Breadth courses for degree programs


Durham College’s (DC) degree breadth courses provide students in our degree programs the opportunity to gain knowledge and an understanding of disciplines outside of their main field of study, resulting in graduates who can contribute thoughtfully, creatively and positively to their community and their workplaces.

In completing breadth courses in various categories and levels, students:

  1. Utilize critical thinking, research and inquiry skills, quantitative and qualitative reasoning, and scholarly written and oral communication skills.
  2. Achieve knowledge in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, global cultures and/or mathematics.
  3. Express a comprehension of society, culture, diversity, and skills relevant to civic engagement.
  4. Exhibit more than an introductory knowledge of the distinctive assumptions and modes of analysis of a discipline outside the core field of study.

DC’s degree breadth courses enable students to develop new insights, experiences, and new ways of thinking through courses from the following three categories.

Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self Science and Technology Society and Commerce
Includes areas such as:

  • Canadian Culture
  • History
  • English Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Leadership
  • Ethics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Technical Writing
  • Psychology
Includes areas such as:

  • Environment (local and global)
  • Alternative Energy Sources
  • Statistics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology
Includes areas such as:

  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Canadian Government
  • Introduction to Canadian Law
  • Project Management
  • Economics and Trade
  • The Role of Social Media


All breadth courses at DC are identified as either lower or upper level courses.

Breadth Type Overview
Lower Level These foundation or introductory courses are prerequisites for upper level breadth courses.
Upper Level These courses have increasingly complex theory at the degree level and contribute to the achievement of more than introductory knowledge.

Graduation Requirements for Students

  1. Review your program of study to determine the total number of breadth courses required to graduate from your program.
  2. Students are required to successfully complete two lower-level breadth courses (in any category) to be eligible to enroll in upper-level degree breadth courses.
  3. Students are required to successfully pass courses in at least two of the three breadth categories.

Please note: Some breadth courses are restricted to students in specific degrees. Please meet with your Program Advisor to ensure non-restricted breadth courses are completed.

  • Alcibiades Malapi-Nelson
  • Doctorate - Philosophy (of Science), York University
  • Drew Maxwell
  • PhD - English Literature, University of Edinburgh
  • Jeff Zakoor
  • MBA (General), Western University
  • Lindsay Beyger
  • PhD, MSc. (Applied Bioscience ), Ontario Tech University
  • Lynne N. Kennette
  • PhD (Cognitive Psychology), Wayne State University
  • Michael Reid
  • PhD (Evolutionary Anthropology), University of Toronto
  • Patrick Dwyer
  • MA (Sociology), Carleton University
  • Zeev Perelmuter
  • PhD (Philosophy), University of Toronto Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESFL)

