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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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The professional engineer requires in addition to technical knowledge and skill, an understanding of society, its needs, and the engineer's role in 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 way 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 student's 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 student's 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 student's 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
    ECE 390 Engineering Design, Economics, and Impact on Society
    ENVS 105 Environmental Stewardship and Ethics
    ERS 215 Environmental and Sustainability Assessment I
    ERS 315 Environmental and Sustainability Assessment II
    GENE 22A
    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
    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
    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

    1. Pre-scheduled Humanities and Social Sciences Courses

    Attempts have been made to schedule the following Humanities and Social Sciences courses in order to minimize conflicts. They will normally be given at 11:30 MWF, 7-10 M, or 7-10 T and are therefore conflict-free for most Engineering students. (Note: M=Monday, T=Tuesday, W=Wednesday, F=Friday; 11:30=a.m. and 7-10=p.m.)

    Social Sciences-based Courses
    Economics: ECON 102ECON 202 
    Management Sciences: MSCI 211MSCI 311 
    Political Science: PSCI 260
    Psychology: PSYCH 101; plus one term course to be announced
    Sociology: SOC 101

    Humanities-based Courses
    History: HIST 253, HIST 254HIST 275
    Philosophy: PHIL 250A, PHIL 250BPHIL 315 (GENE 412)

    2. Non Pre-scheduled Humanities and Social Sciences Courses

    The following Humanities and Social Sciences courses are permissible but will not be pre-scheduled. In general, all literature and civilization courses in language departments are approved as Humanities and Social Sciences courses.
    Anthropology (ANTH): All
    Classical Studies (CLAS): All
    Drama: DRAMA 101ADRAMA 101B
    East Asian Studies: EASIA 201R
    Economics: All except ECON 211, ECON 221, ECON 311, ECON 321, ECON 371, ECON 404, ECON 405, ECON 411, ECON 412ECON 421, ECON 422ECON 471
    English: All except ENGL 109, ENGL 129R, ENGL 140R, ENGL 141R, ENGL 210EENGL 210F
    Environmental Studies: ENVS 195
    Fine Arts (FINE): * see home dept. Assoc. Chair
    French Studies: FR 197FR 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 220
    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 102
    Management Sciences: MSCI 211, MSCI 263, MSCI 311MSCI 411 
    Music: MUSIC 140, MUSIC 245, 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 205, REC 230, REC 304REC 425
    Religious Studies: All except RS 131, RS 132, RS 133, RS 134, RS 233, RS 234, RS 331RS 332
    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 280, SOC 321, SOC 322, SOC 382, SOC 410, SOC 421, SOC 498, SOC 499ASOC 499B
    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 100BET 300, BET 320BET 400
    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, RS 234, RS 331, RS 332
    Speech Communication: SPCOM 223


    1. Some courses are available at the University of Waterloo online and may be taken during a student's work terms. Also, 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 the University of Waterloo Undergraduate 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 facility with the language. Such courses may only be used to satisfy requirement 4 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 be given only in situations such as students 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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