The 600 level special topics perform a number of different functions. One common function is to test the student interest in a particular content area, especially where a new academic may have joined the staff. If interest is shown, then the course is likely to become formally listed.
A second function is to allow individual student's masters programmes to be, to some degree, tailor-made to the background and research interests of the student. In some cases this may be to make good a perceived deficiency in the student's background. In other cases it will be to extend the student in areas not studied in the more general, listed 600 level courses. A third function is to utilise the expertise of a visiting academic. Obviously, the offerings here will vary from year-to-year.
Finally, some special topics are simply administrative devices to cope with an unusual student course of study. Entry into these special topics relies, in the first instance, on admission to a masters degree programme. All students interested in knowing more about special topics should contact the Group Leader responsible for the area in which they are interested.
Students need to have a sound knowledge of winemaking principles and an interest in furthering that knowledge with personal study, plus involvement in wine quality assessment activities.