Independent studies can provide a unique and valuable opportunity to extend and apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired in your psychology classes. In general, 4-credit independent studies conducted under the supervision of a psychology faculty member may count as your “wild card” course within the major. You and your faculty supervisor will determine the goals, strategies, and assignments that best meet your learning objectives and that ensure the experience advances your knowledge of psychology.
Independent studies may take many forms. If you would like your 4-credit independent study to substitute for one of the three upper-level course required for the major, you must complete work equivalent to the workload and intellectual intensity of a typical advanced level. Just as advanced courses involve considerable engagement with the scholarly literature, advanced-level independent studies involve considerable engagement with relevant scholarship. Although you and your faculty supervisor will determine the specific readings best suited to your project, we expect you will read a significant number of scholarly sources (typically equivalent to 20-40 peer-reviewed journal articles; may include books or book chapters written for a professional audience) related to the content of your project. You will also write a final paper (12+ pages, not including title page and references) that draws upon your critical reading of the scholarly literature.