Breadth courses

Breadth courses give you a balanced foundation of scholarly tools and transferable skills from across campus to be an effective knowledge integrator.

You'll take conflict management, ethics, English, computer science, statistics, 2 natural/physical sciences, 2 maths, and 2 courses in the same second language.

Here's the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Below are tips to help you choose the ones that best match your own unique set of interests and goals. In exceptional cases, you may be able to count a course that is not on the official list of Breadth Courses. If you are considering such a course, please speak with the Undergraduate Advisor.

What are the Natural/Physical Science requirements?

You need to take at least two courses in Natural/Physical Sciences, and, ideally, we’d like you to take one of those in your first year. The goal is to get a personalized introduction to the natural, health and applied sciences, and to build a foundation of interesting courses that could serve as pre-requisites for upper-year sciences.

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

[for students who started KI prior to Fall 2019, these are called "Investigative Science" and they are required to complete three.]

What is the Conflict Management requirement?

The purpose of the Conflict Management breadth requirement is to develop your practical knowledge of and/or skills in conflict management (as opposed to, e.g., an historical survey of conflict).

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

What is the Computer Science requirement?

You need to take at least one course in Computer Science (CS), and, ideally, we’d like you to take that course in your first year. It will contribute to your success in future courses, and may be an important pre-requisite for others. For most of you, CS 105, CS 115 or CS 135 will be suitable.

Choose one of the sections that’s labelled "Reserve: Not in Yr 1 Math", a section that’s been set aside for students like you who are not in the Math faculty.

There is an advanced first-year Computer Science course, CS 145, which would also satisfy the Computer Science requirement.

Alternatively, CS 200 is recommended for students wishing to enhance their literacy of personal computers.

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Tip: There’s a lot of demand for CS courses. We’d advise you to register early, and avoid making timetable changes that affect your CS course. (When you give up your seat in one class, you’re not guaranteed to get a place in the new one, nor are you guaranteed that you’ll be able to get back into the class you gave up.)

What are the Languages requirements?

You need to take at least one English course, and, ideally, we’d like you to take that course in your first year. It will contribute to your success in future courses, and may be an important pre-requisite for others. Any ENGL course at the 100 level or 200 level will satisfy this requirement. If English is not your first language, you may wish to complete at least one EMLS course as an elective. EMLS courses support students learning the English language more fully by providing English coursework designed specifically for their unique needs.

You could fulfill your requirement for two courses in a second language at any time during your degree, but language courses are in high demand, so we recommend you start soon for the most choice. You’re going on an international field trip at the end of your second year. That might influence your choice and timing of language studies.

For planning purposes, Second Language Course Options lists the courses that would satisfy this requirement.

What is the Math requirement?

For most of you, MATH 106, 127 and/or 128 will be suitable.

If you've enjoyed and thrived in high school math (grades of 80% or better), we encourage you to consider taking courses alongside the Honours Math students: MATH 135, 136, 137 and/or 138. If you want to add one of the MATH 13X courses to your timetable, you will need to call the Math Undergraduate Office at extension 33905, or email mathuo@uwaterloo.ca. You might say something like:

"Hi, I'm Susan Studies-Hard, a student in the Knowledge Integration plan. I would like to take MATH 137 this fall. I have the pre-requisite high school math course (you do, right?), I got at least 80% in it (you did, right?) and I understand you can grant me permission to take the course. My student number is 23456789. Thank you so much for your help."

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

There are also advanced math classes designed for truly outstanding and enthusiastic math students. If you're looking for excitement and challenge, consult us about whether MATH 145, 146, 147 and/or 148 would be a good fit. You won't be able to add these courses to your timetable without making really special arrangements, so please ask your undergraduate officer for advice.

What is the Probability and Statistics requirement?

Second year would be the best time, for most of you, to fulfil your Probability and Statistics requirement.

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.

What is the Research Methods requirement?

INTEG 340: Research Design and Methods is the course that you are required to take during your 3A term to fulfil your Research Methods requirement.

[for students who started KI prior to Fall 2019, Research Design/Methods course options lists other courses that they can use to satisfy this requirement.]

What is the Ethics requirement?

The purpose of the Ethics breadth requirement is to engage you in sophisticated reflection on ethics that requires you to think deeply and engage with questions of morality and belief systems (as opposed to, e.g., an historical introduction to ethics). Any PHIL courses that might count for this breadth requirement must be 200-level or above.

Please see the official list of Breadth Courses in the Undergraduate Calendar.