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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Communication Programs

Independent Study


Independent Study

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who wish to do an independent study must meet three minimum criteria:

  1. Completion of at least 24 hours of Communication courses at UCD;
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.3 in those courses; and
  3. Communication major status.

Students who meet the criteria may apply for permission to do one to three credit hours of independent study work. The application must be submitted at least three weeks before the beginning of the semester in which the work is to be completed.

A three-hour independent study should involve about seven to 10 hours of work per week for students, so an independent study easily could entail reading several books on a selected topic and writing a 30-page research paper. Students who want to do an independent study must produce a written justification for doing so. Doing an independent study because it is easy to fit into a busy schedule is not considered a compelling reason. The written justification and explanation should be between three and five typed, double-spaced pages long, and must include:

  • rationale for the independent study
  • a detailed plan for the independent study
  • description of the final product envisioned for the independent study
  • the name of the faculty member who will be supervising the independent study and a written note from the faculty member indicating his or her willingness to supervise the project
  • the semester in which the independent study will be completed
  • student's phone number and email address

Students should submit the written justification to the faculty member whom they wish to sponsor them at least three weeks before the beginning of the semester in which they intend to do the independent study, along with a copy of their transcript. Students will be notified of the department's decision within two weeks of the submission of the application.

Students with questions about the independent study in communication should contact the undergraduate advisor in communication.

Graduate Students

Graduate students who wish to complete an independent study must submit a proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will confer with faculty as needed to decide if the independent study will be allowed. Students should work closely with their advisor to develop a written justification and proposed plan for the independent study. A three-credit independent study should involve at least 10 hours of work per week for students, so an independent study easily could entail reading several books and numerous journal articles on a selected topic and writing a 40-page research paper. Students who want to do an independent study must produce a written proposal and justification for doing at least three weeks prior to the start of the term in which they are proposing the independent study. The written justification and explanation should be between three and five typed, double-spaced pages long and must include:

  • a rationale for the study with a statement of how it fits into the student's academic and professional goals
  • a detailed plan for the independent study including a tentative bibliography of readings and schedule of meetings and project deadlines
  • description of the final product envisioned for the independent study

Graduate students with questions about independent studies should contact the Director of Graduate Studies.