The purpose of independent study is to allow students to get academic credit for lab or library research experiences. With the help of our faculty, students propose a research question that can be addressed with laboratory experimentation or with an analysis of the existing literature or data sets. A list of past independent study projects demonstrates the range of possibilities. Students are expected to help plan the work, collect and analyze data, and write up the results of the work. At a minimum, the paper should explain the rationale for the work, review the literature, describe the methods and results, and discuss the meaning of the findings. 25 hours of work is required for each hour of academic credit given.

Finding a Lab Experience

Finding the right lab to work in can be challenging. We currently have over 2000 majors and 25 active laboratories. The first step is to go to the departmental website and check out the various labs. The lab websites are listed on the research page. Also, more information about ways to get involved in research are described on the undergraduate research page.

Many of the labs have pre-requisites in terms of course work and/or time commitments so be sure to check those carefully. If you qualify, contact the person listed on the website.

The video below shows a presentation about Independent Study that was given by Dr. David Sherwood, the former Undergraduate Coordinator.  He discusses the requirements for Independent Study and how to find a position in an IPHY research laboratory, and answers student questions.  Although the presentation was given in 2013, most of the material is still relevant in 2019.

Filling out the paperwork

Begin by opening the application at the link below:

Next, fill out the form with input from your faculty advisor. Once you sign and submit the form, the document will automatically be sent to your faculty supervisor and undergraduate coordinator for their signatures. Be sure to carefully read the first page to understand the expectations and requirements of the independent study. Once all the signatures are collected, the departmental staff will enroll you. Be sure to get the form in before the add deadline.