UNIV*2800 / UNIV*3800 / UNIV*4800: Independent Research

Course Description

This course offers students in any program the opportunity to pursue credit for relevant research experience (paid or unpaid) with the addition of course assignments either during the research experience or in a following semester. Details of the learning outcomes and requirements will be outlined in a learning contract initiated by the student and approved by a faculty supervisor by the third week of the research semester. Open to students in any undergraduate program. Students should consult their program counsellor to determine how the course will count toward their program.

Semester Offerings: S, F, W
Credit Weight: 0.50 credits
Prerequisite(s): 4.00 credits completed; minimum 60% cumulative average
Restriction(s): Instructor consent required

  • Students are responsible for securing their own research experience and work supervisor by applying for open positions through sites like Experience Guelph and through programs like Undergraduate Research Assistantships (URA) and Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA). Students may also find it beneficial to speak directly to a faculty member whose research they find particularly interesting regarding possible positions in their lab. 
  • In order to qualify as a research experience, a student must be predominantly engaged in research activities and developing relevant research skills during the research semester.
  • A research experience can be paid or unpaid.
  • Students are expected to complete a minimum of 420 hours over at least 11 weeks during the research semester.
  • The research semester can be completed concurrently with the course or in the semester prior to taking the course.

  • In addition to a work supervisor, students must find a faculty member to act as the faculty supervisor for the course. The faculty supervisor may also function as the work supervisor.
  • Any U of G faculty member can take on a student through UNIV*2800, UNIV*3800 or UNIV*4800 provided the student meets the minimum requirements for the research experience semester.
  • Details of the activities included in the experience will be outlined in a learning contract initiated by the student (see sample under Course Documents). The learning contract must be approved by the work supervisor, faculty supervisor, and course coordinator (avpa@uoguelph.ca) by the end of the third week of the academic semester.
  • Asssessments are to be agreed upon between the faculty supervisor and the student. A minimum of 20% of the course grade should be allocated to assessemnts occuring before the 40th class day with no more than 40% of the course grade being allocated to a final assignment.
  • UNIV*2800, UNIV*3800, and UNIV*4800 are not prerequisites for each other. Students should register in the course that most closely relates to their year of study. For example, students in their second year should register for UNIV*2800.

Course Templates

Potential Assessment Opportunities

The following activities may be incorporated into the learning contract as assessment opportunities. For more information about any of these resources, please contact the Experiential Learning Hub (experience@uoguelph.ca).

To complete registration, students should complete and submit a Course Waiver Request Form with their faculty supervisor's signature under Instructor's Acknowledgement during the course selection period.

Students and their faculty supervisor should finalize and submit the learning contract to the course coordinator (avpa@uoguelph.ca) for approval no later than the end of the third full week of classes of the course enrollment semester.

  • Fall 2020 course enrollment (Summer 2020 or Fall 2020 research experience):
    • Learning contract finalized with faculty supervisor: October 2, 2020
  • Winter 2021 course enrollment (Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 research experience):
    • Learning contract finalized with faculty supervisor: January 29, 2021

Can I use a Co-op Work Term as the Work Experience for this course?

Yes, provided that the work being completed in the Co-op position is predominantly research in nature and that the graded academic assessment opportunities outlined in the Learning Contract represent substantial extra effort and differ significantly from the Work Term Report requirements for your Co-op Program.

For example, your Learning Contract may require you to complete a substantial research paper and attend a series of professional development workshops recommended by your faculty supervisor, both of which are in addition to any job requirements or Work Term report requirements.

Consultations and Questions

Course Design, Course Coordinator, Learning Contract Approvals, Student Assessment

Cate Dewey
Associate Vice President (Academic)

Registration and Logistics

Experiential Learning Support Team
Experiential Learning Hub


Experience Profiles