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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
April 18, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Registration Guide for Political Science Students & Course Offerings

2013 Registration Dates, By Year Level

Your Year Level is determined not by the length of time you have spent at Laurier but by the number of credits you have successfully completed:

Year/          # Credits required at the end          Registration
Status of this year for this Status Begins

   5                         20.5 or more                        June 17 at 10:00 pm
   4                         14.5 or more                        June 17 at 10:00 pm
   3                           9.5-14.0                            June 19 at 10:00 pm
   2                           4.5-9.0                             June 24 at 10:00 pm
   1                           0.0-4.0                             June 27 at 10:00 pm

All other continuing students (Diplomas, Unclassified, Post-degree and Returning Year 1)  may begin selecting courses on June 27.

Non-major elective registration: June 28 at midnight.

Suggestions and Tips for Students, by Year Level

In addition to the information contained in the following section, all students should refer to the 2013-14 Undergraduate Calendar for complete program and degree requirements.

  • All Students
Before registration begins, get organized!  You may find it helpful to have a blank timetable and our Course Planning Worksheet available.  When you have established the list of courses you would like to take, check to see that you have the necessary prerequisites for each of these courses. You should also have a list of alternates ready in case you donít get into all of your choices.
We encourage you to make a two-year plan actually, which is why the Course Planning Worksheet is useful: if the course is full, you will likely be able to pick it up next year, and if you donít have the prerequisite for a particular course you really want to take, choose the prerequisite this year so that you can take that really great course next year.
  • 1st Year Students
You should enrol in PO110 in the fall term and PO111 in the winter, plus however many electives you would like to take.  A typical courseload is five courses per term, two terms a year, for four years, but that may not work for you if you have, for example, a part-time job in which case four courses per term might be enough.

Your electives can be courses you think would complement your Political Science program nicely (Global Studies or History, for example), courses required for a Minor or an Option, courses you would like to take either because you enjoyed that material in high school and would like to explore it at the university level, or courses covering subjects you have no background in if you're looking for something new.
  • 2nd Year Students
Most of you will have completed PO110 and PO111, earning 1.0 credit of the 11.0-13.0 PO credits you need in your degree.  The 10.0-12.0 remaining PO credits are, typically, spread over three years. For example, taking 3.0 PO credits (six half-credit courses) in Year 2 and again in Year 3 leaves at least 4.0 credits for your final year.  

In Year 2 you need to accomplish two things: complete some of the degree requirements and take courses which appeal to you, if the two are not the same! For example, if you are interested in studying more about the Canadian government, select PO263 and PO264, along with, say, PO217 and PO218 (statistics and research methods) and PO235 and PO236 (political theory). If international/global issues are really exciting to you, then select PO220 and PO221 (Intro to Comparative Government - Developing and Industrialized), or PO231 and PO232 (Intro to World Politics I and II), along with PO217, PO218, PO235 and PO236 perhaps. And if you're not sure, take a wide range of PO courses so that by the end of your second year you will have had enough exposure to various aspects of the discipline to know where your interests lie.

Year 2 is also your planning/positioning year.  You should take time to look at the 300-level Political Science courses. If a particular course interests you, read the prerequisite(s) for that course and try to enrol in it in Year 2 so that you can have access to the course next year.
  • 3rd Year Students
Our third year courses have anywhere from 40-60 students enrolled, and the expectation is somewhat higher than that of 200-level courses, naturally!  You should be enrolling in at least two 300-level Political Science courses and likely will take more, but don't overdo it:  if you take five per term, you could well be setting yourself up for an unmanageable workload.  Try to choose a good balance of 200- and 300-level courses, and maybe even a 100-level if you're working on a Minor or have an interest in picking up, say, another language.   You might also give some thought to finishing off the 200-level requirements, if you didn't complete them all last year.

You should also take a moment to familiarize yourself with the department's rules on access to 400-level courses (see the next section).  If any of the 400-level courses appeal to you, then you should be positioning yourself in Year 3 to be able to take that particular seminar.  You might also wish to read the program requirements specific to Year 4 and also the Research Specialization requirements.

