Independent Study Overview


Independent study courses allow the student to study a subject independently for credit, providing opportunities for mentoring, skill development, and “hands-on” learning. Participation in independent study coursework may provide an advantage when applying to jobs and/or graduate programs.


All psychological sciences majors are expected to acquire the ability to both understand and conduct scientific research by completing, at a minimum, PSYC 2100WQ/Q (Principles of Research in Psychology). Many students choose to further develop their analytic thinking skills, problem solving abilities, and understanding of psychological concepts by engaging in a research experience course for one or more semesters.

PSYC 3889 (Undergraduate Research): Students have the opportunity to obtain a wide variety of “hands-on” research experience alongside faculty and graduate students actively engaged in research; students help with an established research project.

PSYC 3899 (Independent Study): Students pursue their individual research interests by planning, conducting, and writing a research project under the supervision of a faculty sponsor.

PSYC 4197W (Senior Thesis in Psychology): Senior honors students write their honors thesis based on the research conducted in PSYC 3899 (Independent Study).

Field Experience

Field experience or internships provide opportunities for mentoring, networking, and learning more about the career field. It’s a great way to “try on” a career and explore and confirm your interests.

PSYC 3880 (Field Experience): Students pursue fieldwork or an internship at an off-site organization.

University and CLAS Policies

The Undergraduate Catalog and CLAS outline the following policies regarding independent study courses:

  • Students must find an instructor to supervise the project.
  • The instructor and the student shall agree on the number of credits the student may earn. Each course credit requires at least 42 hours of work per term. (See Credit Conversion Chart below.)
  • Without special permission, a student may not register for more than 6 credits of independent study coursework each semester. (The 6 credits includes credits coming from one course or a combination of courses.)
  • No more than 15 credits of internship coursework can be used toward the degree. (The 15 credits includes credits coming from one course or a combination of courses.) There is no credit limit on other independent study coursework used toward the degree.

Credit Conversion Chart

Each course credit requires at least 42 hours of work per term (3 hours of work per week during fall or spring semesters). Use the chart below to determine the number of hours of work per week required based on the number of credits desired and the length of the term. This chart serves only as a guideline, as credit approval is left to the discretion of the instructor.

Credits Hours per Week Hours per Term
14-Week Term
Fall & Spring
13-Week Term
Summer 3
5-Week Term
Summer 1 & 2
3-Week Term
Winter & May
1 3 3 8 14 42
2 6 6.5 17 28 84
3 9 9.5 25 42 126
4 12 13 34 168
5 15 16 42 210
6 18 19.5 252