Independent Study and Language Practicum Enrollment

What is an independent study?

Course Number: [LANG] 8903: Special Problems (Confirm with the faculty member monitoring your study)

The Independent Study is a highly flexible format to allow for customized work, in which the faculty member mentors you to complete an individual project or cover a specific body of knowledge. Sometimes independent studies can be done in a small group with 2-4 students. Please note that the student is the primary agent of the project. The faculty member should provide feedback on readings, drafts, and project scope to ensure that you achieve the appropriate level of knowledge and rigor, but it is the student's responsibility to initiate the process, manage their time during the semester, and ask for help when they need it.

What is a language practicum? 

Course Number (Check with the faculty member teaching the corresponding undergraduate course)

A Language Practicum is an apprenticeship in which you work with a faculty member in a lower-level course that they are teaching; typically a 3000-level course in the language. In this role, you are usually given leadership to lead 1-2 sessions of the course under the supervision of the professor. You also conduct research on the course topics (as in an independent study). Language practicants do not grade assignments. 

How do I set up an independent study or language practicum? 

Independent Studies and Language Practica should be initiated directly with individual faculty members. Email the faculty member directly to express interest and request an appointment to discuss the project. 

Your faculty member should contact the academic program manager to obtain permission for you to enroll (currently: Lorette Garcia). They may need to request that a course number be created if it is not already listed, and they should request that a permit number be issued to you. You will need to send them your GTID (9-digit number) for the permit. 

If you want to do an independent study on a specific topic because it is important to your academic goals, but need assistance connecting with faculty, please email the Director of Graduate Studies. They will be more than happy to assist you in identifying faculty to work with. 

Can I do an independent study in English to fulfill ML degree requirements?

To count toward the GMC degree, the independent study can be completed in either Modern Languages or Literature, Media, and Communication. It must be the equivalent of a 6000-level course in that department. In Modern Languages,, this typically includes 45 contact hours in the target language. An independent study involves less face-time but should achieve substantial and rigorous work in the target language, for example, through the writing of a research paper. 

What do I do once I've enrolled in the independent study? 

You should meet with your independent study advisor in the first week of the semester to plan your project and decide on the parameters of the independent study. During your first meeting, you must set up a regular meeting schedule, discuss expectations for communication, and decide on a final deliverable for the semester.

Other topics to discuss include: 

  • What are your learning goals? 
  • What is the topic of this independent study? 
  • How often will we meet? 
  • What language will we speak when we meet? 
  • What are the deliverables of the independent study in weeks 4, 8, and 12? 
  • What is the final deliverable of the independent study? 
  • What do you want to be able to do or discuss by the end of the semester? 
  • How does this project relate to your overall academic interests and your career?


Should I do an independent study or practicum?

Independent studies only should be used if you have specific learning needs that cannot be fulfilled by the courses we are already offering. Even within the courses we offer, there is considerable flexibility to pursue your interests through projects. If you're unsure about the content of a course, you should feel free to email faculty directly and ask for more information.

A Language Practicum is a great way to get teaching experience and leadership experience, but like an independent study, keep in mind that it is a flexible option where responsibility for completion of requirements rests on you, the student, and also has an effect on the experience of undergraduates. Make sure you have reflected on your reasons for pursuing this option before contacting faculty advisors.