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The Undergraduate Calendar

Faculty of Engineering

Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Software Engineering Specific Degree Requirements

Complementary Studies Requirements for Engineering Students
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In addition to technical knowledge and skill, the professional engineer requires an understanding of society. An ability to make intelligent judgments that encompass human and social values, as well as technical values, is inherent in that role. Such areas form an essential complement to technical studies in the education of an engineer. The Complementary Studies component of the curricula in the Engineering programs (Bachelor of Applied Science or Bachelor of Software Engineering) requires that all students in Engineering receive instruction in the humanities and social sciences, engineering economics, communication, and the impact of technology on society.

The aim of complementary studies is to provide an understanding of our heritage and social environment, and of the ways in which science and engineering interact with them. These studies should develop sufficient interest to encourage further individual study.

Further objectives are that the engineering student develop a broader intellectual outlook, a broader understanding of moral, ethical and social values, and an improved ability to communicate.


The Complementary Studies component of the students' program must satisfy the following:

  1. At least one course must be taken that deals with the impact of technology on society. Courses which satisfy this requirement appear in List A – Impact Courses.
  2. At least one course must be taken in Engineering Economics. Courses which satisfy this requirement appear in List B – Engineering Economics Courses. Note that core components of the program, (e.g., Systems Design Engineering), contain a course from this list.
  3. At least two courses must be taken that deal with the central issues, methodologies, and thought processes of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Courses that satisfy this requirement appear in List C – Humanities and Social Sciences Courses.
  4. A minimum number of courses must be taken as required by a program, (e.g., Geological Engineering). The exact requirements vary according to program; for details, see individual program regulations. Courses which appear in Lists A, B, C, and D may be used to meet these requirements.
  5. Provision must be made to develop the students' ability to communicate adequately both orally and in writing. The exact manner in which this requirement is satisfied varies according to program, (e.g., Computer Engineering); for details, see individual program regulations later in this section.

Complementary Studies Course Lists

There are a number of other constraints that limit a students' selection from the lists below. These constraints are listed as notes at the end of this section.

Some courses may not be offered in the current academic year. Please refer to the course offerings list or verify with the department offering the course.

List A – Impact Courses

Course Title
BET 420
Social Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility
BME 381 Biomedical Engineering Ethics
ECE 390 Engineering Design, Economics, and Impact on Society
ENVS 105 Environmental Sustainability and Ethics
ERS 215 Environmental and Sustainability Assessment I
ERS 315 Environmental and Sustainability Assessment II
Topics for List A Complementary Studies Courses Taken on Exchange by Engineering Students
GEOG 203 Environment and Development in a Global Perspective
GEOG 368 Conservation/Resource Management of the Built Environment
MSCI 422 Economic Impact of Technological Change and Entrepreneurship
MSCI 442 Impact of Information Systems on Organizations and Society
NE 109 Societal and Environmental Impacts of Nanotechnology 
PHIL 226 Biomedical Ethics
SOC 232 Technology and Social Change
STV 100 Society, Technology and Values: Introduction
STV 202 Design and Society
STV 203 Biotechnology and Society
STV 205 Cybernetics and Society
STV 210 The Computing Society 
STV 302 Information Technology and Society
STV 404 Technology in Canadian Society
SYDE 261 Design, Systems, and Society
WS 205 Gender, Culture and Technology

Other courses may be acceptable for this requirement. Prior approval is required from your department Associate Chair.

List B – Engineering Economics

Course Title
BME 364 Engineering Biomedical Economics
CIVE 392  Economics and Life Cycle Analysis
ECE 390 Engineering Design, Economics, and Impact on Society
GENE 22B Topics for List B Complementary Studies Courses Taken on Exchange by Engineering Students
MSCI 261  Engineering Economics: Financial Management for Engineers
SYDE 262  Engineering Economics of Design

List C – Humanities and Social Sciences Courses

Course scheduling is an evolving process at the University and it is difficult to ensure access to all possible complementary studies courses. One of the steps taken to improve students' chances of having access to their complementary studies courses for those terms that have a complementary studies course requirement, is that course components (lectures, tutorials or labs) of core engineering courses will not be scheduled during specified time slots. Currently, these slots are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., as well as evening time slots on Monday or Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The following Humanities and Social Sciences courses are permissible. In general, all literature and civilization courses in language departments are approved as Humanities and Social Sciences courses.

