All RCLS majors and minors have an opportunity to work independently on a project of interest that meets minimum academic criteria. Working one-on-one with a faculty member, students can earn between 1 and 3 credit hours for their efforts. Once the proposal is approved undergraduate students will enroll in one of the following courses based upon the amount of work and hours involved: RCLS 4700 (1 cr), RCLS 4701 (2 cr), or RCLS 4702 (3 cr). Graduate students will enroll in RCLS 6801 (1 cr), 6802 (2 cr), or 6803 (3 cr).
All Independent study projects are based on a contract between a student and an instructor, which is approved by the Department Chair prior to any work beginning. Independent Studies may be taken any semester that ECU is in session. RCLS Faculty Mentors can guide students in the development and implementation of an Independent Study course.
Work might include study that is highly specialized in an academic area. Sometimes the Independent Study is research-based where a student works with a faculty member on a project that involves library research and/or the use of research methods. Other times an Independent Study proposal might be in response to a need in the community. For instance, a nonprofit organization would like a needs assessment conducted yet doesn't have the staff; or, the agency might need a risk management plan or policy manual created.
Regardless of the project to be proposed, a student wishing to engage in an Independent Study course should FIRST, speak with his/her RCLS Faculty Mentor or the desired instructor and work out the details of the course expectations and timelines. This includes articulating the nature of the project or study, the amount of time involved (and credit hours), the evaluation plan (grades are awarded for these courses), and a timeline and due dates for various assignments and course products.
AFTER coming to an agreement with the desired instructor, the student will go online and complete the online proposal form. Students will not be able to enroll in Independent Study courses without completing and receiving approval for the project based on the stated plan.
Once the student completes the required information, the electronic form goes to the Instructor, who approves the project online. It then moves to the Department Chair, who either approves the project or sends it back for modification (students sometimes fail to complete the entire form). Once all approvals are granted, the department Student Support Specialist will assist the student with enrollment. It is then up to the student to initiate contact and work with the instructor—remember, this is an Independent Study.