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Academics

This is meant to be a tool to help you better understand the expectations and services for students at Queen’s. While every effort is made to provide you with timely and useful information it is important that you do some personal research upon your arrival here in Kingston.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I register for courses?

Queen’s has an electronic registration system, called SOLUS (Student On-Line University System). You can register for courses, look at your daily class schedule and look at your fee account, among other things. It is accessible through https://my.queensu.ca. The Queen’s University International Centre has volunteers in early September and January to help you become more familiar with the system.

Where can I buy textbooks?

The Campus Bookstore is a not-for-profit business that stocks all required and recommended materials for Queen’s courses. Used books are shelved with new ones and are generally 25% below the new book price. Used books sell out  more quickly.  In addition to books, it also has magazines, stationery supplies, services, and clothing. Both used and new textbooks are returnable for a full-refund within three weeks of the first day of class. You will be able to sell some of your textbooks back to the Campus Bookstore at the end of the semester for a small amount.

At the Tricolour Outlet, you can both buy and sell used textbooks. Make sure you buy the correct edition of the textbook you need these texts can sometimes be out of date. To sell books, students set their own prices and when the book sells, the student receives 80% of the price. Tricolour Outlet also sells clothing, school supplies, and tickets for the Tricolour Express bus service. They are located in the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC).

How many libraries are there at Queen’s?

There are eight campus libraries at Queen’s. They are excellent locations for studying, researching, and writing. The Joseph S. Stauffer Library houses the business, humanities and social sciences collections. The Douglas Library contains the Engineering and Science Library. Your student card can be used as a library card. For hours and more information, as well as the locations of the other libraries, visit http://library.queensu.ca/

How should I approach my professors?

Some professors are quite informal and may ask you to call them by their first name. If in doubt, though, it is always safer to be more formal and call them Professor Smith or Dr. Smith (if applicable). Professors at Queen’s have an open door policy, which means that you are welcome to go and see them. They will tell you their office hours, which are the times they have set aside especially to see students and answer their questions. If those hours aren’t convenient for you, you can usually  email them  and set up an appointment for another time.

Before you meet with your professor, write down the questions you have and anything else you want to talk about. At the beginning of your meeting with the professor, briefly tell him or her all of the questions you would like to discuss. That way, your professor won’t spend the entire time on the first question, and not have enough time to answer your other concerns.

E-mail is another great way to get in contact with professors but it is important that you compose the e-mail as though you are writing someone official, not as though you were writing to a friend.   Also, you should expect that it will take up to a few days for a professor to respond to your e-mail (though most will try to respond more quickly).

What is a “T.A.”?

T.A. stands for Teaching Assistant. T.A.s are usually graduate students who help professors mark assignments and may run tutorials. Tutorials are less formal than lectures and allow students to ask questions about material taught in the lectures. Some courses may have a scheduled tutorial every week, but other courses may not have any at all. T.A.s also have office hours when you can go in and ask questions.

What is a “paper trail”?

A paper trail is written proof of an agreement you have made with someone. After speaking with a professor, you should email him or her with a brief summary of the conversation and any agreements made. First, this will ensure you understood what went on in the meeting – you could ask your professor to reply if anything you wrote was incorrect. Secondly, this email can act as proof of the agreement later on in case your professor forgets what was agreed to. It can be quite simple, but should be specific.

For example:

Dear Professor Smith: Thanks very much for meeting with me this afternoon. Just to summarize our discussion, we agreed that I would hand in two 10- page essays instead of one 15-page essay. I will be discussing Symbolism in Madame Bovary and Common Themes in Flaubert’s Novels. Please let me know if this is correct.

Sincerely, Gail Chan

How can I find out how to write a “Queen’s Style” essay?

Professors at Queen’s may have different expectations from professors in other countries. Queen’s has a Writing Centre located in Stauffer Library that offers a range of free services to all students. Visit the Centre for advice, in the form of one-to-one tutorials with a professional tutor, about your current writing assignments or general workshops. Phone 613-533-6315 or drop by for an appointment.

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty includes plagiarism as well as any deliberate attempt to gain unfair advantage academically. Plagiarism means presenting work done (in whole or in part) by someone else as if it were one’s own. Plagiarism is not the same as co-operation. Often, students may be expected to work on assignments together and this practice is encouraged. This is not a problem so long as it is clearly understood whose work is being presented, for example, by way of formal acknowledgement or by foot-noting and citation.

The practices that got you this far in your academic career in your home country could be interpreted as academic dishonesty at Queen’s.

Definitions of academic dishonesty can vary by department, so please make sure you know what academic dishonesty means in your department (speak to a professor, supervisor, or the chair of the department). An example of academic dishonesty is using large sections of paraphrased material without acknowledgement, or forgetting to use citations or footnotes.  It is considered a serious offence within the University community.

See Queen’s Academic Integrity site for more information on the subject.

What is the procedure for filing a grievance or appeal?

Every effort has been made in this procedure to ensure that problems are settled in their early, informal stages. However, if this is not possible, a grievance can be pursued through more formal stages to be resolved by the Grievance Board.

 

For Graduate Students

 

How can I improve my teaching skills?

The Centre for Teaching and Learning offers assistance to any Queen’s instructor or teaching assistant (TA) through a broad range of services, programs and activities. They offer workshops, consultations, opportunities to practise teaching skills, and access to information about teaching and learning. Resources include the TA Handbook and TA Training Manual.

What are my roles and responsibilities and the roles and responsibilities of my supervisor?

The School of Graduate Studies produces a Graduate Supervision Handbook along with a series of other resources.   Review them and discuss them with your supervisor if you have questions.

 

Further Questions?

If you have further questions, after reviewing the information above, advising is available (without an appointment) from the International Student Advisors at the Queen’s University International Centre from Monday to Friday between 1:00pm and 4:30pm.

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