Independent Study

For students with well-defined goals and motivation, independent study provides a way to earn academic credit while pursuing a topic or project of particular interest.  Undergraduate students may take independent study courses as part of their curriculum up to a maximum of 20 percent of their total hours completed at U.T. Dallas.  All 4000-level independent studies require upper-division standing, and specific course numbers may require additional pre-requisites.  Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more details.

The subject of an independent study may arise from a student’s own experience and interests or may derive from a class.  A course of independent study might comprise a research topic culminating in one or several papers, a series of readings accompanied by short papers or an annotated bibliography, artistic explorations in the visual arts or creative writing, or other academically appropriate activities.

Students considering a course of independent study should identify for themselves their area of interest and contact a faculty member appropriate to this area of interest to act as faculty supervisor.  Normally, a student should approach a faculty member with whom he or she has already taken at least one class.  Students should note that faculty members are under no particular obligation to accept students for independent study, since these are always an addition to the faculty member’s teaching load.  Therefore, students should be prepared to demonstrate that they are capable of defining, organizing, and completing an independent course of study.

Once a faculty member has agreed to supervise a course of independent study, the student and faculty member should come to a clear understanding of the nature and scope of the project and its goals.  In some cases, this will involve frequent and regular meetings; in others, the student may meet with the faculty supervisor only a few times during the semester.  In all cases, however, the requirements of the independent study should be clear to both parties and specified in writing in the Application and Registration for Independent Study form.

To register, students should:

  1. Discuss with the faculty supervisor the nature of the independent study. You need to determine: the scope of the course including how you will be graded, the course prefix, the level of the course (sophomore or senior level course), and an official transcript note (similar to a subtitle; 3-7 words to describe the content/subject)
  2. Complete the online Independent Study Application form.
  3. Once emailed by the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies, give your consent to be enrolled in the course.

Normally, our tenured and tenure-track Arts & Humanities faculty members supervise
independent study. Non-tenure/tenure track faculty members will be allowed to supervise an independent study under exceptional circumstances (ADU approval is required).  Students may consult with an Arts & Humanities academic advisor to determine who are Arts and Humanities tenured and tenured-track faculty.

The content of the independent study should take place in the semester enrolled. Thus, a student who enrolls in a second 8-week course must complete the content of the independent study during the second 8-weeks of the semester.