Independent Study Policy - Undergraduate Students

Policy Number: PO-51
Effective Date: Fall 2020
Supersedes: N/A


Independent study offers students an important opportunity to engage in research, to pursue areas of inquiry not regularly offered through courses, and to participate in supervised projects. Typically, the topic is focused rather than general and is not usually pursued in scheduled courses. Students who undertake independent study are expected to be self-motivated and largely self-directed. 


Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Office of the Provost. For inquiries regarding this policy, please contact the Office of the Provost at  


For all independent study courses, the following requirements must be met.

  • The instructor and student will complete a contract, which can take the form of a plan of work, which both the instructor and student must sign.
    • The contract should stipulate the course title, the designated course instructor, the number of hours per week of work expected from the student; the number of required meetings between the instructor and student during the term; reading and writing assignments and due dates; assessment information specifying how the final grade will be determined; and a brief work plan. 
    • Independent study courses must be mutually agreed upon by both the instructor and student and an instructor’s decision to offer the course may appropriately consider the proposed student’s experience, academic performance and demonstrated commitment to the subject matter.
  • Credit hours earned for an independent study must meet the university credit hour guidelines.
  • Only students in good academic standing may enroll in an independent study course.
  • Each unit must have a process in place for reviewing and approving the learning contracts, which should be submitted to the designated unit representative and remain on file in the unit.
  • Students should submit the learning contract no later than Wednesday of the first week of class. Each unit may have an earlier deadline.
  • No more than 12 quarter hours of graded independent study credit may be counted toward graduation for undergraduate students.
  • Independent study courses are usually graded with letter grades.
  • Units should create sections of a course for each faculty member supervising an independent study and use the course numbering system designated by the Office of the University Registrar.
  • The content of an independent study course that is numbered using the system designated by the University Registrar may not duplicate a course currently being offered or a requirement for a major or other program of study. An independent study should not be used for tutoring a student or for offering other remedial instruction.


All undergraduate students.


Academic Standing: Undergraduate Students
Assignment of Credit Hours
Course Scheduling Policies
Grading Scale
Special Topics




Independent Study Form Template [DOC]