Procedures for Independent Studies
The Department encourages students to consider an independent study when they have a clear topic of interest to pursue and there are no courses being offered that treat the subject matter. Prior to meeting with the relevant member of the Department, the student should have a clear sense of the topic/project as well as what they envision as the intended outcome. Ideally, the student should be in touch with the faculty member the semester before the independent study would commence. All independent studies must be approved by the Chair of the Department, who will consult with the potential faculty supervisor about the viability of the project. Once the project has been approved by the Chair, the student and faculty member will agree upon a timeline and a set of expectations for the semester.
Students should keep in mind that independent studies are self-directed projects. While members of the Department serve as interlocutors and guides, students are ultimately responsible for planning the contours of their inquiry.
The department will ordinarily approve one or two semesters of independent study. In a case where more than one semester's credit is sought for a project, the project will be subject upon review by the department at the end of the first semester. In special cases, the Recording Committee, upon recommendation of the department, may extend credit for additional semester courses beyond two.
There are two kinds of independent study and each should be registered for under the appropriate course number:
- A directed reading course designed to allow a student to explore a subject not currently offered within the curriculum shall be numbered 2291, 2292, 2293, or 2294.
- An independent study that will culminate in substantial and original research; or in fine arts, music, or creative writing project; or that is part of a departmental honors program shall be numbered 4001 or higher.
A regular grade shall be submitted at the end of each semester and shall become the grade for the individual semester of the course. In the case that an independent study and honors courses continues beyond one semester, instructors have the option of submitting at the end of each semester, except the last, a grade of S (for Satisfactory) in place of a regular grade. Regular grades shall be submitted at the end of the final semester and shall become the grades for the individual semesters of the course. Independent study may not be taken on a Credit/Fail basis.