Independent Study courses are not offered on demand, and they are not offered as a substitute for a regular PHIL course. A student may take an Independent Study course only when they wish to pursue independent research or study on a topic not covered by a regular PHIL course and a faculty member or visiting faculty member (not a graduate student) in the Philosophy Department has agreed to be their advisor.
Independent Study courses in the Philosophy Department are taken under the course number PHIL 396. Prior to enrolling in PHIL 396, a student must reach an agreement with a faculty member who will be that student’s advisor, and both must fill out an Independent Study Learning Contract and submit this to the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.
In the Fall of 2012, the Philosophy Department adopted the following policy:
PHIL 396 (Directed Readings) may be taken by a student and a faculty member only when they have reached an agreement to work together for a semester. Prior to registering for PHIL 396, the student and the prospective advisor must fill out an Independent Study Learning Contract
(this is a standard university form). The prospective advisor then must send the contract to the Director of Undergraduate Studies who will pass it on to all of the faculty members of the Undergraduate Committee, who will make every effort to review it within a few days. If a majority of the faculty members of the Undergraduate Committee agree that the contract represents a feasible plan worthy of the number of credit hours the course would be taken for, the contract will be approved, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies will communicate this to the student and the advisor and will enroll the student in PHIL 396. If the committee does not approve the contract, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will report their reasons to the student and the advisor. The student and prospective advisor will then have the opportunity to revise the contract and resubmit it, provided that there is enough time remaining for the contract to be reviewed and approved. Any student taking PHIL 396 in a given semester must be enrolled by the last day of the late registration period for that semester (which is the 5th day of classes).