First year students

Coming to Knowledge Integration this fall? Great! Now what?

  • July 4-11, 2023 is the time reserved for first-year students to use Quest to request elective courses.
  • Starting July 19, 2023, check your class schedule:
    • Your schedule is made up of the courses you requested as well as core courses you were automatically enrolled in.
    • If you do not see a course you requested, it means you are not enrolled in that course due to space or other restrictions. You will need to add an alternative course.
  • July 20-25, 2023 Quest is reserved for first-year students. We encourage you to make any necessary adjustments to your schedule during that time, as some courses fill up quickly. All undergraduate students will have access beginning July 26.

Please read the rest of this page for very helpful advice on choosing your courses:

Questions? Contact Solène Jollivet, your KI Undergraduate Advisor.

You'll also find lots of great info on the Waterloo Ready website and the Frequently Asked Questions for Current KI Students page.

Course selection

Your complete degree requirements are described in the undergraduate academic calendar. In case of a disagreement over academic advice, that calendar page is the final authority. Bookmark it. Read it thoroughly.

For detailed guidance on when to take your courses throughout your degree, see the KI Course Sequence.

The courses required for a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration (BKI) fall within 3 categories: Core, Breadth, and Elective.

1. Core courses

INTEG 10, INTEG 120/121, INTEG 220/221, INTEG 230, INTEG 320/321, INTEG 340, and INTEG 420 A/B as well as COMMST 223 and PHIL 145. Everyone must take these KI core courses and they total 6.5 units/13 courses of the 20.5/41 courses required to graduate.

You will be pre-enrolled in the following required courses this fall. If you are not in these courses, please contact Solène.

  • INTEG 10 (non-credit course)
  • INTEG 120
  • COMMST 223

If you are taking a full course load, you will be enrolling yourself in an additional 3 courses this Fall for a total of 5 courses/2.5 units. The plan is based on 8 terms of study, with 5-6 courses per term.

2. Breadth (or Theme) courses

  • 1 English course
  • 2 courses in the same second language
  • 2 math courses
  • 1 statistics course
  • 1 computer science course
  • 1 ethics and social justice course
  • 1 conflict management course
  • 2 natural/physical science courses (if you choose a course that has a lab attached, such as BIOL 130/130L both portions of the course are required and counts as one of your two sciences.)

The breadth requirements total 11 courses or 5.5 units of the 20.5 units/41 courses required to graduate (most courses are .5 units, labs .25).

Visit the KI Breadth courses page to learn more.

3. Elective courses

  • 8.5 units (17 courses) of the 20.5 units/41 courses required to graduate

To summarize:

  • There is no flexibility in section 1 – the core courses.
  • There is quite a bit of flexibility in section 2 – the breadth courses.
  • To see what choices you have within the 8 breadth course categories that are required, visit the KI Breadth courses page.

Other useful information:

While planning your breadth courses, the following will help guide you:

  • We recommend that you do your Math courses sooner rather than later – students tend to have a bit more difficulty if they leave these courses until later on in their degree. Math 127 is considered more difficult, so if you are not very proficient in Math (had at least 80% or higher in Calculus -- such as MCV4U Math), we would not recommend this course.
  • Computer science is also good to take early because it will provide you with useful skills.
  • Leave your statistics, conflict management, and ethics courses until second or third year.
  • When choosing your second language requirements (many offered at Waterloo and the choices can found on the KI Breadth courses page), make sure both of the two required courses are in the same language.

Math Preparation

If you took MHF4U (Functions) and/or MCV4U (Calculus and Vectors) or equivalents and are planning to take university math courses that have those courses as prerequisites, you might want to enrol in MTHEL 99 (First-Year Mathematics Readiness). MTHEL 99 runs from early August to early September. The course is free of charge, designed to take between 3 hours and 5 hours per week over 5 weeks, and will be delivered asynchronously (meaning that you can work at your own pace). If your high school mathematics skills are very strong, then you could complete the course in a few days.

This skills-based course is designed to help you refresh your knowledge of high school mathematics as you start your university journey. We believe that this will be especially helpful if you finished your high school mathematics in unusual circumstances due to the global pandemic.

