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Independent study (SW 597)

An independent study is a learning experience that allows a student an opportunity for self-directed learning related to an area of academic and/or professional interest. The independent study will involve, in a broad sense, critical analysis and application or development of theories and concepts relating to the area of inquiry chosen by the student. Although the student may engage in creative projects or field research, such endeavors must be accompanied by the previously described academic approaches and written assignments.

To qualify for an independent study, a student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be matriculated in Social Work
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.5 at the time of the request
  • Select an independent study related to the educational goals of the student, who should have sufficient background to undertake the independent study and learn from the experience

To apply for an independent study, a student must:

  • Submit a completed Independent Study Cover Sheet (.PDF, 97KB) and an acceptable proposal to a faculty member who has experience related to the area in which the independent study will be undertaken
  • Begin planning well before the registration period for the semester in which the independent study will be undertaken because preparation of a proposal requires a great deal of thought and consideration

Other considerations for an independent study:

  • Student can register for an independent study only after the proposal has been approved by the faculty sponsor, academic advisor, and department chair
  • All graduate independent study proposals should be filed no later than the middle of the second week of class. Check with the department office for exact dates. No proposals will be considered after the deadline for adding courses has passed

A copy of the student's cover sheet and proposal will be placed in the student's academic file. Independent studies are graded with either normal grading option or pass/fail. The grading option is determined at the discretion of the faculty sponsor. After it is instituted, the grading option cannot be changed without the approval of the faculty sponsor, advisor, and department chair.

Independent studies can be taken for one to three credits. As a general guideline, a three-credit study will require written assignment(s) of at least 20 pages.

An independent study cannot be undertaken if a course is available or offered in the intended areas of study.

Faculty sponsor

The faculty sponsor must be a current faculty member of the Department of Social Work If the faculty sponsor is an adjunct faculty member, a current full-time faculty member must sign the independent study proposal and read and grade the final product.

The faculty sponsor is responsible for supervising the independent study. The faculty sponsor must approve the independent study proposal, ensure that the proposal is implemented properly and submit the final grade to the Registrar's Office.
The faculty sponsor will be available for regular contact with the student during the independent study.

Independent study proposal

The Independent Study Cover Sheet (.PDF, 97KB) must be accompanied by a typed proposal which addresses the following questions:

  • What are the learning objectives for the independent study specific to the student's educational goals statement and plan of study?
  • What is the student's academic/experiential preparation for undertaking the independent study?
  • What activities will be undertaken during this independent study and how will they be supervised?
  • What is the written component of the independent study? Written work may include creative projects, research or field work accompanied by scholarly written assignments. As a general guideline, a minimum of 20 written pages will be submitted for three credit-hours.

Last Updated: 7/28/14