Student Information

Reading Courses

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, Devin Henry, will then need to approve the plan of study, please email Devin Henry, to set up a meeting to discuss these details.

Please visit the Undergraduate Program Coordinator in STVH 2150B to pick up a copy of the proposal form. Once the plan of study has been approved by both the instructor and Undergraduate Chair, please submit the proposal to the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Eligibility: An advanced reading course open to third or fourth year students registered in an Honors Specialization, Honors Double Major or Specialization module in Philosophy. 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.

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.

Coursework Submission & 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 on the first floor of Stevenson Hall by the elevators. 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 ID
  • Course number
  • Instructor or tutorial leader's name
  • Date of submission


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.

Final Deadline for All Outstanding Assignments

All coursework (with the exception of final examinations) must be submitted by the last day of classes. 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.


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 Chair of Undergraduate Studies.

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 in those circumstances.

Scholastic Offenses

Scholastic offenses 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 offense?

Scholastic offenses are primarily forms of cheating. The range of offenses 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 offense. These offenses 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.
Further information about the range of scholastic offenses can be found in the most recent Western University Academic Calendar.

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 Arts & Humanities Academic Counselling 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.