Find out more info about MTHEL 99

(Note: The MTHEL 99 web page is for students who are majoring in Math at Waterloo and are automatically enrolled in the course. It is optional for KI students, so if you plan to take it you will need to add it during the course selection period in July.)

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Reserved seats

When you sign onto Quest to select courses for September, you will find that we’ve already done some of the work for you. You will already have a spot reserved for you in INTEG 120, INTEG 10 (non-credit seminar), and SPCOM 223, all courses you should take this fall. You will be selecting three courses if you are a full time student.

Tip: we’ll do the same thing every term, pre-enrolling you into your core courses, to make sure you get a seat where you need it most. If you think you need to change one of those pre-enrolled courses, please check with your undergraduate officer or academic advisor before you make a switch. There’s a good reason we saved you a seat in each of these classes, and you might not be able to get back into that class if you drop it from your timetable. We do not recommend taking PHIL 145 in your first term.

Tip: you’re not selecting courses for the winter term yet, but it will help your planning to know that we will pre-enrol you in INTEG 121, PHIL 145, and INTEG 10 (yes, again!).

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Department/Instructor consent

You’ll sometimes find courses that require “Department consent” or “Instructor consent” to register. This is how the university makes sure it has enough room for the students who need the courses for their degree plans.

How do you get “Department consent” or “Instructor consent” to take a course? Contact the administrative assistant for the department that offers the course. They will know who can give you consent (and a personalized permission number to enter on Quest). For “Instructor consent” you could also track down the course instructor directly and make a succinct, polite request to join the course, identifying yourself by name and student number, and identifying the course by its course code and section number.

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Transfer credits

If you attended a previous university, did your A-levels, took Advanced Placement courses or completed International Baccalaureate courses, you may be eligible for one or more transfer credits. Visit Transfer Credits for more details.

These transfer credits may be included in your on-line academic record this summer. The degree requirements they fulfill will be recorded by the end of the fall term.

TIP: We strongly recommend that you carry a full five-course load even if you’ve got some transfer credits already. You have earned an opportunity to take more advanced courses sooner. Go for it!

Your transfer credits can be used to satisfy the Knowledge Integration degree requirements.

If you have transfer credits in:

  • LANG 1XX, CHINA 1XX, DUTCH 1XX, FR 1XX, GER 1XX,GRK 1XX, ITAL 1XX, JAPAN 1XX, KOREA 1XX, LAT 1XX or SPAN 1XX, individually they count as 1 of 2 courses toward fulfilling your second language requirement.
  • ENGL 1XX, counts as fulfilling your English requirement.
  • MATH 1XX, MATH 127 or MATH 137, individually they count as 1 of 2 courses toward fulfilling your math requirement.
  • CS 1XX, counts as fulfilling your computer science requirement.
  • BIOL 239 & BIOL 130Lab: BIOL 239 counts as 1 of 2 of your natural/physical science requirements.
  • BIOL 130L along with BIOL 130 taken at UW will count towards fulfilling a natural/physical science requirement.
  • CHEM120 & 120Lab, they count jointly toward fulfilling one of your natural/physical science requirements.
  • CHEM 123 & 123Lab, they count jointly toward fulfilling one of your natural/physical science requirements.
  • PHYS 111 & 111Lab, they count jointly toward fulfilling one of your natural/physical science requirements.

Please Note:

  • PHIL 1XX is NOT equivalent to your PHIL 145 required course.

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How do I buy textbooks?

Ah, now it's time to get acquainted with the University of Waterloo bookstore. Choose the "course materials" menu option where you can look up the required textbooks for your courses. You can order in advance, or come shopping during orientation week or the start of classes.

You will always get a syllabus in the first class of any course, and it will tell you the textbooks required. But they will already be on the shelf in the bookstore, so you don't need to wait for the start of classes. (Keep your receipt. One of the advantages of buying new is that you can return an unmarked book if you change your mind about taking the course.)

Textbooks will be a major expense during your degree. Consider buying used books, and selling the books you don't need after the term. The Waterloo University Students Association (WUSA) operates a used bookstore for textbooks in the Student Life Centre.

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