Independent study enables a student to pursue for course credit individual interests under the supervision of a faculty member.
There are two ways to do an independent study:
Do supervised reading in a field of special interest under the sponsorship of a faculty member. Requires a substantive paper containing significant analysis and interpretation.
Note: This does not bear a Research (R) code and does not satisfy any general education requirements.
Conduct individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is a substantive paper containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic.
- Does bear a Research (R) code and satisfies one of the general education Research requirements.
- One research independent study may be submitted and approved for a Writing (W) code in addition to the R code designation, but no other curriculum codes are permitted for research independent study courses. Students who wish to request a W code must take the appropriate form to 02 Allen Building by the end of drop/add period in the semester in which the student is enrolled in the independent study.
- Access the Request for the Writing Code here.
Note: the consent of an instructor and the director of undergraduate studies is required for both types of independent study.
Register for an Independent Study in 6 Steps
- Review Duke’s Independent Study Policies and Procedures.
- Find a PUBPOL faculty member to supervise your independent study course.
- Complete the PUBPOL independent study form and have faculty advisor review and sign.
- Send the completed form to Suzanne Pierce, Undergraduate Program Coordinator, for departmental approval.
- Send form to Anita Lyon, Sanford Registrar, for permission number to enroll in course.
- Register for the course in DukeHub.
Finished Your Independent Study?
E-mail Suzanne Pierce, Undergraduate Program Coordinator and include:
- Reading list
- Meeting log (include dates and times that you met with your faculty supervisor. Must be signed by faculty supervisor.)
- Final product.
Work Closely with a Renowned Professor
Olivia Levine worked with physician and behavioral scientist Peter Ubel for her independent study. Olivia says she had a terrific experience in the program, and that she learned about an entirely new topic. "I gained in-depth knowledge about patient-clinician communication and explored how euphemisms are used in the context of discussing death," she says. Olivia recommends an independent study as a way to learn in depth about a field of interest.