Breadth Courses by Level


Course Code

Course Title

Lower Level Breadth - Course Descriptions

Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self CANA 10003 Canadian Culture This course engages the student to critically reflect on Canada’s complex social, economic,
political, environmental and cultural realities with an interdisciplinary approach to contemporary issues that contrasts widely circulated assumptions and ideas with critical viewpoints. Canadian society is characterized by a multitude of social cleavages based on history, geography, language, ethnic origins, gender, ability and economic status which, taken together, provide differing views of the nation’s identity. The student will be offered the opportunity to explore those views and analyze the factors that inform them through readings and discussions from conventional viewpoints as well as writings of academics and writers from marginalized segments of Canadian society.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self COMM 11010 Communications 1: Critical Thinking and Writing This course introduces students to essential writing skills for business. Types of scholarly
and non-scholarly writing will be reviewed. Grammar, style, and standards for different audiences will be explained and reinforced through practice. Methods to construct and critically evaluate arguments will be explained. Research, organization, revision, layout, and copy editing skills will be developed through group and individual assignments.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self PHIL 10000 Ideas that Matter: An Introduction to Ancient Greek Philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy is the first chapter of Western philosophy, and in many ways an
unparalleled one. We will discuss the emergence of Western thought (philosophy and science) about 2600 years ago in the city of Miletus. Then we will study the philosophers who followed: Parmenides, the Sophists, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, among others. Some of the questions we are going to explore are: What is the nature of reality? What does it take to know something? What is man’s place in the universe? What is the best political system? What is a life worth living? We shall attempt to find answers through lectures and class discussion. Students will be evaluated by a variety of written assignments, discussions, and tests.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self ENGL 10003 Introduction to Canadian Literature This course seeks to introduce students to Canadian literature in all its facets and
complexities. It will provide students with a wide-ranging overview of Canadian literature, its major authors and their works. Students will explore what it means to be a part of a culture and identity which is distinctly Canadian and discover how this defines its literary cannon. The intricate, convoluted, and often vexing question of what defines Canadian identity has been habitually reflected in its literature, rendering its study a truly warranted and significant academic pursuit.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self PSYC 10003 Introduction to Psychology Following a brief history of psychology this course introduces students to the basic
concepts and issues of modern psychology including the scientific study of behaviour, motivation, personality development, learning, consciousness, sensation and perception, the biological basis of behaviour and social psychology. Connections to everyday experiences will ground the introduction through student-centred learning activities.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self ANTH 10000 Introduction to the 4-Fields of Anthropology Anthropology is the study of humans from our evolutionary origins ~65 million years ago as
very simple primates, through to today. Traditional Anthropology focuses on using 4-Subfields to study humans. These are Archaeology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Linguistics and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. In this course we will examine the past and present history of humans using a 4-field anthropological lens. Students will learn about primate and human evolutionary history, use archaeology to study what our ancestors left behind, the origins and evolution of language and finally, about our species’ socio-cultural nature that can be seen as defining humanity. We will conclude the course with some reflections about the future of humanity and how Anthropology can help lead us to a more sustainable future.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self Technical Writing In this course, students are familiarized with the appropriate communication skills and the expectations of professional communications with clients, through letters, memos, and emails and also focuses on the skills required to produce technical reports and documentation. Research skills required for writing accurate technical reports for projects, and completing Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Requests for Qualifications (RFQs), and prequalification are emphasized in this course.
Science and Technology ASTR 10002 Astronomy: Exploring the Night Sky Students in this course will examine celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth. Celestial objects such as our moon, sun, planets, stars, nebulae, meteoroids, asteroids, comets and galaxies will be explored. Students will use scientific inquiry to develop an understanding of how matter and energy influences our universe. Students will also uncover the mysteries behind how a telescope works, the Earth’s seasons, and the evolution of stars. Students will be evaluated through research, small group discussions, and hands on activities.
Science and Technology ECOL 10000 Introduction to Ecology This course introduces the principles of ecology and focuses on the factors that influence
ecosystems. After a general discussion of aquatic and terrestrial environments, individual components of an ecosystem are examined and their interrelationship with the environment. Populations and species interaction are examined as the course takes a broader view of ecology. The course content broadens into community and ecosystem ecology. In acquiring knowledge of the individual components and factors initially, it is easier to grasp the concepts of larger ecosystems. The course culminates with the study Durham College: Breadth Capacity Review Section 3, Page 4 of human impacts on ecology with the study of resource use, habitat loss, biodiversity, and conservation.
Science and Technology STEM 10002 Technology: Its History and Implications This course is designed to introduce students to the complex and multilayered relationship
between technology and society. It prepares the investigation by examining several competing theories that aim at understanding the influence of human values on technology and vice versa. As well, it provides clarifying context by laying out a landscape of the various types of interfaces that technology and society have experimented with throughout history. Equipped with this framework, we will explore philosophical, sociological, anthropological and humanistic approaches to several issues and questions that arise from this reciprocal interface, pertaining to design, innovation, inequality, labour, gender, community, human relationships, and surveillance.
Society and Commerce LAWW 10000 Canadian Law – An Introduction This course introduces students to the historical context and operation of our legal system,
the institutions within the system, roles of persons within those institutions and the process of
thought which apply to current Canadian legal issues. Students in this course will gain a general understanding of how laws are defined, created, implemented and interpreted to give meaning and solutions to modern social problems. In addition, students will examine the role of law in Canadian society.
Society and Commerce SOCI 10000 Introduction to Sociology Sociology is the study of people and how they interact with each other and various social
groups. This course deals with the study of people's lives, their relationship to society as a whole, and how people are affected by the society in which they live. The concepts, theories and methods of the discipline will be introduced and discussed with particular emphasis on the dynamics of Canadian society and Canadian social problems.
Society and Commerce POLI 10001 Political Science This introductory course provides a concise analysis of the most important federal political
institutions in Canada and how they function. The course describes and dissects key elements of federal institutions, providing enough history to place them in a modern context. While the emphasis is on Canada, a cross cultural perspective is often used for comparative analysis. Students will be evaluated through a combination of in-class assignments, a group assignment, and in-class quizzes and tests.


Course Code

Course Title

Upper Level Breadth - Course Descriptions

Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self CLAS 20003 Classical Mythology Of all the traditions handed down by the Greeks and Romans, their mythology has been one of the most far-reaching and longest-lasting. It has inspired artists, writers, philosophers, composers and filmmakers from countless peoples over countless generations. The aim of this course is to help students acquire a familiarity with the principal classical myths, and the ways those myths are represented in Greek and Roman literature and art. A familiarity with this material will significantly enrich one’s appreciation of art, literature and music, as well as provide fascinating insights into past and present western cultures.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self SOCI 22003 Curiosity: Malcolm Gladwell and Social Science In this course, students will examine a selection of writings by social scientist, journalist and cultural commentator Malcolm Gladwell. The course is organized into three parts: Part I: Theories, Predictions and Diagnoses, Part II: Obsessives, Pioneers and Other Varieties of Modern Genius, and Part III: Personality, Character and Intelligence. Each section will link existing social science research with stories of real people and events. Students will explore the implications of this research and its impact on their day-to-day lives. Emphasis will be placed on examining conventionally unchallenged social concepts, such as intelligence, success and reason, through the lenses of curiosity and critical thinking.
Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self SOCI 20003 Social Media and Society In this course, students will examine the major developments in social media and explore in
depth how social media is changing media, business, government, the economy, development and education in fundamental ways. In conjunction, focus will be placed on new research trends that are motivated by social media. Driven by classical sociological theory and contemporary industry data, students will think critically about the impact of the profound changes to the global communication landscape with the advent of explosive social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Further, students will examine the correlation between the exploding social media market and its use in promotion for both profit and not for profit organizations. Students will be introduced to a variety of social media environments and controversial arguments that surround the use of social media in today’s society.

