Special Studies Courses

PSCI 391 and PSCI 492

  • Students in their 3rd or 4th years may be eligible for a special studies/subject course (also known as a reading course). These courses are numbered PSCI 391 and PSCI 492.
  • A special studies/subject course is an intensive reading course on a specific topic not available in the regular departmental course offerings.
  • It is supervised by a faculty member and normally requires students to undertake a systematic program of reading leading to the writing of a research paper. Students are expected to meet regularly with their supervisors.
  • A special studies/subject course is a single-term course which should be completed within the time constraints of a normal academic term.


  • Students contemplating a special studies/subject course must first have a specific project. Students should be able to justify their proposals, define the area of research, and identify available sources.
  • Students should approach a potential supervisor as early as possible, preferably before the first day of classes.
  • Students should discuss proposal with the faculty member who will act as supervisor.
    • Supervision of a special studies/subject course is a voluntary activity undertaken by faculty members over and above normal departmental responsibilities. This means that although faculty members are generally anxious to assist students in their special projects, their other commitments may sometimes mean that they are unable to provide the supervision.
  • When registering for a special studies course, a form must be filled out and signed by the student and the supervising faculty member. The proposal should be submitted along with the form.
  • Signed approval must then be obtained from the Undergraduate Associate Chair.
  • These courses require department consent, so a course override form must also be filled out for the Undergraduate Associate Chair to approve.