Student doing research in the field

Directed Study

At some point during your undergraduate career, you may find yourself interested in a subject that isn't usually offered. When this happens, directed study gives you the chance to work with a professor to develop a project that lets you explore your interests for up to 3 college credits.

First choose a faculty member to work with whose research lines up with your project idea. You will then work with this faculty member to draft up the details of your Directed Study. Some things to consider before contacting a professor are:

  • What is my project? Some professors will work with you to develop a plan, but it's best if you come with an idea of what you want to do and the resources it will take.
  • Why am I interested? Why are you studying this topic? It may be because you have a background in the work, or maybe it works into your career goals, but it's an important question before you start a self-guided project.
  • How much time will this take? Have an idea of how much time you can spend on the project, and make sure that you're being realistic. A typical three-credit University course requires roughly ten hours of work per week minimum.
  • How will my project be evaluated? You can take a directed study for a grade of S-N or A-F. Work with your professor to decide what will work best for you and, more importantly, how your professor will evaluate your final grade.
  • What will I have at the end? A directed study should culminate in a report that communicates the results of your project to your advisor. This is sometimes a written report, but could also be something like a video, web page, etc.

If a professor agrees to work with you on a directed study, use the questions above and work with them to submit a proposal as outlined in the Forms and Advising section.