Purpose of Independent Study

Independent Study is an opportunity, primarily for advanced undergraduate majors and graduate students, to earn academic credit studying individually with one or more members of the regular faculty of the Linguistics Department. Independent Study may be used to fulfill elective hours in the undergraduate major or toward a graduate degree. It may not be used to fulfill MAPs or Core curriculum requirements. It is also not intended to be used by students to take a regular course not being offered that term, or to "fill out" a schedule in a particular term.

Nature of the Independent Study Project

A number of activities are specifically prohibited as independent study projects. Included here are such activities as internships, volunteer or paid work in a university department, volunteer work of other kinds (unless germane to the project and part if its requirements), work in a business (unless germane to the project and part of its requirements), extra work in a class (unless special arrangements have been made in advance to design a project to be done in conjunction with the class), and work completed elsewhere (unless, upon review, the Independent Study Coordinator feels that the work is appropriate as an independent study project). Strictly prohibited are independent study as a substitute for a regular course offering and independent study done to meet MAPs or Core Curriculum requirements.

Independent Study Projects in the Department of Linguistics will normally consist of directed research which leads to the preparation of a substantive presentation of findings, usually in the form of a written paper or report. Any variation on this format must be approved by the Department chair.

Independent Study Contracts

The contract requires a short definition of the project and the requirements on which the grade will be based. It must be signed by the student, the instructor, and the department chair, who is the Independent Study Coordinator.

A minimum of 25 hours of work is required for each semester hour of credit. Typically, the instructor and student meet periodically to discuss the reading assignments and the student prepares all of the assignments/outcomes specified in the contract. An independent study course is the official equivalent of a regular course offering. The student is expected to realize this and to be as conscientious in the independent study class in a regular class.

Semester Hours of Credit Towards Graduation

The maximum hours of Independent Study allowed in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School follow. The same rules apply in the Department of Linguistics.

For undergraduate students:

  • 16 total hours towards degree.
  • 8 hours in any one department.
  • 6 hours in any single semester.

For graduate students:

  • 6 total hours towards the degree.


A student who is interested in knowing more about a topic than is covered in the regular curriculum may propose a research project to any appropriate faculty member. If the student and the faculty member agree that the topic is worth investigating, is not covered (or not covered in sufficient depth) in departmental courses, and that they both share sufficient interest in the topic to undertake an independent study project, they may sign an independent study contract. Faculty members are not obliged to accept Independent Study students, but all are happy to work with highly motivated students. Student eligibility is determined in each case by the faculty member selected by the student to direct the project. The sponsor must be satisfied that the student has preparation adequate for the accomplishment of the proposed project.

Enrollment Procedures

Download the independent study contract, fill it out in consultation with the faculty sponsor, obtain the signature of your faculty sponsor (with whom you will determine the appropriate number of credit hours) and turn it in to the graduate assistant in the Department main office. The graduate assistant will obtain the signature of the Department chair and then register you for the appropriate number of credit hours. Enrollment in an independent study cannot be retroactive (you must enroll prior to completing the work).