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Graduate Advising | SIS

Independent Study Registration

Download the Independent Study Registration Form here [pdf].

Course Numbers

  • SIS-590 Independent Reading (1-3 credits, A-F only)
  • SIS-690 Independent Study Project (1-3 credits, A-F only)
  • SIS-790 Doctoral Independent Study (PhD Students ONLY) (1-6 credits)
  • SIS-794 SRP with Coursework (3 credits, A-F only)
  • SIS-795 Substantial Research Paper (SRP) (3 credits, A-F only)
  • SIS-797 Master’s Thesis (1-6 credits; SP/UP only - check A-F on registration forms)

Before Registration

  • Conduct preliminary research on potential topics. A research question, preliminary outline and bibliography must be approved by your faculty supervisor prior to registration.  
  • Network with faculty to determine their availability and relevance to the research topic. Many faculty members prefer to be consulted one semester prior to the semester you plan to register. You are responsible for finding a faculty supervisor.  
  • CRS, ID, IER, IP, IPCR, and USFP students are required to follow field-specific SRP guidelines that are available from your academic advisor or program office.
  • If you are writing a thesis, please consult the Office of the Provost’s Guide to Preparation of Theses and Dissertations for information on writing a thesis proposal.
  • If you are planning to do research abroad, you will need to complete the Graduate Global Practicum (GGP) [pdf]. Please consult your academic advisor for more information.
  • If your project will involve human subject research, you may be required to receive approval from AU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). For more information: http://www.american.edu/irb/

Registration Procedures

  1. Complete ALL REQUIRED SPACES on the Registration checklist and the Independent Study Registration form.
  2. Sign the form, have your faculty supervisor sign, and bring the form and required attachments (including the completed GGP if applicable) to your academic advisor. Your academic advisor will obtain the Department Chair/Dean signature and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office.
  3. Return the form to your academic advisor as soon as possible. Please note the deadlines listed on the Academic Calendar. If the independent study is the only course for which you plan to register in a semester, the deadline to register without a late fee is the Friday before the first day of classes.  

Important Information

  • An SRP is graded on an A/F scale. A student must receive a B or better to earn credit. As of fall 2012, all theses are graded SP/UP (Satisfactory Progress/Unsatisfactory Progress), and independent study or reading projects must be registered for the A/F option.
  • Independent study courses may be registered across multiple semesters by dividing the credits. For example, a 3 credit SRP may be registered as 2 credits of SRP in the fall semester and 1 credit of SRP in the spring semester.
  • Work is expected to be completed during the semester when the course is registered. An In Progress (IP) or Incomplete (I) grade may be assigned by the faculty supervisor if work is not completed in a timely manner.
  • Students who register SIS 794 SRP with Coursework are required to complete all course requirements in addition to writing an SRP. Professors may allow the SRP to serve as the final course paper. The professor of the course must serve as the SRP faculty supervisor and the SRP and course must be thematically related. Please consult with your academic advisor for more information.

Last updated 18 March 2014.