Directed Study

CLA has several registration options that allow for individualized learning opportunities under the guidance of a CLA faculty member for undergraduate students. 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. Please note: You cannot register for CLA internships using the Directed Activities form.

  • Directed Study/Directed Research: This allows you to design and carry out an independent project, working one-on-one with a faculty member.
  • 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 class@umn.edu

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 and section. Students register for the Directed Study option that corresponds with the sponsoring faculty member's department.

Undergraduate students registering for Directed Study/Directed Research must use the online workflow formThe student and faculty member should discuss the contract ahead of time, before the student initiates the online contract workflow form. The student will need to know the faculty internet ID in order to have the contract electronically approved by faculty. Once the online contract is approved by all parties (faculty, department and CLA) the student will be emailed a permission number to register for the course. (As of Summer 2020 the paper contract will no longer be accepted for registration.)

If you have worked with a faculty member in regard to registering for an Extra Credit or Independent Study opportunity, please contact our office to consult about next steps. We have to work with other offices to set this up and you will not be able to leave with permission to register. You can expect to wait a up to five days for processing.​ You cannot use the online workflow form to register for Extra Credit or Independent Study opportunities.

Directed Study, Directed Research, Extra Credit, or Independent Study courses may 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.

Deadlines: If you are an undergraduate CLA student, you have until the end of the 10th week to receive a 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 non-CLA undergraduate students registering with the online CLA student/faculty contract have until the end of the 2nd week of the semester to receive a class permission number. After that, you will need to petition to late add the course through your college office.

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

Please visit 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.

Graduate students registering for Directed Study/Directed Research, you have until the 2nd week of the semester to contact the Graduate Programs office for the Student/Faculty Contract form, complete it, and email it to the Graduate Programs office at clagrad@umn.edu. At the start of the 3rd week of the semester, you will need to submit a petition online to late add the course by completing the Graduate Registration Exception Request form found on the One Stop forms page.

CLA Undergraduate Student Internships For Credit

CLA undergraduate, CLA non-degree seeking and non-CLA students seeking academic credit for internships should NOT use the CLA Student/Faculty contract form. Instead follow the instructions for Internship Credit.