Independent Study

Students work one-on-one with faculty to pursue topics in greater depth. From single-semester directed reading courses, to student designed research, to yearlong projects.

Preliminary Application for Independent Study or Honors Project

Course Credit

With the approval of a project director, a student may elect a course of independent study for which regular course credit will be given. A 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The Department of Religion encourages independent study only in areas relevant to a faculty member's expertise and interest, and in areas for which a student has been adequately prepared by successfully completing one or more regular courses offered by the department.