Undergraduate FAQ

What do I need to get a major in Political Science?

Students intending to major in Political Science must complete:

7.5 units of political science courses at the 100- and 200-levels, including at least one of POLI 101 and 201, with a grade of at least C+ in each course. It is strongly recommended that these courses be taken during the first two years of a student’s program. Students should take a broad range of courses, including at least one on Canadian politics, one on comparative politics, one on international politics, and one in political theory. Some courses on offer will incorporate material from more than one of these fields.

15 units of Political Science courses at the 300- or 400-level, including at least one of POLI 300A, POLI 300B, or POLI 300C, one course from each of the Groups II-V, and one 400-level course. A course on methods of political analysis (POLI 321, 338, 339, POLI 351 is strongly recommended. SOSC 300 and EUS 300 are each accepted in lieu of 1.5 units of upper-level POLI coursework.

Students should consult a Political Science advisor for more detailed advice about program planning. In general, students should complete the 200-level course in a particular field before attempting any 300-level courses in that field.

All 400-level courses in Political Science are seminar courses.

Students must also meet the general requirements for BA degrees established by the University and the Faculty of Social Sciences, as described in the University Calendar.

What do I need to get a minor in Political Science?

The minor program in Political Science requires:

  • 6 units of courses numbered at the 100- or 200-level
  • 9 units of courses numbered at the 300- or 400-level

How do I declare my major in Political Science?

You can declare your major at the beginning of your second year. We encourage you to do so as soon as you have 3rd-year standing. The sooner your program is declared, the better your chances of meeting your program requirements in time to graduate.

To declare your program you must file a Record of Degree Program (RDP) with the Academic Advising Centre (Room A205, University Centre). Students who have not satisfied the University English Requirement must do so before they declare their program. You can change your program at any time by consulting with the Academic Advising Centre. Be aware that limitations may apply to certain proposed program combinations.

What is the European Studies concentration?

The European Studies concentration is a specialization in European studies designed for students pursuing major and honours degrees in Political Science. This program allows students to immerse themselves in European politics, and to compare and contrast the Canadian and European systems. Concentration students are also required to spend one term of study in Europe - a great way to experience their area of study first hand!

More information is available on the European Studies website.

What is the Social Justice Studies minor?

The Social Justice Studies minor is meant to offer students a thorough understanding of the complexity of social justice issues in our world. For more information please visit the Social Justice website.

What is the Honours Program?

If you choose to pursue an honours degree in Political Science, you will complete additional Political Science coursework and choose a concentration in one of the four discipline sub-fields. In your fourth year you will research, write and present an Honours Essay, which provides you an opportunity to investigate a problem in depth. Many students choose to pursue an honours degree to get a taste for the kind of scholarship that they would encounter in graduate school. An honours degree is traditionally considered excellent preparation for graduate school, even though it is not a requirement for many graduate programs.

More information can be found in the University Calendar. If you are interested in pursuing an honours degree, contact the Honours Advisor, Dr. Marlea Clarke before your third year.

How do I get into the Honours Program?

Admission to the Honours Program requires a minimum GPA of 6.0 in at least 6 units of political science courses numbered at the 100- or 200-level. Students will be admitted to the Honours Program in Political Science at the beginning of their third year.

Contact the Political Science Honours Advisor, in writing no later than May 31 preceding the year in which they wish to be admitted to third-year honours. More information about the Honours Program is available here.

What is Co-op?

The Political Science Co-operative Education option provides students with an opportunity to combine their academic studies with 4-month periods of paid employment in political science-related positions in the public, private or non-profit sectors.

For more information please visit Political Science Co-op or contact Barb Fisher, Co-op Coordinator, at DTB A204.

What are the admission requirements for Political Science Co-op (undergrad)?

  • Completion of at least 22.5 units (1 year)
  • 5.0 GPA (B average) in political science courses and overall
  • Completion of POLI 351 with a B or better (or a plan to take it)
  • Registered full-time status - a minimum 12 units for the year

How do I apply for Co-op?

Students interested in Co-op need to submit the application form which is available from the Social Sciences Co-op office (DTB A204), and supporting documents (i.e. your resume, letter of interest, and unofficial transcripts).

