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Independent Study/Directed Study

Independent Study and Directed Study are frequently confused with one another. Both offer the opportunity to study individually with an instructor on a contractual basis, but they differ in intent.

Directed Study is designed to be a substitute for a course that is needed in the student’s program of study, but is not offered in the semester they wish to take it. The material covered in such courses is essentially the same as that covered in the traditional course.

Directed Study for both Undergraduate and Graduate students is a possible option only when a course is not offered during the semester or session in which the student wishes to enroll.


To be eligible for Independent or Directed Study, you must have:

  1. 54 or more completed semester hours (junior status)
  2. An established Brockport cumulative GPA – you must have completed at least one semester at The College at Brockport
  3. A cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher

There is one exception. Lower level undergraduate students may register for a maximum of one Independent Study per semester if they meet all other criteria listed above and obtain the approval of the department chair. They must support their request with a statement in which they can demonstrate their ability to undertake the work and also explain the advantage of taking an Independent Study as a lower-division student. Lower-division students are not eligible for Directed Study.


Graduate level Independent Study Courses permit graduate students to pursue topics studied previously in greater depth. A content outline is developed for each independent study course through consultation between the student and the instructor/sponsor to suit the needs and interests of the student and the special competence of the instructor.

To be eligible for Independent Study, you must:

  1. Have completed six credits of course work at the graduate level
  2. Be able to demonstrate adequate background for the area in which the course is to be taken
  3. Independent Study must not exceed 6 credits and must be identified as either liberal arts or professional credit

NOTE: No more than nine credits of Independent Study courses may be included in a graduate degree program.

Requests to waive any of the above requirements or restrictions should be made through the graduate department to the dean.


  • You may carry no more than two Independent Study courses in a regular semester and no more than one Directed Study course per semester. You may carry no more than one Independent Study course and one Directed Study course during a summer session.
  • Both Independent and Directed Study courses are a privilege and not a right that may be extended to you by arrangement with the instructor and the department. You are expected to do the work with much less supervision than is customary for a standard course.
  • Independent Study courses will be designated as liberal arts (A) credit. Directed Study courses will be designated either as liberal arts (A) or as professional credit (B) depending upon the regular course’s catalog entry.Independent Study courses may not exceed six credits per semester.
  • The credits assigned for a Directed Study course will be set equal to the credit value of the traditional course for which it is to be substituted.


  • Obtain an application for Independent and Directed Study (same form) from the Office of Academic Advisement, 101 Rakov, or from the department in which the course is to be taken. The student, the instructor-sponsor, and the department chairperson must sign the application.
  • The course outline and bibliography, developed by you and the instructor, are required with the application for Independent Study.
  • Directed Study requires a statement, with the application, signed by your course instructor and your advisor justifying the request for a Directed Study.


Independent and Directed Study courses are unique and, therefore, must be created individually and specifically for each student. For this reason, Independent and Directed Study courses cannot be registered online. Applications must be submitted to the Office of Registration and Records for processing and will not be processed if you are ineligible for this option or if the application or outline has missing information. In these cases, the applications will be returned to the appropriate department. Applications should be submitted to the Office of Registration and Records by the regular add period deadline to avoid late fees or by the late add period deadline. A late add will require a $20 late add fee.

  • Obtain the application and outline forms from the Office of Academic Advisement, 101 Rakov, or from the academic department office.
  • Complete all required information on the application and outline well in advance of registration to avoid any delay in processing.
  • Submit the application and other documents as required to the Office of Registration and Records by the appropriate semester deadline.

Last Updated 9/5/18

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