Experiential Learning Contract

POLS*3850 allows students to reflect upon their involvement in some form of politically related activity, such as participation in a simulation, internships or work with government organizations, or volunteer or internship work with non-government organizations with a political dimension.

A student must find a departmental faculty member who is willing to supervise this independent study course and 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, and so on, 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 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 is not appropriate
  • Study Abroad programs wherein the student is getting credit for the courses is not appropriate; however, if a student stays on after the program to work for an NGO, for example, then that would be acceptable.

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 the experience using political science concepts and knowledge. Other potential assignments include weekly journal entries, literature reviews and so on.

Download the Sample Learning Contract