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Skidmore College
Office of the Registrar

Special Permission for Independent Study

Please review the guidelines below the form and any departmental information before completing the request form.

Total credit hours + independent study credit hours CANNOT exceed 18, unless Approved Ovcerload Form has been submitted.
(Course # will be used on registration and transcript forms with the title having (IND) at the end of it.)
While the instructor determines how much time s/he will spend in advising the student on his or her independent work, it is recommended that faculty not meet more than once a week with an independent study student and not less than once every two weeks.


  • Independent Study may be an option for the student with a good academic record who has a compelling interest in the proposed area of study, has completed the courses that provide appropriate background to the independent study, and who proposes, in writing to a faculty sponsor, a detailed, articulate, and coherent plan of study.
  • The proposed focus of the Independent Study must clearly lend itself to the “independent study” format: for example, pursuit of the topic should depend largely on the student’s own initiative, the availability of resources to which the student can have independent access, and should require minimal ongoing monitoring or instruction from the faculty member.
  • The Independent Study should cover areas of student and faculty interests not typically included in regular course offerings, or take the student's experience into a greater depth of study and more sophisticated engagement with course-related topics.
  • While several variables affect the amount of time a student should commit to independent study work, the general expectation is that the student should invest a minimum of 9-12 hours each week in his or her project (assuming 3-4 hours of credit). The proposed course of study should thus lend itself to substantial and sustained effort.
  • The topic of the proposed Independent Study should have clear and credible connections to the sponsoring discipline. Studies that are more cross-disciplinary or interdisciplinary in nature should consider using the rubric ID-271 or ID-371: Interdisciplinary Independent Study.
  • Some departments require special departmental forms that can be attached to this form to detail the expectations for completion of course requirements
  • Independent Studies cannot count toward all-college foundation or breadth requirements, unless they follow the syllabus of an existing approved Skidmore course. 300-level independent studies do count as maturity-level credit.


  • The course number will be 371 (3 credits) unless you are completing one of the special courses listed under “Choose a Course”
  • If your independent study is conducted under the AA, AH, AR, AS, BI, CC, CS, EDS, EN, ES, DA, DS, EC, ES, GE, GW, HI, HF, HP, IA, ID, LI, MA, MB, MFS, MU, NS, PH, PL, PS, PY, RE, SO, TH, SW, WLL, WLC, WLF, WLG, WLI, WLJ, WLS rubrics, please select the appropriate option in the box.
  • If your independent study is with the WLL department, please indicate whether or not it is being taught in English.