Experiential Learning Contract

POLS*3850 allows students to reflect upon their involvement in some form of politically related activity such as work for a government or non-governmental organization or participation in a simulation with a clear political focus.

A student must find a departmental faculty member who is willing to supervise the independent study course and must obtain permission from the Undergraduate Committee of the Department of Political Science prior to enrollment.

Administrative Guidelines

Timing and types of experiences

The experience can take place during the semester in which the student is enrolled in POLS*3850 or it must have taken place no more than one semester (four months) prior to the course. Ideally, students will have permission for the course prior to the experience, but they may receive permission to write about their experiences after the fact if approved by the supervisor and the Undergraduate Committee.

Various types of experiences that have political or policy aspects are appropriate for the course. These include:

  • Paid (or unpaid) work for a government agency (this is broadly defined to include departments, agencies, tribunals, courts, public-private partnerships, etc. at the municipal, provincial or federal level);
  • Paid or volunteer work for a non-governmental organization that has a clear political or policy dimension;
  • Participation in simulations with a political focus, such as a Model United Nations conference.

However, there are certain experiences that will not be considered appropriate for the course. These include:

  • Activity solely for the purposes of data collection;
  • Study Abroad programs wherein the student is receiving credit (except a student who remains after the program’s completion to work for an NGO).

Course Expectations

Evaluation will be based on assignments relating to work duties. Normally, this will include a major writing project in which the student reflects upon and analyzes their experience using political science concepts and knowledge. Other potential assignments include weekly journal entries, literature reviews, etc.

Download the Sample Learning Contract