Policy Details

2000-1-16 Degree Program Non-Core Courses

Responsible Executive Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success
Senior Vice-President, Academic & Student Success
Issue Date February 10, 2021

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

This policy has drawn from the corresponding policies or procedures at Seneca and Loyalist colleges and from the PEQAB Manual for Public Organizations, 2020.

Please Note: Only Degree programs fall within the scope of this policy. For breadth requirements associated with Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diplomas, please see the General Education (2000-1-8) policy.

An Ontario College degree is a degree program in an applied area of study that incorporates a prescribed set of courses/studies and work-integrated learning oriented to a field of practice. Ontario College degrees culminate in mastery of the bodies of knowledge and skills appropriate to the Honours Baccalaureate Degree Standard of the Ontario Qualifications Framework (OQF) in the field of study, and mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective practitioner upon graduation, and to remain professionally current thereafter.

The curriculum of an Ontario College degree program in an applied area of study is shaped by these characteristics:

  • a technical or professional education based on the fundamental principles in each field;
  • application of theory to practice, of learning by doing, and of converting personal experience into knowledge and skills through laboratory, applied research, and work experience;
  • cultivation of the analytical skills to evaluate new information and the ability to apply new knowledge to the field; and
  • a balance of professional study and general education/breadth courses to enhance students' understanding of the environment in which they will function as professionals and as educated citizens and to enhance their understanding by exposure to disciplines outside their main field of study.1


College and Program Requirements

  1. All degree programs at Lambton College will meet the requirements of and be consistent with the letter and the spirit of the Post-Secondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) Standards and Ministerial requirements as they pertain to curriculum breadth in degree programs.
  2. The curriculum of degree programs typically will include 20% non-core courses, that is, of all the courses required in a program of study, 80% will be core (professional) courses and 20% will be non-core (breadth) courses.
    1. Undergraduate programs associated with accrediting bodies or other industry/professional regulatory bodies may depart from this norm, especially if meeting the 20% non-core benchmark would drive the total program to an extraordinary number of credit hours
  3. It is desirable that the majority of a program’s non-core courses be elective courses. Where this is not possible, at least one non-core course must be an elective, freely chosen by the student. A student will be able to meet the program’s non-core requirements by choosing individual non-core courses from a collection of non-core courses that have been approved by the College.
  4. In those cases in which a specific non-core course is mandated by a program, the course must be a non-core course approved by the College and not on the Restricted List for the program.
  5. The College and program must ensure that the non-core courses offered and available as electives are sufficient and appropriate to enable the student to meet the non-core course requirements of the program.
  6. The College and the program will recognize and accept for the fulfillment of program non-core requirements, courses that are:
    1. degree-level and non-core courses as determined by program faculty and the College Curriculum Committee and approved by the College, and
    2. delivered by Lambton College, or
    3. delivered by Ontario Learn, or
    4. delivered by a recognized post-secondary institution and approved by the College Curriculum Committee as a degree-level, non-core course.

Student Requirements

  1. In order to graduate from a degree program, the student must fully and successfully meet the published non-core requirements of the program.
  2. A student must successfully complete, counting mandated and elective non-core courses:
    1. a course from at least two of the non-core categories;
    2. at least one lower-level non-core course and at least two upper-level non-core courses. In exceptional situations, in which the degree program curriculum is required to meet the requirements of accrediting bodies or other industry/professional regulatory bodies, students may be permitted to complete a minimum of one upper-level non-core course.
  3. A student may not use a non-core course that is listed on the non-core Restricted Courses list for the program to meet program requirements.

Recognition of Non-core Courses

  1. A course is recognized as a non-core course only if it is recommended by the Curriculum Committee and approved by the College as such and subsequently placed on the Non-core Approved Course List.
  2. A course recognized as a non-core course shall be identified as being
    1. in one of the following non-core categories: i) humanities, ii) sciences, iii) social sciences, iv) global cultures (including Indigenous cultures), v) mathematics; and
    2. either a lower-level course or an upper-level course; and
    3. on the Restricted Courses list for a program if the non-core course is deemed to be too similar in nature or content to the core/professional courses in the program.
  3. Degree-level non-core courses:
    1. provide more than introductory knowledge of the distinctive assumptions and modes of analysis of a discipline outside the core fields of study.
    2. contribute to students’ knowledge of society and culture and the development of knowledge and skills relevant to civic engagement;
    3. contribute to students’ consciousness of the diversity, complexity and richness of the human experience;
    4. strengthen critical thinking, reasoning, including quantitative reasoning, and communication skills;
    5. are not profession-specific but rather contribute to learning that is distinct from program core learning;
    6. do not overlap with core program courses;
    7. incorporate an academic rigour equivalent to other comparable degree-level courses from Lambton College or other recognized institutions granting comparable degrees, including workload, course outcomes and evaluations that are consistent with the College expectations for a degree-level course.
  4. A list of the courses that qualify as non-core courses, identified by category and level, shall be published by the Office of the Registrar, and the programs in which specific non-core courses may not be used to meet program non-core requirements will be identified as a “Restricted” program for those courses.
  5. A student may seek recognition (Transfer Credit – TC) for a course that is listed as a non-core course at Lambton on the basis of a similar course completed at another institution.


  1. For the degree programs, and specifically this policy, the definition of ‘core’, ‘non-core’ and ‘lower-level’ and ‘upper-level’ courses are as provided in the PEQAB Manual for Public Organizations, 2020.
    1. Core courses are those that contribute to the development of knowledge in the main field/s of study, as identified by the degree nomenclature, or in a related field.
    2. Non-core courses are those that contribute to the knowledge in fields outside of the main field/s of study.
    3. A lower-level course introduces key concepts and theories and establishes foundational survey knowledge and analysis.
    4. An upper-level course requires the application of foundational knowledge to evaluate critically the complexities of discipline areas and theoretical frameworks.

Post-Secondary Education Quality Assessment Board Manual for Public Institutions (including Ontario Colleges)

For questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the Policy Sponsor by phoning our main line 519-542-7751.