Independent Studies

Do you have an idea for an independent study?

An independent study begins with you. We invite you to conceive and propose a guided academic project whose reading and research stems from and develops the concepts, theories, or practices you have encountered in Communication courses.

About credits

A typical semester-long independent study is 3 credits. And only 3 credits of COMM 396: Independent Study can be counted toward the major. Any additional COMM 396 credits are treated as elective credits.

Workload

Each 3-credit independent study should be similar to a 3-credit course in terms of workload. In all cases, the independent study will require a formal written component (one or more research papers). Video or audiotapes, films, portfolios, and the like may also be submitted for evaluation, as determined by you and your sponsor.

What an independent study is not

Field experiences, such as internships and co-ops, cannot be used as independent studies. Field or work experience in organizational, institutional, or professional contexts earns internship credits, not Communication course credits, and cannot be used towards the major.

How to propose an independent study: 3 steps

Proposals must be submitted to the Undergraduate Studies Office in N318 Integrative Learning Center (ILC) for approval at least five workdays before the end of registration or they will not be accepted.

What does a good proposal look like?

  1. Write a formal proposal in consultation with your faculty sponsor
    Include a title and separate, numbered sections for each of the following six elements:
    •  a statement of the purpose/goals of the project
    •  a description of the subject matter
    •  an explanation of its relevance to your interests and/or major area of study
    •  a description of your proposed research methodology
    •  a preliminary working bibliography
    •  information on the form and length of the final report
     
  2. Complete a "Cover Sheet for Independent Study Proposal" form
    Your faculty sponsor must sign it. Be sure to specify the number of credits you want to earn. The maximum (and typical) number of credits for a semester-long independent study is 3. Fewer credits are possible, with proportionally less work. Available at N318 Integrative Learning Center (ILC), or download a PDF at right.
     
  3. Submit the proposal and cover sheet to the Undergraduate Studies Office
    Your completed proposal must be received by the Communication Undergraduate Studies Office in N318 ILC at least five workdays before the end of registration. If your proposal is accepted, the Undergraduate Studies Office will register you for COMM 396. If it is incomplete or fails to follow the guidelines outlined here, the Undergraduate Program Director or the Chief Undergraduate Advisor may ask you to revise it.