Directed Study

A Directed Study is a course where a student works with a faculty member to complete an independent project. Food Systems students take a directed study in the department where the faculty member they’re working with is housed. Directed Studies are offered at three levels (1xxx, 3xxx, or 4xxx/5xxx). Most commonly students do a directed study in either Horticulture or Agronomy and Plant Genetics, which have the course options AGRO 1093, HORT 3090, AGRO 4093, and HORT 5090.

  • 1xxx courses should only be taken by freshmen or students that are not currently enrolled in a University of Minnesota undergraduate or graduate program, depending on the department.
  • 3xxx courses can be taken by undergraduates at any level.
  • 4xxx and 5xxx courses should be taken only by advanced undergraduates.

A single directed study may be for no more than 3 credits.

A directed study should carry the number of credits deemed necessary by the University of Minnesota academic workload policy (3 hours of work per week per credit for undergraduate students). View the University policy on directed study credits. For example, a 1-credit directed study would entail 3 hours/week x 16 weeks in the semester for a total of 48 hours of work connected with the course.

A directed study should culminate in a report (typically written, but could be delivered using alternate methods such as web page, etc.) that communicates the results of the directed study to the advisor. Credit will only be granted for a directed study once thid project is completed.

Students interested in taking a Directed Study should complete the following steps:

  1. Identify a faculty member that is willing to serve as an advisor for the directed study.
  2. Select a project and, with the faculty advisor, determine how many credits the experience should be taken for (no more then 3) based on University policy.
  3. In consultation with the faculty advisor, prepare a written description of the proposed directed study, including anticipated duration and method of communicating the results.
  4. Submit the description, signed by both the student and the faculty advisor, and the course you wish to take to the student services person in the department you're taking the course. For HORT courses this would be Lauren Matushin ( and for AGRO courses this would be Lynne Medgaarden ( They will then give you a permission number.
  5. Complete the directed study during the semester of registration unless arrangements have been made in writing that the project will extend beyond one semester.
  6. Submit a final report on the directed study to the faculty advisor.