Frequently asked questions

How many POL credits do I need to complete an honours/ major/ minor?


Honours: 60 credits Major: 48 credits Minor: 24 credits* *you can not do a minor in International Political Economy




What exactly is PISA? How can I get involved?


PISA is the Politics and International Studies Association, and we represent students enrolled minor, major, or honours in Political Studies, International Studies, or International Political Economy. We are responsible for hosting events such as Student Voice Night, Political Trivia Night, and bringing speakers with a variety of backgrounds to speak to POL students. To get involved, you can follow us on social media and attend PISA events! Throughout the year we open applications for aides, and the Executive elections are held in the spring, so keep an eye out for those! Check out our "Join the Team" page under "About Us" for more information.




Who is my academic advisor?


Student’s in the Politics department have several options for resources to help with academic advising. You can reach out to Dr. Gagne (the department chair) if you have department specific questions, or to Monetta Gallichon (the administrative assistant for the social sciences) if you are looking for someone to direct you to the right person. There is also the Academic Advising for Arts and Social Sciences, who can help you with more general questions related to academic advising! All of these emails can be found in the “Information” section of the PISA website, or in the directory of the Bishop’s website. PISA is also more than happy to help direct you to the right person, so please feel free to send us an email or a Facebook message!




How do I declare my minor/major/honour?


If you log in to MyBU and click “Registrar’s Office Page” (under the section “Important Links”), and then click “Degree/Program Change Form” (under the section “Student Enrollment Forms”), you will find the form that you need to fill out in order to declare a minor/major/honours, or change your program. You will need to get this form signed by the department chair, and then hand in the form to the Records Office located at McGreer 225 (second floor McGreer). Certain programs have different requirements for students switching in to the program, or switching between honours/majors/minors, so we recommend speaking with your department chair to make sure you’re eligible.




How do I know what courses I need to take for my degree?


You can find this information in two spots; the first is in the Bishop’s Academic Calendar (https://www.ubishops.ca/wp-content/uploads/40-Politics-and-International-studies-2020.pdf - this link will take you directly to the Politics and International Studies section of the Calendar). This will tell you what courses you need to take for your degree, as well as give you the course description for all courses offered within the department. The second place is the Department Program Guide, which you can find under our “Information” section of the website (under “Helpful Links”). This gives you a detailed description of each degree within the department and its requirements in a checklist format.




Do I need to take a math and/or science class to complete my POL degree?


Maybe! If your degree will be completed in less than 72 credits, you will need to take a math or science course to graduate. This means if you are completing only one Major and one Minor, and both are in the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (ex: a major in Political Studies and a minor in History = 72 credits), then you may need to take a math or science course! Make sure to check with the department chair if you are confused or think this may apply to you.




How do the Honours seminars work?


To get an honours degree in the department, there are a couple of extra requirements compared to a major. For both Political Studies and International Studies, you need to take either two 400-level courses, or the 6-credit course POL550, which is the honours thesis. International Political Economy is similar, but you will only need to take one 400-level POL course. For POL550, you need the permission of the department in order to enroll, and you will be assigned a professor to supervise your research and writing as you write your honours thesis. For the 400-level POL courses, there is one course offered a semester, and the topic and professor that teaches it rotates. For example, if a course is taught in Fall 2020, it most likely won’t be taught for approximately another 2 ½ years. The format of these courses change depending on the subject and the professor teaching. For International Studies, you also need to do either an internship, or a semester abroad in order to fulfill the requirements of an International Relations honours.




What are some internships I can do to complete my honours if I do not want to go on exchange?


Bishop’s promotes and offers several internship opportunities, including the European Study Tour and the Nicholas Bachand Canadian Civil Society Internship (for more information about these internships, see "Opportunities" section). Students may also earn credits for internships of at least 4 weeks that they set up on their own. In the past 7 years, various students have interned with organizations or with community groups working in Austria, Costa Rica, France, India, Lebanon, Peru, Switzerland, Tanzania, and Thailand among other regions through this option.