Directed Studies Guideline

Undergraduate Directed Study

Directed study courses are designed to enable advanced undergraduates to pursue independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. Directed Study courses offer students the opportunity to work in a focused area and in an environment that allows for considerable individual attention. Since Directed Study courses also demand a great deal of time and energy on the part of the faculty member, students applying should observe the following guidelines:

  1. Carefully choose a topic for Directed Study. Students may choose to pursue in depth an area covered more generally in a course, or 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.
  2. Decide how much time should be devoted to the Directed Study. Unlike most courses, a Directed Study may be tailored so that the student may earn from one to six credits, depending upon the amount of time spent.
  3. Identify key references (books, journal articles, or other sources) pertinent to the start of the project.
  4. Arrange a meeting with a faculty member sponsoring your project. Review with the faculty member the necessary information for general supervision, suggestions of references, help with understanding of the readings, and/or feedback from the papers. The design of a clear, explicit plan for the completion of the course is the main purpose of this initial conference. Often, but not necessarily in every case, the work entails a major paper or a series of papers.
  5. Complete the appropriate sections of the Directed Study application, noting specific instructions.
  6. After the faculty advisor has signed the appropriate section of the application, bring it to the Department Chairman’s office for approval. Bring the complete application to CAS Room 105.
  7. Do not register for this course until it has been approved by CAS Room 105. After it is approved, instructions will be given on how to add this course to your schedule.
  8. All applications must be submitted to CAS Room 105 no later than one week after the beginning of classes for the term in which the Directed Study will occur. All applications are reviewed by the Directed Study Committee in CAS Room 105. The committee decision is made approximately one week after an application has been submitted.