Independent Study


Independent studies are designed for undergraduates who want to explore topics and/or subject matter not already covered in one of the department's many upper-level English courses. The process for undertaking an independent study is as follows:

  1. The student first needs to find a member of the English faculty who is willing to direct the independent study. It is important to remember that faculty members tend to be more willing to direct independent studies if these requests come from students who have taken and performed well in the faculty members' courses. In addition, faculty are more likely to consider directing independent studies if the proposed topics overlap with their own areas of interest. Students should also be aware that faculty may be unavailable to direct independent studies for a wide variety of professional and personal reasons. Students are encouraged to seek advice from the department's advising team if they need assistance finding an independent study director.
  2. Once a faculty member has agreed to direct an independent study, they should email the department's director of the Undergraduate Studies Program the following: a) the description of the independent study including required reading and writing assignments and b) the number of credit hours (one to three) of English 5193 the faculty member feels is justified by the proposed content and assignments.
  3. Once the independent study content and credit hours are approved, the director of the Undergraduate Studies Program forwards this information to the Undergraduate Studies Program academic program manager, who enrolls the student in the appropriate credit hours of English 5193. The independent study director is listed as the instructor for this section of English 5193 and has access to this course through the Faculty Center.


Independent studies offer undergraduates the opportunity engage with topics and subject matter not covered by the department's upper-level course offerings. Independent studies that propose to cover material already available to students through traditional upper-level courses will not be approved. In addition, independent studies cannot be used to prepare personal statements for graduate school or to provide credit for unpaid internships. 

Independent studies may provide the foundation for students' senior theses or creative projects; however, the process for enrolling in and completing thesis coursework is more rigorous and requires the approval of the Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences.