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Guidelines for Independent Study

Independent studies are offered by the Department to enable interested students to explore in-depth a subject of study not offered as a regular course. They are set up to be at least as rigorous as a regular course. An independent study is not meant to be simply the solution to a scheduling conflict or to fill in a gap in a student’s schedule. In no case may the Senior Research Seminar be taken as an independent study.

A student interested in an independent study should first review the guidelines below and then approach a faculty member whose expertise lies within the proposed subject of study. The faculty member will agree to work with the student depending on his or her availability and the appropriateness of the subject matter. This should happen well before the start of the semester.

Faculty are under no obligation to agree to an independent study. Moreover, they or the Chair may reject an application if they feel a student has not demonstrated a capacity for disciplined, independent work.

After the faculty member agrees, the student should then complete a more formal proposal with reading list according to the guidelines. The faculty member will then initiate an eForm, which will accommodate the attached proposal. This form will be routed to the Chair and Dean for approval.

Students may also use independent study to earn credit for an internship. Students should contact Dr. Heidi Bludau ( for more information on this option.