Independent Study

Who Should Do an Independent Study

Independent study is intended for students who have in mind a clearly defined area of study. Once that has been determined, students need to identify and find a faculty mentor and regsiter for the course. Detailed information about this process is outlined below.

Identifying a Faculty Mentor

Students are encouraged to learn about our faculty's research interests in an effort to find a mentor who is currently working in that same area. Students may refer to this list of primary faculty and their research interests. More detailed information can be found through faculty's individual webpages.

Once a student has identified faculty member who might be a good match for her/him, s/he is encouraged to contact the faculty member to see if s/he may be interested in supervising an independent study. It is important in this correspondence to include information on economics courses to date, the area of research interest and why the student feels this particular faculty member would make a good mentor for the independent study. Students should be aware that faculty may not be able to serve as mentors for a variety of reasons. For additional assistance identifying an appropriate mentor, please contact the EcoTeach Center.

Courses & Prerequisites

  • ECON 391 Independent Study: Individual non-research, directed reading, or individual project in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. Pre-requisite: ECON 201D.
  • ECON 392 Independent Study: Same as ECON 391, but for second-semester juniors and seniors. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. Pre-requisite: ECON 205D and 210D.
  • ECON 393 Research Independent Study: Individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. Pre-requisite: ECON 201D.
  • ECON 394 Research Independent Study: Same as ECON 393, but for second-semester juniors and seniors. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. Pre-requisite: ECON 205D and 210D.
  • ECON 493 Honors Research Independent Study: Individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is the production of an honors thesis, containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. Pre-requisites: ECON 205D and 210D. 

Although we offer independent study sections for students who have not yet completed the core, we highly recommend that students hold off on independent research until their junior or senior years.

Registration

All students who wish to take an independent study must complete the Independent Study form, which requires the signature of a faculty mentor and the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. The director of undergraduate studies generally will approve such requests if a student has taken the core economics courses, has taken some course work in the area of the independent study, and has performed satisfactorily in the economics courses that s/he has taken. The only exception to this occurs when the supervising faculty member is an assistant professor who has already taken on her/his share of undergraduate teaching within the department.

As it may take many weeks to finalize such an independent study, students are encouraged to be proactive and contact faculty early. Upon approval by the director of undergraduate studies,  EcoTeach will issue a permission number to the student for registration purposes. Forms for independent study must be submitted to the EcoTeach Center by the first day of classes for the term in which the student wants to register. We recommend that students submit much earlier to be assured that their research plan will be approved.