Independent Study

Guidelines for the Independent Study

The Independent Study allows students to pursue academic activities outside the formal classroom setting under the supervision of a faculty member of the department. The activities may include reading, research, or a special project. The Independent study is not normally a substitute for courses regularly available in the department curriculum.


  1. 2.5 or higher GPA
  2. Junior Standing


  1. Consent from the faculty member (usually with whom the student has previously taken regular classes). The faculty member should make it clear to the student how often they will meet, what books must be read, how much research for a written assignment(s), how long the written assignment(s) will be, and the deadline for them.

  2. Submission of a study proposal form (Independent Study Form, pdf 36kb) approved by the faculty member, the Department Chair, and the College.

    • Study Proposal Information: General Statement of subject matter, description of student's activities – read books (list titles), consult journals, etc.; description of how student will be evaluated – oral reports, exams, papers, etc.

  3. Register for ARTHIST 699 (contact Kate Negri at for a permission number).

  4. No more than 3 credits of independent study a semester should be taken by a student from a particular professor. Only in highly unusual circumstances should more than 3 credits be granted.

  5. Art History majors should take no more than a total of 6 credits of independent study in the department.

Independent Study Paper Guidelines:

  1. Title
  2. "30 pages" in length
  3. Bibliography

In determining appropriate credits for an independent study project, the faculty member should apply the rule of equivalency. That is, the work required. and the credits granted for independent study should be measured against the work required for a regular 3 credit junior/senior level course. A regular course meets for 16 weeks for 150 minutes each week. There are reading assignments, discussions, at least two or three examinations, and possibly a research paper. If the independent study project requires an equivalent amount of work and effort by the student, then 3 credits should be specified. If the work and effort is less, then the number of credits should be correspondingly reduced. The credit load of the course must be specified on the study proposal form before submission to the Department Chair.

Under usual circumstances, a faculty member should not direct more than two Independent Study students a Semester. Given the total duties of a faculty member as well as the extra work required to direct independent study, the limit of two students seems reasonable. If a professor consistently has more than two students a semester requesting an Independent Study, then he or she may wish to consider developing and offering a new course.

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