U-M Department of English
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Undergraduate

Course Information

Independent Study

As a privilege for students who have displayed academic excellence and who can show appropriate preparation in courses previously taken, the Department of English offers course credit for independent study. Independent study provides an opportunity for highly motivated and capable students to pursue a rigorous course of study that is not accommodated elsewhere in the curriculum.

Independent study proposals require advance planning. Each must be developed in consultation with a full-time member of the English Department faculty who will serve as a faculty mentor for the project, and subsequently must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Interested students should begin consulting with their mentors during the semester before the proposed independent study in order to develop a feasible course. Only those proposing a carefully structured and intellectually viable course of study that is not already offered in the undergraduate curriculum should submit applications. Independent study requires that students design their own courses, create their own syllabi, and work closely with faculty mentors. Supervising professors must donate a great deal of time and effort, so students applying for independent study should be similarly committed to the project. Students must be in residence in order to undertake independent study projects. A three-credit independent study should involve at least one hour of student-faculty contact plus an additional eight hours of work per week. It is also possible to elect two or four credit hours with appropriate changes in workload.

Professors normally do not supervise independent studies during terms when they are on leave, nor do they supervise them on subjects which fall outside of their areas of specialization, or on subjects covered by regular course offerings. A limit of six credit hours of independent study may be accumulated in the English department. Independent study projects cannot be used to fulfill Department program requirements or College distribution requirements. However, if appropriate, it can be applied to the upper-level elective credit portion of the Major.

Please keep in mind, if you are planning on doing your independent study in writing (426) and have already taken and applied a writing course to your English Major, the credit will not count toward your 27 credits. You are allowed to use only one creative or expository writing course toward the Major whether it is independent study or a regular English course (323, 324, 325, 423, 424, 425, etc.)

To apply:

  • Pick up an Independent Study Application at the English Department office at 3187 Angell Hall or download one here.
  • Complete Part I of the independent study application and attach a statement addressing each of the questions posed there along with a copy of your transcript.
  • Part II of the application must be completed by the supervising faculty member.
  • Submit both parts of this proposal to the Undergraduate Studies Office in 3187 Angell Hall.

Once a decision is made regarding your proposal, you will be notified by email. All decisions on proposals submitted by the above due dates will be made by the Drop/Add deadline.

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435 S. State Street, 3187 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Phone: (734) 764-6330 Fax: (734) 763-3128