Independent Study Information

Independent Study Information

Q. May I take an Independent Study?

A. Yes, if one or more of these is true:

  • the university does not offer a course in the topic you want to pursue
  • the topic you want to pursue is interdisciplinary
  • you have taken all other course work in your field of interest

Q. How many of my course credits may be taken as Independent Study?

A. No more than 6 (six) credits throughout your graduate program.

Q. Is there a course title or number for Independent Study?

A. Yes, the course title is ORG696.

Q. How do I register for the course?

A. You need to do five things:

  • choose a topic which will be suitable for Independent Study
  • get permission from your advisor to work on this topic
  • get permission from the department chair
  • find a faculty member who will oversee and grade your study (“faculty director”)
  • fill out and hand in an application form

Q. Where do I find the application form?

A. The form is available in the Graduate Division Office and on its website at

Q. How do I choose a topic?

A. Presumably your desire to do an Independent Study presupposes that you have some topic already of interest to you which you would like to pursue outside the normal course material of the graduate program.

Q. Can I choose any topic I want?

A. No. You have to choose a topic which is related to the organization management program, which is sufficiently advanced for graduate-level work, and which justifies the amount of course credit assigned.

Q. Is there a list of approved topics from which I can choose?

A. No. Independent studies are in the curriculum to allow you to explore topics which interest you.

Q. Are there topics which are not allowed?

A. Yes. You cannot do an independent study on a topic already addressed by another course. However, if we cancel the course after you have registered for it, we may make arrangements for it to be offered as an independent study. Also, if a topic is covered only briefly in another course, you can expand upon it for an independent study.

Q. If I have a general idea, but am unable to be specific in my topic, what do I do?

A. You can do some preliminary reading on the subject. You can also contact faculty members who are interested in the topic and ask them to help you clarify your topic. Or, if you don’t know faculty members who are interested in the topic, your advisor can help you identify them.

Q. Can I choose any faculty member I want to direct my independent study?

A. You may ask any ECSU faculty member who has a PhD to direct your independent study, but the faculty member is free to refuse. In fact, faculty members are advised to refuse if it appears to them that you are not capable of doing the level of work expected in the manner expected.

Q. How do I convince someone I don’t know that I can “do the level of work expected in the manner expected?”

A. First and foremost, you can show the faculty member that you have a strong motivation to study the topic. Don’t say, “I don’t really care what the topic is – I just can’t find the time to come to campus every week, so I want to do something I can do from home” or “I just need the credit to graduate and have already taken everything offered this semester.” Write a clear proposal of what you hope to do. Show a timeline in your proposal for what you expect to accomplish. Be on time for appointments with the faculty member and have a clear agenda for what you want to accomplish in the appointment.

Q. What must I consider in my proposal?

A. Besides a suitable topic, you must consider, and the director must agree to:

  • whether and how you will meet with your director (Note: there is no requirement for such meetings, but you may choose to meet in person , by phone, or by e-mail)
  • the end product of your work, which will be graded by the director. This may be a traditional paper, but also may be something unusual, like the creation of a web site to teach the topic, a series of lesson plans and materials to teach the topic, the creation of discussion questions and projects for a textbook, a series of podcasts on the topic, etc.