Directed Study

A Directed Study is a coherent, well-defined, and substantive research project supervised by a faculty member with expertise and research record in the given area of specialization, usually resulting in a major written report or publication. It is not a credit for work experience. Rather, it offers the student an opportunity to explore in detail a carefully defined area of special interest, as well as a chance to work under the close supervision of a faculty member with expertise in that area.

Students who wish to conduct research in a specific area of interest under the guidance of a faculty member may apply for a Directed Study. Only full-time faculty can work with a student in a Directed Study, and the proposed work needs to be directly related to the expertise and research area of the sponsoring faculty.

A Directed Study is considered an academic course.  Therefore, upon completion of the Directed Study the student receives a grade from the sponsoring faculty member and appropriate tuition charges will be assessed. Directed Study is billed as a 4-credit course unless otherwise requested by the faculty member and approved by the Associate Dean.

Directed Study may not substitute for a required course (core course) or duplicate an elective course. Students may do no more than one Directed Study course as part of a graduate program.  Students wishing to do more than one Directed Study during the course of their program must attach copies of any previous Directed Study applications to any subsequent applications, as well as the written report or publication that resulted from the previous Directed Study. The subsequent application will be subject to careful review to ensure that the studies are clearly non-overlapping, separate courses.  A student may not do more than one Directed Study in a given semester.

The fully completed and signed Directed Study application form needs to be submitted to the Dean’s Office at least two weeks before the beginning of a semester. Counting as a MET elective course, the Directed Study should be approved no later than the last day of the add/drop period.

Procedure for Directed Study

To arrange a Directed Study course, the student should:

  • Obtain a Directed Study application form
  • Select a full-time faculty member with expertise and research record in the area of interest
  • Approach the appropriate faculty member and discuss plans for Directed Study
  • Negotiate area of research, requirements, and evaluation criteria with the faculty member
  • Complete the Directed Study application form, and have it signed by the faculty member, department chairman, and program director (as appropriate)
  • Submit the completed application to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for approval not less than two weeks before the start of the semester
  • Upon approval, the Associate Dean will assign a course number for the class and process the registration for the course

Upon completion of the Directed Study a copy of the written document or paper resulting from the study should be submitted in electronic format by the sponsoring faculty to the Dean’s Office.


Students interested in completing a Master’s Thesis should review the Master’s Thesis Policy for more information about the approval process.