Independent Study

Information for enrolling in a higher education independent study— HE 897:

Before Registering

  1. Secure a faculty member who is willing to serve as an advisor for your independent study
  2. Submit a proposal to the faculty member outlining the nature of the study and the resources to be used to support the topic
  3. Obtain approval for the independent study from the Higher Education Program by submitting your proposal to the program director. See below for proposal requirements.
  4. Develop a unique title with the approval of the faculty member—one that is not currently used by an existing Mason course.
  5. Discuss with the faculty member the criteria used for grading the independent study (e.g., length of paper(s), project, and readings).
  6. Periodically meet with the faculty member to discuss one’s progress and to obtain instructor feedback.

Proposal Requirements

Proposals are due one month before the start of the semester. A thoughtful proposal should look similar to a syllabus with a clearly defined schedule of proposed readings and assignment deadlines, as well as specific criteria for how your work will be evaluated and graded. Ultimately, your proposal will serve as your contract with your advisor on how your independent study work will be evaluated and graded. Each proposal should include:

  1. A statement of purpose and rationale for independent study
  2. List/description of learning outcomes
  3. A description of workplace responsibilities or list of proposed readings (should be about 2,000 pages for a 3-credit course)
  4. Proposed frequency of contact with supervisor/mentor or faculty member and the nature of discussions at those meetings
  5. A description of how learning outcomes will be accomplished
  6. A rubric or criteria describing how student learning will be assessed