What is the difference between a directed and independent study, and how do I register for one?

Directed study provides students access to material structured by a faculty member — that is, a Sterling College catalog course that is not currently offered or that is in conflict with another required course. This request must be approved by the vice president of academic affairs prior to enrollment in the course.

Independent study enables students to explore topics for which Sterling College does not offer courses, but in which faculty expertise exists to provide adequate guidance, and students generally provide design and structure. The faculty member meets with the student for at least one hour per each hour of credit per month.  Enrollment in this type of course is limited to juniors and seniors in their major area(s) only and for a maximum of 6 credits toward degree completion.

To register for a directed study or independent study, students should do the following:

  • Consult the instructors (who are to be the supervisors) to discuss the general outline of the proposals;
  • Complete the forms providing the information requested;
  • The students will:
    • Obtain their advisors’ and the department chair’s signatures;
    • Obtain their instructors’ signatures, signifying concurrence in the projects;
  • Students will submit application and syllabus to the Office of the Registrar no later than the first week of the fall and spring semesters, or the first day of Interterm.
  • Approval is necessary prior to enrollment in the course.
  • Instructors will assign the grades at the completion of the projects.