Student Information

Reading Course Eligibility

Reading courses (Philosophy 3996F, 3997G, 3998, 4996F, 4997F, 4998) provide the student with an opportunity to (a) explore in more depth or detail an area which a student has encountered in a previous course or (b) explore an area which is not part of the curriculum in philosophy.

The first step in taking a reading course is to locate a faculty member who is willing to supervise the course. The student and faculty member will work together to produce a proposal that will list the specific topic and a detailed plan of study including: a reading list, meeting schedule (3 hours per week) and list of assignments with grade breakdown. The Undergraduate Chair will then need to approve the plan of study. Please email Corey Dyck at to set up a meeting to discuss these details. Once the plan of study has been approved by both the instructor and Undergraduate Chair, please reach out to the Undergraduate Program Coordinator to process and be enrolled in the reading course.

Eligibility: Third or fourth year students registered in an Honors Specialization, Honors Double Major or Specialization module in Philosophy are eligible to apply one time during their degree for an advanced reading course. Before registering the student must work out a detailed plan of study with a professor willing to supervise the student's work and have this plan approved by the Undergraduate Chair.

Courses at an Affiliated College (Brescia, Huron, King's)

Students are permitted to take 1.0 courses at an Affiliate College as long as that course is not also offered on Main Campus and that course is not restricted to students at the Affiliated College. In some cases, students may require home faculty permission. You can request this from your Academic Counsellor.

Lacking the Prerequisite

If you do not have the prerequisite for a course, you can request special permission of the Department. Students would seek the advice of the Department Undergraduate Chair or Undergraduate Program Coordinator in those circumstances.

Course Overloads

In the Fall/Winter, a normal full-time course load is 5.0 courses, balanced over two terms so that you are attending no more than five full or half courses at a time. If you have a strong academic record, the Counsellors may grant special permission to take a course load of 5.5 or 6.0 courses.

This permission may be requested during the summer online registration, however, students will not be permitted to add the additional course(s) until the Extended Web Registration (by calling the Registration Helpline at 519-661-2100) and Paper add/drop period. This allows all students the chance to obtain their 5.0 courses.

Essay Drop Box

Students should submit coursework directly to their instructor or tutorial leader during class or office hours. If you are unable to submit an assignment during class or office hours, there is an assignment drop-box available. The drop-box is located beside the Philosophy Lounge in STVH 2150. The drop box is emptied at 3:45 pm. Assignments will be date stamped only, not time stamped. Assignments will not be accepted by staff members, as well essays sent by fax or e-mail cannot be accepted. All work submitted must clearly state:

  • Student Name and ID
  • Course number
  • Instructor or TA name
  • Date of submission

Final Deadline for All Outstanding Assignments

The last day of scheduled classes in any course will be the last day on which course assignments will be accepted for credit in a course. Students seeking the return of coursework after the last meeting of the term should make arrangements with their instructor prior to the end of the term. Exceptions to these work submission dates may be granted only as a result of a petition to the Academic Counsellor of the student’s Home Faculty. Instructors have no authority to waive this requirement, and any unofficial arrangements they make with students will not be respected by the administration. This does not preclude instructors from setting earlier deadlines for coursework.

Evaluation of Academic Performance

At least three days prior to the deadline for withdrawal from a 1000- or 2000-level course without academic penalty, students will receive assessment of work accounting for at least 15% of their final grade. Generally, students can expect some form of feedback on their performance in a course before the drop date. In rare instances, at the Dean’s discretion, an exemption can be issued, which also must be noted in the course syllabus. In rare instances and at the Dean’s discretion, other courses could receive a similar exemption, which also must be noted in the course syllabus. Deans should review exemptions on a course-by-course basis each time an exempted course is offered. Performance-based courses in the Don Wright Faculty of Music are exempt (1900-1999, 2900-2999). See link for more information.

Accommodation for Medical Illness

The University recognizes that a student’s ability to meet their academic responsibilities may, on occasion, be impaired by medical illness. Illness may be acute (short term), or it may be chronic (long term), or chronic with acute episodes. The University further recognizes that medical situations are deeply personal and respects the need for privacy and confidentiality in these matters. However, in order to ensure fairness and consistency for all students, academic accommodation for work representing 10% or more of the student’s overall grade in the course shall be granted only in those cases where there is documentation indicating that the student was seriously affected by illness and could not reasonably be expected to meet their academic responsibilities.

