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Independent Study

Independent Study (SOC 395) provides students with the opportunity to pursue sociological topics of particular interest in depth by designing their own course, creating their own syllabus, and working closely with a faculty member.

Regular credit exclusions and limitations apply for the Sociology major and sub-majors, and LJSC minor & SHM minor (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. It is important for students to take initiative in designing the course for faculty members to invest the time and effort required to supervise the study.

Identify a faculty member to supervise your study -
Consult 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 professors must contribute a great deal of time and effort to support students studying independently, so the student must be similarly committed to the project. An independent study is intended for students and faculty who have common sociological interests and ideally, who already know each other. A student must demonstrate engagement and focus before a faculty mentor will agree to supervise the study. Sending mass emails to department faculty asking for study supervision is not permitted.

Apply - Deadline: Second Friday of the Fall/Winter Semester

Students intending to apply for independent study credit must have completed at least an introductory course (SOC 100, 102, 300, or 302) and 300-level sociology course. Students must be on the Ann Arbor campus during the semester proposed for the study (during an in-person semester).

The deadline to submit an Independent Study application is the second Friday of the semester in Fall and Winter terms. 

Please carefully read and complete the application: Independent Study Application (PDF)