Skip to main content

Advising Handbook

Independent Studies

The objectives and content of independent study courses are determined in consultation between specially qualified matriculated or exchange students and full-time members of the teaching faculty. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for independent study of subject matter not included or not treated in sufficient depth in a regularly offered course. An online Independent Study Form is available at

Independent Studies Course Numbers and Titles

(394 INTERNSHIP see Internships for Credit)

The student and instructor determine what course title is most appropriate. The title, limited to 28 spaces, is listed on the Independent Studies Form. This title will appear on the transcript as the official title of the course. If students do not submit a title, the course title will be determined by the number of the course as listed above.


  1. Students complete the Independent Studies Form with the instructor with whom they arranged the course and secure the instructor’s signature or, if using the online “Independent Study Form”, the instructor’s PIN code. (NOTE: Students majoring or planning to major in biology (BIO) or one of the six B.S. biological sciences tracks (BBC, BCD, BEB, BMB, BMG, BNS) who want to take an Independent Research course (395) need to complete a supplementary form before submitting the College’s form. The supplementary form is available in Hutchison 402F, or
  2. For four-credit courses, the Independent Studies Form needs to be submitted no later than the end of the third week of classes. For three-credit courses, the deadline is the end of the fifth week, and for two-credit courses the end of the seventh week.
  3. If any questions are raised in the dean’s review of the proposed course, the student will be contacted promptly. Otherwise, in an arrangement between the Registrar’s Office and the Center for Advising Services, the student will be registered for the course. (Independent Studies courses are never listed on the registration form or on a drop/add form.)

Upper-Level Writing and Independent Studies

Students wishing to use an independent study to fulfill an upper-level writing requirement make appropriate arrangements with their major department.

Instructor Eligibility

The person who consents to supervise the project must be a full-time member of the teaching faculty, or a visiting or adjunct faculty member designated by the department chair as qualified to do so. Students are allowed to take no more than eight credits of Independent Studies courses with the same instructor unless approved by the instructor's department chair, which is normally granted for senior honors projects approved by the department chair.

Four-Credit Limitations

Faculty rules restrict students to one four-credit Independent Studies course per semester. Students may request a second independent study in the same semester through a petition to the Administrative Committee.

Students are limited to no more than four credits of Supervised Teaching (390) in the same course.

Note: The faculty is within its rights to decline to supervise students if registration comes too late after the beginning of classes. Similarly, any request for an exception to the policies noted above may be denied. Therefore, students should begin their planning early.