Independent Study or Reading Courses

An Independent Study Course (also known as a Reading Course), is a one-term course, in which most of the learning is done independently by the student, from textbook(s), articles and/or other resources suggested by the supervisor. The supervisor must be a faculty member, who meets with the student regularly to discuss the material and work on problems and/or other tasks assigned. Upon successful completion of the course, the student receives a half credit for a 300- or a 400-level course in the appropriate discipline (Mathematics, Computer Science or Statistics).


How do I find a supervisor?

Students who are interested in taking an Independent Study Course should look for an appropriate supervisor well in advance (1-2 months before the beginning of the term in which the course is being taken). Any faculty member can serve as a supervisor (as long as departmental approval is granted). The student should contact individual faculty and inquire about their availability and willingness to supervise an Independent Study Course, and possible topics for the course. Faculty members may tend to suggest topics which are closer to their area of expertise.Students must provide a transcript (generated from ACORN) to the supervisor when they apply. You can find a list of pointers to information related to the Computer Science independent study course, provided by individual faculty members. 


Who chooses the topic for the course?

Both the student and the supervisor can suggest topics. Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with more than one potential supervisor, and decide together on a topic that is appropriate and interesting to both the supervisor and the student.


How do I register for an Independent Study Course?

Students should not register for an Independent Study Course on ACORN.

Once you have a supervisor and a topic for the course (and you have both discussed the relevant details), fill out an online Independent Study or Reading Course Application. Be sure to select "Student" for #1. Provided you have had the necessary discussions with your supervisor, they may then complete their version of the form. The online form will be sent electronically to the Academic Advisor & Undergraduate Program Administrator for that discipline. Once the department approves the course, you will be enrolled in the course on ACORN, using the appropriate course code.

Mathematics - Independent Study or Reading Course Application
(Possible course codes: MAT397H5, MAT398H5, MAT492H5, MAT497H5, or MAT498H5) 

Statistics - Independent Study or Reading Course Application 
(Possible course codes: STA378H5, STA398H5, STA478H5, STA498H5)

Computer Science- Independent Study or Reading Course Application
(Possible course codes: CSC392H5, CSC393H5,CSC492H5, CSC493H5)


Are there any tests/exams in such a course?

Normally, there are no tests or exams in such courses. However, the supervisor may assign a final project in the course. The final project can be in the form of a written essay, a presentation, a computer simulation, etc.

The supervisor will evaluate the student based on the meetings and on any written or other work assigned.


Are there any prerequisites for an Independent Study Course?

Students must have a minimum CGPA of 2.5 to participate in an Independent Study Course. Other prerequisites may be imposed by the supervisor.


Is my course a 300 or a 400 level course?

The supervisor will decide whether the course is at the 300- or 400- level.


How long will the course last and how much work will be involved?

Normally, the course will run for 12-14 weeks. The expected amount of work should be about the same as in an equivalent 0.5 credit course. You should be aware though, that the time you spend is very much up to you, and that many students find these courses highly interesting and can often put in more hours than they might in a regular course.


More Questions?

If you have further questions, please contact your discipline's Academic Advisor & Undergraduate Program Administrator or Faculty Advisor. Contact information can be found here.