Independent study is an opportunity to engage in intensive one-on-one research with a member of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty and to earn academic credit for learning outside the formal classroom structure. A student who is interested in knowing more about a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may propose a research project to any member of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty. If the student and the faculty member agree that the topic is worth investigating, that it is not covered (or is not covered in sufficient depth) by courses inside or outside of the Program, and that both the student and the faculty member share sufficient interest in the topic to sustain an independent study project, they may sign an independent study agreement.
Policies regarding acceptability for independent study credit
Students should note that no independent study credit may be obtained for topics already being taught in the Program (or in another department) within the relevant timeframe (normally, the period of the student’s career as a graduate student at CU). College and campus policies also prohibit the awarding of independent study credit for any of the following: internships, work in a university program or department, as a substitute for regular coursework. In addition, no credit will be granted for volunteer work, work in business, non-academic work of any kind performed abroad, or independent research associated with the doctoral dissertation.
Only graduate students registered in the Program are eligible for independent study in Comparative Literature.
Semester hours of credit allowed
MA students may not normally use independent study to satisfy course requirements for the degree. Only under exceptional circumstances may an MA student petition to take one course of independent study (3 hours maximum) in their primary literature. Such an exception will only be granted once. In such cases, the Independent Study Agreement should be completed and the supervising faculty signature obtained before submitting a written request for approval from the Program Director.
Doctoral students may use independent study to satisfy up to 6 credits of course requirements.
Procedures: the Independent Study Agreement and Proposal
Students apply for independent study first by acquiring the sponsorship of a member of the Comparative Literature Graduate Program Faculty. In consultation with the proposed faculty member, the student draws up a formal proposal describing the course of independent study. The proposal for independent study must address the following:
- A full description of the topic to be covered in the independent study
- The academic reasons justifying why the subject must be pursued in a course of independent study
- The specific expectations of the course of study
- The structure of the independent study (including assignments, meetings, work to be covered, timetable, etc.)
- The type of outcome that is expected (research paper, research paper plus presentation, etc.)
- A preliminary bibliography
- The number of semester hours for which credit is sought (maximum 3)
In calculating the number of credit hours for which credit is requested, students and their faculty sponsors must remember that the campus requires a minimum of 25 hours of work (including reading and writing time) per hour of credit.
The proposal, along with the Independent Study Agreement, is then submitted for approval to the Program Director. The object of review by the Program Director is to ensure: (a) the intellectual validity of the proposed project, (b) that the number of semester hours of credit requested is appropriate, and (c) that the project has the requisite faculty sponsorship.
Registration for Independent Study
For registration, the signatures of both the faculty sponsor and the Program Director are required on the Independent Study Agreement. When the necessary signatures are obtained, the form is brought to the Program office and the student is registered by a member of the office staff, who in turn signs the form in the appropriate space. Students should note: (a) that the Independent Study Agreement must be completed, signed, and approved prior to the initiation of the project—credit may not be obtained retroactively; and (b) registration for independent study must occur within the same timeframe as that for all other courses.