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Independent Study

Independent study provides an opportunity for highly motivated and capable students to pursue a rigorous course of study that is not accommodated elsewhere in the curriculum.  An independent study is a course carried out through the collaboration of a student and faculty member; it is expected that reading, assignments, and meetings will correspond with typical 200 or 400-level course workloads.

Independent study proposals require advance planning. Each must be developed in consultation with an English department faculty member who will serve as a faculty mentor for the project. Interested students should begin consulting with their mentors in the semester before the proposed independent study to develop a feasible course. Independent study requires that students design their own courses, create their own syllabi, and work closely with faculty mentors. Supervising professors donate a great deal of time and effort, so students applying for independent study should be similarly committed to the project. Students must be in residence in order to undertake independent study projects. A three-credit independent study should involve at least one hour of student-faculty contact plus an additional eight hours of work per week. It is also possible to elect one or two credit hours with appropriate changes in workload.

Professors do not supervise independent study projects in semesters when they are on leave, nor do they supervise projects which fall outside of their area of specialization.

English majors may enroll for a maximum total of six independent study credits. Independent study projects CANNOT be used to fulfill department program requirements (298, Pre-1642, Pre-1830, Pre-1900, American Literature, Identity & Difference, or Poetry) or College distribution requirements. However, if appropriate, independent study credits may be applied to upper-level elective credits.  English majors may count a total of two writing classes toward their elective credits. If a student plans an English 426 independent study, this will count toward one of those allowed classes.


How to Apply

  • Download the Independent Study Application
  • Students complete Application – Part I
  • Faculty mentors complete Application – Part II
  • Students must attach an unofficial transcript
  • Parts I and II should be submitted to Jennifer Catey in the English Undergraduate Office, 3187 Angell Hall.
  • Completed applications should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the drop/add deadline in the term in which you plan to register.
  • Students and faculty mentors will be notified via email of a project’s approval.