Anthropology (ANTH): All
Business Entrepreneurship and Technology: BET 100, BET 300, BET 310, BET 320, BET 400
Classical Studies (CLAS): All
Drama: DRAMA 100DRAMA 200
East Asian Studies: EASIA 201R
Economics: All except ECON 211, ECON 221, ECON 311, ECON 321, ECON 371, ECON 404, ECON 405, ECON 412ECON 421, ECON 422ECON 471
English: All except ENGL 109, ENGL 119, ENGL 129R, ENGL 140R, ENGL 210EENGL 210F
Environmental Studies: ENVS 195
Fine Arts (FINE): * see home dept. Assoc. Chair
French Studies: FR 296FR 297
General Engineering (Topics): GENE 22C (Taken on exchange by Engineering students)
General Engineering: GENE 412
Geography: GEOG 101, GEOG 202, GEOG 203, GEOG 368
Gerontology: GERON 201
Health Studies: HLTH 320
History: All except HIST 400-level courses
Human Resources Management (HRM): All 
Human Sciences: HUMSC 101HUMSC 102
International Studies: INTST 101
Kinesiology: KIN 352KIN 354
Legal Studies: LS 101LS 202
Management Sciences: MSCI 211, MSCI 263, MSCI 311MSCI 411 
Music: MUSIC 140, MUSIC 253, MUSIC 256, MUSIC 334, MUSIC 355MUSIC 363
Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS): All
Philosophy: All except PHIL 145, PHIL 200J, PHIL 216, PHIL 240, PHIL 256, PHIL 359, PHIL 441
Planning: PLAN 100
Political Science: All except PSCI 314PSCI 315
Psychology: All except PSYCH 256, PSYCH 261, PSYCH 291, PSYCH 292, PSYCH 307, PSYCH 312, PSYCH 317, PSYCH 391, PSYCH 400-level courses need approval of Psych. Dept.
Recreation: REC 230, REC 425
Religious Studies: All except RS 131, RS 132, RS 133, RS 134, RS 233
Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF): All
Social Development Studies: All except SDS 150R, SDS 250R, SDS 251R, SDS 350R, SDS 398R, SDS 399R
Social Work: All except SOCWK 390A, SOCWK 390B, SOCWK 398RSOCWK 399R
Society, Technology and Values (STV): All
Sociology: All except SOC 221, SOC 280, SOC 322, SOC 498, SOC 499ASOC 499B
Studies in Islam: SI 121R, SI 221R, SI 230R, SI 231R, SI 315R, SI 320R
Women's Studies: All except WS 365WS 475 (may be acceptable at the discretion of the Associate Chair when a course outline is shown)

List D – Other Permissible Complementary Studies Courses

While the following courses may not be used to satisfy Requirements 1, 2, or 3, they may be used to satisfy Requirement 4. For details, see your Departmental regulations.
Accounting and Financial Management: AFM 131
Applied Language Studies: APPLS 205R, APPLS 301, APPLS 304RAPPLS 306R 
Business Entrepreneurship and Technology: BET 410A, BET 410B
Civil Engineering: CIVE 491
Electrical and Computer Engineering: ECE 290
English: ENGL 109, ENGL 129R, ENGL 210E, ENGL 210F
English for Multilingual Speakers: EMLS 102R,  EMLS 110R, EMLS 129R
Environmental Engineering: ENVE 391
Environmental Studies: ENVS 201ENVS 401
Fine Arts (FINE): * see home department Associate Chair
General Engineering (Topics): GENE 22D (Taken on exchange by Engineering students)
General Engineering: GENE 315, GENE 411GENE 415
Kinesiology: KIN 155
Management Sciences: MSCI 262MSCI 421MSCI 454
Mechanical Engineering: ME 401
Music: MUSIC 100, MUSIC 231, MUSIC 240, MUSIC 246, MUSIC 254, MUSIC 255, MUSIC 260MUSIC 361
Philosophy: PHIL 145, PHIL 200J, PHIL 216, PHIL 256, PHIL 359
Psychology: PSYCH 256, PSYCH 307, PSYCH 312PSYCH 317
Recreation: REC 100
Religious Studies: RS 131, RS 132, RS 133, RS 134, RS 233
Speech Communication: SPCOM 223


  1. Some University of Waterloo online courses are available and may be taken during a student's work terms. Courses taken at another university during a work term may be eligible for a "transfer of credit" if approved by the student's Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies.
  2. Students who enrol early are most likely to get their choice. Attempts to enrol later may be prevented if the class is already at capacity.
  3. For descriptions of the content of courses, see the Course Description section of this Calendar. These courses are usually listed under the prefix of the department, board or faculty responsible for offering the course, e.g., CIVE – Civil Engineering, PHIL – Philosophy, etc.
  4. Students who wish to take linguistic and grammar courses must have their choices approved by their home department Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies and, if approved, students must also be assessed by the language department to determine their skill level with the language. Such courses may only be used to satisfy requirement four above.  
  5. Students are responsible for ensuring they have the necessary prerequisites.
  6. Departments and Boards may impose additional constraints with respect to the C and D lists of the Complementary Studies Requirements. Please review the various program (e.g., Environmental Engineering) descriptions later in this section for further information.
  7. In exceptional circumstances Associate Chairs for Undergraduate Studies may accept other courses as satisfying a specific Complementary Studies Elective (CSE) requirement. Normally such consideration will only be given in situations when students are returning from exchange or being offered advanced admission.
  8. Access to some courses is not controlled by Engineering and students may not qualify for some courses on these lists.


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