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The Big Picture - What’s a degree program?

As a student in an undergraduate degree program in Arts (BA), Science (BSc), Business (BBA), or Kinesiology (BPHE, BKin or BSc), you will be working towards a total of 90 or 120 credit hours - over three, four or more years.  Your goal depends on whether you'd like to earn a general degree (90) or a four-year or honours degree (120). 

You have a lot of choice in which courses to take, but there are some requirements you must fulfil.  For detailed information, see “Degree and Major Requirements” in the Academic Calendar.

Each undergraduate degree is made up of courses in...

  • general degree requirements in Humanities, Sciences, Academic Writing, Indigenous (plus Social Sciences if you are taking a 4-year program)
  • your major requirements
  • electives

These are the building blocks of your degree program.

"Student Planning" in WebAdvisor will track your credit hours and assist you in identifying and keeping track of your general degree and major requirements. 


A 3-year Bachelor of Arts degree is a total of 90 credit hours and is made up of courses in...

General Degree Requirements
3 credit hours Academic Writing Requirement
6 credit hours Science courses
12 credit hours Humanities courses
3 credit hours Indigenous Course Requirement

30-36 credit hours

30-36 credit hours

What are the General Degree Requirements?

Below are the five types of requirements.  You do not have to take all of your General Requirements in your first year, but you must complete them before you graduate. 

Academic Writing Requirement Most students must take a writing course. This requirement is intended to aid students in developing their writing skills and strategies to the level generally expected of university students.

Academic Writing courses are in the Rhetoric, Writing, and Communications [pdf] department at the “1000” or first-year level.
Humanities Requirement Humanities are academic disciplines that involve the study of ideas about human culture and its expression through art forms and systems of thought.

Disciplines with some designated Humanities courses:  Classics, East Asian Language and Culture, English, French Studies, German Studies, History, Italian Studies, Linguistics Kinesiology, Philosophy, Religion and Culture, Spanish Studies, Rhetoric, Theatre and Film, Women's and Gender Studies.

For a specific list of designated Humanities courses, see "Degree & Major Requirements" in the Academic Calendar.

Students in all degree programs must complete 12 credit hours of Humanities courses.
Science Requirement Science refers to the disciplines that are devoted to the systematic observation of and experimentation with the material and the functions of the natural or physical world.

Disciplines with some designated Science courses: Anthropology, Applied Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography (Physical), History, Kinesiology, Physics, Psychology, Sociology. 

For a specific list of designated Science courses, see "Degree & Major Requirements" in the Academic Calendar.

All Arts degree students must complete 6 credit hours of Science courses. Students in some Science programs may have additional science requirements to fulfil besides the courses in their major department.
Social Sciences Requirement Social Sciences involve the scientific study of society and social relationships and behaviour. 

Disciplines designated as Social Sciences include Anthropology, Economics, Geography (Human and Regional), Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Women's and Gender Studies.

Students in 4-year programs in Arts, Business Administration, and Kinesiology must complete 12 credit hours of Social Science courses.

For a specific list of designated Social Science courses, see "Degree & Major Requirements" in the Academic Calendar.

Indigenous Course Requirement

A designated course with content that focuses on the Indigenous experience in North America.

All students in an undergraduate program must complete 3 credit hours of Indigenous designated courses.

For a specific list of designated Indigenous courses, please see this webpage: Indigenous Course Requirement 

Electives are options chosen by the student.  They are not prescribed by the requirements of a program, but are acceptable within that program and chosen by the student. 


Academic Calendar – see “Degree and Major Requirements”

For more information on Student Planning, please see:

First-Year Essentials[PDF]

First-Year Information Videos