Departmental Independent Study
A departmental independent study offers another, more flexible variation in which students may pursue a reading, research, or thesis project with a faculty member of their choosing. These classes do not require prior approval from the CCC. Some departments have a detailed plan for students to follow in developing such courses. Click here for a PDF of independent study guidelines produced by the Department of Geological Sciences.
Please note that the last day to register for a departmental independent study course is the same as the last day to add any course, i.e., the end of the fourth week of classes.
The CCC encourages all departments to adopt the following guidelines to ensure that students and faculty make the most of this open learning option:
Statement of project: We recommend that students submit a short written statement to the sponsoring faculty member, describing the project they wish to pursue during the semester. The statement should include the central idea, the goals of the project, and a brief description of the work to be completed. It will also discuss the nature of the work that will be graded, along with a plan for a regular number of meetings across the semester. To allow students and faculty enough time to discuss and refine the plan, we recommend that conversations begin during the pre-registration period. The statement should be completed by the end of the shopping period.
Signatures: We recommend that both student and faculty member sign the project statement, indicating their mutual commitment to the semester’s work. Students should receive registration access from the faculty sponsor only after the form is signed. Click here for a departmental independent study proposal form. Because the independent study is actually a departmental course offering, we recommend that the sponsoring faculty member submit the signed form to the department chair. This will allow chairs to learn about the level of independent work occurring in their department.
The CCC hopes these guidelines will lead to better planning and to more fruitful independent learning experiences for undergraduates.