Documentation shall be submitted, as soon as possible, to the appropriate Dean’s office (the Office of the Dean of the student’s Faculty of registration/home Faculty) together with a request for relief specifying the nature of the accommodation being requested. These documents will be retained in the student’s file, and will be held in confidence in accordance with the University’s Official Student Record Information Privacy Policy. Once the petition and supporting documents have been received and assessed, appropriate academic accommodation shall be determined by the Dean’s Office in consultation with the student’s instructor(s). Academic accommodation may include extension of deadlines, waiver of attendance requirements for classes/labs/tutorials, arranging Special Exams or Incompletes, re-weighting course requirements, or granting late withdrawals without academic penalty. Academic accommodation shall be granted only where the documentation indicates that the onset, duration and severity of the illness are such that the student could not reasonably be expected to complete their academic responsibilities. (Note – it will not be sufficient to provide documentation indicating simply that the student “was seen for a medical reason” or “was ill.”)

Documentation from Family Physicians/Nurse Practitioners and Walk-In Clinics
A Western Student Medical Certificate (SMC) is required where a student is seeking academic accommodation. This documentation should be obtained at the time of the initial consultation with the physician/nurse practitioner or walk-in clinic. An SMC can be downloaded at 

Documentation from Student Health Services
At the time of illness, students should make an appointment with a physician/nurse practitioner at Student Health Services. During this appointment, request a Student Medical Certificate from the Physician/Nurse Practitioner.

Documentation from Hospital Urgent Care Centres or Emergency Departments
Students should request that an SMC be filled out. Students may bring this form with them, or request alternative Emergency Department documentation. Documentation should be secured at the time of the initial visit to the Emergency Department. Where it is not possible for a student to have an SMC completed by the attending physician, the student must request documentation sufficient to demonstrate that their ability to meet their academic responsibilities was seriously affected.

Accommodation by Instructor for work worth less than 10% of the overall grade in a course
Instructors are encouraged, in the first instance, to arrange participation requirements and multiple small assignments in such a way as to allow students some flexibility.

A student seeking academic accommodation for any work worth less than 10% must contact the instructor or follow the appropriate Department or course specific instructions provided on the course outline.

In arranging accommodation, instructors will use good judgment and ensure fair treatment for all students. Instructors must indicate on the course outline how they will be dealing with work worth less than 10% of the total course grade. In particular, instructors must indicate whether medical documentation will be required for absences, late assignments or essays, missed tests, laboratory experiments or tutorials, etc. Where medical documentation is required, such documentation must be submitted by the student directly to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office, and it will be the Dean’s office that will make the determination whether accommodation is warranted. Given the University’s Official Student Record Information Privacy Policy, instructors may not collect medical documentation.

In all cases where accommodation is being sought for work totalling 10% or more of the final grade in a course, students will be directed to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office. Students who have been denied accommodation by an instructor may appeal this decision to the appropriate Faculty Dean’s office but will be required to present appropriate documentation.Whenever possible, students who require academic accommodation should provide notification and documentation in advance of due dates, examinations, etc. Students must follow up with their professors and their Academic Counselling office in a timely manner.

Student Medical Certificate 


Students who miss classes or parts of classes are responsible for the material they have missed. Instructors are not obliged to review the contents of lectures, repeat announcements or retain notes, handouts or overheads. Any student who, in the opinion of the instructor, is absent too frequently from class or tutorials may be reported to the Dean and, with the recommendation of the Department concerned, and the permission of the Dean, debarred from taking the final examination in the course. For further information, please refer to the Western Academic Calendar - Examination Attendance.

Respectful Environment

The Department of Philosophy’s Climate Committee was formed to promote and ensure a non-sexist environment for all who work and study in the department. Students are encouraged to consult and implement the departmental guidelines for the non-sexist use of language. For further information, please refer to APA Online.


If students have a complaint concerning a course in which they are enrolled, they must discuss the matter with the instructor of the course (in a course with teaching assistants, students must discuss the matter first with the teaching assistant, then with the professor in charge of the course). If students are not satisfied, they should take the complaint to the Undergraduate Chair. For complaints specific to grades, see the "appeals" section below.

Scholastic Offenses

Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence found at the Academic Calendar.

