Independent Study

LSA Experiential and Directed Reading / Independent Study Guidelines


Independent study, SAC 499, is reserved for those majors in Screen Arts & Cultures (SAC) who have exhausted the course work in a specific area of study within the major.  Therefore, it should be understood as having been designed to be a capstone course for serious students who seek advanced knowledge in a certain area of study that cannot reasonably be met by normal course offerings.  For example, if a student has taken all available courses in documentary (SAC 301, SAC 401), then they would be potentially eligible to initiate a project-based independent study in documentary. That said, it should be recognized that not every request for independent study can be met by the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures. 

Before you request a discussion with a faculty member regarding SAC 499, please consider the following:

1. An independent study does not count toward credit in the major, only towards credits in LS&A.

2. An independent study will not be considered for a student who has not exhausted the course work in a particular area of SAC study.

3. Consider whether the work you wish to do in an independent study might be undertaken within a course currently offered or to be offered in the near future.  If you are uncertain as to what courses are to be offered in upcoming semesters, please check with the SAC office.  There may be courses or options of study within a particular class of which you are not aware.  We will help you initiate discussion with the appropriate faculty member to see if your interests can be met within an existing course structure.  

4. An independent study must have a SAC faculty advisor who agrees to work closely with the student. When approaching a faculty member to sponsor an independent study, the student should be prepared to provide a 1 to 2-page written proposal of the academic goal of and plan for the study.  If the faculty member agrees to sponsor the student, a written agreement between the student and faculty member should be prepared that includes a description of the project, clearly articulated expectations, interim deadlines, and a final deadline for completion of the project.  A copy of the agreement, signed by both the advisor and the student should be sent to the Associate Chair for final approval of the independent study before an override can be issued to the student permitting enrollment for SAC 499 credit. This is to ensure that SAC has adequate resources to support the project, especially in cases where the student undertakes a production-based independent study.  Final approval of independent study rests with the Associate Chair, who may consult with the Chair of the department or the Faculty Undergraduate Committee in making a final determination.  Because of the time needed to obtain this approval, student requests for independent study need to occur at least 30 days before the last day of class during the semester prior to SAC 499 enrollment.

5. Independent study in Screen Arts & Cultures is available to SAC majors only and can be taken for 1-4 credits.