Independent Studies in the Department of English
About the Independent Study
The purpose of an Independent Study (IS) is to provide an opportunity for you to do research and/or study under the direction of an English faculty member. An IS is intended to supplement your regular academic program in an area that is not covered by the department’s curriculum; ISs cannot be used in lieu of another required course in your major option. Other reasons for which an IS is not appropriate are: 1) simply getting more credits for graduation or 2) creating an elective when other regular courses are available.
An IS is intended for you to pursue research or study that is of special interest to you and in which your faculty sponsor has particular expertise. Developing the content and structure of the IS is a task shared jointly between you and your faculty sponsor. The first step is for you to develop a draft plan for you to propose to her/him. Keep in mind, by the way, that faculty members are not compensated for supervising ISs, so they may decline your IS proposal if it does not represent a research project or study they feel confident undertaking with you for reasons of specialization or time commitment.
Process for Proposing an Independent Study
First, fill out the Independent Study Proposal Form completely. Then, meet with the professor to whom you are proposing the IS to discuss its feasibility and to revise the proposal as necessary; bring with you the proposal and the blue Request for Offering Individual Problems form (available in the English office). If the professor agrees to conduct the IS with you, fill out the blue Request form, get the professor’s signature, and submit it and the revised Proposal form to the English Department office. You will be notified as to whether the department chair has approved the IS or not. If it is approved, you may register for the appropriate number of credits in the relevant semester. (Note: the number of credits applied to the IS — one to three — will be determined by the professor based on the amount of work involved in the research or study; keep in mind that a 3-credit IS should involve an amount of work roughly equivalent to a 3-credit course, which typically means 6-10 hours of activity per week, including class time.)
- Download the editable pdf form linked below.
- Fill the form out completely to the best of your ability.
- Print the form in hard copy.
- Take the form with you to your appointment with your proposed faculty supervisor.
- After the discussion of the proposal, revise the form to include additions and changes.
- Print the revised form and submit it to the department chair for approval, along with the Request for Offering Individual Problems form (available from the Registrar's website).