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Student Services and Resources

Independent Study

(ISCI 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 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 from the Graduate School Forms Library

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. Return the completed contract to your academic advisor. The contract will be signed by the Director and your advisor will process the appropriate permissions to allow you to register for the course.

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

6. Copies of the contract will be distributed from the iSchool 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 ISCI 798, Specialist Project.

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