Independent Research Courses

Independent Research courses allow students to pursue a specific topic of interest. These courses are offered at the 300 and 400 level, and as full or half courses. Students work independently with a professor in the Department who acts as research supervisor. There are no formal class meetings, lectures, or readings other than what is agreed to with the supervisor.

Professors are not required to serve as research supervisors and accept supervisory responsibility at their discretion.  We advise students to approach a professor working in the same subdiscipline of their chosen topic. Often students become interested in a topic through a SOC course and approach the instructor of that course for supervision; however, this is not required.

Note that students who wish to conduct research that involves human participants (either by interviewing them, conducting a social experiment or doing participant observation) will need to have their project approved by the Department’s Delegated Ethics Review Committee. Students should be familiar with Canada’s research ethics framework and policy before planning an independent research project.


  • Students must have completed 10.0 courses towards their degree and have completed a 200 level SOC course to be eligible for a 300-level Independent Research.
  • Students must have completed 15.0 courses towards their degree and have completed a 300 level SOC course to be eligible for 400-level Independent Research.

Restrictions on taking Independent Research courses

  • There is a limit of 1.0 total courses in Independent Research with the same research supervisor.
  • There is a limit of 2.0 total courses in SOC Independent Research.
  • Students cannot take a course having the same number more than once.


Method is determined together with the research supervisor at time of application, and is subject to approval by the Department of Sociology.


It is inadvisable to have all of the final mark depend on one piece of work due at the end of the term. We recommend that at least one significant assignment be graded and returned before the last date to withdraw from courses.

Regular meetings between student and supervisor are recommended to monitor research progress.


  1. Students must select their own research topic and then seek a supervisor from the Department of Sociology. This step may require a more specific statement of the scope and objectives of your research and requires some discussion and preliminary reading on your topic. Do not leave it until the last minute. (In some cases the topic originates from professors, who usually recruit interested students from their courses.)
  2. Decide on the weight (full or half course) and the level (300- or 400-level). Bear in mind that this decision will determine the academic standard at which your work will be evaluated.
  3. Decide on the duration (Y/F/S) of the course. This will affect the hours per week you are expected to dedicate to the research, working independently. Determine the supervisor’s availability during the duration of the research to ensure it will be adequate for your needs.
  4. Together with your supervisor, complete the research form.
  5. Submit the form to the Sociology Undergraduate Program Administrator, who will also handle the enrolment.
  6. The deadline to submit your form is the beginning of the week before the first day of classes of the session in which you wish to enrol in the Independent Research.

You can obtain the SOC Independent Research Form:

  • By visiting the Department of Sociology in person, or
  • By clickingPDF iconIndependent Research Course Form.pdf to find the printable form. The online form is available only in PDF. You will need Acrobat Reader (available from the Adobe website) to be able to view this form.

Your form MUST be signed by yourself and by the supervisor. Submit the completed form to the Department by one of the following methods:

  • In person, to the Undergraduate Program Administrator at the Department of Sociology; by mail to the Sociology Undergraduate Office, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, 700 University Avenue, 17th Floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1Z5; or by email to