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Undergraduate Advising | SIS

How to Register for an SIS Independent Study

The Basics

  • All independent studies must be supervised by a full-time SIS faculty member.
  • You must successfully complete Introduction to International Studies Research (SISU-206) before registering for an independent study.
  • Independent studies can only be completed for three credits each.
  • A maximum of six credits over the course of two three credit independent studies will be granted through SIS.
  • If you want the course to apply to a major requirement, your proposal must be reviewed and approved by the Undergraduate Program Director.
  • A maximum of 6 credits of self-designed work are permitted for the major. This may be two independent studies or one internship for credit and one independent study. An additional 6 credits of self-designed work is permitted as elective credit only. If additional independent studies are pursued, they must still be completed in three credit increments only.
  • Students interested in a 6 credit independent study capstone should speak with an academic advisor during their junior year.

Registration Process

  1. What do you want to know or be able to do at the end of this project? If you are completing directed reading, what do you want to learn about? If you are conducting independent research, what is your research question? If you can’t define a research question or learning goal for your directed reading project, speak with an academic advisor.
  2. Draft your research abstract or directed reading proposal. Explain what your focus is, why you want to pursue it and what you hope to learn by the end of the semester if you complete the project.
  3. Meet with a faculty member to review your proposal and make modifications as needed. Make sure to add specific information about your academic work plan at this point using this example.
  4. When your faculty advisor feels your abstract is complete, fill out the Independent Study Registration form.
  5. If you are dropping a class to add this independent study, complete the Request for Registration Action form
  6. Meet with your academic advisor at this point. If you are seeking elective credit only, your advisor will provide the remaining signatures that are required. If you are seeking major credit, you will meet with the Undergraduate Program Director after seeing your advisor.
  7. Return all of your completed forms to the SIS Undergraduate Advising Office.

Course Numbers

  • SISU-390 Directed Reading - with instructions from faculty (sophomores and juniors)
  • SISU-490 Independent Study Project - topical research with faculty guidance (seniors)

A directed reading is a project in which a student completes a series of predetermined readings and submits work based on those readings.

An independent study project is a course in which a student does an independent research on a topic agreed upon by the student and faculty.


Last updated: 23 March 2015