• Reading literary works related to a specific topic, 3 credits: The student read a short novel every week, discussed the reading with the professor in a weekly face-to-face meeting, and submitted a long paper at the end of the semester. Learning progress was evaluated based on weekly meetings with the professor and the final paper. Estimated amount of student work was 8-10 hours per week, including independent work and meetings with the professor. The weekly meeting can vary in length from 10 minutes to more than an hour and meeting formats may also include teleconferences and videoconferencing such as Skype.
• Acting in a minor role for a full-scale theater production, 1 credit. In addition to regular rehearsal (approximately 50 hours over the course of the semester), the student met individually with the professor several times throughout the semester. Learning progress was evaluated based on the student’s progression and performance in rehearsals and the student’s demonstration of learning in meetings with the professor.
• Lab research, 3 credits. The student conducted a lab-based experimental research project, which was defined in consultation with a professor. The student met periodically (at least once every three weeks) in a scheduled meeting with the professor (face-to-face, teleconference, or video-conference/Skype) and also in unscheduled lab conversations. The student was also mentored by graduate students and post-docs who were lab collaborators also under the supervision of the major professor. The student spent a significant number of hours reading independently and in the lab collecting data. The student’s learning was evaluated by demonstrated development of competence in the lab setting and in one-on-one meetings with the instructor, and was also based on written reports submitted by the student.
• Supervised peer-mentoring and peer-instruction, 3 credits: Senior undergraduates enrolled for 699 credit for a learning experience that involved their role as peer-instructors for an introductory course. The peer instructors have an intentional learning experience that helps them develop leadership skills, organizational skills, problem-solving, and deepen their own disciplinary learning through supporting the primary instructor in an introductory lab. Students participate in the instructional lab for 3 hours a week, in course meetings for 1 hour week, do supervised grading for about 1 hour a week, and work on a major paper on their experience which they submit at the end of the semester.
• Team Research, 3 credits. A group of 3 students conduct a lab-based team research project. The nature of the research is such that numerous techniques must be learned by the team as a whole in order to achieve the research goals. Each team member performs some tasks separately from other team members, and performs other tasks together with team members. Some training and daily oversight is provided by graduate students and postdocs. The members of the undergraduate team meet periodically (at least once every three weeks) in scheduled face‐to‐face meetings with the professor and also in unscheduled lab conversations. Each student’s learning will be evaluated by demonstrated development of competence in the lab setting and in one‐on‐one meetings with the instructor, and will also be based on written reports submitted by the student.
Note that a research paper on its own is not considered the equivalent of a credit’s worth of work if it is not accompanied by instructor contact and supervision.
G. Appropriate use of course numbers for directed study courses
Directed/independent study courses are identified by their number. Course numbers in which the middle digit is 9 are reserved for individual instruction (i.e., directed study, independent study, research and thesis) and are not to be used for group instruction. Directed study courses with a number x98 (e.g., 198 or 698) are offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. Courses numbered x99 are graded. An exception to the use of the middle digit of 9 for individual instruction is made for honors courses; honors individual instruction courses should have a middle digit of 8. The “x” in these examples signifies the appropriate level of the course. For directed study courses, 199 and 299 numbers are appropriate for lower-level undergraduates. Courses numbered 399 are useful at the intermediate level and are used by some units for special purposes (e.g., internships in CALS). Courses numbered 699 are intended for upper-level undergraduates. This distinction is important to maintain because courses numbered at the 600-level signal to those outside the university that the student is pursing advanced undergraduate work. For example, such credits may be used in some instance to waive graduate-level requirements if a student enters a graduate program. (By campus policy, courses numbered above 699 are reserved for graduate students.)
Students should enroll in the level of directed study that is appropriate for their level in school and prior preparation. Departments who wish to provide directed study opportunities for undergraduates should make a range of numbers available (e.g., 199 and 299 for elementary level, 399 for intermediate level, 699 for advanced level) so that they may appropriately serve students with a range of prior academic experience.
H. Directed study courses may not be used for group instruction
Directed/independent study courses must not be used for group instruction. Directed study courses are only used in cases where students are pursuing individually mentored learning experiences, working one-on-one or in small groups (2-5 students) with an instructor, and with no regular group instruction taking place. Observation of the distinction between directed/independent study and group instruction will ensure that students receive appropriate documentation of their learning experience in their formal record and on their transcript. If instructors are meeting with groups of students on a regularly scheduled basis, the instructor must arrange for the students to be enrolled in a group instruction course (lecture, seminar, discussion, lab) instead of directed/independent study.
I. Limits on Enrollment for Instructors
Because of the expected amount of faculty effort to teach directed study students, the number of undergraduates enrolled in directed study with an instructor will be limited. The limit will be set to 40 student credit hours of undergraduate instruction in directed study per instructor per semester (for example, 40 students at one credit each; 20 students at two credits each, and so on). Directed study enrollments of more than 40 student credit hours for a single instructor may signal that students are not receiving sufficient levels of individual attention or that directed study is being used for group instruction. Annual audits will be conducted by the Academic Planning and Institutional Research (Provost’s Office). If audits identify instructors who exceed this threshold, the school/college and home department will be contacted to confirm that the instructor is meeting all of the academic standards outlined in this policy and that the high levels of directed study have been approved.
Occasionally directed/independent study course numbers allow zero credit enrollments to document non-instructional, co-curricular activities. Zero credit enrollments will not be counted under this limit and are not considered instruction or otherwise subject to the elements of this policy.
J. Policy Hierarchy
In the event that this policy conflicts with federal or state statutes or UW System Board of Regent policy, the policy established at the higher level will take priority.
K. Administrative Rules
To assist departments with keeping course offerings aligned with this policy, the following limits will be applied to IND courses offered in summer 2015 and beyond:
1. Enrollment in an undergraduate course numbered x98, x99, x89, 681, 682, 691 or 692 will require instructor consent (indicated in the course catalog entry).
2. The course will not be provided a room assignment.
3. The course will not have a meeting pattern.
4. The component type will always be set to IND, independent.
5. Each section of an independent study course will have no more than one instructor.
UW-Madison Policy on Directed/Independent Study for Undergraduates (UAPC document 2013.05.09.06)
Policy on the Credit Hour (including the Federal credit hour definition)
L&S Administrative Gateway Entry: "Who may teach directed/independent study"
L&S Administrative Gateway Entry:"L&S Directed/Independent Study Guidelines"
School of Education Policies and Regulations Go to: Courses and Course Enrollment: Directed/Independent Study
School of Business Form: “Undergraduate Programs Readings and Research (Independent Study) Authorization”
School of Nursing: Form to outline the contract
School of Pharmacy form for 699 courses