FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 / FSCI 398D1/D2 – Research Project in Science Teaching and Learning 1 / 2 / 3

Check out the article on FSCI 396 in the Faculty of Medicine's "Proud to Teach" series: https://publications.mcgill.ca/medenews/2019/10/17/new-course-gives-stud... 


FSCI 396 and FSCI 397 are 3-credit independent study courses that bring students, faculty, and staff together to perform projects aimed at researching and addressing issues in science education at the university level. FSCI 398 D1/D2 is a new two term 6-credit version of FSCI 396.

Working within the framework of Students as Partners in Higher Education, FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 / FSCI 398 projects bring Science students, faculty, and staff into the field of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Students engage with the pedagogical literature and address teaching and learning topics such as the assessment of course activity effectiveness, research into topic-related misconceptions, and research into and application of innovative teaching and learning strategies. These may be in the context of McGill courses, in-reach or outreach. Each term, the cohort of students, faculty, and staff participating in FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 / FSCI 398 meet regularly to form a diverse learning community.

FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 / FSCI 398 broaden the scope of currently available 396 elective research project courses offered to undergraduate Science students. Their overall aims are to:

  1. Expose undergraduate students to pedagogical research, educational assessment, and resource design in university-level science education settings
  2. Hone skills in formal writing and oral communication

FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 / FSCI 398 contain a significant research and/or design component that requires substantial supervised work by the student. The course workload is expected to be 9 hours of research activities per week for a 13 week period of one term for FSCI 396 / FSCI 397 or for each of two terms for FSCI 398D1/D2. Students will be co-supervised by the Coordinator, who will provide advice and access to pedagogical resources, and a Professor teaching in a Faculty of Science course (Supervisor), who will participate in formulating the research proposal, provide context and background information. The Coordinator and Supervisor will both evaluate the student based on a written final report, overall research performance and an oral presentation. See below and sample syllabus for more details.

PDF icon FSCI 396/397 Syllabus Winter 2020

PDF icon FSCI 398 Draft Syllabus


FSCI 396 and FSCI 397 available in Fall, Winter and Summer terms; FSCI 398D1/D2 is available for Fall + Winter terms.


Prof. Tamara Western, Department of Biology & Office of Science Education, tamara.western [at] mcgill.ca


FOR FSCI 396: Successful completion of at least one term of undergraduate studies and a CGPA of at least 3.0, or permission of instructor.

FOR FSCI 397: Successful completion of at least one term of undergraduate studies and a CGPA of at least 3.0, or permission of instructor - AND - successful completion of FSCI 396 OR successful completion of another Science '396 Course' with the same supervisor.

FOR FSCI 398D1/D2: Successful completion of U1 and a CGPA of at least 3.0, or permission of the instructor


Open to students in programs offered by the Faculty of Science or the Bachelor of Arts and Science, with permission of the Course Coordinator. By Faculty of Science regulation, students cannot be supervised by the same instructor for two ‘396-series’ research project courses. In the case of students and supervisors wishing to do a Science Teaching and Learning research project after completing any ‘396-series’ research project together, there is the option to apply for an FSCI 397 project.

Enrolment may be limited. Students are advised to start the application process well before the start of the term and to plan for an alternative course in the case that no suitable project or supervisor is available. Individual projects may be suggested each term that may have project specific prerequisites (e.g. having successfully completed the course in question if the proposed project involves investigation of or resource development for a particular course). Students may also approach professors or the Office of Science Education to devise their own projects. See below for more information about available projects, application forms and procedures.

› How to apply + available projects 

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