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SOC 395: Independent Study

SOC 395: Independent Study provides the most engaged and inquisitive majors with the opportunity to pursue sociological topics of interest in more depth by designing your own course, creating your own syllabus, and working independently with a supervising faculty mentor. Everything is customized to fit your plan for mastery of the proposed subject, even the number of credit hours.

Regular credit exclusions and limitations apply for the Sociology major and subplan, LJSC minor, and SHM minor (i.e. experiential credit and independent-study style credit limitations). 

How to Begin

Refine the independent study idea.
Research books and articles about the selected topic and brainstorm potential writing assignments. A prospective faculty or graduate student mentor who sees that a student has already taken this initiative will be more likely to feel comfortable investing the time to supervise the study.

Identify a faculty mentor to supervise your study.
Begin consulting with the prospective mentor the semester before the proposed independent study in order to develop a carefully structured and intellectually viable course of study. Supervising an independent study requires a great deal of the supervisor's time and effort, so you must be similarly committed to the project. Independent study is intended for students and faculty who have common sociological interests and, ideally, who already know each other. You must demonstrate engagement and focus before a mentor will agree to supervise your study. Sending mass emails to department faculty or graduate students asking for study supervision is strongly discouraged and is very likely to be unsuccessful.


Students intending to apply for independent study credit must have completed at least an introductory and a 300-level sociology course and be in residence (i.e. on the Ann Arbor campus) during the semester proposed for the study. 

The deadline to submit an Independent Study application is the second Friday of the semester.

Independent Study Application (PDF)