Independent studies provide students with more options

Virginia Berg

Virginia Berg

Independent study courses at SDSU offer students an opportunity to explore an area of interest that may not be covered by a class that is currently offered.

Most departments have independent study courses designated as special problems courses, said Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Mary Kay Helling.

She said a student works one-on-one with a faculty member in a particular department to create the independent study course. The student and faculty member would then come to an agreement upon when and how to complete assignments and projects.

“Students work closely with a faculty member on a particular topic that may be of interest to [the student],” Helling said.

Independent study courses are currently being placed under the x91 course offering in WebAdvisor and the course catalog; students may register for them only with “department written consent,” Helling said.

According to Helling and the SDSU course catalog, independent study courses are available as both graduate and undergraduate course offerings and usually range between one and three credits. However, they may not be used as a substitute for a required course or for a thesis or dissertation.

Many departments currently have independent study courses but participation does vary from department to department, said Helling.

Although most independent study courses are one on one, Helling said that small groups could potentially work on an independent study course together.

If you are interested in an independent study course, Helling suggests that you start by contacting your academic advisor or department head.