Q: I would like to pursue an Independent Study project with a faculty member in the Chinese program. How do I go about getting approval for such a project?
A: Please read the course description for Chinese 497 and Chinese 498 in the Course Catalog before contacting any faculty member. Basically you need to send in a proposal to the Chinese Program one semester in advance during the course pre-registration period. In addition, you need to preregister for the course in Peoplesoft.
Q: What information should be included in the proposal?
A: Go to the Registrar’s office website and download their “Independent Study” petition form. Follow the guidelines there to prepare your proposal. According to their guidelines, you need to describe your project and how you intend to complete it in about 500 words. Include your motivation for pursuing the project and why it cannot be done within the framework of a regularly offered course. Describe in some detail what you intend to achieve over the course of the independent study. Provide an estimate of your weekly working hours and weekly contact hours with your faculty supervisor during the course of the semester project. Please note that one contact hour per week is standard, and that ultimately it is the faculty who decides on the actual contact hours. Please also provide a week-by-week plan for your project, a reading/research list, and if relevant, a description of the methodology and sources you will use for your work. If the project includes being away from campus for any part of the semester, explain fully.
Q: What will happen after I send in my proposal?
A: The Chinese Program faculty will discuss the merits of your proposal and consider the staffing situation in the department. Please note that sending in a proposal or talking to any faculty member about your proposal does not guarantee the approval of your proposal.
Q: What does it mean that the Chinese program needs to “look at the staffing situation” when making a decision on my proposal?
A: While an “independent study” project counts as one regular course for you, it does not count as a regular course for the faculty. Therefore, the Program wants to make sure that all regular courses are adequately staffed and properly taught before possibly asking staff to take on extra teaching responsibilities. The Program also needs to make sure that all students who have sent in independent study proposals will get equal access to the limited program resources. We usually give priority to Chinese majors who need such a course to fulfill their major requirements.