Common Values and Expectations
Students have the opportunity to take directed/independent study (subsequently referred to as directed study) with UW-Madison faculty as part of a range of learning experiences available to them. These experiences provide high-value learning and contribute to the Wisconsin Experience. They are an important part of the educational experience at a major research university in which faculty mentor students in scholarly activity, provide individual-level feedback, and model the behavior and norms of academic and professional life. In these one-on-one learning experiences, student learning is “directed” by an instructor; the student is learning “independently” of other students under the direction of the faculty member.
Who may be an instructor for directed study?
Individual departments determine who may be a directed study instructor in their subject area. Directed study instructors must have the appropriate academic credentials to teach the specific course and they must hold a UW-Madison instructor appointment (see policy on qualified instructors). TAs or others whose instructional role assumes faculty supervision are not eligible to supervise directed/independent study.
Responsibilities of the directed study instructor
As a fundamental value, directed study is to be a high-quality mentored learning experience that includes regular instructional contact between the instructor and the student. Students become more self-directed learners while they work closely with faculty mentors who guide their research, provide feedback, and model scholarly and professional behavior. By their nature, these experiences are highly variable. Common expectations as defined in these guidelines are minimum standards that ensure the integrity of the student experience across the breadth of the university offerings
Plan of study
Students are responsible for preparing a written study plan, in collaboration and agreement with the instructor, consistent with the responsibilities of the instructor. The study plan will include expectations for learning and student work, the time and place for regular meetings, the number of credits to be earned, and any other issues related to the learning experience. Both the student and the instructor keep a copy of the agreement as important reference document; the instructor may be asked to make the agreement available for review by the dean’s office.
Assigning appropriate levels of credits
According to the Federal Credit Definition, the amount of credit for regular group instruction is such that each credit should be equivalent to one hour of classroom instruction and a minimum of two hours of additional student work per week over 15 weeks, or the equivalent effort over a different time frame, or an amount of academic work equivalent to what would be expected in other for-credit activity. For directed study, the amount of work and learning must be consistent with that required in a group instruction course of the same number of credits. Given this federal mandate and the ambiguity inherent in the wording, determining the appropriate equivalent effort of a directed study experience to group instruction requires judgment.
Directed study courses may not be used for group instruction
Directed study courses must not be used for group instruction. Directed study courses are only used in cases where students are pursuing individually mentored learning experiences, working one-on-one with an instructor, and with no regular group instruction taking place. Observation of the distinction between directed study and group instruction will ensure that students receive appropriate documentation of their learning experience in their formal record and on their transcript. If instructors are meeting with groups of students on a regularly scheduled basis, the instructor must arrange for the students to be enrolled in a group instruction course (lecture, seminar, discussion, lab) instead of directed study.
The Independent Study (699) – Request Form is for 699 registration only with a School of Pharmacy faculty member.
Prior to completing the form, please have a conversation with your faculty and be prepared to provide the following information:
- Student Contact Info
- Faculty Contact Info
- Number of credits (1, 2, or 3)
- Description and requirements/expectations of this project
- Goals/learning outcomes
Once you have filled out the form and the faculty has approved it, you will receive an email with enrollment instructions.
If you are doing research with another school/college on campus, you must register through that school/college.
Curricular Practical Training: International students enrolling in a 699 independent study section to complete CPT should use the CPT-specific request form. CPT credits will not count as professional elective credits.
For School of Pharmacy 699 registration, you must submit the request from. After your request is approved, you will receive an email from the SAA Office after you have been granted permission to enroll in the course. You must enroll in the course through your student center, using the 5-digit enrollment number you are given.
* Please note: When you enroll in your 699 section the credits will default to 0 since it is a variable-credit course. Please be sure to select the correct number of credits so that you are properly enrolled.