Liberal Studies Policy


To provide students enrolled in degree programs with information about their Liberal Studies requirements.


This policy includes all Seneca students enrolled in degree programs, and applies to Liberal Studies requirements. This policy does not apply to Professional Option courses.

Key Definitions

Breadth requirements

The part of a program that enables students to explore a range of topics and issues separate from their program/Professional Option courses.

Liberal Studies course

A degree-level course designed to enhance essential skills, including critical thinking, quantitative and qualitative reasoning, and communication. It will expand and deepen knowledge and understanding of areas in Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences.

Liberal Studies elective course

A Liberal Studies course that is chosen by students enrolled in degree programs and is available to students from a variety of programs.

Lower-level Liberal Studies course

A Liberal Studies course that introduces students in degree programs to key concepts and theories in Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences, establishing foundational survey knowledge and analysis.

Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB)

The Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board is an arms-length advisory agency that makes recommendations to the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development on applications for ministerial consent. Ministerial consent to offer a baccalaureate degree program is required by all private organizations, either for profit or non-profit, Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, and public institutions based outside of the province.

Liberal Studies prescribed course

A Liberal Studies course that all students in a degree program must complete.

Professional option course

An elective course of interest that is directly linked to a student’s program. These are not Liberal Studies courses, and should not be confused with Liberal Studies courses. They do not satisfy the Liberal Studies requirements of a degree program.

Upper-level Liberal Studies course

A Liberal Studies course that requires the application of foundational knowledge to evaluate critically the complexities of specific discipline areas and theoretical frameworks to a greater degree.


Policy Statement

Liberal Studies courses are breadth courses, and complement professional courses in degree programs. Liberal Studies requirements contribute to students’ knowledge of society and culture, skills relevant to civic engagement, and strengthen critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and written and oral communication skills. Seneca’s Liberal Studies Policy is aligned with the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board’s Handbook for Ontario Colleges.


Every Liberal Studies course at Seneca is classified as either lower- or upper-level and falls into one of the following three (3) categories:

  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Sciences.

Where relevant, courses will incorporate Global Cultures and/or Mathematics.

Both upper- and lower-levels are rigorous, incorporating knowledge and critical analyses of the theoretical frameworks in areas outside of the student’s core areas of study, with a strong emphasis on critical thinking, research and oral and written communication skills.


  • Students in degree programs must meet the following Liberal Studies requirements:
    • Successful completion of Liberal Studies courses in at least two (2) of the three (3) categories (Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences)
    • Successful completion of at least two (2) upper-level Liberal Studies courses
      • Successful completion of at least one (1) lower-level, or English or Critical Thinking course is required before enrolling in an upper-level Liberal Studies course

Note: Professional Option courses are not equivalent to Liberal Studies courses.

Supporting Documentation

  • None

Related Seneca Policies

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