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Course Registration Information

Academic Advising

Your undergraduate advisor is Dr. Chris Anderson -

For general program and registration information, you can contact Lauren Price at

Closed Courses and Waiting Lists

Courses will fill quickly. If a course you want to take is full, check LORIS regularly, right up until the end of the first two weeks of classes, to see if a space has come available for you. All courses that do not have a tutorial component have a waiting list option on LORIS.

If you are in your second or third year, keep in mind none of the courses required for your degree have to be completed in any given year. As long as you have successfully completed those courses by graduation, that's all that matters. If you aren’t able to enrol in a certain course this year, then you likely will next year. 

Missing Prerequisite(s)

Students who wish to have a prerequisite waived should write to Dr. Anderson in advance of the registration period.  Such requests must include the number(s) of the course(s) they wish to take and their respective prerequisite(s), as well as a list of any courses completed which could substitute for the prerequisite course listed in the course offerings brochure (for example, UofT's 'Intro to Canadian' or UofW's 'Intro to IR'); calendar descriptions of those alternate courses and/or the outline (if available) should also be included.

Note: Merely having an interest in the subject matter cannot be considered the basis for such permission to be granted.

Overrides will not be given for classes that are full, i.e. have reached capacity. In these cases, you must use the waiting list function where available (those courses which do not have a tutorial component, that is).

Suggestions and Tips for Students, by year level

Note: In addition to the information contained in the following section, all students should refer to the Academic Calendar for complete program and degree requirements.

Before registration begins, get organized! You may find it helpful to have a blank timetable and one of our Course Planning Worksheet available. When you have established the list of courses you would like to take, check to see that you have the necessary prerequisites for each of these courses. You should also have a list of alternates ready in case you don’t get into all of your choices.

We encourage you to make a two-year plan actually, which is why the Course Planning Worksheet is useful. If the course is full, you will likely be able to pick it up next year, and if you don’t have the prerequisite for a particular course you really want to take, choose the prerequisite this year so that you can take that really great course next year.

First-Year Students

You should enrol in PO101 in the fall term and PO102 in the winter, plus however many electives you would like to take. A typical course load is five courses per term, two terms a year, for four years, but that may not work for you if you have, for example, a part-time job in which case four courses per term might be enough.

Your electives can be courses you think would complement your Political Science program nicely (Global Studies or History, for example), courses required for a Minor or an Option, courses you would like to take either because you enjoyed that material in high school and would like to explore it at the university level, or courses covering subjects you have no background in if you're looking for something new.

Second-Year Students

Most of you will have completed PO101 and PO102 (or their predecessors, PO110 and PO111), earning 1.0 credit of the 11.0-13.0 PO credits you need in your degree.  The 10.0-12.0 remaining PO credits are, typically, spread over three years. For example, taking 3.0 PO credits (six half-credit courses) in Year 2 and again in Year 3 leaves at least 4.0 credits for your final year.

In Year 2 you need to accomplish two things: complete some of the degree requirements and take courses which appeal to you, if the two are not the same! For example, if you are interested in studying more about the Canadian government, select PO263 and PO264 along with, say, PO217 and PO218 and PO235 and PO236. If international/global issues are really exciting to you, then select PO220 and PO221 (Intro to Comparative Government - Developing and Industrialized), or PO231 and PO232 (Intro to World Politics I and II), along with PO217, PO218, PO235 and PO236 perhaps. And if you're not sure, take a wide range of PO courses so that by the end of your second year you will have had enough exposure to various aspects of the discipline to know where your interests lie.

Year 2 is also your planning/positioning year. You should take time to look at the 300-level Political Science courses. If a particular course interests you, read the prerequisite(s) for that course and try to enrol in it in Year 2 so that you can have access to the course next year.

Third-Year Students

Our third year courses have anywhere from 40-60 students enrolled, and the expectation is somewhat higher than that of 200-level courses, naturally! You should be enrolling in at least two 300-level Political Science courses and likely will take more, but don't overdo it: if you take five per term, you could well be setting yourself up for an unmanageable workload. Try to choose a good balance of 200- and 300-level courses, and maybe even a 100-level if you're working on a Minor or have an interest in picking up, say, another language. You should also complete the 200-level requirements if you didn’t do so in second year.

You should also take a moment to familiarize yourself with the department's policy on access to 400-level courses (see the next section).  If any of the 400-level courses appeal to you, then you should be positioning yourself in Year 3 to be able to take that particular seminar.  You might also wish to read the program requirements specific to Year 4 and also the Research Specialization requirements.

All Year 3 students are advised to contact the department at some point (ideally in the fall term), time before the winter term ends, and especially before summer registration begins, to arrange a meeting to review your degree requirements. During such a meeting you will find out exactly what you need to do in Year 4 in order to meet graduation requirements, and can then better prepare for LORIS registration accordingly. Every year there are countless students throughout the university who are surprised in the winter of their 4th year to learn they are not eligible to graduate. You should arrange a meeting so that your name isn’t on one of those letters next February!

Fourth-Year Students

All students must complete 1.0 credit - two PO courses - at the 400-level. These courses are small seminars with a much higher expectation for participation than most students would have encountered in previous years. In order to register in a 400-level seminar, students must be enrolled in the Honours Political Science program and must have attained an average grade of no less than B (8.0 GPA) in at least two 300-level Political Science courses. Students who meet these requirements are restricted to two 400-level courses in our program.  If schedules allow, it is generally recommended that students take only one seminar course per semester.

Research Specialization

Entrance into this stream is granted to those students who have:

  • At least 1.0 300-level PO credit;
  • Achieved a grade of at least 8.0 in each 300-level PO course completed; and
  • Achieved a minimum average of 8.0 in all PO courses taken in Year 3.

Students in the RS must complete PO478* and PO479* (full credit courses offered in one semester each), plus one additional 0.5 cr. 400-level PO course.