Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Courses

A “reading course” is a collective name used for the following courses: 

  • CSC392H5 and CSC492H5 (Computer Science Implementation Project),  
  • CSC393H5 and CSC493H5 (Computer Science Expository Work).
  • MAT397H5, MAT398H5, MAT497H5 and MAT498H5 (Further Studies in Mathematics) 
  • STA378H5, STA398H5, STA478H5, STA498H5 (Statistics Research Project) 

These are one-term courses, 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 (and a grade) for a 300- or a 400-level course in the appropriate discipline (Computer Science (CSC), Mathematical Sciences (MAT), or Applied Statistics (STA)). 

A reading course can be a very rewarding experience, which provide the opportunity to study an advanced topic that you are interested in, with guidance from a supervisor.  

Often, a group of students work on a reading course on the same or similar topics, and the collaboration between a small group of students can also be very rewarding. 

If you are interested in completing a Reading 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). You may wish to find a supervisor by research area, so could use the Research section of our website to find out which Faculty member is involved in what kind of research topics. You may also consider talking with instructors who know you from courses you have taken. Additionally, for assistance in finding a supervisor, students may wish to contact either the CSC, MAT or STA Associate Chair. Their name and contact information can be found here

The student should contact the individual faculty member and inquire about their availability and willingness to supervise a Reading 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.  

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.

Students may not enrol in a Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Course themselves on ACORN. You must apply through the forms listed below.

There may be a minimum CGPA requirement to take a Reading, Independent Study or Research Project course. Effective Fall 2024, a minimum CGPA of 3.50 will be required to complete a MAT Reading Course (MAT397H5, MAT398H5, MAT497H5, MAT498H5) and a minimum CGPA of 3.0 will be required to complete a STA Research Project Course (STA378H5, STA398H5, STA478H5, STA498H5). Additionally, there may be course prerequisites (at the 200+ level) which are needed.  

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Course prerequisites in the Academic Calendar before you consider submitting an application. MAT course descriptions can be found here; STA course descriptions can be found here; and CSC course descriptions can be found here.

You also require permission from the intended supervisor, and from the department. To gain permission from the department, you must have done well in your previous courses, and especially in any previous reading courses or project based courses. There may also be limits to the number of reading courses a students can take, especially in the same term.  Supervisors may impose additional prerequisites. 

Once the student has a supervisor and a topic for the course (and both have discussed the relevant details), the student must complete an online Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Course Application, well in advance and ideally at least one to two months before the start of the term. Requests after the first day of term will only be considered in exceptional cases. 

Students must select "Student" for question #1. After the necessary discussions with a supervisor have taken place, the supervisor may then complete their version of the form (they would select "Supervisor" in question #1).  

Mathematics - Further Studies in Mathematics Course Application
(Possible course codes: MAT397H5, MAT398H5, MAT497H5, or MAT498H5)  

Statistics - Research Project Course Application
(Possible course codes: STA378H5, STA398H5, STA478H5, STA498H5) 

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

You should apply well in advance and ideally at least one to two months before the start of the term, so that you can plan your course enrollment. Requests after the first day of term will only be considered in exceptional cases. 

Submission Deadline: The last day to enrol in Fall/Winter Y or Fall F courses is September 16, 2024. The deadline to submit an application for an F course is 12:00 p.m. on September 13, 2024.



The online form will be sent electronically to the Academic Advisor & Undergraduate Program Administrator for that discipline. Our department will review the form and send the student a follow up email on the decision or if more information is needed. If the application is approved, then the student will be enrolled in the appropriate course on ACORN and informed via email.  

Please note that submission of the application form does not guarantee enrolment in a Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Course. All application forms are subject to review by the department.  

Normally, there are no tests or exams in these courses. However, there is often the expectation of a substantial final project. 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. 

The supervisor will decide whether the course is at the 300- or 400- level. You may wish to discuss this together with the supervisor at the time when you discuss potential topics.  

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. However, some students find these courses highly interesting and can often put in more hours than they might in a regular course. 

If you submit more than one Reading, Independent Study or Research Project Course application for the same term/session, then they will be subject to departmental review and this will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The department acknowledges the unique educational value gained from completing a Reading Course, however if you have completed others prior to the current term, then your application will be subject to departmental review to determine if it fits into a reasonable academic plan  If you have questions, please contact the discipline’s Academic Advisor to discuss this further. 


Last updated 24-Jun-24

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