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Student Services and Resources

Independent Study

(SLIS 796)

The purpose of an independent study is to enable a student to gain an in-depth knowledge of an area germane to the student's course of study which is not offered in a course in the School. A student may not audit or sit in on a course and later receive independent study credit for the course or material covered in the course.
The need for and value of an independent study will be evaluated very carefully to determine if an independent study is justified. Objectives for the content of each independent study will be arranged by the student and the supervising faculty member. All independent studies should result in a tangible output as a basis for evaluation, e.g., a notebook, written paper, Web pages or media presentation. All independent studies are evaluated using letter grades.

Independent studies in the School of Library and Information Science require prior approval of the Director and are subject to strict application and registration procedures. Application deadlines are published well in advance for each semester. Instruction packets, which include deadlines and specific application steps to be followed, are available in the Student Services Office. Any student planning to take an independent study must meet with their advisors to complete an Independent Study Contract, obtain the necessary signatures, and return the contract to the Student Services Office before the posted deadline for the semester.

The Process

1. Obtain a USC Independent Study Contract online (click here) or the Student Services Office, Davis College, Room 102. Call 803-777-3887, 1-800-304-3153.

2. Confer with your advisor to get permission to include an independent study in your program of study. Get your advisor to sign the contract.

3. Confer with the instructor who will supervise the independent study, and fill out the USC INDEPENDENT STUDY CONTRACT form (except section and schedule code). All information must be provided in full. The contract must be signed by the student, the instructor, and the student's advisor.

4. Write your complete mailing address in the upper right-hand corner of the contract form.

5. Return the completed contract to the Student Services Manager, Student Services Office, School of Library and Information Science, USC, Columbia, SC 29208. The contract will be signed by the Director and you will be registered for the course by the Student Services Manager.

6. Use VIP to confirm your registration. Be sure to pay before the deadline for cancellation of courses for non-payment.

7. One copy of the independent study contract will be mailed to you at the address you inserted in the upper right corner of the form. Copies of the contract will be distributed from the SLIS Student Services Office to 1) the supervising instructor, 2) your student file, 3) and the USC Registrar.

NOTE: The Independent Study Form is also used for SLIS 798, Specialist Project.