Trinity College Independent Studies Programme

The Trinity College Independent Studies Program is open to students of all colleges. Only full-time students are eligible to apply. The program allows you to undertake extensive research into a topic that interests you, and is an especially suitable way of doing interdisciplinary work on subjects that are not directly part of the present university curriculum. Enrolment is open until the end of the first week of the semester in which the course will begin.

Participation in the program is restricted to students who have completed at least 10 courses (FCEs) and have maintained a CGPA of at least 3.50. Students applying to the Trinity Program must already have the agreement of a full-time faculty member of the University to act as supervisor for either a half course or a full year Independent Study course.

The maximum number of independent studies half courses for which a student may receive credit is one, and the maximum number of independent studies full course equivalents for which a student may receive credit is two, typically one credit in third year and one credit in fourth year. Permission to undertake Trinity independent studies projects for the equivalent of two full courses will normally be granted only to students with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.70. Your proposal must be approved by your supervisor and accepted by the director of the program, Dr. Gillian Gillison.

Course numbers are as follows: Students enrolling for the first time register for one or more of TRN300H1, 301Y1, 302Y1 (third year), or for one or more of TRN400H1, 404Y1, 405Y1 (fourth year), as appropriate. Those enrolling for a second time register in one of TRN400H1, 404Y1 and 405Y1, as appropriate. Enrolment in third year TRN independent studies courses is not a prerequisite for fourth year TRN independent studies courses but students who initially enrol in fourth year TRN independent studies courses may not subsequently enrol in third year TRN independent studies courses.

Students are enrolled in TRN independent studies courses by the Dean of Arts’ office at Trinity College. Students should complete the enrolment approval process in enough time to be enrolled no later than the end of the first week of classes in the relevant term.

Please note that a TRN independent studies course is not a "directed reading" course. The expectation is that students should do original research and provide a report of this research as part of their evaluation.

Students are required to identify a second reader for their final reports, in addition to their direct supervisor, whose evaluation of the paper will form part of their final grade for the course. The second reader should also be a Faculty member.

Students are required to file a graded progress report with the director of the program, Dr. Gillian Gillison, no later than two weeks before the last date for dropping the course without academic penalty. All work including final reports must be submitted on or before the last day of classes. The supervisor and second reader will then grade the report and copies of the final essay or report, one graded by the supervisor and one independently graded by the second reader must be emailed to the Director within one week of the last day of classes. These should be submitted to the Dean of Arts’ office, Trinity College, Room 300, Gerald Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place, by email to artsdean@trinity.utoronto.ca.

Final marks are due on the same day as final marks for University of Toronto courses without final exams - usually seven (7) business days after the last day of classes.

 

Applying for the Program

You might wish to contact the director about your eligibility for the program, and for more information.

You will need a supervisor and a second reader. The supervisor and the second reader should be tenure-stream (or equivalent) faculty members of the University of Toronto. The second reader must be nominated by the supervisor and student and approved by the Program Director before the term in which you begin your independent study project. The second reader is not responsible for guidance or consultation. The role of the second reader is to grade your work. (Your supervisor will also grade your work.)

Whether the credit you receive will be allowed to count towards your major or specialist program will depend on your primary Department. Trinity College does not get involved in that process. Please check with your Department and your College Registrar before submitting the required enrolment materials (listed below). Since the task of finding a supervisor can be time-consuming, you should start the process early.

In order to be considered for enrolment, you must submit the following items to the Dean of Arts’ office at Trinity College (Room 300, Gerald Larkin Building, 15 Devonshire Place) or by email (preferred) to artsdean@trinity.utoronto.ca
 

  1. your academic transcript
  2. an outline (normally one single spaced page) of your proposed topic, signed by the supervisor with an additional short bibliography.
  3. the suggested evaluation scheme showing the weight of each item of work, signed by the supervisor; at least one item of work (worth at least 20% of the total course mark) must be submitted, graded and returned to you by the last date for dropping the course without academic penalty.
  4. the registration form.

 


Students in the Sciences:

It is typical for students doing independent studies in the sciences that a significant amount of time be spent in a laboratory environment. Laboratory performance will therefore form part of the evaluation process.

Students are expected to provide a progress report to their supervisor at least two weeks in advance of the last date for dropping the course without academic penalty (for H courses), or by the last day of classes in the first semester (for Y courses). Students will receive their evaluations of the progress report before the course drop date.

Students are expected to submit their final reports, which should be in the form of a research paper in the format of the relevant field, by the last day of class (for both H and Y courses).

A typical evaluation scheme for students in the sciences can be found here. This can be modified but must include the elements listed in the form.

 

Humanities and Social Sciences students:
An Independent Studies student must formulate a research question or problem and indicate a portion of the relevant literature in the attached short bibliography.  The initial problem or question may be revamped or altered in the process of reading or other research.  To fulfill the course essay requirement, the student is expected to show the process by which information is accessed, conclusions drawn and, where appropriate, deployed in formulating new questions or paths of enquiry.

Students are expected to provide a progress report to their supervisor at least two weeks in advance of the last date for dropping the course without academic penalty (for H courses), or by the last day of classes in the first semester (for Y courses). Students will receive their evaluations of the progress report before the course drop date.

Students are expected to submit their final reports, which should be in the form of a research paper in the format of the relevant field, by the last day of class (for both H and Y courses). The length and format of the final report must be specified in advance of the course as part of the evaluation scheme.

A typical evaluation scheme for students in the sciences can be found here. This can be modified but must include the elements listed in the form.

Feel free to email artsdean@trinity.utoronto.ca or the Director for information and help.

If you move during the academic year, please inform the director of your new address/phone number.

See also the University of Toronto Calendar.