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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 judgements 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, i.e., 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, i.e., 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, i.e., 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
ANTH 102 Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
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
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 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 292  Engineering Economics
ECE 390 Engineering Design, Economics, and Impact on Society
ENVE 292  Economics for Environmental Engineering
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=am and 7-10=pm)

Social Sciences-based Courses
Economics: ECON 102202 
Management Sciences: MSCI 211, 311 
Political Science: PSCI 260
Psychology: PSYCH 101; plus one term course to be announced
Sociology: SOC 101

Humanities-based Courses
English: ENGL 105A
History: HIST 253, 254275
Philosophy: PHIL 250A, 250B, 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): 101A, 101B
East Asian Studies (EASIA): 201R
Economics (ECON): All except 211, 221, 311, 321, 371, 404, 405, 411, 421, 422, 471
English (ENGL): All except 109, 129R, 140R, 141R, 210E, 210F
Environmental Studies (ENVS): 195
Fine Arts (FINE): * see home dept. Assoc. Chair
French Studies (FR): 197, 297
General Engineering (GENE - Topics): 22C (Taken on exchange by Engineering students)
General Engineering (GENE): 412
Geography (GEOG): 101, 202, 203, 368
Gerontology (GERON): 201
Health Studies (HLTH): 220
History (HIST): All except 400-level courses
Human Resources Management (HRM): All 
Human Sciences (HUMSC): 101, 102
International Studies (INTST): 101
Kinesiology (KIN): 352, 354
Legal Studies (LS): 101, 102
Management Sciences (MSCI): 211, 263, 311411 
Music (MUSIC): 140, 245, 253, 256, 334, 355, 363
Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS): All
Philosophy (PHIL): All except 145, 200J, 216, 240, 256, 359, 441
Planning (PLAN): 100
Political Science (PSCI): All except 314, 315
Psychology (PSYCH): All except 256, 261, 291, 292, 307, 312, 317, 391, 400-level courses need approval of Psych. Dept.
Recreation (REC): 205, 230, 304, 425
Religious Studies (RS): All except 131, 132, 133, 134233, 234, 331, 332
Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies (SMF): All
Social Development Studies (SDS): All except 150R, 250R, 251R, 350R, 398R, 399R
Social Work (SOCWK): All except 390A, 390B, 398R, 399R
Society, Technology and Values (STV): All
Sociology (SOC): All except 280, 321, 322, 382, 410, 421, 498, 499A, 499B
Women's Studies (WS): All except 365, 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, 301, 304R, 306R 
Business Entrepreneurship and Technology (BET): 300, 400
Civil Engineering (CIVE): 491
Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE): 290
English as a Second Language (ESL) 110R
Environmental Engineering (ENVE): 391
Environmental Studies (ENVS): 201, 401
Fine Arts (FINE): * see home department Associate Chair
General Engineering (GENE - Topics): 22D (Taken on exchange by Engineering students)
General Engineering (GENE): 315, 411, 415
Kinesiology (KIN): 155
Management Sciences (MSCI): 262421, 454
Mechanical Engineering (ME): 401
Music (MUSIC): 100, 231, 240, 246, 254, 255, 260, 361
Philosophy (PHIL): 145, 200J, 216, 256, 359
Psychology (PSYCH): 256, 307, 312, 317
Recreation (REC): 100
Religious Studies (RS): 131, 132, 133, 134, 233, 234, 331, 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. Courses used to satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement are not acceptable for the Complementary Studies requirement.
  6. Students are responsible for ensuring they have the necessary prerequisites.
  7. 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 (i.e., Environmental Engineering) descriptions later in this section for further information.
  8. 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.
  9. Access to some courses is not controlled by Engineering and students may not qualify for some courses on these lists.

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