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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.


AMCULT 388: Field Study Independent Study

The Field Study independent study course (AMCULT 388), allows students to earn credit for "field experience in organizations, institutions, and service agencies" as participants in internship programs.

AMCULT 388: Field Study Application

AMCULT 389: Directed Reading Independent Study

The Directed Reading independent study course (AMCULT 389) is "available to undergraduates who are interested in designing a reading list for the purpose of exploring new areas in the field of American studies."

AMCULT 389: Directed Reading Application

Independent Study Policy

AMAS 390: Internship in Arab American Studies

Depending on the academic term, internship opportunities are available in local Arab American organizations which provide students experience in legal, social, or cultural issues or the arts. Examples of internship placements include the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Arab American National Museum, both located in Dearborn, Michigan. Internship opportunities are located in Dearborn, about a 40-minute drive from Ann Arbor, so students must have access to a car or reliable transportation. Students start by contacting the internship faculty advisor for information about available internships and details on their specific requirements. Permission of an internship faculty advisor is required. Students can sign up for 2 credits (6 hours of work), 3 credits (9 hours of work), or 4 credits (12 hours of work). Mandatory credit/no credit determined based on written comments on the student’s performance submitted to the faculty advisor by the sponsoring organization, and two papers, (one at mid-term and the second at the end of the term) submitted to the faculty advisor. This opportunity is intended to enrich students with academic experience and a chance to explore career options related to Arab American Studies.

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.