English 2990, 3990 & 4990 - Independent Studies

Independent Studies (updated as of April 28, 2016)

Show Your Independence. In addition to your regular courses, you have the opportunity to undertake Independent Study.  Independent Studies are an excellent opportunity for students to pursue their interests in subjects that are not available as part of the department's regular course offerings, and to engage in self-guided research.  They are highly recommended for students taking courses beyond the 13-course minimum for the Major, particularly those who may be interested in pursuing Graduate Studies.  In order to successfully complete an Independent Study, students must be highly motivated, with a keen interest in their chosen topic, and must have an aptitude for self-directed learning.

Independent Study may be taken for credit inside or outside of the student’s major subject or in an interdisciplinary mode.  Students are advised to consult the Academic Calendar for full details about the rules and regulations governing Independent Study courses.

An Independent Study is generally of the same rigor as a semester course and carries the same amount of credit. Course numbering (2990, 3990, 4990) indicates the work's level of advancement and may also be roughly concurrent with the year of undertaking the study.

Note: Within the Department of English, Independent Study courses are not counted as part of the 13-course minimum for the major and do not satisfy subfield requirements.  ENGL4990 cannot be counted toward the requirement of two courses at the 4000 level.

The required total word count for written components may include a combination of essays, reading responses, reports, reviews, etc.  The precise nature of the written components will be determined by the supervisor and the student, and may vary depending on the nature of the course.  Additional coursework beyond these written components may be required and will be determined by the supervisor.

2990 (2000 level): written components totaling 4500 to 6000 words

3990 (3000 level): written compoenents totaling 6500 to 7500 words

4990 (4000 level): written components totaling 8000 to 12000 words

How to enroll in an Independent Study

The student must take the initiative for an Independent Study.  There are a number of steps involved in enrolling in an Independent Study, so students are advised to begin this process early on in the registration period.  The first step is to write a proposal between 200 - 800 words in length, bearing in mind that it must not be a duplication of any course regularly offered by the Department.  Ideally, the impetus for an Independent Study should arise out of previous or current course work.

The next step is to arrange for supervision by an appropriate department member with expertise in the proposed subject.  Once the department member has agreed to supervise the study, the proposal must be detailed on the appropriate form and approved by two additional members of the department (who must initial this form).  Proposals for Independent Study will be approved by department members on the basis of the worthiness of the project, the capability of the student, and the availability of appropriate supervision and library resources.

The student and the supervisor should work together at the start of the semester to draw up an appropriate syllabus, including a list of agreed upon requirements, required readings, due dates, and other expectations for the course.  This syllabus should be finalized no later than the third week of the semester.