This course requires active participation of students and a willingness to immerse in social media practices.

Culture, Arts, Humanities and Self COMM 31005 Technical Communications and Reporting This course will prepare students to communicate technical information within organizations,
to external parties and to the general public. Methods to be covered include managing shared information sites and wikis, communications for teams; interpersonal skills; leading and facilitating groups; preparing and delivering oral presentations; creating business cases,
Science & Technology SOCI 20002 Cancer Influences – Science and Society Students in this course will use a variety of perspectives to broadly examine how science,
technology and society have advanced the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of common cancers.

Students will explore the basis of cancer biology, critically examine factors that increase cancer risk, and analyze the effectiveness of current technologies in order to relate scientific inquiry to public perception of cancer, informed decision-making, and cancer citizenship within local and global contexts.

Students will be evaluated using a combination of tests, written and oral assignments, and projects in which they will critically examine factors influencing the cancer landscape.

Science & Technology ENVI 20000 Environmental Protection and Global Wellness Learn more about the prominent environmental issues of our time. This course focuses on
current environmental issues that present varying degrees concern to the health of humans, ecosystems and our planet. It examines the topics beyond the media headlines and looks at the policies, politics and basic science of the many of the interesting environmental challenges. Topics include, but are not limited to, climate change, arctic ecosystems, water conservation and water quality, endocrine disrupting substances (gender benders), resource depletion, the dilemma of pesticide use and natural toxins in foods. The course begins with a brief look at the responsibilities of the federal, provincial and municipal governments as they relate to environmental jurisdiction. Then, each issue will be considered in the Canadian and global context. As the major environmental issues change, the course topics are adjusted to match the contemporary issues of importance.
Science & Technology ENVI 20002 Green & Alternative Energy Sources Students investigate the popular interest in solar, wind, geothermal and other green and
alternative energy systems and their current contribution to the electrical supply in Ontario. Students study active and passive solar systems applied to residential and commercial sectors.  The fundamentals of collecting energy from sunlight and converting it into electricity are examined.  Also, the basic principles of solar thermal are explored. This course introduces the basic design, principles of installation and operation of geothermal systems.  Students observe the operation and control of the geothermal systems at both the Whitby and Oshawa campuses of Durham College.   The basic theory of harvesting energy from wind is introduced. Through the combination of fundamental principles and practical studies, students identify and compare the operating principles of different commercially available wind turbine designs.  A brief introduction of the fundamentals of nuclear energy for generation of electricity is studied.  Other clean energy alternatives including biomass gasifiers are studied.
Society and Commerce SOCI 20001 Issues in Sociology This course expands on sociology’s unique perspectives, key concepts, and modes of exploring the social world. Issues in sociology will explore the interaction of people with each other and various social groups. Students will explore social stratification, poverty, group dynamics, government and power, media and technology, aging, urbanization, the environment, and social change.
Society and Commerce HURS 22001 Leadership- Emotionally Intelligent Manager This course examines emotional intelligence, its definition and its role in leadership
competency. The feelings and emotions of a leader affect her or his actions and decisions. The dynamics of feelings and emotions within a team influences the effectiveness and productivity of a team as well as its organizational climate. In the context of leadership theory, the course investigates the nature of emotions and the influences of the emotions of the leader impacts the attitudes of the group. The relationship between positive emotions and proficient performance and informed decisions is evaluated.

Similarly, the impact of hiding or suppressing one’s emotions is studied. The course is intended to assist the student in enhancing the development of their own leadership competencies and stimulate them to continuously improve their emotional intelligent leadership skills in career and community applications.

Society and Commerce HURS 20001 Leadership- Optimizing Results through Others Leadership competencies are examined so that students gain an enhanced appreciation for the essentials of excellent management. Coaching is introduced as a prime method of improving leadership capabilities along with delegation of responsibilities, time management and other leadership factors.

Students study concepts of maximizing personal and group performance utilizing various management, dispute resolution and coaching styles. Students are challenged to evaluate and develop practical leadership skills for the workplace and the community.

Society and Commerce Principles of Marketing and Sales This course is intended to give the student a practical overview and understanding of the
marketing and selling processes. In any business, marketing and sales are key components whereby activities are designed to generate and facilitate exchanges between organizations as well as with end users. Material to be covered will include the controllable elements of the marketing mix, uncontrollable environmental factors, marketing research, segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Students will also gain valuable insights in buying behaviour, persuasive communication, needs analysis, sales presentation techniques, handling objections, and the customer relationship building process.