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Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

Independent Study/Thesis Registration


Register for Independent Studies here »


Course Numbers

  • JLC 690 Independent Study Project in Justice (1-3 Credits)
  • JLC 790 Doctoral Independent Study in Justice, Law and Criminology (1-3 Credits)
  • JLC 797 Master’s Thesis Research (3 Credits) course credits are graded as Satisfactory Progress (SP) or Unsatisfactory Progress (UP) only.

Prior to 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. 
  • 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 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 to your graduate advisor (Ward 257). The graduate advisor will obtain the Department Chair’s 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 Wednesday before the first day of classes.

Important Information

  • As of fall 2012, all theses are graded SP/UP (Satisfactory Progress/Unsatisfactory Progress), and independent study must be registered for the A/F option. Theses must be pursued in 3 credit increments with a maximum credit allotment of 6.
  • Independent study courses may be registered across multiple semesters by dividing the credits with a maximum credit allotment of 6. For example, a 3 credit IS may be registered as 2 credits of IS in the fall semester and 1 credit of IS 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.


NOTE: ALL application materials MUST be typewritten to be accepted.