The deadline is typically September 15 or January 15. Application forms are available one month before the deadline.

What type of jobs can I get with a Political Science degree?

We have political science alumni working for the government, in law, education, business, journalism, as well as many other fields.

What is Course Spaces?

Course Spaces is an on-line learning platform. Instructors use this platform to send e-mails, post messages, view powerpoints, create discussion forums, and upload assignments and quizzes. It has several other uses as well.

What is e-reserve?

The McPherson Library also has some material available on electronic reserve. Your instructor has contacted the library and placed readings or other material on e-reserve. Online materials can be accessed through the reserve-reading list for each specific course.

I need help with my writing, does the department offer assistance?

The Centre for Academic Communication is a free resource on campus. You also should check with your instructor or teaching assistant, as many are willing to meet with you and discuss your paper topics. Some instructors may also be willing to review an outline or even a draft, though this may not be possible (especially in lecture classes).

I have a learning disability and need more time for my examinations, who do I see?

If I have been in an accident, become ill or suffered from a family affliction and I need extensions, who do I contact?

You can request directly from the course instructor a deferral or substitution of a mid-term test/examination or other work which is due during the term. Arrangements to complete such missed or late work aremade between you and your instructor. If the request for deferral or substitution of term work is denied, you can appeal as described under Appeals.

If the due date for the deferred work is beyond the end of the term, you must submit a Request for Academic Concession to Undergraduate Records .

By submitting a Request for Academic Concession, students are applying for Deferred Status. You MUST apply for Deferred (DEF) status by completing a Request for Academic Concession at Undergraduate Records normally within ten working days of the end of the examination period. Supporting documentation must accompany the request. Undergraduate Records will ask the instructor concerned to consider the request.

If deferred status is not granted, the instructor will submit a final grade. In cases where the instructor does not give a deferred examination but assigns a final grade based on an assessment of the student's performance on the course work, the grade will appear on the student's record with the notation AEG. If deferred status is granted, any required course work (including exams) must be completed by the end of the following term.

  • Courses ending in December must be completed by April.
  • Courses ending in April must be completed by August.
  • Summer Studies courses must be completed by December.

Deferred status may be extended beyond the above deadlines only in exceptional circumstances and only with the written permission of the Dean (or designate) of the student's faculty. To learn more about Deferred Status please view the details on the UVic Calendar.

I think I have the flu and have an exam tomorrow, what should I do?

Students who become ill should immediately contact their instructor by e-mail. Students can request, directly from the course instructor, deferral or substitution of a mid-term test/examination or of other work which is due during the term. Arrangements to complete such missed or late work must be made between the student and the instructor.

How do I register?

Students register for Political Science courses through the normal UVic registration system.

Step-by-step tutorials for registration are available here.

Students with questions can call 250-721-8142 or 8143 for personal assistance or email . Further assistance to students will be available at all computer lab facilities and the computer help desk at 250-721-7687 or .

Please note: If there is no box to tick, you can also register by going to the Add/Drop Classes tab in Usource and adding the CRN under the Add Classes Worksheet located at the bottom of the page.

When can I register?

All eligible new and returning students are sent an email advising them to check their registration date and time through uSource. Your registration date and time can be found by logging into MYPAGE and clicking on the following: Students > Student > Class Registration > Check Registration Status.

If you do not have an active email account, you will need to access NetLink to apply for both a UVic email and NetLink ID. Since classes fill up fast, it is important to register for both terms as soon as possible on or right after the date and time shown.

How many courses can I register for?

You are permitted to take 9 units per term. There are 3 terms per session (May-August, September-December and January-April.) To get permission to take more units than permitted, you must visit the Advising Centre.

How do I decide what to take?

There are several ways to get information about which courses to take towards your degree. If you're unsure about the requirements for a major or minor in Political Science, they are listed in the Calendar as well as in this FAQ section, or consult with an Advisor.

If you are interested in doing a major in Political Science and would like more information, contact one of our Advisors to arrange an appointment. More information about POLI Undergraduate Advising.

