Independent Study

Independent study offers students the opportunity to work one-to-one with faculty in an area of shared scholarship. It is your responsibility to approach the faculty member with an idea for independent study. Faculty members consider each request individually; professors are under no obligation to offer an independent study option to any student. Only doctorate-level faculty (faculty with a Ph.D.) and adjunct faculty may supervise independent study classes.

Supervised study experiences are not designed to simply "provide extra credit." These studies are designed for advanced students who have either completed all available courses in a specific subject/rubric or who are completing advanced research. Undergraduate students may earn a maximum of 18 independent study credits at MELC. 

As always, students should plan well in advance which courses they will take in order to meet graduation requirements. DO NOT count on meeting graduation requirements through Independent Studies unless you have an agreement in writing from the professor who will be your supervisor.

Types of Independent Study

Directed Readings (MELC 490)

These are undergraduate scholarly projects driven by specific texts. Often linked with courses the students are currently in to provide a deeper learning experience.

Undergraduate Research (MELC 499)

This experience offers the opportunity for in-depth research on a topic. Students will work on their own research topics or help faculty with on-going projects. Highly recommended to prepare for your Capstone Essay (MELC 498).

Capstone Essay (MELC 498)

Please refer to the Capstone Essay page for information about this course and its requirements.

For Graduate Students

It is appropriate for graduate students to register for one or more quarters of Independent Study (MELC 600) in order to cover material on the reading list in preparation for the exam. 

In addition, the faculty strongly recommends that, as preparation for the general exam, all M.A. students should have taken at least one course from each of the following lists: 

  • LIST A: MELC 210, MELC 211, MELC 212 
  • LIST B: MELC 220, MELC 240 

If they have not taken these courses or equivalent courses as undergraduates, M.A. students may cover the course contents by registering for MELC 600, attending the classes, and completing additional work designated by the instructor, thereby earning credit for an Independent Study. The general exam will assume broad core knowledge of the Near East and comparative perspectives on the field. However, it will not be a standardized exam, but rather will be suited to each student's course of study.

What to do

  1. Plan ahead. Speak with a faculty member before the quarter begins to obtain the faculty approval and to plan what the independent study will entail. 
  2. Fill out the Independent Study form (PDF file) indicating the work to be covered, the assignments to be completed, and the reason for setting up an independent study rather than completing the work through a regularly offered course. Have your supervising faculty member sign this form. 
  3. For the Capstone Essay, fill out the Capstone Essay Approval form (PDF file). Have your supervising faculty member sign this form. A copy will be kept in the student's file. 
  4. Email the completed form to Registration for Independent Study and Capstone Essay will not be completed unless the forms are signed by the supervising faculty member and advisor (if necessary). When the necessary steps are completed, MELC staff will forward the student's information to Humanities Academic Services who will enter the registration for the appropriate credits.
  5. Be sure to consult with your supervising faculty member throughout the quarter.