Independent Seminar (English 797) and Independent Study offer students the opportunity to study selected topics of their choosing, including those not accommodated by course offerings. Students may take up to two three-credit courses in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

Independent Seminar

Independent Seminar provides an opportunity for students to pursue interests not accommodated by course offerings. Each semester, three faculty members are scheduled to direct independent work. The student should select one of the faculty members to work with and contact that faculty member to design the plan for the independent seminar. Students wishing to take an Independent Seminar must file a completed application in the Graduate English office one month before the seminar is to begin. The form is available in the office as well as here online. Before it is submitted, the application must be approved by one of the faculty members teaching Independent Seminar in the semester for which the student intends to register. After the form is approved, the student may then register for the seminar. Online Application Form (pdf)

Independent Study

Students desiring independent work are urged to take the regularly scheduled Independent Seminar. In exceptional cases, however, students may be allowed to register for Independent Study with a faculty member not scheduled to teach Independent Seminar.

Students who plan to take an Independent Study (English 799) need to complete two forms available from the Graduate Office: the "Independent Study/Individualized Instruction Approval Form" and the "Request for Independent Study Approval" form.

General Policies

Students are responsible for observing all university, departmental, and program policies, procedures, and standards.


Eligibility for independent seminar and independent study varies slightly from degree program to degree program as well as from student to student. Generally, a master's degree student is eligible to register for an independent study or independent seminar after successfully completing nine graduate credit hours at IUP and receiving approval to advance to candidacy. Normally, these prerequisite credit hours are core courses designated in the published information about these programs. Doctoral students, similarly, are eligible for independent study or independent seminar after advancement to candidacy. All independent study or independent seminar courses must be completed before the comprehensive examinations when the independent work is counted toward the minimum number of graduate credits for the degree. No more than six graduate credits of independent study or independent seminars may be applied to any of the degree programs. It should be noted that independent study or independent seminar is not a required part of the degree program; students may be advised to enroll in regular course offerings instead of independent study or independent seminar.

Content Criteria

The content of an independent seminar or independent study should meet the following criteria:

  1. The content should not duplicate course work offered in the degree program.
  2. The content should be appropriate to the specific goals of the degree program of which it is a part.
  3. The content must be substantial. A substantial independent study or independent seminar requires the student to perform an equivalent amount and kind of work to that normally required in a semester course in the program. Hence, the amount and kind of reading, of research, and of student requirements should be equivalent to a single course in a student's program.
  4. The content should be coherent as well as up to date and in-depth.
  5. The student should be capable of accomplishing the proposed work independent of daily advice and direction from the supervisor.

Not all appropriate areas of study can be specified in advance. Predesigned materials may be provided to master's degree students in order to facilitate their scheduling of independent study work. Master's degree students are not limited to predesigned studies, however. Doctoral candidates are encouraged to create independent work which will assist them in reaching programmatic goals as well as certain definite goals for their professional teaching circumstances.