For more general information or advice regarding programs, courses or university and faculty regulations, students should consult the Academic Advising Centre 250-721-7567 or .

Where do I find out which courses are being offered?

There are four ways to find out which courses are being offered:

To help plan your timetable, use a timetable sheet.

What does the section (A01, A02, T04) mean?

Courses offered at UVic are assigned section numbers. They start with a letter which identifies the type of section. Lecture sections start with an 'A' and tutorial sections start with a 'T'. They are followed by a two digit sequence number.

Often a course may be offered more than once during a semester. The two digit sequence number helps differentiate between these courses offerings.

What is the difference between lecture and seminar courses?

The main difference between lecture and seminar course is the class size. Lower-level lecture courses may have up to 200 students in the class and include a mandatory tutorial section. Upper-level lecture courses have a maximum of 50 students in each class. Seminar courses have  a maximum of 25 students and often combine undergraduate and graduate sections. Generally seminar courses are offered once a week for 3 hours.

What is a tutorial?

A tutorial is a mandatory requirement for lower level Political Science courses. Tutorials offer you a chance to discuss course material in a small group setting. Tutorials are taught by teaching assistants (graduate students) and are held once a week.

Please note: Make sure you are registered in the right tutorial section at the beginning of the semester.

Do I have to go to the tutorials?

YES. You should attend tutorials as they will help you learn and understand the course material. Your tutorial grade is a component of your course grade.

How do I get on the waitlist?

If the course is full and has a waitlist, you can choose to go on the waitlist.

On the "Add Courses" screen, choose Waitlisted from the Action pull-down list, then click on Submit Changes. You will then have to confirm that you want to waitlist by clicking again. Go to the Waitlisting menu option to monitor your position, confirm your place, drop from the waitlist and register in the class.

What are the chances of getting in the class if I am on the waitlist?

This depends on how many students drop the course, or are dropped from the course. Your best option is to attend the first three hours of the course and introduce yourself to the instructor, in the hopes that a seat will become available.

What happens when I am on the waitlist?

Many instructors allow the registration system to manage the waitlist itself. When a student drops the class, the first-ranked student on the waitlist will get an e-mail with a "waitlist offer" which gives the student 24 hours to register in the course.

It is the responsibility of wait-listed students to check their preferred e-mail address regularly: once the 24-hour period has passed, your registration offer will expire and you will have to add yourself back onto the bottom of the waitlist.

Other instructors manage waitlists and will take attendance to see if any registered students are not attending class and to verify that wait-listed students are attending class. Waitlisted students should plan to attend the first three hours of the course. After the first three hours, the instructor will drop from the class those students who have not attended, and will issue offers of registration to selected students on the wait list.

Once again, it is the responsibility of wait-listed students to check their preferred e-mail address regularly: once the 24-hour period has passed, your registration offer will expire and you will have to add yourself back onto the bottom of the waitlist.

What do I do if there is a prerequisite restriction?

You should check the prerequisites before you enrol in a course. If you do not have the prerequisites, and believe you have the required background, contact the instructor to seek his or her permission. If the instructor gives you permission, forward this information to the Political Science department . The Admin Officer will process a registration override which will allow you to register for the course.

What do I do if there are major restrictions?

The major restrictions are courses for Political Science students. Speak to Academic Advising about declaring your major or minor in Political Science.

What do I do if there is a level restriction?

You meet the course requirements before enrolling in a class in order to be fully prepared.

If you think that the restriction should be waived, see the course instructor or undergraduate advisor. If the instructor or advisor grants permission it is up to you to forward this information to the Political Science Department at . Once the Admin Officer has proof that the instructor has granted permission, she will process an override which will allow you to register.

I cannot get into an English/History class, what do I do?

Contact the English/History department. If you are trying to get into a Political Science class, you contact the Political Science department.

What should I take my first year at UVic?

First year students should enroll in POLI 101 and 103 and take other 100-level courses that fulfill the requirements for their prospective majors/minors. For the Faculty of Social Sciences you can find the requirements noted here. We encourage students to try out a variety of areas of study, to help them decide which areas best suit their interests and needs.