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5. Curriculum

5.1 Curriculum Pattern

Students entering a program beyond academic level one are advised that certain courses are prerequisites for others, and are, therefore, to be completed in a specific sequence. It is solely the student's responsibility, regardless of the sequence in which courses are taken, to ensure that all the academic requirements of the diploma or certificate program in which he/she is registered are met.

General education courses form an integral part of the post-secondary program of studies for students at Seneca College. Fact sheets published under the authority of the Schools of English and Liberal Studies will list the approved pattern of courses, and will indicate the requirements for completion of the students' general education component.

Each School will list the approved pattern of courses for their programs, and will indicate the number and sequence of courses on a published fact sheet.

5.1.1 General Education

The purpose of General Education is to contribute to the development of individuals and promote awareness of the diversity and complexity of the world we live in. General Education courses complement professional outcomes in diploma and advanced diploma programs by exposing students to areas of study outside of their chosen fields. Seneca's General Education Policy is aligned with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Binding Policy Directive (2003, rev. 2009).


  • Students in diploma or advanced diploma programs must successfully complete a minimum of three (3) General Education courses to graduate.
    • Students must complete one General Education course from the Arts and Humanities category, one General Education course from Sciences and Social Sciences, and one course which can be chosen from either category.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet Seneca's General Education requirements.
  • Some certificate programs require General Education courses.

Note: Professional Option courses and College English courses are not equivalent to General Education courses.

5.1.2 Liberal Studies

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 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 of the three categories (Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences)
    • Successful completion of at least two upper-level Liberal Studies courses
      • Successful completion of at least one 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.

5.2 Development Program

Depending on the individual learning needs and capabilities, as assessed at the beginning of the first term and/or as recommended by the Promotion Committee at the end of any term, students may be counselled, or required, to register in one or more courses designed specifically to assist them.

5.3 Program

A program is a prescribed sequence of courses which meets the requirements for a College certificate, diploma or degree. All such programs lead to approved College credentials, and are developed and offered under the authority of one or more of the Faculties of the College.

Under the provisions of this policy, a comprehensive listing of all degrees, diplomas and certificates issued by Seneca College is maintained.

5.4 Courses

Specific courses are those in which the primary emphasis is on material related directly and practically to the field of work for which the student is preparing. Successful acquisition of appropriate skills and satisfactory performance in field placements are the required ingredients for success in certain courses. For these, a satisfactory level must be achieved in both theory and field placement before a passing grade may be granted.

All courses offered by the College with the same course code will have learning outcomes common to all sections, regardless of program, Faculty/School, campus, mode of delivery or individual faculty member.

5.5 Duplicate Use of Credit & Course Equivalency

Where Seneca course credits (whether earned directly, granted as equivalent, or obtained through Transfer Credit) have been used toward the granting of a certificate or diploma, these courses may be used toward the granting of subsequent certificates or diplomas when:

  1. A specific course is common to both certificates or diplomas, or
  2. A specific course required in the subsequent program is deemed to be the equivalent of a course completed in the first program.

In some program clusters, residency requirements may include provisions for a minimum of twenty-five percent new material.

Notwithstanding the above, duplicate use of credit may be denied by the receiving College official(s) where competence in the current learning outcomes of the relevant course(s) cannot be clearly demonstrated or documented.

(Also see 16.1 "Conditions for Graduation")

Seneca College provides every opportunity for students to build on their previous education. In some program areas, the College offers laddered credentials such that students may complete certificate and diploma programs and subsequently build on these toward the completion of more advanced credentials. However, a student that is enrolled in a diploma or an advanced diploma will not normally be eligible to receive an embedded certificate or diploma at a lower level retroactively. Exceptional circumstances will be considered on an individual basis.

Requests for credit towards a degree program will be assessed on an individual basis, except where an approved diploma to degree pathway exists.

5.6 New Programs

A student applying for credit towards a certificate or diploma for courses taken at Seneca College prior to the introduction of that certificate or diploma shall be granted credit in accordance with the College's policy on Transfer Credit, which requires that the learning objectives for each course as defined in the current calendar have been met and can be demonstrated by the applicant.

5.7 Normal Program

A normal full-time or part-time program for a term at Seneca College consists of a specified number of term courses which may vary from program to program, School to School and from student to student. Promotion from academic level to academic level is on an individual term course basis. The College encourages individual programs adapted to the specific learning needs of the student and delivery mechanisms that allow for individualized program approaches. Consequently, the particular combination of term courses may not be the same for all students in a given program. Each student, as a condition of graduation, must successfully fulfill the requirements for professional term courses as well as the general education component. Specific requirements for each program are available from the School offering the program.

5.8 Partial and Part-Time Day Programs

A partial program student is one who is registered in a program, but is not taking a full course of study.

A part-time student is registered in one or more curriculum courses, but is not registered in a specific program.

5.9 Residency Requirement

A Faculty of Seneca College may recommend a student for a certificate, diploma or degree only after the student has earned a minimum of twenty-five percent of the credit for that program at Seneca.

5.10 Term Course

The basic instructional unit is the term course. Most two-year equivalent diploma programs consist of approximately 20 term courses. Generally, college programs are defined in terms of the number and titles of the term courses required for their completion.

5.11 Course Outlines

All courses at Seneca College follow a standard course outline approved by the School. Course outlines will be made available to all students registered in that course.

Course outlines comprise the following 3 elements: College-common section, School-specific section and in some cases, an Addendum.

The College-common section contains the following elements:

  • Course Code and Title;
  • Course Description;
  • Credit Status, including any additional requirements for credit such as successful completion of Field Placement;
  • Course Vocational Learning Outcomes – common to all sections of a course regardless of campus and/or mode of delivery;
  • Course Essential Employability Skills (EES) Learning Outcomes - common to all sections of a course regardless of campus and/or mode of delivery;
  • Reference to College Academic Policy on Academic Honesty; (implementation ongoing)
  • Reference to College Policy on Discrimination and Harassment, and
  • Statement regarding accommodation for students with disabilities.

The School-specific section includes further information:

  • Prerequisites, including references to any documentation which details prerequisite skills and/or experience, and type and level of competencies which would be considered equivalent to the stated prerequisite;
  • Topic Outline;
  • Mode of Instruction;
  • Prescribed Texts;
  • Reference Material, both required and recommended;
  • Required Supplies;
  • Promotion Policy which details any extensions to College grading policy, and
  • Mode of Evaluation which details the means by which students will be assessed and the relative weight of each, the treatment of failed or missed tests or assignments, any exceptional requirements for attendance and participation, the treatment of late assignments, and the standards and treatment of language usage in tests and assignments.

The following information will be provided to students on the School-specific section or on an approved Addendum:

  • Name of faculty for that section and his/her contact information;
  • Planned schedule of topics, tests and assignments, and
  • Any other information relevant to the section (e.g. hours and/or means of consultation, detailed grading schemes, any variations on the mode of delivery or textbooks, audio/videotaping as methods for learning and/or evaluation, additional learning resources/equipment, etc.).

Students are expected to be knowledgeable of the contents of the course outline and to discuss with the faculty any areas where clarification is required.

College-common and School-specific elements of the course outline are available on the College website.

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