Independent and Directed Study at the Undergraduate Level Policy

  • Academic
  • Academic Advisement
  • Registration and Records
  • Student - Undergraduate
Responsible Unit Brockport University Senate
Responsible Cabinet Member President
Adoption Date 1979-01-18 (Senate Resolution 1978-1979 #13)
Last Revision Date 2014-07 (Senate Resolution 2014-2015 #N/A)
Last Review Date 2014-07 (Senate Resolution 2014-2015 #N/A)

Policy Statement

This deals with the criteria required to take a course as an Independent or Directed Study.


Independent study and directed study are frequently confused with one another. They are similar in that they both offer the opportunity to study individually with an instructor on a contracted basis, but they differ in intent.


There is no applicability provided for this policy at this time


Directed Study is designed to be a substitute for a traditional course that is not offered in the semester for which the student wishes to enroll. The material covered in such courses is essentially the same as that covered in the traditional course.

Independent Study is intended to be an extension, or “spinoff,” of a traditional course. It provides the student with an opportunity to pursue/research a subject in more depth and in a more independent manner than would be possible in a traditional course. Independent study requires an outline form, developed through consultation between the student and the instructor/sponsor, which serves as the official course description.

Policy Procedures

At the undergraduate level:

To be eligible for either independent or directed study, you must have:

A. Upper-division status (54 or more credit hours (junior status) completed)

B. An established Brockport GPA (you must have completed one semester at Brockport) and be currently matriculated at SUNY Brockport.

C. A cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher

There is one exception. If you’re a lower division student (have completed fewer than 54 credits), you may register for a maximum of one Independent Study per semester, if you meet the other criteria listed above and obtain the approval of the department chair. You must support your request with a statement in which you demonstrate your ability to undertake the work and also explain the advantage of your taking an Independent Study as a lower-division student.

Lower-division students are not eligible for Directed Study.

General guidelines for independent study and directed study:

A. Students may carry no more than two independent study courses in a regular semester and no more than one directed study course per semester.

B. Students may carry no more than one independent study course and one directed study course during a summer session.

C. Both independent study and directed study courses are only possible by arrangement and at the discretion of the instructor and/or the department. Please remember that these opportunities are a privilege, not a right. Also, be aware that the student may be expected to do this work with much less instructor supervision than is customary for a standard course.

D. Independent study courses will be designated as liberal arts (A) credit. Directed study courses will be designated either as liberal arts (A) or as professional (B) credit depending upon the regular course’s catalog entry.

E. Credits earned in independent study courses may not exceed six credits per semester.

F. Credit assigned for a directed study course will be set equal to the credit value of the regular course for which it is to be substituted.

The application for independent and/or directed study (same form) is available online from the Office of Academic Advisement web site under Forms. An independent study requires an outline form (which serves as an official course description) also available under Forms, and a bibliography. The outline form is developed between you and the instructor/sponsor and is required along with the independent study application form to register the course. Directed study does not require an outline since the course description is the same as the traditional course.

To register for the course, the instructor must complete and submit the application with any supporting documents to the Office of Registration and Records by the appropriate registration dates and deadlines for the relevant semester.

Links to Related Procedures and Information

There are no links for this policy at this time.

Contact Information

There is no contact information for this policy at this time.

History (in descending order)

Item Date Explanation
Next Review Date 2019-07 Five-year review
Revision Date 2014-07 Policy Revised (Senate Resolution 2014-2015 #N/A)
Adoption Date 1979-01-18 Policy Adopted (Senate Resolution 1978-1979 #13)
Draft Review Date N/A Draft Policy under 30-day Campus Review


There are no approvals for this policy at this time.