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Skidmore College
Political Science Department

PL 371: Independent Study

Guidelines for gaining faculty approval to enroll in PL 371: Independent Study

The Political Science Department allows students who meet certain criteria to present an independent study proposal to a faculty member. An independent study usually consists of a course of intensive reading on a topic that is not addressed by one of the department's established course offerings.

An independent study is not an "entitlement" or a "right." A faculty member might decide not to grant a student's request for an independent study for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) an independent study proposal that addresses a topic outside of the faculty member's sphere of competence, a series of other commitments that preclude the faculty member from taking on additional teaching responsibilities in a given semester, or a faculty member's concern that the student may be unable to complete the proposed course of study successfully.

A faculty member will not consider an independent study proposal unless the student has met all three of the following criteria:

1)  The student has completed at least one course with the faculty member.

2)  The student's topic is one that is not addressed by any of the department's course offerings.

3) The student presents to the faculty member, during the semester prior to the one in which the student hopes to enroll in the independent study, a brief description (two or three paragraphs) of the proposed independent study. This description should include a discussion of both the content and the goals of the independent study. The student also will be responsible for working with the faculty member to compile a list of appropriate readings.