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Independent Study

There are good reasons why a student might seek out an independent study course. These rare opportunities provide students a chance to further explore a topic of interest, or develop an area of interest or research topic, in a focused and directed setting.

The Independent Study application deadline is no later than the last day of the drop/add period in the term for which the student is applying. Please review the full policy regarding independent studies, prior to submitting your proposal.


Additional Information

Please be aware in asking faculty members to work with you on an independent study that it is against Department policy for faculty members to supervise a topic already covered by an existing course, or on a topic outside their field of expertise.  They are also strongly discouraged from doing independent study courses when they are on leave.  

American Culture has strict guidelines for independent study courses.  The expectation for a 1-credit independent study is at least one meeting per month between the student and the faculty member, with an average of 3 hours of work/week devoted to the course by the student during the entire term.  For a 2-credit course, students and faculty should plan to meet biweekly with an average of 5 hours of work/week devoted to the course.  A 3-credit course requires weekly meetings between faculty and students with an expectation of at least 8 hours of work/week to complete the class.   In some cases, students might concentrate this work into a shorter period, rather than meeting over the entire semester.  Overall, however, the department expects that the level of work would fall into those guidelines.

Remember that an independent study represents a sizable commitment of time and effort for the faculty member who supervises it.  You will be working in an area where you have strong background and interest; you should plan on doing most of the work to develop the course plan and organize the meetings with the instructor yourself.  You are most likely to have success in making a request for an independent study with a faculty member with whom you have studied already, or with someone who is currently doing research on your specific topic.  Be aware, however, that any faculty member may have too many demands on their time to be able to undertake an independent study.

Please contact American Culture's Associate Chair if you have questions.