WQB Graduation Requirements

(Students in double minor programs should select an upper division W from one of the two discipline areas in which they are taking their double minors.)All students admitted to an undergraduate degree at SFU as of Fall 2006 must complete a minimum of 36 units of courses designated as Writing, Quantitative, or Breadth, with a grade of C- or better to receive the WQB credits. Students transferring from a BC college with 60 units should consider completing some transferable W, Q and B courses prior to admission to SFU.

Benefits of the Writing, Quantitative and Breadth Requirements

A superior education, with greater applicability and relevance, and better preparation for careers

  • Our students will graduate as improved writers, with better quantitative reasoning skills and a greater breadth of knowledge.
  • Many employers value writing and quantitative skills as well as depth of knowledge in disciplines.
  • Better writing and quantitative abilities increase the probability of gaining admission to graduate schools (GREs) and professional schools (LSATs)

Writing Requirements Courses with a "W" designation will assist students to learn the course content through the process of writing intensive assignments. These courses will help students to improve their writing abilities and overall communication skills, and will teach students to write in the genres of their disciplines.

    Students will take a minimum of:
  • one lower-division W course (at least 3 units)
  • one upper-division W course (at least 3 units), in the student's major subject. Students in double minor programs should select an upper division W from one of the two discipline areas in which they are taking their double minors. Exceptional circumstances for taking the Upper Division W outside of the major must be discussed with the University Curriculum and Institutional Liaison (UCIL) Office prior to enrollment (see exception request processes below). The UD W course must be taken at SFU.

Quantitative Requirements Courses with "Q" designation will assist students to develop quantitative (numerical, geometric) or formal (deductive, probabilistic) reasoning, and to develop skills in practical problem solving, critical evaluation, or analysis.

    Students will take a minimum of:
  • two Q courses, lower or upper division (at least 6 units).

Breadth Requirements Courses with "B" designation will expose students to concepts and ideas from a range of disciplines and perspectives outside of their programs. Students may complete breadth courses throughout their degree programs, taking courses at the lower or upper division. Only courses outside of the student's major may count as a B.

    Students will take a minimum of:
  • two courses labelled as Breadth-Humanities (B-Hum, 6 units)
  • two courses labelled as Breadth-Science (B-Sci, 6 units)
  • two courses labelled as Breadth-Social Sciences (B-Soc, 6 units)
  • two additional courses outside the student's major program (6 units). These additional courses may or may not be designated as breadth, and in most cases will fulfill the particular Faculty or Program breadth requirements.

Multiple W, Q, and B Designations

Some courses may fulfill more than one requirement:

  • A course may count as Q and B, or W and B, or W and Q, or W, Q and B. Students will receive all designation credits, unless the B is from their own major. Such students may satisfy their WQB requirements with fewer than 36 units because they can "double count".

Some courses may have multiple B designations:

  • A course may be designated as B-Soc and B-Hum, or all three B designations (B-Soc, B-Hum and B-Sci), but students must decide which designation of a course to use in order to fulfill their requirements.

A grade of C- or better is required to earn W, Q or B credit.


Joint or Double Majors, Extended Minors, Double Minors

Students taking joint or double majors and honors, extended minors, or double minors are not required to take double W, Q and B requirements. W, Q and B designated courses in either one or both disciplines of the majors or honors or minor programs may be used to satisfy the writing, quantitative and breadth requirements. For example, a student taking a double major in English and Physics may count:

  • B-Hum designated ENGL courses for B-Hum credit (unlike English-only majors, who cannot count ENGL B-Hum courses towards their B requirements)
  • B-Sci designated PHYS courses for B-Sci credit (unlike Physics-only majors, who cannot count PHYS B-Sci courses towards their B requirements)
  • W designated ENGL for the lower- and upper-division W requirements
  • Q designated PHYS courses toward the Q requirements

Students in double minor programs should select an upper division W from one of the two discipline areas in which they are taking their double minors.

Second Degrees

Students admitted to second degrees are exempt from all of the Breadth requirements, the lower-division W course, and one Q course. The remaining W and Q courses must be a minimum of 3 units each; the W course must be upper-division and within the major, while the Q course may be upper- or lower-division. Second degree students must meet the FAL and FAN prerequisites in order to enrol in W and Q courses. Second degree students who have met WQB requirements in a first degree at Simon Fraser Unviersity are still required to meet this UD W and Q requirement for the second degree.

Exception Requests

Occasionally, requests for WQB exceptions may arise at the student or faculty level (i.e., request to allow an Upper Division Writing course outside of a Major to be used). To ensure equity across programs and faculties, and monitoring of exception patterns, all requests for WQB exceptions must be reviewed by the UCIL Office.

When an exception request is made Advisors should contact the UCIL Office (ucil_office@sfu.ca) with the following information:

Date of request:

Nature of the request: i.e. CMNS 455W in place of GSWS 398W

Program (Major, Joint Major, Honours in):



UCIL will consider the request and if approved, notify the departments and records, in writing, to ensure the exception is correctly recorded on the student record.

Note: A separate process exists for WQB Transfer Requests, if the request relates to transfer credit (or exchange credit) please see the process under Transfer Credit and WQB Designations and complete the WQB Evaluation Form