Independent Study

Independent Study/Research Course

Independent studies and research courses provide well-motivated students opportunities to explore their interests deeper and make important decisions about how and where they will direct their talents in the future. They are a way for students to learn specialized material or gain research experience. A student and faculty member agree upon a topic for the student to research with guidance from the faculty member.

The student must contact the faculty member they would like to work with to request an independent study/research arrangement. Once you have the agreement of the faculty member, you can start the process of registering for an independent study/research class. Please make sure you read specific info from your department (see below) before you begin this process.

To register for an independent study/research class, you must contact the faculty member you’d like to work with, and discuss an independent study/research arrangement with them. If they agree please work together to determine:

  • Which readings you will do
  • Any deliverables and their deadlines
  • Frequency and method of contact with the faculty member

Once you have confirmed this information, please complete the following steps:

  • Email comm-studentservices@austin.utexas.edu to request the agreement form. Please include:
    • Your name
    • Your EID
    • The faculty member’s name
    • The faculty member’s EID
    • The course you plan to take
  • Once you send the correct information, an electronic DocuSign form will be created. You will then receive an email request to complete and sign the form, then it will be completed and signed by the faculty member and then the department chair or the dean.

Once your form is signed and fully approved, you will receive a Secure Academic Note notifying you that you can register for the class. You must then add class to your schedule during your next add/drop period.

Please email comm-studentservices@austin.utexas.edu if you have any questions.

Some courses have special instructions regarding independent study/research. Please see below.

Advertising/Public Relations

ADV/PR 179J, 279J, 379J, 479J, 379H

Special projects courses require a specific type of work from students. This can be a special research project, a comprehensive paper, a case analysis, or a review of literature documented by a paper.

All assignments in the course will be agreed upon between the instructor and the student. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain contact with the professor about assignments and grade information.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

Communication

COM 326 (UTNY)

On occasion a Moody College student may secure an opportunity in New York that does not meet the standard requirements for internship. In these cases, the student may apply to pursue credit through independent study (COM 326) rather than an internship course. The option for independent study is NOT intended to support students who cannot find an internship, rather to support creative and independent place-based work in New York City that does not meet the expectations for an internship.

The student must obtain the agreement of a Moody College faculty member to supervise their work. Neither the UTNY Program, the student’s academic department, nor the Office of Undergraduate Education has responsibility to assist a student in obtaining the agreement of a faculty member. Assistant Instructors/Teaching Assistants are not eligible to supervise COM 326.

The agreement must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education by 5:00 pm CT one week prior to the beginning of the University registration period for the applicable semester, or one week prior to the opening of the add/drop period for the applicable semester. The agreement will be reviewed by the Assistant or Associate Dean to determine if this opportunity is suitable for credit.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

COM 326 (non UTNY)

If there is a subject you are interested in, but you can’t find a course on that topic, you can contact a faculty member and ask them to do an independent study. Feel free to explore any option as our faculty members have diverse interests.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

COM 360H – Independent Study Honors – Web Based (Moody College Honors Program)

This course is restricted to students in the Moody College Honors Program and will only be approved by the Program Director when the student cannot fulfill their capstone requirement before their expected date of graduation. Please email comm-honors@austin.utexas.edu if you have any questions.

Grading: If students elect to take this independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree or toward the fulfillment of Moody Honors Program requirements.

Communication and Leadership

CLD 122, 222, 322

If there is a subject you are interested in, but you can’t find a course on that topic, you can contact a faculty member and ask them to do an independent study. Feel free to explore any option as our faculty members have diverse interests.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

Communication Studies

CMS 177K / 377K / 477K

Faculty-Initiated Research

This course allows undergraduates to work with a Communication Studies faculty member on the faculty member's research. The faculty member will have designed the research project and the student will work as an assistant on the project. The exact nature of a student's tasks will be agreed to by the student and faculty member. Typically, students will be required to read related research and to write a paper about the research.

Textbooks/Materials

  • Determined by instructor.

Assignments/Papers

  • All projects, papers, and/or assignments must be submitted by the last class day of the semester.

