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Directed Reading/Independent Study

The Department of Comparative Literature offers course credit for independent study supervised by a faculty member, in areas where there are no regular course offerings. COMPLIT 498 (Directed Reading) is an opportunity for highly motivated and capable students to pursue a rigorous course of independent study not accommodated elsewhere in the Department. COMPLIT 498 does not fulfill College distribution requirements and is intended for students who have demonstrated academic excellence and who can show appropriate preparation in courses previously taken.

Students should be aware that Directed Reading requires careful planning. You must submit a proposal that must be approved by a full-time member of the faculty (who will serve as your faculty mentor) and by the DUS (for CompLit majors).

Ideally, you should consult with your mentor during the term before the proposed independent study, in order to develop a feasible course of study not already offered by the Department. Students not completing a CompLit major will be required to obtain approval by an advisor in (one of) their major(s). You need to design a syllabus that reflects the work involved in a regular course. The syllabus should describe the following:

  • the content and context of the independent study
  • course objectives
  • course requirements
  • standards for evaluating student
  • schedule for the assignments and deliverables
  • bibliography

A 3-credit Directed Reading should involve at least one hour of student-faculty contact plus an additional 8 hours of work per week. It is also possible to select 1, 2, or 4 credit hours with an appropriate change in your workload. The number of hours enrolled must be agreed upon with the supervising faculty member. Since you will be asking a professor to donate a great deal of extra time and effort beyond their usual teaching load, you should be similarly committed to the course of study. Professors do not normally supervise Directed Readings during terms when they are on leave, nor do they supervise them in areas that fall outside of their area of specialization.