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Independent Study

In order to meet the graduation requirements of the Honors College, all students (whether on the four-year or two-year program) must complete at least six credit hours of Independent Study. Independent Study projects are intended to encourage Honors students to pursue, at an advanced level, their developing intellectual interests and/or career plans and to improve their abilities to conceptualize, organize and evaluate their own work. Independent Study requirements can be met in a variety of ways:

  • by on- or off-campus internships in accordance with Honors College guidelines;
  • undertaking independent readings, with supervision by a faculty member either in the Honors College or an appropriate department;
  • undertaking undergraduate research, usually supervised by a UMSL faculty member. Please note that some independent study approved as an undergraduate research project may qualify for additional financial support on a cost-of-research basis;
  • for education, nursing, social work, communications, and some other majors, as part of the teaching or clinical practicum;
  • through senior seminars in major departments ranging from 1 hour to 6 hours of credit;
  • research projects completed while studying "on exchange." Exchange programs include study abroad (through the Center for International Studies) or at another North American university through the National Student Exchange;
  • by undergraduate teaching assistantships, tutoring, or teaching in other contexts, supplemental instruction, or in off campus programs;
  • by taking a graduate course (6000-level) where that is permitted by the student's major department

While most Independent Study projects will have a supervisor (normally in the Honors College or from an appropriate main campus department), the two main objectives of these projects will be to cultivate the abilities to work on one's own and to apply to one's own work an independent and informed critical judgment. How frequently you meet with your supervisor is for you and the supervisor to agree; you should (at the least) receive sufficient guidance to set you on a fruitful path of study and/or research. But students and supervisors should remember that these are independent projects.

Students normally fulfill their independent studies requirements in their junior and senior years. But other possibilities exist. For further information concerning the ways in which you can fulfill the Independent Study requirement, and relevant application forms please reference the Honors College Handbook (PDF) . For the most part, the relevant course numbers are either Honors 4900-4980 or (more likely) the appropriate independent study/guided reading course number in the student's major department.

Check out the below articles from UMSL Daily to discover how present Honors students are fulfilling their independent study requirement!