The primary purpose of an independent study is to enable the student to pursue knowledge and understanding in an area not covered by a regularly offered course, or to study a subject at a greater depth than is possible through an existing course. Independent study places the major responsibility for learning directly upon the student, who must have sufficient maturity to identify and resolve a problem through extensive and rigorous research, searching for and integrating information from a variety of sources, interpreting the data, and expressing clearly the meaning of the whole. It is essentially a tutorial course involving frequent and in depth contact between the student and an instructor.

Since an independent study presupposes a serious interest on the part of the student to study and to research a particular problem or area, it is expected that the instructor and student will devote sufficient time to consider the project in advance to ensure that it is both worthwhile and feasible.

Any single independent study may be offered for 1, 2, 3, or 4 semester credit hours. Students may take no more than 20% of the total graduate credits per degree* as independent study.  All independent study requests must be approved in advance by the instructor, the advisor, the department chair, and the Dean of the Faculty. The Independent Study request form may be downloaded from the Office of Records and Registration website at

*Revision in calculating the maximum credits that a graduate student may complete was changed from 6 credits to 20% of the total credits required to earn a degree in Fall. 2018.