Independent Study Guidelines


Independent Study Guidelines

Independent Study (COMM 9400/9500) allows students an opportunity to explore educational opportunities outside the traditional classroom environment. It is NOT available as a substitute for core course requirements. Students may enroll for an independent study only after permission has been obtained from a professor and the appropriate application form has been completed. Communication majors may enroll for between one and six Independent Study hours in a given semester. (NOTE: A maximum of six Independent Study hours in Communication may be applied to the B.A. and a maximum of eight total hours for the thesis option or nine total hours for the non-thesis option may be applied to the M.A.).


Typically, Independent Study projects fall into one of the following two categories:

Research Assistantship

Faculty members within the Department of Communication are involved in research spanning interpersonal, group, public, organizational, intercultural and mediated contexts. Occasionally, faculty members can offer students the opportunity to gain Independent Study credit by assisting on a particular research project. The availability of this type of Independent Study is subject to faculty need and the interests of the student. Three hours of work per week is expected for each undergraduate Independent Study credit. Graduate students are expected to work six hours per week for each credit.

Independent Research

Students who wish to engage in original research focusing on a particular subject area that falls outside the parameters of the curriculum of the Department of Communication may do so by enrolling for Independent Study credit. Generally, the research project is conducted by the student with faculty guidance. The student who has an interest in such a project may approach any Communication faculty member to supervise independent research. Typically, the faculty person selected is one who teaches or conducts research in the area related to the student’s interest. Students undertaking this type of Independent Study project may be expected to write a paper detailing their research. The length of such a written assignment is agreed upon with the faculty member directing the project.

Other uses of the Independent Study can occasionally be negotiated directly with Communication Department faculty. The availability of these Independent Study assignments is dependent on student qualifications and faculty needs.