt this course twiceClick here to be redirected to the SFU Calendar for course details of FAN X99.

Free Q placement testing is available. Students will be able to write this placement test only once. Students who receive a pass (20 out of 30) on this test may bypass FAN X99 and may instead register directly in a Q course. For more information regarding the Q Placement Test and sittings, please click here.