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Directed Study and Other Individualized Options:


CLA makes available several registration options that allow for individualized learning opportunities under the guidance of a CLA faculty member. They require considerable individual initiative and require the ability to work independently. They represent excellent opportunities for you to design your own learning and allow you to work more closely with a faculty member.

  • Directed Study /Directed Research: This allows you to design and carry out an independent project, working one-on-one with a faculty member.
  • Directed Instruction: This allows you to assist other students, generally by helping deliver instruction in a course you have already taken.
  • Extra Credit Registration (EXC): This allows you to add extra credits to a course you are currently taking or one you have taken in the past.
  • Independent Study Registration (IND): This allows you to enroll in an established course but to study independently without attending class.
  • For more information, browse the pages linked above, or contact CLA Career Services.

Registration and Credit

Student/Faculty contract
Print this PDF to prepare a rough draft of your contract.
For the options listed above, the number of credits you earn will depend on the scope and depth of the project, and on the department's criteria. In general, you will need to commit the same amount of time to one of these alternative registrations as you would to a "regular" class with the same number of credits. The number of credits will be agreed upon by you and the faculty member, and will be noted in the Student/Faculty contract.

The Student/Faculty contract (a 3-copy form) is available at the CLA Career Services office and in many department offices.

Most CLA departments offer a Directed Study and/or a Directed Research registration as part of their curriculum. (The Directed Study number is often 3993.) See the Class Schedule to obtain the correct course number. Students register for the Directed Study option that corresponds with the sponsoring faculty member's department. For example, a student working with a Psychology professor will register for Psy 3933.

After the Student/Faculty contract has been completed and signed by you, the faculty member, and the department, you should take it to the CLA Student Information Office in 49 Johnston Hall. There you'll receive a class permission number that will allow you to register for your Directed Study project, just as you'd register for any other class.

Sometimes a Directed Study, Directed Research, Directed Instruction, EXC or IND course can count toward the requirements of a major or minor. Many departments have restrictions on this, so you should never assume this will be the case. Consult your adviser about the possibility of using your course to meet departmental requirements.