Science 101

Welcome to SFU! In this webinar you will get to know your student support team, hear from current science students about their experience and learn tips to be successful in your first year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I plan my classes?

We recommend checking out University Prep steps 1 & 2, connecting with Academic Advisors. Advising appointments can be booked directly through Advisor Link, and some advisors will also host drop-in sessions (by Zoom or in person) as well, typically posting the hours on their webpages. We recommend connecting with an academic advisor to help you with course planning.

How many courses you take each semester is up to you! Most full-time students take 3-5 courses each semester, with fewer courses meaning more time for extracurricular activities or work. Taking fewer courses per term can mean your degree takes longer than four years, but this is pretty normal. For many full-time students, four courses are considered a manageable course load (or 1 or 2 courses a term for part-time students). For more considerations, see this page.

Course enrollment begins Monday, July 8 and continues throughout the month. Check your SFU email address for your enrollment date. It should also be visible on your student centre at GoSFU.

Q: What is WQB?

Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth (WQB for short) is a requirement for graduation, and you can also think of them as elective courses. There are hundreds and hundreds of electives to choose from! Usually, when folks at SFU are talking about electives, they are referring to the 'Breadth' part of the 'Writing, Quantitative, and Breadth' (WQB) graduation requirement. While it is up to you which electives to take to meet WQB requirements, we recommend pursuing subjects that interest you the most. You might even end up pursuing a minor in that subject! You can find a list of designated breadth courses here.

Q: How do joint major programs work, and how long do they take to complete? When should I apply to a joint major? How about minors?

A Bachelor's Degree is a minimum of 120 units of study and takes approximately four to five years to complete. Most courses are 3 or 4 units, so a degree consists of 30-40 courses. Students can specialize within their degree with majors, minors, and certificates. Science majors are usually about 75 units, which is over half of a degree (though some might be more). Minors and certificates are 30 or so units, so less than a major but still a significant amount of study. Joint majors are when two programs overlap in content so students can complete two majors in about 90 units.

If you want to add a second major, it’s a great idea to connect with the academic advisor for the program you are not already in.

You can pursue combinations of majors and minors within and outside the Faculty of Science! See the different program options within Science here.

Q: Which Calculus I class should I take?

SFU offers four options for Calculus I: MATH 150, MATH 151, MATH 154, and MATH 157.

MATH 150 is Calculus I with review – an extra hour of weekly class time. MATH 151 is “traditional” Calculus I and is usually taken by students in programs like Chemistry, Physics, etc. MATH 154 is Calculus I for the Biological Sciences and is usually taken by students in any life science program (MBB, BPK, etc). MATH 157 is Calculus I for the Social Sciences and is taken by Economics and Business students – it is not recommended for Science majors.

Q: How do I join Peer Mentorship?

The Science Peer Mentorship program supports new first-year and transfer students in their social, personal, and academic transition to the Faculty of Science – and we cannot recommend it enough! You can learn more on our website here and sign up to be matched with an upper-year science peer mentor here.

Q: What is the Science co-op program like?

The Science Co-op page is a great resource, and their team often hosts info sessions. We recommend attending their information sessions in your first year at SFU so that you can join the program and start working during your second year of study with us.

The requirements for co-op vary a bit by program, but typically, it requires a good GPA and having completed around 30 – 45 units. The sooner students join co-op, especially transfer students, the better!

International students can do co-op! The International Services for Students Office can even assist with applying for the needed work permits. It is also possible for both Canadian and international students to work abroad for their co-ops. Many international co-op opportunities are available.

It is generally not recommended to take courses while completing co-op terms. The co-op program is not mandatory but highly recommended. The GPA required for co-op can vary, but it tends to be 2.5 and above for Science.

If you have questions about co-op (eligibility, application process, info sessions, etc.), please contact the Science Co-op office at

Q: I would like to change my program. What should I do?

Changing from one SFU program to another is called an internal transfer. If you would like to change from one Faculty of Science program to another, please get in touch with Claire Wilson at to see if this is still possible before Fall in your case. If you would like to pursue a program in another Faculty at SFU, it is best to contact their advisors for more information.

Once your studies begin, if you would like to change your program, it is still possible! The department you are hoping to change into will have some internal transfer requirements, but with good grades (usually in the C+ to B range in the Faculty of Science, depending on the program) and thoughtful planning with an academic advisor, it should be doable.

Q: How can I see my AP/IB/college/university transfer credits?

You can log in to your Student Centre at GoSFU to see your transfer credits by selecting “Transfer Credit Report” or “Transfer Credit Summary” under the “Academics” header. These credits can also be found on your Advising Transcript, available on the same page.

 Please note: “credit” is the same as “unit.”

If you have questions about IB transfer credits, don't hesitate to get in touch with Claire Wilson at

Q: Will there be a campus tour?

Welcome Day will be held on Tuesday, September 3. It will be a great way to tour the campus and get to know your classmates. 

Don't want to wait until Welcome Day? Find out how you can book a tour or do your own self guided campus tour this summer. 

Learn more here

Plus, we'd love to meet you and show you around Science! Get in touch with Claire Wilson ( if you're coming up to the Burnaby campus for a personal chat and insider tips on navigating campus.

Q: Are there clubs at both the Burnaby and Surrey campuses?

Some student clubs and departmental student unions (DSUs) will host events at both campuses, though some just in Burnaby. You can browse all SFU clubs here and Science-specific student groups here. Look out for Clubs Days in the Fall to explore all the options.

Q: What resources are there for students with accessibility needs?

The folks at the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL) here at SFU are wonderful! CAL works with students to provide access/accommodations so that they can continue learning at SFU in a way that meets their needs. There is also an active student club, the SFU Disability and Neurodiversity Alliance, running many community-led initiatives.

Q: What kind of financial aid options are available?

Once you begin your studies at SFU, there is undergraduate financial aid that students can apply for. In particular, look into our scholarships, awards, bursaries, and work-study opportunities. In general, scholarships are based on academic achievement, awards recognize community service and involvement, and bursaries are awarded based on financial need. Work-study is an opportunity for current students with demonstrated financial need to earn supplemental income with jobs on campus. StudentAid BC also provides options for funding post-secondary studies.

Q: What do I need to know about living in Residence?

For those of you who applied to and were offered a spot in Residence, their website and office are the best resources for questions about moving in. Residence Move-In Day for Fall will be August 31.

Q: Can I study abroad?

Yes! SFU has a huge network of international partner schools. Most students who study abroad do so in their second, third, or fourth year. You can learn more at the International Services for Students page. There is also international co-op! 

Q: Can I play on an SFU sports team?

Each team is different. Some coaches scout players, while others might hold open tryouts. If you are interested in playing for one of SFU’s sports teams, it is recommended that you contact the coach for more information on their recruitment practices.

For those who would like to stay active but not pursue varsity-level sports, SFU has wonderful recreation opportunities, from drop-in sports, martial arts classes, and intramural leagues to sports clubs like rowing, hockey, and more!

Q: Will there be a gondola?

TransLink and SFU have been working together on a plan for a Gondola since 2020. Since then, great progress has been made in developing the route to campus and garnering input from the public. The project's next phase will be securing investment from the TransLink Board and Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation.

Have more questions? Contact the Sci-Space Team.