Directed Study and Other Individualized Options

CLA makes available several registration options that allow for individualized learning opportunities under the guidance of a CLA faculty member. They require considerable individual initiative and require the ability to work independently. They represent excellent opportunities for you to design your own learning and allow you to work more closely with a faculty member.

  • Directed Study /Directed Research: This allows you to design and carry out an independent project, working one-on-one with a faculty member.
  • Directed Instruction: This allows you to assist other students, generally by helping deliver instruction in a course you have already taken.
  • Extra Credit Registration (EXC): This allows you to add extra credits to a course you are currently taking or one you have taken in the past.
  • Independent Study Registration (IND): This allows you to enroll in an established course but to study independently without attending class.

For more information, contact CLA Student Services at 612-625-2020 or visit 16 Johnston Hall.

Registration and Credit

For the options listed above, the number of credits you earn will depend on the scope and depth of the project, and on the department's criteria. In general, you will need to commit the same amount of time to one of these alternative registrations as you would to a "regular" class with the same number of credits. The number of credits will be agreed upon by you and the faculty member, and will be noted in the Student/Faculty contract.

Most CLA departments offer a Directed Study and/or a Directed Research registration as part of their curriculum. (The Directed Study number is often 3993 or 5993.)  See the department to obtain the correct course number. Students register for the Directed Study option that corresponds with the sponsoring faculty member's department. 

Click the link to the right to download the Student/Faculty Contract​ available as a fillinable PDF form. After the Student/Faculty contract has been completed and signed by you, the faculty evaluator, and the department, you should take it to the CLA Student Services in 16 Johnston Hall. There you'll receive a class permission number that will allow you to register for your Directed Study project, just as you'd register for any other class. If you are working on a EXC or IND opportunity, we may have to work with other offices to set this up for you, so you will not be able to leave with permission and expect to wait a couple of days for processing.​”

Deadlines: If you are an undergraduate CLA student, you have until the end of the 10th week of the semester to visit 16 Johnston Hall to receive your class permission number. After that point, you will need to petition to late add the course which requires an Academic Policy Petition completed and signed by advising office staff and One Stop will need to register the course for you.

All other students registering with a CLA student/faculty contract have until the end of the 2nd week of the semester to receive a class permission number from 16 Johnston Hall to register. After that point they will need to petition to late add the course through their college office. Graduate students can submit their late add petitions online.

Sometimes a Directed Study, Directed Research, Directed Instruction, EXC or IND course can count toward the requirements of a major or minor. Many departments have restrictions on this, so you should never assume this will be the case. Consult your advisor about the possibility of using your course to meet departmental requirements.