Each semester, the English Department establishes a section of ENG 4905 Independent Study in order to permit advanced English majors to register to work on individual projects on topics not otherwise covered in the scheduled course offerings with faculty members who have agreed in advance to supervise those projects.
Most independent studies resemble courses. In consultation with the faculty members directing their projects, students work out schedules of reading and writing assignments on the topics (in literature, film and media, advanced composition, etc.) they have chosen. Typically, moreover, students will meet with their faculty supervisors on a regular basis throughout the semester in order to discuss their readings and/or writing projects – though these meetings are arranged at times mutually convenient to students and faculty members rather than at times stipulated by the schedule of courses.
Some students register for independent study in order to work on projects in creative writing or film and video production that cannot be accommodated within the structures of creative writing or film and video production workshops. This will usually mean that the students registering for independent study for these purposes will already have gained some foundational experience in upper-division creative writing or film and video production workshops.
Students are responsible for asking faculty members to supervise independent study projects. The department does not assign supervisors to students, and cannot require faculty members to serve as supervisors of independent study projects. Faculty members usually agree to direct independent studies only if the students who approach them have already taken upper-division courses from them. Also, only members of the English Department faculty may direct undergraduate independent studies in the English Department. Neither faculty members from other departments nor graduate student instructors may direct English Department undergraduate independent study projects.
Students may register for independent study for anywhere between 1-3 credits. A 1-credit registration should consist of an amount of work roughly equivalent to that required in one-third of a standard 3-credit course; a 2-credit registration, to that required in two-thirds of a 3-credit course; and a 3-credit registration should be equivalent to a standard 3-credit course.
In order to register for ENG 4905 Independent Study, a student must request an Undergraduate Registration Request Form from a departmental undergraduate advisor in TUR 4012, complete that form in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to direct the project, and return the signed form to an undergraduate academic advisor in TUR 4012 for review and registration. It is particularly important to fill out as completely as possible the portion of this form that asks for a description of the work to be undertaken. The department needs to be able to demonstrate that students are doing as much work for the number of credits they are earning as they would be doing in undergraduate courses on the schedule that carry the same number of credits.
As long as an independent study carries 3 credits, it will count toward fulfillment of the 10-course requirement for the English major. No independent study carrying fewer than 3 credits will count toward fulfillment of the 10-course requirement for the major.