College Center for Advising Services

Independent Studies

The objectives and content of independent study courses are determined in consultation between specially qualified matriculated or exchange students and full-time members of the teaching faculty. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for independent study of subject matter not included or not treated in sufficient depth in a regularly offered course. The enrollment in such courses shall not exceed five students. An online Independent Study Form is available at

Independent Studies Course Numbers and Titles

(394 INTERNSHIP see below)

The student and instructor determine what course title is most appropriate. The title, limited to 28 spaces, is listed on the Independent Studies Form. This title will appear on the transcript as the official title of the course. If students do not submit a title, the course title will be determined by the number of the course as listed above.


  1. Students complete the Independent Studies Form with the instructor with whom they arranged the course and secure the instructor’s signature or, if using the online “Independent Study Form”, the instructor’s PIN code. (NOTE: Students majoring or planning to major in biology (BIO) or one of the six B.S. biological sciences tracks (BBC, BCD, BEB, BMB, BMG, BNS) who want to take an Independent Research course (395) need to complete a supplementary form before submitting the College’s form. The supplementary form is available in Hutchison 402F, or
  2. For four-credit courses, the Independent Studies Form needs to be submitted to the Academic Services counter (or to the Hajim School’s Dean’s Office) no later than the end of the third week of classes. For three-credit courses, the deadline is the end of the fifth week, and for two-credit courses the end of the seventh week.
  3. If any questions are raised in the dean’s review of the proposed course, the student will be contacted promptly. Otherwise, in an arrangement between the Registrar’s Office and the Center for Academic Support, the student will be registered for the course. (Independent Studies courses are never listed on the registration form or on a drop/add form.)

Upper-Level Writing and Independent Studies

Students wishing to use an independent study to fulfill an upper-level writing requirement make appropriate arrangements with their major department.

Instructor Eligibility

The person who consents to supervise the project must be a full-time member of the teaching faculty, or a visiting or adjunct faculty member designated by the department chair as qualified to do so. Students are allowed to take no more than eight credits of Independent Studies courses with the same instructor unless approved by the dean, which is normally granted for senior honors projects approved by the department chair.

Four-Credit Limitations

Faculty rules restrict students to one four-credit Independent Studies course per semester.

Students are limited to no more than four credits of Supervised Teaching (390) in the same course.

Note: The faculty is within its rights to decline to supervise students if registration comes too late after the beginning of classes. Similarly, any request for an exception to the policies noted above may be denied. Therefore, students should begin their planning early.

Internships (394)

Students may work as interns in the profit and non-profit sectors for academic credit ranging from four to sixteen credit hours. These internships are based on the belief that a work experience under supervision can provide a valuable educational experience that would augment the regular academic program of many students. Internships for credit combine an academic component along with the direct work experience. The direct work experience is under the supervision of the staff where the internship takes place, and the academic portion of the program is under the supervision of individual faculty of the College. This part of the program is determined by mutual agreement between the student intern and the faculty sponsor.

Normally, internships are graded using regular letter grades. With the approval of the department chair, however, individual faculty members are able to supervise internships that lead to mandatory Pass/Fail grades. This determination is made at the time the student and instructor complete the Independent Studies Form.

Internships are part of the Independent Studies program of the College. See above for registration procedures.

Local internships are subject to the discretion of the faculty sponsor, and students must seek such a sponsor if they wish to engage in an internship for credit. Students proposing four-credit internships are expected to be on site for 10-16 hours a week. No more than eight hours of local internship credit may be applied toward degree requirements. Students requesting eight credits for one internship experience must secure the approval of the Internship Committee well in advance of the start of the internship.

All non-local programs carrying between 8 and 16 credit hours (with the exception of the Washington Semester and Art N.Y. programs) require the prior approval of the Internship Committee. Interested students should make arrangements with a faculty sponsor. No more than 16 hours of non-local internship credit may be applied toward degree requirements. Students pursuing credit-bearing internships away from the Rochester area complete a Change of Status form in the Center for Advising Services, and are registered for the internship course.

Students who wish to register for an internship during the summer should consider CAS 396A and CAS 396B. See for further information.

Several formalized internship programs are sponsored by individual academic departments and the College. See the Internship Guidelines handout for overview information; it is available in the Center for Advising Services.

Special Internship (0.5 credit) CAS396i

CAS396i is designed for international students with an F-1 or J-1 visa seeking a paid internship opportunity in the U.S. that relates to their program of study. Consultation with the College Center for Advising Services must precede registration to obtain approval from the Office of the Dean of the College and CPT Authorization from the International Services Office. Student who qualify for this internship should follow the .pdf instructions found here.

Go back to the Adviser's Handbook Index