Independent Study / Discovery Learning (DLE)

Mentor Circle

Independent Study/ Discovery Learning (DLE)

If you are looking for something different - a special field experience, a chance to try research, or simply explore a topic in more depth - you should consider doing an independent study under faculty supervision. Many faculty members are willing to have you assist with their research projects or will guide your study on a topic of mutual interest. Ask your professors about their research. You can also get ideas from the "Faculty Projects" page on the Undergraduate Research website.

You will register for the course credits just as you would for any other class and should register before free drop/add has ended in order to avoid a $25 fee. Students must be registered prior to the Registration Change Deadline. For dates, see the Academic Calendar.

The faculty member/academic department will tell you what course number to use. Some departments do put enrollment restrictions on Independent Study courses; if you get a registration error, contact the academic department and they can register you. You and the supervising faculty member will complete a "contract" (use the Independent Study/DLE webform in UDSIS). Students must first register for the Independent Study class before completing the webform. The contract outlines what you and the faculty member have agreed to do. The webform must also be initiated before the Registration Change Deadline.

All undergraduate students are required to engage in three credits of Discovery Learning Experiences (DLE), under the supervision of a faculty member. As a result of the Discovery Learning Experience, all students should be able to:

  1. Apply critical thinking skills to develop effective responses to, and make informed decisions about, problems or situations encountered in the course of the learning experience; and
  2. Reflect upon what they have learned as a result of participating in the DLE. See Discovery Learning Experience.

Search for DLE under Academic Requirements on the Courses Search webpage.

Students will originate the form, which will outline specific student and faculty guidelines to be performed in order to earn credit for individual research projects. This form serves as the contract between student and instructor. If this independent study is to be a Discovery Learning Experience (DLE), additional student learning goals are completed.

  • Student Name, Address, E-mail, Phone, Course Number, Course title, Credits, Faculty Supervisor
  • Do you intend to take this as an honors course?
  • Do you intend to take this as a Discovery Learning Experience (DLE)?
  • Independent study start and end dates
  • Schedule/Hours by Day and total hours
  • Title of independent study project    (limited to 25 characters)
  • Description of independent study project
  • Description of what student expects to learn from experience
  • Description of how experience fits into overall academic goals
  • Description of student obligations
  • How often will faculty meet with the student to assess progress, advances, and roadblocks?
  • How often and in what format will faculty give feedback on the quality of the student's progress and on the intermediate products/assignments?
  • Explanation of experiential learning experience
  • Explanation of critical thinking skills learning goal*
  • Critical thinking assessment*
  • Explanation of reflection learning goal*
  • Reflection learning goal assessment*
  • Off-site study information (if applicable): Company or Organization, Site supervisor's name, Site supervisor's title, Site supervisor's address, Site supervisor's e-mail, Site supervisor's phone, Site supervisor's fax

* Only required for DLE requests.

The form is initiated by the student, then routed to the faculty supervisor, the academic department chair, the IndStudy-DLE email box (if applicable), Honors (if applicable), and back to the student for final approval. Upon the student's final approval, copies are submitted to the student, the faculty supervisor, the IndStudy-DLE email box and Honors (if applicable) and to the Registrar's Office.

Students must register for the Independent Study course before free drop/add has ended in order to avoid a $25 fee. Course registration must be completed before the Independent Study/DLE webform is submitted. Both course registration and webform initiation must be completed before the Registration Change Deadline. See the Academic Calendar for dates. Academic departments may have additional deadlines; check with them as well.

Find out more under Independent Study on the Honors Course Information page.

The academic departments and your advisor can assist with questions about Independent Studies or DLE.

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