Independent Study

Independent study credits (PUBHLTH 396) are for students:

  • who are doing independent research with a Public Health professor
  • who are serving as undergraduate course assistants   

When should I do an independent study?

You can do an independent study during the regular semester or over the summer.  However, there are some important logistics to take into account: 

  1. Independent studies taken during the school year are part of your regular tuition.
  2. Independent studies that you complete over the summer and wish to receive credit for must be paid for separately, through Continuing and Professional Education.  Financial aid may be possible. Check with the Financial Aid Office.  To receive credit, you need to fill out an additional form from CPE that the Undergraduate Program Director or Advisor must sign.
  3. If you are not looking to receive credit, you can sign up for the independent study on your own. Even if you do not receive academic credit, it will strengthen your resume and understanding of the field.

For some students, paying for the credits over the summer makes their class schedule more feasible (lighter credit load). It is good to think about the different options and what works best for your learning style.

How do I find a supervisor for my independent study?

You are responsible for finding your own supervisor whether you are working on your own research topic or another professor’s/organization’s study. If you do not have a particular faculty in mind, start with researching professor’s bios to see if they are currently doing research that aligns with your interests. Once you find a professor that looks like it may be a good match, contact them to inquire if they have any research opportunities available or if they would be willing to supervise your own research. Be prepared to give them your resume, why you are interested in the subject, and an explanation of what you could contribute. Also, ask parents, family members, and friends of family if they know of any opportunities. Research local hospitals, social service organizations, and local public health departments.

How do I get pre-approval for independent studies and sign up for the credits on SPIRE?

Fill out the independent study application, sign and have the supervisor sign the form, and give it to Dr. DiFulvio (Arnold 302) for review. Dr. DiFulvio will contact you about the approval process. If you are doing a summer internship, you need to fill out an additional form from CPE and get a signature from Dr. DiFulvio. Once you’ve received approval, the program director will be in touch with your supervisor, as well as send out an email reminder about the final paper due date.

How many independent study credits can I do?

Credits for independent study can range from one to nine credits. However, the norm is three credits per semester, with no more than nine total credits allowed for internships and independent study work in the major. A total of 15 internship and independent study credits is allowed for your entire undergraduate career. These credits go toward the Public Health electives (300-599) or Collateral field. Approval is needed from the Program Director for taking over three internship credits a semester.

How much does it cost to do an independent study over the summer?

Credits during the summer are paid for separately through CPE and are $195.00 per credit.

Are there any specific paper requirements for the independent study?

The student and supervisor are responsible for setting the paper and project requirements. However, for recommended paper guidelines refer to the independent study application.