All Year 3 students are advised to contact the department some time before the winter term ends, and especially before summer registration begins, to arrange a meeting to review your degree requirements.  During such a meeting you will find out exactly what you need to do in Year 4 in order to meet graduation requirements, and can then better prepare for LORIS registration accordingly.  Every year there are countless students throughout the university who are surprised in the winter of their 4th year to learn they are not eligible to graduate.  You should arrange a meeting so that your name isnít on one of those letters next February!
  • 4th Year Students
All 400-level courses in Political Science are small seminars with a much higher expectation for participation than most students would have encountered in previous years.  In order to register in these courses, students must be enrolled in the Honours Political Science program and must attain an average grade of no less than B (8.0 GPA) in at least two 300-level Political Science courses. Students who meet these requirements are restricted to two 400-level courses in our program.  If schedules allow, it is generally recommended that students take only one seminar course per semester.  
400-level degree requirements: Prior to the 2009-10 academic year, all students were required to complete 2.0 credits at the 300- or 400-level.)  Effective September 1, 2009 all Honours Political Science must complete 1.0 credit at the 300-level and 1.0 credit at the 400-level. However, if you were a Political Science major before that date, you may refer to previous yearís academic calendars (only for those years in which you were a student) to see if you can graduate using an alternate set of degree/program requirements.  
Entrance into this Option is granted to those students who have:
    a)  at least 1.0 300-level PO credit;
    b)  achieved a grade of at least 8.0 in each 300-level PO course completed; and
    c)  achieved a minimum average of 8.0 in all PO courses taken in Year 3.  

In addition to 1.0 PO credit at the 400-level (a requirement for all Honours Political Science majors), students in the Research Specialization Option must complete PO478* (a full-credit course offered in one semester).  ďRSĒ students are advised to take PO478* in the fall term and the other two, required courses at the 400-level in the winter term. 

Taking Courses Without The Required Prerequisite(s)

On June 1 Dr. Anderson and Sherry Palmer will review all requests received by May 31 from PO majors for prerequisite waivers, exceptions, etc.  Requests received from majors on or after that date will be considered on June 25.  And on July 2 we will look at all requests received from non-PO students as well as those submitted by PO majors on or after June 25.  Any requests received after that date will be dealt with as soon as possible.
In order for prerequisite waivers to be considered, students must send an email to Dr. Anderson or Sherry Palmer (;  The request must include the number(s) of the course(s) they wish to take and their respective prerequisite(s), as well as a list any courses completed which could substitute for the prerequisite course listed in the course offerings brochure (UofT's 'Intro to Canadian' or UofW's 'Intro to IR', for example); calendar descriptions of those alternate courses and/or the outline (if available) should also be included. Please note, too, that merely having an interest in the subject matter will not be considered the basis for such permission to be granted.  

Overrides will not be given for classes that are full, i.e. have reached capacity. In these cases, you must use the waiting list function where available (those courses which do not have a tutorial component, that is). 
Dr. Anderson and Sherry are both available from now until registration begins (registration dates ).  Either of them would be happy to meet with you to answer any questions you may have as you begin to plan your 2013-14 academic year.

Closed Courses & Waiting Lists

Courses will fill - quickly. When you encounter this, all you can do is wait for someone else to drop it if you want to sign in, and you do that by checking LORIS regularly, right up until the end of the first two weeks of classes if thatís how long it takes. We do not maintain waiting lists in Political Science; however, LORIS has a waiting list option for all courses that do not have a tutorial component. 

Keep in mind none of the courses required for your degree have to be completed in any given year. As long as you have successfully completed those courses by graduation, that's all that matters. If you arenít able to enrol in a certain course this year, then you likely will next year. The higher your year level, the earlier your window of opportunity for course registration.

LORIS error messages

For more information on the error messages received on LORIS, please refer to this link provided by the Registrar's Office.  In most cases, the errors are very easily eliminated which means you will be able to correct the problem yourself (missing tutorial, time conflict, etc.) and register in your chosen course a lot faster than e-mailing the department for assistance.  

Office Hours (Main Office and Faculty)

Faculty Office Hours:  Office hours and contact information can be found on your instructor's webpage.

Main Office Hours:  Most often Monday to Thursday, 8:30-12:00 and 1:00-4:30 p.m. I am sometimes out of the office attending meetings, so please call ahead to check on my availability before heading to campus, especially those of you who will be driving in from out of town. (Sherry at 519-884-0710, ext. 3374) 


Course Planning Worksheet

Program Requirements Worksheets: 2013-14, 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11, 2009-10

Note: Students should consult the University Calendar for complete degree and program regulations and requirements.  If you are uncertain which set of Calendar requirements to follow, please contact the Department.


Related Information Title Type
2013 2013-14 Course Offerings Brochure, Version 6 Document