The Communication Requirement helps prepare students for academic and professional success. In study and work terms, communication skills and strategies are crucial to success. This page outlines the communication requirements for students, depending on their entry year to the Faculty of Science.

New students will be taking ENGL 193/SPCOM 193: Communication in the Sciences. Students will need to pass (grade of 50 or higher) in order to satisfy the Communication Requirement for their BSc degree.

The classes are capped at 25 because of the course objectives, which are found in the next section below. Smaller class sizes provide the opportunity for students to regularly receive feedback on their work and, to meet and engage with classmates. The course does not have a final exam.

Course objectives

  1. Design, draft, and persuasively deliver scientific communications to expert and non-expert audiences;
  2. Justify decisions about the language, content, and genre used when communicating scientific information;
  3. Practice collaboration and peer review in support of iterative communication design processes, including revision;
  4. Practice research processes to find, assess, document, incorporate, and cite research resources and communicate research findings;
  5. Describe and appraise the purposes and ethical concerns of science communication.

Scheduling of ENGL/SPCOM 193

Students starting at the 1A term-level take ENGL/SPCOM 193 following a schedule based on their program. Students transferring into a Science program from another post-secondary institution at a term level above 1A, will be enrolled into ENGL/SPCOM 193 in a term determined by their academic advisor.

Fall term Winter term
Biochemistry Biology
Biotechnology/Chartered Professional Accounting Biomedical Sciences
Biotechnology/Economics Earth Sciences (Geology and Hydrogeology Specializations)
Chemical Physics Environmental Sciences (all specializations)
Chemistry (all specializations) Geochemistry
Earth Sciences, Geophysics Specialization Honours Science
Life Physics (all specializations) Materials and Nanosciences
Mathematical Physics Psychology (Life Sciences)
Medicinal Chemistry Science and Aviation
Physics and Astronomy Science and Business (Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Earth Sciences)
Physics (all specializations)  
Science and Business (Biology and students without a specialization)  

Enrolment restrictions

Students cannot add or swap sections of ENGL/SPCOM 193 themselves on Quest, as enrolment is managed by the Science Undergraduate Office. Students who should be taking ENGL/SPCOM 193 and are not enrolled should follow-up with science.advisor@uwaterloo.ca for instructions. Because the course is a degree requirement, with finite space and scheduling constraints, it cannot be dropped. Course swaps will be considered on a case by case basis subject to space availability and the need to balance enrolment across sections. All course swap requests may not be possible. 

Any other questions (not answered above) should be directed to the Science Undergraduate Office via science.advisor@uwaterloo.ca.

Previous Requirements


The Faculty of Science developed a communication-intensive course that was incorporated into each Bachelor of Science program as a degree requirement. Successful completion of SCCOM 100 fulfils the Communication Requirement.

Past – 2017

Students enrolled in Faculty of Science programs before September 2018 should consult the English Language Proficiency Requirement described in the Undergraduate Calendar of their entry year.

Please note that the Undergraduate calendar will list writing the English Language Proficiency Examination (ELPE) as an option to obtain your English Language Proficiency Requirement. As of April 2019, the ELPE will no longer be offered.