Method of Evaluation

  • Determined by instructor.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

CMS 178K, 278K, 378K, 478K, 578K, 678K

Student-Initiated Research in Communication Studies

This course allows undergraduates to pursue their own communication research project. Students taking this course are expected to come up with their own idea about what to research and to create their own plan for completing the research. Students must find a Communication Studies faculty member who is willing to supervise the project before enrolling in this course. Typically, students will need to read related research and to write a paper reporting on the results of the project. It is recommended, though not required, that students complete CMS 177K, 377K, OR 477K before enrolling in 178K/378K./478K.

Readings

  • Determined by topics of media ethics case studies chosen by the student.

Assignments/Papers

  • Student will propose topics for case studies, research them, and then write the finalized case studies in coordination with a faculty member’s feedback and revisions. The number of case studies will be determined by the student and the faculty member. This number needs to be added to the DocuSign form. These are due on or before the last regular day of the semester.
  • Student will attend Media Ethics Initiative events over the course of the semester, schedule permitting, to gain background knowledge on media and communication ethics. The number of Media Ethics Initiative events will be determined by the student and the faculty member. This number needs to be added to the DocuSign form.
  • Student will assist the Media Ethics Initiative in publicizing its events [ungraded].

Amount of face-to-face student/faculty contact

  • Student will meet with the faculty member periodically concerning their case study research and writing. Meetings will occur on the Austin campus or virtually via Zoom every two weeks.

Method of Evaluation

  • The student’s case studies will be evaluated by the faculty member and will receive feedback. The student will then incorporate this feedback into revising the case studies. The successful completion of this revision process for all the cases assigned will be the final standard of assessment. All of the revised case studies are due the last regular day of the semester. Drafts of half the assigned case studies are due mid-semester.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

Journalism

J 363F, 178P, 278P, 378P, 379

The design and execution of special projects showcasing the individual student’s interests in one or more journalistic platforms. This is a supervised project in the field of journalism.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.

Radio-Television-Film

RTF 336

Special Projects RTF 336 is a course that involves an intensive research, writing, or production project in an area of special interest to the student. The student develops and executes the project under a faculty member’s supervision. When the topic varies, this course may be repeated only once for credit. The independent study class does not qualify students for insurance the department provides, equipment, or studio space.

To enroll in RTF 336, complete the following steps:

  • Decide on a topic. Examples of previous projects include, but are not limited to:
    • a study of a specific filmmaker.
    • writing a feature-length screenplay.
    • research in a developing communication technology.

A production project is possible only if you have access to non-departmental equipment (e.g., your own, ACTV, KVR9, Austin Cinemaker Coop, etc.). RTF equipment may NOT be used.

Special Projects should never serve as a substitute for engaging in the learning process that is otherwise available in organized courses.

Special Projects should always offer academic learning that goes beyond just gathering data or doing, in essence, secretarial work that will be for the benefit of the faculty sponsor.

Fill out the DocuSign.

  • Any Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor who is teaching the semester that you will be enrolled for this course is eligible to sponsor your project. Assistant Instructors (graduate students) are NOT eligible to sponsor.
  • If you are doing a group project with TSTV, please also get the TSTV/Special Projects Guideline sheet from the department.

If this is your second RTF 336, please meet with your advisor before registration in order to have two RTF 336 courses count toward your degree.

Students who want their work on a Texas Student Television (TSTV) group project considered for fulfillment of RTF 336-Special Projects must be in one of the primary creative and management roles (i.e., producer, director, writer, director of photography, and editor).

In addition to the required application for Special Projects courses, students must submit the following information on their DocuSign form to the RTF chair for consideration:

  • a description of the project, including the project’s genre, structure, content, length, audio & visual elements, and the final product;
  • the names and duties for each primary crew position; and
  • a projected timeline.

Requests should be submitted as early as possible and no later than one week before the twelfth class day.

All RTF majors involved in TSTV group projects are encouraged to work with the same faculty sponsor.

Grading: Undergraduate students may take this course ONLY on a letter grade basis.

Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

SLH 178K, 278K, 378K

Our faculty members welcome undergraduate students into their labs as there are many opportunities for you to participate in ongoing research projects. Learn more about what each lab does and reach out to the principal investigator for the one that interests you. Feel free to explore all the options as our faculty members have diverse interests.

Grading: If students elect to take the independent study course on a pass/fail basis, it cannot count toward the Moody degree.