Independent Study courses in the Department of Philosophy and Religion are opportunities for advanced students with prior coursework in the department to pursue individual reading and research projects under the guidance of a department faculty member.

Students register for either 50:730:495 or 496 Independent Study in Philosophy (3 Credits) or 50:840:389 or 390 Independent Study in Religion (3 Credits)

Procedures and Considerations

Students considering an independent Study course should ask themselves some initial preparatory questions:

  • What research questions would I like to pursue?
  • What texts would be useful as starting points for developing the project?
  • Which courses in the Philosophy and Religion Department should I have taken prior to attempting this independent study project? 

Independent Study projects require that students engage in reading and interpreting materials without the support of classroom lectures or discussions, and are more appropriate to experienced students who have already completed coursework in the areas relevant to their proposed project. Independent Study typically involves regular meetings with the faculty member to discuss the readings and the progress of the project, and culminates in a final paper or other work determined acceptable by the faculty member. 

Students interested in an Independent Study should contact the appropriate faculty member at least one semester in advance. Students can view areas of research interests for faculty on the Faculty & Staff Profile webpage to help determine the best fit for the project. Except under very unusual circumstances, students may only conduct Independent Study courses with one of the department’s full time faculty members (Craig Agule, Stuart Charme, Eric ChwangNicole KarapanagiotisMelissa Yates, or John Wall).

Independent Study and Graduation with Honors

See the Honors Program page and review the Application for Honors in Philosophy or Religion (PDF File).