Student Directed Seminars

small group of undergraduate students

The Student Directed Seminars program provides upper-year undergraduate students the opportunity to propose, coordinate, and lead their own 3-credit seminar class with a small group of peers on a topic not currently offered at UBC Okanagan. 

Each seminar brings together a group of highly-motivated students to explore and investigate a topic through learning activities including group discussions, research papers, presentations, guest lectures, applied problem-solving, and community service learning. 

The application deadline for the 2024/2025 Winter Session Seminars is May 29, 2024. 


Students and faculty interested in the program should review the Student Directed Seminars Guidelines and Terms of Reference. 

Student Directed Seminars are an expansion of the directed studies option offered by most departments and are a great way to enhance your own learning experience while gaining facilitation and leadership skills. You will also have the unique opportunity to work closely with a faculty member to develop the course proposal and syllabus. If you are an upper-year undergraduate student, in third-year standing or higher, you are eligible to coordinate a Student Directed Seminar.

When considering your suitability as a Student Coordinator, the Advisory Committee will be looking for students that have a strong academic background and leadership experience that can translate to a classroom environment.

Student Coordinators must be able to demonstrate:

  • Motivation and a capacity for self-learning;
  • A clear understanding of the Student Coordinator’s role as a facilitator, not an instructor;
  • An ability to work independently and think critically;
  • Aspirations for a career in teaching, or pursuing graduate school;
  • Experience working in teams and inspiring others.


Students interested in being a Student Coordinator should review the Student Coordinator FAQ.

Faculty Sponsors are tasked with ensuring the academic rigor of the student directed seminar they sponsor. As such, a Faculty Sponsor should only sponsor a student coordinator they believe has the capability and capacity to run a successful seminar. A Faculty Sponsor’s role encompasses many duties including, but not limited to:

  • Ensuring academic rigor;
  • Providing ‘approval’ on topics, grading schemes and syllabus;
  • Assisting with the seminar course development;
  • Resolving any grade or academic-related disputes during the seminar’s duration;
  • Signing off on final grades.

To ensure Faculty Sponsors have the capacity to fully participate and commit to this innovative learning experience, it is preferred they be tenured or on tenure-track. Faculty Sponsors that are not tenured or tenure-track will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Faculty Sponsor FAQ

Faculty interested in being a Faculty Sponsor, should review the Faculty Sponsor FAQ.

Student participants are co-learners in a peer-guided environment, and are expected to facilitate some course discussion. Like coordinators, participants are upper-year undergraduate students with a high degree of motivation for self-learning. Furthermore, participants are expected to participate in peer-review grading and seminar processes. Students are allowed to participate in a maximum of two student directed seminars during their degree.

The Student Directed Seminars Advisory Committee is comprised of students, faculty, and staff. The Advisory Committee reviews all student directed seminar proposals thoroughly for academic rigor, quality of course plans, appropriate grading schemes and assignments, and the overall qualifications and suitability of the Student Coordinator.

The Advisory Committee will base their approvals on four core criteria:

  1. Quality and Development of the Proposal
  2. Suitability of the Student to Coordinate a Seminar
  3. Student’s Grades and Academic Qualifications
  4. Faculty Recommendation Form

May 29, 2024: Application deadline

Early June 2024: Applications are reviewed by the Advisory Committee

Early June 2024: Applicants are notified of the status of their application

August 2024: Orientation Session

Fall 2024: Synchronous and asynchronous training to design your seminar

January 2025: Seminar begins

There are currently no scheduled information sessions.

All three forms must be completed and emailed to

POLI 486: Liberation Studies

This course will focus on critical readings and discussions of philosophical texts about radical liberation across various theoretical frameworks. The goal is to explore multiple paths to social change.

Only third-year standing is required; however, it is recommended that students have taken at least 3 credits of HIST, SOCI or POLI.

Students interested in registering for this seminar must contact


If you have any questions or need assistance with your proposal, please contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Curriculum Office by emailing