Independent studies - undergraduate level

One of the most rewarding things you can do while you are a student at UW Tacoma is independent study. Employers and graduate schools like to see this experience in your college education because it prepares you for the world in ways that the classroom experience does not. Independent work develops your initiative, responsibility and creativity. It shows you have the qualities to work independently on projects, and you take pride in your work.

Independent study experiences are not designed to simply "provide extra credit." These opportunities allow you to expand your educational experience by trying different jobs or diving deeper into a topic of interest through research. You may earn a maximum of 15 independent study credits at UW Tacoma. Internships may account for up to 10 of these credits.

Both the Career Development and Education staff and your academic advisor can offer advice on finding internships and other independent study opportunities.

Types of Independent Study


Directed Readings (TESC and TIAS, 1-5 credits per quarter, Graded or Credit/No Credit)

Under the supervision of a faculty member, students read advanced scholarly material of mutual interest. Students are expected to submit a bibliography of works to be read along with their completed Independent Study Form for Directed Readings. In addition to other agreed-upon assignments (critical book/film reviews, etc.), students typically are expected to complete a final paper. Generally, a 4-5 page paper equals one (1) credit.

How do I register for directed readings?

  1. Select a topic and develop a plan for what you will research, read and write. Starting this early and working with a faculty member will help you create a strong and achievable plan.
  2. Your directed readings independent study option allows you to select between 1 and 5 credits, as well as graded or credit/no credit grading options.
  3. Contact a faculty member with your plan of work and study. Consider which member of the IAS faculty teaches courses in a similar area. It helps to have taken a course from that faculty member and know they have a familiarity with the curriculum that parallels your interests. Please note that part-time faculty are under no obligation to oversee independent study options, and contracts with part-time faculty advisors will require review by the IAS Associate Director before an entry code is issued.
  4. Once you and your faculty advisor have agreed on the scope of the independent study, complete the appropriate form. Forms must be typed. It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate course number and SLN from the quarterly registration guide. Both you and the faculty advisor must sign the completed form.
  5. Check with an IAS advisor or faculty member about appropriate placement of these independent study credits for your major.
  6. Make copies of the signed form (the original will be kept in the IAS program office) so you have copies for your faculty advisor and yourself. Bring the original signed form to the IAS program office to obtain an entry code for registration.
  7. Completion of the form does not mean you are automatically enrolled in the course. Use the entry code to register before the 10th day of the quarter.

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What form do I use?

Directed readings form for TESC or TIAS 498

This must be signed by you and your faculty advisor before submitting to the IAS program office for an entry code.

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Undergraduate Research (TESC and TIAS, 1-5 credits, Graded or Credit/No Credit)

Undergraduate Research involves working with a faculty member on an advanced research project of mutual interest. In addition to working on the research project, students will be expected to complete at least one final paper. Generally, a 4-5 page paper equals one (1) credit.

How do I register for undergraduate research?

  1. Select a topic and develop a plan for what you will research, read and write. Starting this early and working with a faculty member will help you create a strong and achievable plan.
  2. Your undergraduate research independent study option allows you to select between 1 and 5 credits, as well as graded or credit/no credit grading options.
  3. Contact a faculty member with your plan of work and study. Consider which member of the IAS faculty teaches courses in a similar area. It helps to have taken a course from that faculty member and know they have a familiarity with the curriculum that parallels your interests. Please note that part-time faculty are under no obligation to oversee independent study options, and contracts with part-time faculty advisors will require review by the IAS Associate Director before an entry code is issued.
  4. Once you and your faculty advisor have agreed on the scope of the independent study, complete the appropriate form. Forms must be typed. It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate course number and SLN from the quarterly registration guide. Both you and the faculty advisor must sign the completed form.
  5. Check with an IAS advisor or faculty member about appropriate placement of these independent study credits for your major.
  6. Make copies of the signed form (the original will be kept in the IAS program office) so you have copies for your faculty advisor and yourself. Bring the original signed form to the IAS program office to obtain an entry code for registration.
  7. Completion of the form does not mean you are automatically enrolled in the course. Use the entry code to register before the 10th day of the quarter.

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What form do I use?

Undergraduate research form for TESC or TIAS 499

This must be signed by you and your faculty advisor before submitting to the IAS program office for an entry code.

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Senior Thesis (TESC and TIAS, 5 credits only, Graded only)

Senior Thesis is an independent research project planned and carried out by the student under the direction of a faculty member on a significant scholarly topic selected by the student in consultation with the faculty member. Generally, a 35-50 page thesis is expected. This course is required for Communications majors on the research track.

How do I register for my senior thesis?

  1. Select a topic and develop a plan for what you will research, read and write. Starting this early and working with a faculty member will help you create a strong and achievable plan.
  2. Your thesis is a culminating work and can only be taken for 5 credits, unlike other independent study options that allow for 1 to 5 credits.
  3. Contact a faculty member with your plan of work and study. Consider which member of the IAS faculty teaches courses in a similar area. It helps to have taken a course from that faculty member and know they have a familiarity with the curriculum that parallels your interests. Please note that part-time faculty are under no obligation to oversee independent study options, and contracts with part-time faculty advisors will require review by the IAS Associate Director before an entry code is issued.
  4. Once you and your faculty advisor have agreed on the scope of the independent study, complete the appropriate form. Forms must be typed. It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate course number and SLN from the quarterly registration guide. Both you and the faculty advisor must sign the completed form.
  5. Check with an IAS advisor or faculty member about appropriate placement of these independent study credits for your major.
  6. Make copies of the signed form (the original will be kept in the IAS program office) so you have copies for your faculty advisor and yourself. Bring the original signed form to the IAS program office to obtain an entry code for registration.
  7. Completion of the form does not mean you are automatically enrolled in the course. Use the entry code to register before the 10th day of the quarter.

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What form do I use?

Senior thesis form for TESC or TIAS 497

This must be signed by you and your faculty advisor before submitting to the IAS program office for an entry code.

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Internships

Internships are a type of independent study. Find out more about the requirements for internships.

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