Asian University for Women (AUW): the first regional, liberal arts institution in South Asia

Guidelines for Independent Study





    Approved by Academic Council

    October 5, 2017


    AUW students who wish to pursue a topic of study which is not offered or available in the regular curriculum, may apply for Independent Study. Independent Study is a for-credit course taken on a ‘pass/fail’ basis, comparable to other courses in terms of semester duration and work assignment. Independent Study is conducted under the supervision of a qualified full-time faculty member of the University.


    Independent Study is designed to deepen the student’s knowledge in a particular area, through a specified study plan and reading list, or a research project, a practicum, or performance in the arts. It is available to students in their second or third year of enrolment, as a Major Elective or a Minor Elective, or as a Free Elective course option. Independent Study may not count towards the Core General Education Requirement or the Major/Minor mandatory course requirements. Students may take a maximum of two (2) Independent Study courses, or a maximum of 8 credits comprising Independent Study, Internship for Credit, and/or Summer Research Project.


    To qualify for Independent Study, students must meet the academic requirements of AUW, demonstrate that they are in good standing, have achieved a minimum CGPA of 3.0, and are on track with courses toward graduation.


    To earn credit from an Independent Study course, students are expected to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours per credit (for a maximum of 4 credits/40 hours) in direct study of the selected topic, and to produce a paper (or other output related to the study topic), on the basis of which they can be assessed by the supervising faculty. Independent Study may be taken on a ‘pass/fail’ basis.


    Normally, Independent Study may be conducted in the Fall and Spring Semesters of the Academic Year.



    To apply for approval of Independent Study, students are required to follow the requirements set out below:


    1. Consult with their Academic Adviser on the suitability of Independent Study as an option to complete graduation requirements;
    2. Identify a qualified full-time faculty member able to guide and supervise the Independent Study content as Independent Study Adviser;
    3. Develop a goal (purpose/aim of study) statement for what the student hopes to accomplish and the purpose of the independent study;
    4. Select and/or develop learning objectives related to the goal statement;
    5. Develop a timetable for implementation of activities and completion of course requirements.


    In consultation with the Independent Study Adviser,


    1. Write a brief description of the background, interest, experience and strengths the student brings to the topic. Give a description of academic research available in this area that provides a context for the proposed independent study;
    2. Explain why the student wants to do this study: list learning objectives by using broad statements describing what the student is going to achieve. Identify what they hope to gain in terms of knowledge, skills, personal and professional learning, and other experiences whilst undertaking the independent study. List each objective in the plan and note the competencies you are expected to meet through specific learning activities. The reasons for wanting to do an independent study may include personal interest, practical interest (i.e. to raise awareness, evaluate a policy or social intervention), political interest (is there a political cause the student would like to explore, is there an organisation that interests them), theoretical interest (is there a theory the student wants to research at length), or technical interest (testing/developing some technology).


    Whatever the rationale for proposing the independent study is, it must be explained clearly, with an emphasis on what the student hopes to gain from it (for example, raise awareness, find out people’s attitudes about something, developing a theoretical framework, etc).


    1. Develop a study plan to set out how the independent study will be conducted: what the student is expected to do, or to produce, and in what timeline the activities will be completed. The plan must contain the types of activities/assignments that will be completed during the semester as well as a list of texts/reading material that will be used in collaboration with the supervisor. This may include written assignments, short reports, presentations, or developing something else. A research writing component is required if the independent study is a research project.


    The plan must explain how the planned activities will be carried out with an indication of hours dedicated to each activity: a breakdown of the steps to be followed with expected outcomes (for example, a month-by-month or week-by-week schedule). This is to get students to think about whether they have succeeded in doing what they set out to do. Include a meeting schedule between the student and the supervisor.


    1. Agree with the Independent Study Adviseron the Assessment Methods of the activities carried out.

    10.References used to support the proposal and study plan should be listed in a Reference section.



    The Independent Study Plan developed in consultation with the Independent Study Adviser must be submitted for approval by the Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs within the first four weeks of the Fall or Spring Semester.

    Download Application for Independent Study

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