Faculty Handbook

60.07 Guidelines for Undergraduate Independent Study

Revised September 7, 2015

Definition of Independent Study 

Independent Study, as commonly used for many years in most Universities is subject to is interpretation. It is intended to mean individual study under a faculty supervisor. Independent Study is independent of the class room, but not totally without guidance, supervision, and periodic assessment throughout the semester by the faculty supervisor. 

As defined at Arcadia University, Independent Study is an individual project under the direct supervision of a faculty member in an area in which the student has had prior formal training or experience. 


  1. Each department is to send a written reminder to its majors by mid-semester of the deadline for application to the department to enroll for independent study. The deadline, to be set by the department, may be no later than one week after pre-registration materials are distributed each semester. 
  2. A student may register for independent study no later than the final day of preregistration. The registration card must be accompanied by a statement signed by the department chair which indicates 
    • a. that the department faculty fully approves the independent study, or 
    • b. that the department has received the application and it merits consideration and further refinement. In the latter case, the department must notify the Registrar's Office of final approval no later than the first day of classes in which the independent study is to be pursued. Unless such approval is received by the Registrar on the specified day, the student must register for a regular course in lieu of independent study. 
  3. At the beginning of the semester the supervisor and the student are to set up a schedule for conferences and submission of work during the semester. The schedule is to include a date by which sufficient work must be submitted to the instructor to permit mid-semester evaluation. If the work is not satisfactory, a mid-semester warning should be given as in other courses. 
  4. A committee is to be appointed by the department at the beginning of the semester. All members of the committee are to be involved as seems appropriate throughout the term and in the evaluation at the end of the study. In addition to the supervisor, the committee should include at least one other member of the department and one member from another department. 
  5. Students whose independent study is a non-verbal subject (i.e., in fine arts, theater, music) should be encouraged to submit a written critique of the project. 
  6. The final paper, project or product must be submitted to the supervisor no later than one week before the last day of classes in the semester; in the case of seniors, no later than two weeks before classes end. 
  7. Three copies of the final paper, or critique in the case of a non-verbal project, are to be submitted; one to be filed in the department, one in the Provost's office, and one in the Library where students and faculty may have access to it. Copies will be kept on file for five years. 
  8. At the completion of the project, the student shall file with the Registrar a brief title and an abstract in the case of a paper or a brief title and description of a non-verbal project. The title will appear on the student's transcript and the abstract or description will be kept in the student's permanent file. (For papers written in a foreign language, the title and abstract are to be in English.) 
  9. A student may not enroll for more than one independent study in one semester.