Graduate Counselling and Applied Psychology (GCAP) 650

Special Topics Course (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Independent study; online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Graduate Studies

Prerequisite: GCAP 631, GCAP 633, and permission of the program.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology

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The purpose of Independent Study (IS) credits is to provide a means by which students can focus on, elaborate or broaden their understanding in an area of interest not provided for in the formal core curriculum or elective courses. Since the impetus for an IS proposal is the students' individual interests, it is not possible to anticipate in advance the range and variety of topics that might be encompassed.

It is important to recognize that an IS cannot be approved as a substitute for existing curricular offerings, even when schedule problems occur. Further, IS credit will not be granted for proposals that simply replicate knowledge and skills acquired in previous courses or are somewhat larger projects than students have conducted in their assignments. However, IS credits can be used to go beyond existing course content and extend the skills learned in courses already completed by students. The following are a few examples of circumstances under which an IS proposal may be appropriate. Note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list.
IS credit may be used when a student wants to do more reading and studying in a subject matter or topic area not currently covered by an existing course.

  • IS credit may be appropriate when a student wants to go beyond the level of knowledge and skill achieved in an area of study covered by an existing course which s/he has already completed.
  • IS credit may be appropriate when a student wants to extend their knowledge in an area through more applied or practical skills than were promoted in a previous course. Please note that the term applied in this context does not include any direct client practice but could include model or program development activities.
  • IS credit may be appropriate when a student wishes to consolidate her/his thinking in an academic or applied area of special interest. This could involve writing a review or summary paper demonstrating that consolidation and thinking (e.g., possibly completing a review of current literature that results in a publishable paper or a conference presentation or some similar combination of activities).

It is important that IS credits not be viewed as a means of conducting thesis or course-based exit preparation. The products produced for evaluation of IS credit must be distinct from those associated with the student's thesis or course-based exit article.

IS Process and Structure

Students must come to agreement with an individual GCAP faculty member about the structure and content of the course at least three months in advance of the course start date. The IS course proposal must then be submitted to the GCAP Program Administrator and be approved as part of the student's program plan at least two months prior to the course start date.

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for GCAP 650, students must submit all of the negotiated components of the course activities. The passing grade for the course is B- (70%). Your final grade for the course will be a composite mark based on your performance in these course activities.

Other Information

Students with a disability, who require academic accommodation, need to register with the Access to Students with Disabilities Centre at Athabasca University. Notification of the need for academic accommodation must normally be provided to the program office no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the first day of class. It is the student's responsibility to register with the Disability Centre to request academic accommodation if required and to notify the instructor that such accommodation has been requested. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student needs. However, because GCAP courses are paced, all student are required to participate weekly in the online discussion forums. There are also several courses where online exams are required.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice.

Opened in Revision 1, September 2008.

Updated March 22 2016 by Student & Academic Services