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Independent Study

Independent study courses provide the opportunity for students to pursue specialized topics, collaborating with faculty mentors in decisions about course content and in one-on-one meetings held in the term. Assignments, readings, and discussion meetings are balanced to match with typical 200- or 400-level course workloads. A three-credit independent study should involve at least one hour of student-faculty contact plus an additional eight hours of work per week. (One- or two-credit independent studies can also be proposed, with workload scaled to those credit hours.) It is also expected that the independent study topic be typically unavailable in the English curriculum. Because faculty mentors donate significant time and effort in supporting an independent study, independent study students should be similarly committed. 

Interested students should initiate contact with a faculty mentor who is prepared in the topic and who will not be on leave for the teaching term, coming to agreement on a basic plan before submitting an application. In your application, outline your topic in terms of interests and possible readings as well as describe the tentative schedule and assignments you hope to undertake. Students must be registered for the term at the University of Michigan to enroll for an Independent Study.

Note: English majors may enroll for a maximum total of six independent study credits. Independent study courses do not fulfill departmental program requirements (298, Pre-1642, Pre-1830, Pre-1900, American Literature, Identity & Difference, or Poetry) or College distribution requirements. If the following guidelines for elective credit are met, 200- or 400- level independent study credits may be applied to elective credits:

  • English majors may count a total of 6 credits of 200-level coursework toward elective major credits. If students take either 226 or 299, the course(s) will count toward the 6 maximum credits.
  • English majors may count a total of two writing classes toward their elective credits. If a student plans an English 426 independent study, it 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 Briahna Anders
  • 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.