Directed Study & Research

Directed Study is a College of General Studies course in which a student pursues independent research for academic credit under the guidance of a faculty member. A student who undertakes a Directed Study usually does so to explore in more depth areas covered broadly in courses, or to explore topics not ordinarily covered in the curriculum. In most cases, students initiate the Directed Study, i.e., they have an idea for a course of study and they approach a CGS faculty member to work with them for Directed Study credit. In other cases, however, students may also request Directed Study credit for working with a professor through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), which is a University-wide academic program that promotes Boston University undergraduates’ participation in faculty-mentored research projects across all disciplines.

Policies for Directed Study

  • It is the student’s responsibility to identify clearly the topic and to submit a proposal for a Directed Study. Sufficient time should be allotted to develop a thorough and academically rigorous proposal.
  • A Directed Study course may not be used to fulfill a CGS core curriculum course.
  • CGS Directed Study must involve a subject area within the liberal arts.
  • The supervising faculty must be a CGS professor.
  • A student may not receive more than four credits for one Directed Study.
  • If taking a Directed Study places a student into an overload, the student is responsible for paying overload charges at the current tuition credit rate.
  • A student may not complete more than six credits of Directed Study as a CGS student.
  • A student may use an internship as a component of a Directed Study, provided it relates to the academic goals and objectives of the project.

Guidelines for Arranging a Directed Study

  • Identify the topic. What is the area or subject of interest? What are your research questions?
  • Arrange an initial conference with the supervising faculty member(s). The purpose of the meeting is to design a cogent plan for completion of the course. Topics to discuss:
    • Readings—What will you be reading—journal articles, essays, books? Specify the number of pages.
    • Writing—What are the specific writing requirements? Journal entries, annotated bibliographies, research papers, etc.?
    • Exams—Will there be an examination component to the Study?
    • Fieldwork—Is there an experiential piece to your Directed Study, e.g., lab work, internship, other field experiences?
    • Contact Hours with Your Professor—How often will you meet with your professor? What will be the nature of the meetings?
    • Time Line—When are your assignments due? When will your exams take place (if applicable)?

Applications for Directed Study are available online and in CGS room 211.

If you have questions about this process, please set up an appointment with your CGS academic advisor.