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Independent Study

After reading the guidelines (below), please complete the proposal form (above) and email it to

SAC Independent Study Guidelines

Independent study (SAC 499) is intended for serious SAC students with a strong academic record who seek advanced knowledge in a particular area of study that cannot reasonably be met by normal course offerings. You should be aware that due to limitations of faculty and equipment resources, most requests for independent study cannot be met and permission will be granted only to requests that show substantial merit. Therefore, before you request a discussion with a faculty member regarding SAC 499, please consider the following:

  • Independent study credit does not count toward credit in the SAC major, but may count toward credit hours in LS&A.
  • Independent studies are reserved for students who have reached sophomore, junior, or senior standing.
  • Independent study is reserved for those SAC majors who have exhausted the course work in a specific area of study within the major and can demonstrate a compelling intellectual or creative need to undertake work for independent study credit.  For example, if a student has taken all available courses in documentary (SAC 301, SAC 320, SAC 401) she/he might be eligible to initiate a project-based independent study in documentary. Also consider whether the work you wish to do an independent study within a current or future SAC course. If you are uncertain as to exactly what a particular course covers or what courses are to be offered in upcoming semesters, check with the SAC office. They may be able to help you initiate contact with the appropriate faculty member to see if your interests can be met within an existing course. 
  • All independent study projects must have a SAC faculty adviser who agrees to work closely with the student.  Faculty supervisors must be regular faculty in the Department (tenured, tenure-track, Post-Doctoral Research Fellows, Lecturers). Graduate students are not permitted to take on this extra responsibility.  Faculty who are on leave should not normally supervise independent studies, & Department policy limits faculty to supervising two independent study projects per semester. The Department may grant exceptions to this policy. If so, a brief rationale for the exception, along with the signed faculty-student agreement, will be sent to the LSA Curriculum Office to be kept on file.
  • The student must work with the faculty adviser to develop the attached proposal form. It involves written agreement detailing a description of the project, the academic goal(s) of and plan for the project, clearly articulated expectations, interim deadlines, and a final deadline for completion of the project.  Students must also list relevant courses that have prepared him/her for the independent study and note which previous courses he/she has taken with the faculty adviser.
  • If the project involves production equipment or resources, these must be listed. For projects requesting the use of SAC production studios or equipment, the signature of a member of the SAC production staff is required on the attached proposal form.
  • An unofficial transcript should also be attached to the proposal form.
  • A copy of this proposal/agreement, signed by the faculty adviser, the student, and when necessary, SAC production staff, should be delivered to the Department Chair for final approval. This is to ensure that SAC has adequate resources to support the project, especially in cases where the student undertakes a production-based independent study. Final approval of independent study rests with the Chair of the Department.  Because of the time needed to obtain this approval, student requests for independent study need to occur at least 30 days before the last day of class during the semester prior to SAC 499 enrollment.
  • Independent study in Screen Arts & Cultures is a graded course (not to be taken P/F), available to SAC majors only and can be taken for 1-4 credits.  Students are expected to put in at least 3 hours per week of actual work for a 14-week term for each credit elected. Over the course of the term, students are expected to meet with the faculty supervisor a minimum of 3 hours per credit hour enrolled.
  • Repeat credit for SAC independent study is at the discretion of the Chair of SAC.
  • According to LSA policy, the Department will keep on file, for a period of 7 years, copies of the signed application/proposal agreement and sufficient evidence of student work to demonstrate that the agreement was fulfilled.

You can access the SAC 499 proposal from from the link above these posted guidelines.