Policy on Independent Academic Work (IAW) Courses Numbering and Naming

Applies To:

Month/Year Posted: 
September, 2010
Policy Number: 
VPAA 10-02

This policy covers Independent & Directed Study and Senior/Master’s Thesis & Project courses in which the vast majority of learning will be the responsibility of the individual to seek out and acquire knowledge. The following course numbers are appropriate for these S-class courses: 

199, 299, 399, 499, 599, 699, 799 Baccalaureate/Master’s Directed/Independent Study

490/690 Senior/Master’s thesis

492/692 Senior/Master’s Project

495/695 Senior/Master’s (Field, Applied, Directed) Research

Independent Academic Work (IAW) courses involve independent student work as the primary mode of instruction augmented by required interactions with a faculty member acting as an advisor or monitor of the student’s work. The supervising faculty member and the student will document the course topic, learning outcomes, scope of work, number of hours expected for student work, number of credits to be awarded, number and nature of student/faculty contacts during the term and the criteria for evaluating the results of the independent work using the IAW Course Form.

IAW courses may be appropriate for the following purposes:

1. Directed or independent remedial review

2. Directed study to address topics not available at HSU (student or faculty topics)

3. Directed study for transfer students who have partial course articulations to address specific deficits.

4. Independent supervised study lab, library, field

5. Enrichment activities/study for advanced students

6. Academic conference activities/Research projects

7. Special projects

8. Interdisciplinary study for students where HSU lacks structured coursework

Course titles should be entered into the university catalog/course schedule using the generic title Independent/directed study, fieldwork, or thesis. Specific titles can be used at the departmental level where useful. Specific course names may only be submitted to the Registrar for inclusion in official records where external requirements such as accreditation, professional standards or certification require the use of a specific course name. In those cases, the course should be titled “Independent Study: Name of class” to ensure the clearest possible communication of the work. Such external requirements must be documented at the time the request for assigning a specific title to an IAW course is submitted to the Registrar.

When an IAW study course is used, it must be taught as directed/independent study. These course numbers are not intended to provide a mechanism for teaching variable topics in a group instruction format. If there is a need for a topics course, such a course can and should be proposed and approved via the usual course proposal process. The substitution of a group instruction experience is contrary to the spirit of directed study. However, the use of IAW courses is not restricted to one student and may be used as appropriate for small groups.

Ongoing courses that use independent study as the mode of instruction should be sent through the standard curriculum process. Low-enrolled classes taught in a traditional, non-independent-study manner are not to be offered under IAW course numbering as a substitute for cancellation.

PASSED – Academic Senate – 2/23/2010

APPROVED – President Richmond – 3/19/2010