Special Directed Courses

PSYC 299 / 570 / 575

PSYC 299/570/575 Special Directed Lab Courses Form (MS Word Doc, 92 KB)

PSYC 550 / 555

PSYC 550/555 Special Directed Reading Courses PDF Form (MS Word Doc, 86 KB)

The reading courses will normally involve an in-depth review of the literature in a particular area guided by a member of the faculty with whom the student will meet regularly to discuss the readings. Evaluation is usually based upon the student's preparedness for these meetings and their ability to discuss the readings thoughtfully each week, with the majority of the mark based upon a term paper, usually a literature review and/or research proposal. Students are expected to spend approximately 8-10 hours per week on this coursework (one fifth of a full-time load).

The lab course provides students with access to a lab and involvement in ongoing research for approximately 5-7 hours per week. In addition to this practical component, students are expected to spend approximately 3 hours per week reading the relevant literature, completing a substantive written assignment, and meeting with the professor and/or lab group on a regular basis to learn about relevant research issues (practical and theoretical).


Evaluation in these courses is usually based upon knowledge of the research issues and performance in the lab, each contributing approximately equally to the final grade. The former is assessed by a written assignment(s) and regular meetings with the instructor and/or lab group. A presentation to the lab group on a particular issue is also encouraged. The evaluation of lab work might include a lab report, attendance and punctuality, preparedness, attention to detail, initiative, judgment, etc.


The grading scheme for these courses should be similar to that of our upper year labs and seminars. Students who perform at the level expected of our upper year Honours students would usually receive a grade of 80 or above and, if they exceed expectation, they would usually receive a grade of 85 or above. Grades of 88 and above should be given with exceptional rarity.

Working with the same supervisor

Students are encouraged to work in different labs during their undergraduate studies for breadth. A student may not complete a PSYC 570/3.0 course and their PSYC 501/9.0 Honours Thesis course concurrentlywith the same supervisor. Students are limited to a maximum of two of PSYC 550/3.0, PSYC 555/3.0, PSYC 570/3.0, or PSYC 575/3.0 Students are also limited to a maximum of two 500-level courses supervised by the same faculty member.


PSYC 550/3.0 and PSYC 555/3.0 are reading courses intended to be used by students who wish to do an in-depth study of an area in psychology for which there is no formal course.

PSYC 570/3.0 and PSYC 575/3.0 are lab courses intended to be used by students who wish to do an in-depth study of an area in psychology for which there is no formal course.

Registration Process

  1. Students approach a professor to see if they would be available and willing to supervise their studies for an undergraduate course credit.The professor may request to meet with the student to discuss relevant topics and research.
  2. The student and potential supervisor will need to complete and sign the Psychology Special Directed course form available at the top of this page or in the Undergraduate office.
  3. Once the completed form has been received in the U.G. Office, the students' prerequisites will be checked and the Chair of Undergraduate Studies will review and approve the course. Students will either be registered by signing an Academic Change Form or preregistered depending on the time it was received. The usual (pre) registration deadlines would apply depending on the specific term.