What is experiential learning and why is it a plan-level requirement in PSCI?
Experiential learning refers to an approach to teaching that involves engaging learners "in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities."
Through the study of power, politics and government, Political Science students gain these skills as well as the values of personal responsibility, civic engagement, integrity, open-mindedness and continuous learning that the department views to be essential for both good citizenship and career success.
Students pursuing PSCI Honours or PSCI four-year general degree must take one of the following experiential learning courses to fulfill their degree requirements.
Co-op students are exempt from having to complete an experiential learning course if they have completed two co-op work terms, but they are not excluded from taking these courses.
We recommend that students should plan to take these courses in their 3B, 4A or 4B terms.
What are the various experiential learning courses offered in the department?
How do these experiential learning courses differ from other PSCI courses?
Except for PSCI 495, which is supervised directly by a political science faculty member, the other experiential learning courses are designed to be SLICCs (Student-led, Individually Created Courses). This means that students are provided with the opportunity to choose their own learning experience and therefore create their own course that they plan, propose, carry out, reflect on and evaluate.
The benefit of the SLICC approach is that students can design their own learning experience to earn course credit, while simultaneously learning new skills and reflecting on this learning as it is happening.