Search Target

Independent Study (HDEV 397 and HDEV 497)

An independent study is a learning experience that gives you the chance to direct your own learning in an area of academic or professional interest. Although you may engage in creative projects or field research, these efforts must be accompanied by academic approaches and written assignments.

NOTE: You cannot undertake an independent study if a course is available or offered in that intended area of study.


To qualify for an independent study, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • You must be matriculated in the Human Development Department
  • The independent study must be related to your educational goals
  • You should have sufficient background to undertake the independent study and learn from the experience

To apply for an independent study

Submit a completed HDEV 397/497 Independent Study Coversheet (40kb PDF) and an acceptable independent study proposal to the Human Development Office (UDC-407) or an HDEV academic advisor. Your coversheet must be signed by a faculty sponsor*. Preparation of the proposal requires thought and consideration, so planning should begin well before the registration period for the semester in which the independent study will be performed.

*It is your responsibility to get a faculty sponsor. This person may be any full- or part-time faculty member currently appointed in the Department of Human Development. Your faculty sponsor should have experience related to the area in which the independent study will be performed.

The independent study proposal

You will design the independent study experience and define its objectives, and you will submit the resulting proposal to your faculty sponsor for approval (your faculty sponsor must sign your coversheet before you may turn it in).

The objectives you set will involve, in a broad sense, the application or development of academic theories and concepts relating to the area of inquiry you have selected, as well as a critical analysis of your findings.

The typed proposal must address the following:

  • The learning objectives for the independent study specific to your educational goals statement and plan of study
  • Your academic/experiential preparation for undertaking the independent study
  • The activities you will perform during the independent study and how you will be supervised
  • The requirements for 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 4 credit hours)

Return the completed independent study coversheet and independent study proposal to the Human Development Office (UDC-407) or an HDEV academic advisor. Your coversheet must include your faculty sponsor's signature. A copy of the coversheet and proposal will be placed in your academic file.


  • Proposals for 4-credit independent study should be filed no later than the middle of the second week of class
  • Proposals for 1-3 credit independent study have a later deadline; contact the HDEV Office for exact dates
  • No proposals will be considered after the deadline for adding courses has passed
  • Registering for the independent study
  • Your faculty sponsor must approve your proposal and sign your coversheet before you can be registered for the independent study

Registering for independent study

You cannot register for HDEV 397 or HDEV 497; a member of the HDEV administrative team will register you for the independent study. If this is your first independent study, you will be registered for HDEV 397; if this is your second independent study, you will be registered for HDEV 497.

Course credits and limits

Independent study can be taken for 1 to 4 credits. As a general guideline, a 4-credit independent study will require a written assignment of at least 20 pages.

You are restricted to a total of 8 credit hours in internship and independent study courses (HDEV courses 395, 397, 495 and 497) toward your degree.


Independent study is graded with either normal grading option or satisfactory/unsatisfactory. The grading option is determined at the discretion of the faculty sponsor.

Faculty sponsor

Your faculty sponsor serves as the supervisor of your independent study. The faculty sponsor will review and approve your independent study proposal, ensure the proposal is properly implemented and submit your final grade to the Registrar's Office. The sponsor will be available to you throughout your independent study.

Important forms


Last Updated: 9/15/17