Directed Study and Other Individualized Options

CLA has 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/Directed Research registration as part of their curriculum. Contact the department to obtain the 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 and fill out the Student/Faculty Contract​. After you have completed the contract, make sure you, the faculty evaluator, and the department all sign it. You should then take it to CLA Student Services in 16 Johnston Hall, where you'll receive a class permission number that will allow you to register for your Directed Study project. If you are working on an EXC or IND opportunity, we may have to work with other offices to set this up for you. You will not be able to leave with permission and should 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, 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.


IMPORTANT: There could be financial implications if you fail to complete your Directed Study and have to withdraw.

Please vist One Stop's page on the 13-credit policy page to learn more about financial aid considerations, important when deciding to withdraw from a Directed Study.