Independent Studies

Independent Studies in Childhood Studies

An independent study is a 3-credit course that enables students to explore a specialized topic in depth under the independent supervision of a faculty member. If you are interested in proposing an independent study, please review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below and submit a completed Independent Study Proposal form to the faculty member with whom you would like to work. 


Childhood Studies Independent Study FAQ

Do I have to have already taken a class with my proposed independent study advisor?

    • No, but it is highly recommended. Prior work with a faculty member will help gauge expectations concerning instructional style, assessment, feedback, and other aspects of an independent study. Prior work together in another class can also serve as a jumping off point for the design of an independent study with regard to reading(s), core questions, and possible assignments and projects.

How do I know what topic(s) a prospective independent study advisor can supervise?

    • You may review the faculty member’s profile on the Childhood Studies Department website to get a sense of his/her/their research interests and classes taught.

Is an independent study easier than an in-person class?

    • You should expect to work as hard as in a conventional class. Independent studies require more work and preparation from the student before the semester, and involve heightened student accountability. Independent studies also offer unique benefits (see below).

What are the advantages of an independent study over an in-person class?

    • Independent studies are an opportunity for students to engage in advanced research under the focused and individualized direction of a faculty member.
    • Independent studies offer a chance for in-depth exploration of a topic, question, or issue that can build upon knowledge generated within the context of a course.
    • Independent studies are designed around customized timelines established by the faculty supervisor and student to support the unique nature of the work. (Note: a “flexible” schedule should not be the motivation for pursuing an independent study.
    • Building a strong relationship with a faculty mentor can lead to strong recommendations for graduate study or employment.

Can an independent study be a way to showcase my work outside the classroom?

    • Yes! Independent studies can have a variety of traditional, creative, and/or practice-based outcomes. Students might consider proposals that address presenting research to diverse audiences, possibilities for civic engagement, etc.
    • Opportunities on campus, such as undergraduate research symposia provide contexts for students to share their work, and sometimes funding to support research.
    • Individual faculty members can provide information about related topic-specific conferences or opportunities to disseminate work.

Does my Childhood Studies independent study count as a Childhood Studies elective course?

    • Yes

Can my Childhood Studies independent study substitute for one of the core classes?

    • No

Can I take a Childhood Studies independent study for pass/fail credit?

    • No

Can I take a Childhood Studies independent study exclusively online?

    • No

Can I propose an independent study under the supervision of a graduate student instructor?

    • No

My proposed independent study was not approved! Why?

    • There are many reasons. Faculty members may have full schedules due to other undergraduate and graduate teaching and advising, service at the department, campus, college, or university level, faculty leaves (such as sabbaticals), and the timing of individual faculty members’ research programs.

Deadline to submit Fall Independent Study Proposal:  March 29 at 5 PM

Note:  Download the document to write on the form

Independent Study Proposal Form

Independent Study Sample Course Plan