Guidelines for Independent Study Courses
Guidelines for Physics and Astronomy Independent Study Courses (398/399)
Independent study provides the opportunity to study a subject under the individual direction of a faculty member. This can be directed learning of a topic not offered as a course and/or participation in a faculty research program. Registering for a 398 or 399 course implies a formal assessment and a for-credit grade for the independent study project.
Students wishing to register for one quarter of 398 or 399 should contact a faculty member directly or speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for assistance.
At least two quarters of Physics 398 or 399 are required to attain the Weinberg College honors distinction upon graduation. Physics 398 is typically used for seniors doing honors thesis research. All other independent study courses use 399.
Registration and Evaluation
- The details of a specific 399 independent study course are agreed upon by a student and a professor.
- Typically, these experiences involve regular meetings (such as a weekly meeting) and a concrete form of assessment at the end of the quarter (such as a term paper or oral presentation).
- Agreement on expectations should be reached before registering for the independent study course. The agreement should be documented in writing (email is sufficient) to avoid misunderstandings when course grades are assigned.
- Students with an agreed plan can register in Caesar for the independent course, using the appropriate faculty section number. If a section does not yet exist for the faculty supervising the independent study course, the student should contact the department office.