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Independent Study

Contract Forms

The Independent Study Contract for undergraduate students majoring in Education is handled by the Department of Education, using the department's Independent Study Contract. The contract may be downloaded here: (as a Word file).

The Independent Study Contract for graduate students who are enrolled in a Collegiate Graduate Program (i.e., Master of Education or Master of Special Education) is handled by UMD's College of Education and Human Service Professions. That Independent Study Contract is available via the college's Graduate Program Forms page.


The UMD Catalog lists the following Education courses as INDEPENDENT STUDY:

  • Ech 4991 and 5991
  • Educ 4991 and 5991
  • EdSe 4991 and 5991
  • ElEd 4991
  • SpEd 5991

These courses have variable credit available. They are to be used to obtain credit for learning acquired in areas not included in regular courses, or to go beyond the content in particular courses. Usually students will not be permitted to "do regular courses by independent study."

The following policies are now in effect relative to registration for credit in these courses:

  • Registration will be by permission only.
  • Permission to register will be issued only after:
    • A faculty member has been contacted and has agreed to supervise the project.
    • A contract signed by the student and faculty member is on file in the department office, 150 EduE.

The University of Minnesota Senate Committee on Educational Policy adopted the following standards relative to independent study:

  • A written contract must be completed prior to registration. The contract should be in triplicate: one copy for the student, one copy for the faculty member, and one for the department file.
  • Any changes in credit after registration will require the usual "drop-add" procedure.
  • Independent study credit should not be awarded for experience alone, but should be related to the description, organization and analysis of the experience, or the way in which the experience was used in solving an intellectual problem.
  • As a guideline, one credit is equivalent to the amount of work that an average student can accomplish in three hours per week, i.e., 45 hours per credit per semester. Therefore, a log of time spent must be kept by the student and turned in with the final project report.
  • Evaluation should be done using the same standards as apply to regular course work. The outcome of the course will be presented in some tangible form to facilitate this evaluation.

Successful completion of an independent study project requires maturity on the part of the student. It is a valuable learning experience and helps a student become a self-directed, life-long learner. This maturity and self-direction are achieved through careful preparation of the contract, regular consultation with the faculty supervisor, and attention to time and other deadlines.

Three copies of the project report should be prepared and turned in – one for the student, one for the faculty supervisor, and one for the department file. The student copy will be returned with appropriate feedback from the faculty supervisor of the project.

Filling out the contract requires the following information:

  • Course Name
  • Course Number
  • Title or topic of proposed project
  • Reasons for conducting project
  • Objectives of project
  • How the objectives will be reached
  • How the project will be evaluated
  • Target completion date
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Last modified on 10/09/12 01:55 PM
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