Independent studies provide a flexible opportunity for faculty and students to work together in pursuing a topic of special interest that is not sufficiently covered by other courses in the curriculum. The content of independent studies is highly specialized and, as such, requires a plan of study developed jointly by the student(s) and the supervising faculty member.
Plans for independent study should include: a statement of the issues(s) to be studied; a rationale for why the identified issue(s) should be pursued via an independent study; a statement of how the independent study fits into the student’s overall educational plan; a summary of the independent study’s major learning objectives; the methods to be used in carrying out the study; a workable plan; the educational “products” that will result from the study (normally a written report or paper); and the expected date by which the independent study will be completed.
The process for arranging an independent study requires approval of both the student’s academic advisor and a faculty member who has agreed to conduct the independent study. The procedures to be followed are:
- The student discusses interest in doing an independent study with the academic advisor.
- If the advisor concurs with the student’s submission, the advisor and student will discuss potential faculty sponsors.
- If a faculty sponsor can be located, the student and faculty sponsor craft the specific plan, including learning objectives, content, and structure for the course.
- The academic advisor informs the registrar that an independent study for the student has been approved.
On the rare occasions that a student is unable to schedule a regular School course, the educational advisor makes a recommendation to the NPL Faculty Director who will try to identify a standing or adjunct faculty member able to supervise the course delivered as an independent study.