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Independent Study Policy

A. Purpose. Independent Study is an opportunity to earn academic credit for learning outside the formal class structure. A student who is interested in knowing more about a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may propose a research project to any department faculty member.

B. Supervision. Faculty members accept Independent Study proposals at their own discretion and do so only as the rest of their workload permits. If a faculty member shares sufficient interest in the topic and deems it appropriate for an Independent Study, he or she may serve as the student's supervisor. Per A&S policy, only faculty at the rank of Instructor or above are eligible to serve as supervisors.

C. Policies and Eligibility.

  1. To be eligible to sign up for an Independent Study in Philosophy, a student must be a Philosophy Major or Minor and have sophomore standing or higher. A minimum of 6 hours of prior coursework in Philosophy is required.
  2. A minimum of 25 hours of student work is required for each Independent Study credit. Each Independent Study section can be set up as a 1-credit, 2-credit, or 3-credit class, depending on the amount of work projected. There are three undergraduate course numberings available: PHIL 2840 (requires sophomore standing), PHIL 3840 (requires junior standing), and PHIL 4840 (requires senior standing).
  3. Per A&S policy, internship-type work, including work for an academic department, cannot be counted for Independent Study credit. See the requirements for Philosophy internships (PHIL 3930) instead.
  4. Per A&S policy, Independent Study credits may not be applied to General Education requirements, nor may they substitute for regular coursework.

D. Credit hours allowed. Undergraduate students should be aware that A&S policy caps allowable Independent Study credits as follows: students may not count more than 16 total Independent Study credits towards their degrees, including no more than 8 from any one department or more than 6 from any one semester. Also note that students may count no more than 3 credits of Independent Study as electives for their Philosophy major. Philosophy graduate students should see the policies on Independent Study in the requirements for their program.

E. Procedures. Click here for a copy of the Independent Study form. The form, which requires an outline of the intended project, as well as signatures from the student, faculty supervisor, and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies, should be submitted to the Philosophy office no later than the add/drop deadline for the semester in which the student is to be enrolled in the Independent Study.