Course Unions

Course Unions have been the main link between the UTGSU Executive and the members since 1970. More information about Course Unions and the GSU democratic structure can be found on our website.

What is a Course Union?
A course union is a student organization or association, with a democratically-elected executive responsible to the students in the department.

Students in virtually every graduate department, centre and institute at U of T have organized themselves into course unions.

Why?
Direct student involvement and participation in one’s education is a fundamental right. Course unions evolved as students at the grass roots level sought to gain input into departmental decisions directly affecting their education, such as curriculum and content, degree requirements, grading and hiring. Course unions act within their own departments, while the UTGSU deals with issues of the entire graduate community with U of T as a whole.

What do they do?
Course unions are active in representing students at the departmental level, campaigning for democratic student representation on departmental committees and developing course evaluations. Course unions organize seminars, sports teams, orientation activities for new students, parties, and much more. They represent students on departmental committees and at the UTGSU General Council, passing on information from around the campus. From time to time, the UTGSU organizes opportunities for grad students to meet colleagues from other departments and faculties, including a fall and spring social. Annually we organize a UTGSU Course Union President listserv and a Course Union Rep listserv to help course unions talk to each other.

How are they funded?
The UTGSU provides funds for all course unions, with extra funding for the smaller departments, and a Membership Coordinator to help course unions organize and deal with problems.

The UTGSU organizes numerous opportunities for grad students to meet colleagues from other departments and faculties, including a fall and winter social. Please contact the UTGSU regarding funding for student-organized conferences. The UTGSU will help spread the word and help you contact students in other departments.

Why Become Involved?
Many crucial decisions are made at the departmental level, ranging from determining student funding packages and extension recommendations to comprehensive exam changes and regulations, course offerings, the ranking of applicants for scholarships, residence-housing and the hiring of teaching assistants. Who better than experienced students to contribute to departmental decision-making, to explain to new students both the formal and informal rules and requirements of the department, to participate in the creation of new curricula? Your course union knows who to talk to, what the deadlines are, how to avoid the minefields, where the parties are.

 

Division 1: Humanities

 

Division 2: Social Sciences

 

Division 3: Physical Sciences

 

Division 4: Life Sciences