BA degree requirements overview

The information on this page breaks down the many components of your Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and is here to help you find your degree requirements. If you have any questions or concerns, your academic advisor is here to help you navigate your path in meeting your degree requirements. Regular check-ins are encouraged!

Where do I find my degree requirements?

In the Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar! All Arts students must meet the requirements outlined in the Calendar the year they entered the Faculty of Arts. If you are unsure which Calendar year you should follow, ask your academic advisor.

Below are some important sections of the Calendar to familiarize yourself with:

Honours programs

This summarises your BA degree with an Honours major from the Faculty of Arts. The charts below provide a simplified breakdown of the 40 courses needed to meet your minimum degree requirements. At the end of your degree, your breakdown may look a little different depending on which courses you took or if you added another credential. Think of this as the building blocks of your degree.

Interested in a Three-Year or Four-Year General program or Liberal Studies? Information specific to those programs is provided in the drop-down content below.

Please note, requirements listed on this web page are for students who began their studies September 2018 or later.

Honours Arts major

 10 BA Breadth courses, 16 major courses, 2 Arts First courses, 12 electives.

Required number of courses broken down by each component of the BA degree when pursuing an Honours Arts major.

Honours Arts & Business + major

 5 BA Breadth courses, 2 Arts First courses, 16 major courses, 14 arts and business courses, 3 electives.

Required number of courses broken down by each component of the BA degree when pursuing Arts & Business and an Honours major.

  • Electives are courses that do not fulfil a distinct component of your BA degree. Everyone has a different number because your choice of major or additional credential will determine the number of electives you need. Note that some electives may need to be at the 200-level of above in order to meet all your degree requirements.
  • The BA Breadth Requirements are the same for all BA students. They appear reduced for Arts & Business students because the required business-related courses fulfil five of the 10 requirements. The remaining five requirements (as shown in the chart above) must still be fulfilled.

Common requirements

Students pursuing any University of Waterloo degree must meet certain common degree requirements

Students pursuing an Honours BA must meet the minimum program-level (BA degree) and plan-level (major) requirements outlined below as well as maintain minimum cumulative averages (see definitions) to be in satisfactory standingThese requirements are for students who began their studies September 2018 or later.

Minimum number of courses needed to meet requirements

Arts First

2 courses
(1.0 unit)
BA Breadth Requirements 10 courses
(5.0 units)
Minimum courses at the 200-level or above 16 courses
(8.0 units)
Minimum courses in major 16 courses
(8.0 units)

Minimum courses in major with a numerical grade
(50% Rule)

8 courses
(4.0 units)

Minimum courses in degree with a numerical grade
(50% Rule)

20 courses
(10.0 units)

Minimum University of Waterloo courses
(Residency Requirement)

20 courses
(10.0 units)

In total, minimum number of completed courses 40 courses
(20.0 units)
Minimum cumulative averages to be in satisfactory standing
Minimum cumulative average (CAV) 60%
Minimum faculty average (FAV) 65%
Minimum major average (MAV) 70%

Additional requirements for Arts & Business students include:

  • 14 business-related courses (7.0 units), and 
  • a 70% minimum MAV in the required business-related courses.

The BA Co-op Requirements page in the Calendar provides co-op specific information, including:

  • the minimum number of work terms,
  • the minimum number of professional development (PD) courses,
  • study/work sequence by plan, and 
  • eligibility requirements.