Specialization Proposal Guidelines

Specialization Proposal Overview

Once you've thought about your educational goals, the areas you would like to integrate, and the courses you might want to take, you will need to formulate your plan in a specialization proposal. Your Specialization Proposal will consist of two essays (a Vision Statement and a Curriculum Rationale) which will help you plan your specific course of study. You should use these essays to help you finalize your course selection, and as a starting point for discussions with an IntSci advisor.

Your Vision Statement should clarify the importance of integration in your education, identify two or three areas of study that you intend to integrate into a single program, and show why integration is required to achieve your major educational goals. Your Curriculum Rationale should justify your course selection in terms of your Vision Statement.

Naturally, you can't develop your essays without thinking about the courses you want to take. But you also can't make your course selection without thinking about your vision for your education. So draft both your vision and your course selection simultaneously. Once you have entered a rough first draft of your essays and a proposed curriculum you can select a potential mentor from the list of IntSci Faculty Mentors and contact them directly.

Selecting Courses

As an IntSci student you have the flexibility to choose your own upper-level courses. We have no set course lists for certain integrations. Your mentor and IntSci administration will help ensure that the courses you have chosen will meet the overall goals of your program. To help plan your course of study, please refer to our Curriculum Requirements for a complete list of requirements. Don’t hesitate to ask your mentor or an IntSci administrator if you have any questions.

Restricted Courses

When constructing your curriculum you should consider the possibility that you won't be able to get into all the courses you want.

Here are some courses that restrict enrolment. You should have a backup plan if you intend to take these courses:

  • BIOC 301, 421 restricted to Biochemistry students.
  • BIOC 303, 410 students may take these courses with permission of the course instructors and with the required pre-requisites.
  • BIOL 350 - take BIOL 337 instead.
  • BIOL 351, 352, 363 - restricted to Biology students.
  • CHEM 203 - take CHEM 233, 235 instead.
  • CHEM 325 - take CHEM 315 instead (consult Chemistry enrolment coordinator for registration in CHEM 315).
  • ENVR 300 - limited enrolment.
  • FNH 451, 470, 475 - limited enrolment.
  • KIN 103, 252, 303, 361, 363, 368, 371, 375, 389, 463, 468, 473 - limited enrolment (see below).
  • MICB 322, 323 - restricted to Microbiology/Immunology students.
  • MICB 406, 407 - limited space. The 2016W overall GPA of students who were able to take these courses was 87%. Students MUST have backups for these courses. (PATH 437 cannot be used as a backup for these courses).
  • PATH 375, 427, 438, 467 - limited space. Consult instructor for possible admission.
  • PCTH 300 - take PCTH 305 instead. Students scoring at least 80% in PCTH 305 may be permitted to take PCTH 400.
  • PCTH 305 - students should have >75% academic average in each year.
  • PSYC 260, 360 - consult instructor for possible admission or take PSYC 304 instead. (But be aware that PSYC 304 is not recognized as a science course by the Faculty of Science.)
  • various lab courses - lab courses have been particularly difficult for IS students to register in, as a substitution we recommend a Directed Studies course.

It may happen that you are unable to register for one of the courses in your contract. (For example, an upper-level Chemistry lab.) If this happens you should first check the list above for specific instructions. If the course is not listed above, contact the course instructor or the advisor for the department offering the course. Explain your situation and provide them with contact information for your IntSci mentor. You will need to justify why you should be admitted to the course.

If you still aren't admitted contact your IntSci mentor promptly. You may need to revise your contract and take another course.

KIN courses

Many upper-level KIN courses have restricted enrolment. We will try our best to register IntSci students in KIN courses but we cannot guarantee enrolment in any KIN course. A prioritized list for KIN registration is created during the first week of June and is sent to the School of Kinesiology. Students may not make changes regarding requests for KIN courses after this time. The IntSci office is likewise unable to provide updates on the status of student registration in KIN courses once the list has been sent to the School of Kinesiology.

Meeting some/all of the following requirements will improve the chances of getting into a KIN course:

  • Have an approved IntSci contract (degree proposal must be approved before June)
  • Have a competitive GPA in the Winter session prior to the KIN course request
  • The KIN course be approved as part of a student's discipline requirement
  • Students in their final year will receive priority

Students must have a backup plan for each KIN course included in the degree proposal.

Creating Disciplines

After you have created your list of courses, organize them into two or three areas of science based on topic or theme. Don't restrict yourself by organizing courses by department. Be creative and come up with your own discipline titles! Look for groupings of courses that include 400-level courses in order to gain a deeper understanding of a few selected disciplines, rather than taking only a spectrum of 300-level credits.

Once you have created disciplines start prioritizing courses. Check the current timetable and try to make sure the courses you have selected are offered in the term you selected them, and that none conflict with one another (remember the timetable might change somewhat, although large changes are unlikely).

Meeting with an IntSci Faculty Mentor

Once you have a mentor, your mentor will comment on your essays and help you develop your curriculum by assisting you with questions such as selecting courses that suit your goals, organizing Directed Studies Projects (448s) or resolving issues with co-op, prerequisites, courses with science credits in other faculties, etc.

Your proposal will evolve through discussions that you have with your mentor.

Program Options

Specialization options: Majors or Honours
Additional options: Co-op, Exchange, Minor

Finalizing your degree proposal

Once you have drawn up your curriculum, re-examine your whole program. Does it still appeal to you? Check all pre-requisites. There is no single model for your program, because you are creating it. The discipline credits should contain courses that relate to each other, but they might be drawn from different departments. However, it should be clear why you chose them. The remaining courses might cluster around one separate but equally represented topic, or they might represent several topics. Have you used your essays as a planning tool? Your second essay should help you clarify why you want to take the courses you are proposing.

Once your mentor is satisfied with your essays and has agreed to your proposed curriculum you can submit your proposal to your mentor for approval. Once you have submitted your proposal, your mentor can sign off, which means that the proposal will be reviewed by another IntSci mentor. The reviewer comments will be sent to you and you may need to address the comments and resubmit your proposal to your mentor for approval. Your mentor will then forward your proposal for final approval to an IntSci administrator. The administration may accept your proposal, return it to you for revision, or reject it. If you are asked for changes, these should again be made in consultation with your mentor. Your mentor can then resubmit your proposal after you have made any necessary changes. Once your proposal is approved it is referred to as a program contract.

Changes to approved IntSci programs

During students' tenure in the Integrated Sciences Program, changes to their program may be necessary for various reasons, e.g. because students can't get into some of the courses in their program, or because some courses are not offered anymore, or because students' interests change.

Changes are possible, but they have to be discussed with and approved by the mentor. In case a student makes substantial changes to their IntSci curriculum as a consequence of a change of interest, the mentor may require the student to justify the suggested changes by rewriting the essays.

Contract Deadline

IMPORTANT: ALL CHANGES TO INTSCI PROGRAMS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE LAST TERM OF A STUDENT'S INTSCI PROGRAM. If changes are made after that time, or without the approval of the mentor, students may fail to be approved for graduation.

Be aware that the degree proposal process may take months of revisions and review. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the proposal is approved before the start of the last term of study. Degree Proposals not submitted or still under review at this time will be rejected. Therefore it is recommended that Degree Proposals are submitted (for the first time) at least 4 months before the deadline.