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Impact x2 Qais

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How can we work together to promote better cultural understanding worldwide?

Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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With your help, students like Qais gain the skills they need to tell their story and give us a broader understanding of the world.

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Directed Study Guidelines

Description of a Directed Study

A Directed Study is a CAS course in which a student pursues independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. A student may choose to undertake a Directed Study for the following reasons: 1) to pursue in depth an area covered more generally in a course, or 2) to explore a topic not normally covered in the curriculum. In either case, it is the student’s responsibility to identify the topic fully and to acquire enough information to ensure its worthiness for independent research.

Creating a Directed Study Proposal: Student and Supervising Faculty Member

  1. After a topic has been chosen, decide how much time should be devoted to the Directed Study. Unlike most courses, a Directed Study may be tailored so that a student can earn from one to six credits, depending upon the amount of time spent in work. It is important to remember that the number of credits received for a Directed Study should be reflected in the amount of work detailed in the proposal. This work should include meetings with the supervising faculty member, an appropriate amount of reading and research, and an appropriate number of written pages.
  2. Identify key references (books, journal articles, or other sources) pertinent to the start of the project.
  3. Arrange a meeting between the student and supervising faculty member. The design of a clear, explicit plan for the completion of the course is the main purpose of this initial conference. Topics to cover should include: supervision, a tentative list of references and research materials, and assignments to be completed. Often, but not necessarily in every case, the work entails a major paper or a series of papers.
It is important to allow yourself ample time to create a thorough and academically rigorous proposal. You should begin thinking about your Directed Study during the semester prior to your anticipated registration. It is not recommended that you begin creating a proposal once the semester has already begun.

CAS Policies Regarding Directed Study

  1. CAS Directed Studies must involve a subject area within the liberal arts. For example, a CAS Directed Study may not be undertaken in the area of business management or public relations.
  2. Your supervising faculty member must be CAS faculty.
  3. A Directed Study may not be used to replace a course currently offered in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  4. A Directed Study may not be used to fulfill a college requirement.
  5. A Directed Study may not be used to fulfill the CAS language requirement.
  6. A student may not receive more than six credits for one Directed Study.
  7. Students may not complete more than three Directed Studies for a total of 12 credits while at the College of Arts & Sciences.


The College of Arts & Sciences does not award academic credit for internships, other than those offered in the context of Boston University International Education Center. However, you may use an internship as the starting point for a Directed Study proposal. To do this, your internship must be in a liberal arts field. You must follow all the procedures listed above, and your Directed Study must contain a substantial academic component. The internship can provide you with valuable literature and field research upon which you may base your Directed Study.

Applying for a Directed Study

  1. Please fill out all three sections on the Directed Study application, noting which sections are to be completed by you, and which sections by your professor.
  2. After the student and supervising faculty member have signed the appropriate section of the application, the Department chair’s approval is required. Applications submitted to CAS Academic Advising without a Department chair’s signature will be returned to the student.
  3. The completed application should be submitted in CAS Academic Advising (CSS, Room 401), where it will be reviewed by the Directed Study Coordinator. Upon approval, the student will be registered for the course by the CAS Academic Advising staff. A student may not register him/herself for this course. Students will receive notification once they have been registered.
  4. All applications must be submitted to CAS Academic Advising no later than the last day to add for the term in which the Directed Study will occur. Please keep a copy of the application for yourself and give one to your professor.

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