What is a scholastic offence?
Scholastic offences are primarily forms of cheating. The range of offences include but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating on an examination, falsifying material subject to academic evaluation by recycling a paper, misrepresenting work completed by someone else, co-authored work or group work as individually done, and aiding or abetting any such offence. These offences are taken very seriously by the University and are treated as such. Penalties range from a failing grade for the assignment or the course to suspension or even expulsion from the University.

What is plagiarism
Plagiarism is unacknowledged copying or paraphrasing of the words or ideas of another person intentionally or otherwise. In general, anyone who learns something from a source (other than course lectures or general background knowledge any student of the course could reasonably be expected to have) and then presents that knowledge as their own discovery is considered to have plagiarized, even if the words used to express the ideas are not exactly the same. Other examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Misrepresenting co-authored or group work as individually done
  • Cutting and pasting copied or paraphrased work by others in with your own work
  • Paraphrasing or altering the order of words or phrases and/or substituting words or phrases of similar meaning without acknowledging that you are doing so
In your written work, you should take care to make adequate reference to the sources of the ideas and words you borrow, either in your footnotes, endnotes or in the body of your text. Your instructor will be happy to show you a proper method of documenting your sources.

Plagiarism Checking
The Department of Philosophy uses a plagiarism-checking website called Many instructors require written assignments to be submitted electronically to is a service designed to help students protect the copyright in their work and professors to identify plagiarism. Instructors will receive a report from the website determining each paper’s “originality content.” The Department will assign penalties when plagiarism is discovered, or when there is a significant discrepancy between the electronic version and the hard copy.

All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted for such checking will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and

Academic Relief

Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed tests, exams, participation components and/or assignments worth (either alone or in combination) 10% or more of their final grade must apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department. See Academic Calendar for more details.

Documentation shall be submitted, as soon as possible, to the Office of the Dean of the student’s Faculty of registration, together with a request for relief specifying the nature of the accommodation being requested. The necessary form and further information regarding this policy can be found at Student Services. The full policy is set out here.

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to MentalHealth@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.


Students have the right to request academic relief from marks assigned by instructors on tests, assignments and final examinations. Please refer to the Western Calendar section on Student Academic Appeals for further details regarding the procedure.

The appeal procedure is separated into the following steps:

  1. Instructor by informal consultation
  2. Department chair by written request
  3. Faculty Associate Dean (Academic) which offers the course by written request

If the instructor is unavailable for consolation or does not act, the student may proceed to the Departmental Level.

The student must first discuss the disputed mark with the instructor. It is expected that at this discussion the student and the instructor would have a full and frank exchange of their views on the merits and deficiencies of the work in question. The appeal must be made within three weeks of the date on which the assignment was returned to the class.

If the student still believes there to be good grounds to believe that the grade is inappropriate, the student may appeal to the Department Chair. Appeals at this level will normally be entertained only after all coursework has been completed, a final grade for the course has been submitted, and the student has discussed the entire semester’s work with the instructor. In the normal case, appeals will not be entertained unless more than 4% of the student’s final grade at stake.

An appeal to the Chair must cite substantive reasons for thinking that the work in dispute merited a higher grade. It must enclose:

  • the disputed piece or pieces of work as marked by the instructor, including any additional written comments the instructor might have supplied
  • a copy of the course outline and of any written instructions the instructor may have provided when giving the assignment
  • a brief report on the student’s discussion with the instructor and the student’s reasons for disagreeing with the instructor’s assessment

The student should also request a remedy. Among the remedies that might be requested are a reassessment of the work by a third party, reweighing of the work, or exemption from a portion of course requirements.

A committee shall be struck, comprising at least two members of the Department who are competent in the area in question and who were not involved in the assignment of the original mark. Copies of the disputed pieces of work together with identification of the course and the pertinent assignments and directions, shall be given to each member of the committee. Committee members will also be given copies of the student's written statement of grounds for appeal and the instructor's response. The committee members will independently evaluate the student's work in light of all the relevant evidence and submit individual recommendations to the Chair as quickly as possible.

The Chair will make the final decision on how the case is to be resolved. The Chair may solicit the opinion of a third adjudicator in cases where there is significant disagreement among the committee members. The student and the instructor will be notified promptly and in writing by the Chair of the decision and of the change in grade, if any.

A request for a change in grade will have one of three results: the grade may stand, or be raised, or be lowered. If students wish to proceed in their request for appeal beyond this point, they should apply in writing to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities- a three-week deadline from the date the decision is delivered applies. Policy is set out here.

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to MentalHealth@Western for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.