Directed Independent Study Courses

Directed Independent Study (DIS) courses make it possible for one to six students to work under the guidance of an instructor, on a reading or research project of mutual interest. 

Reasons a student might wish to pursue directed studies courses include:

  • Following a reading or research project in an area not covered in any of the other courses.
  • Developing research interests.
  • Gaining practical experience of, and involvement in, research.
  • Continuing a well developed project begun in another course.

To succeed in a Directed Studies course, students must be organized, motivated, and able to work independently. A declared major, minor or extended minor is recommended. Please review the official UFV policy on Directed, Special Topics and Independent Study courses.

Please see the Philosophy Course Descriptions for specific course prerequisites.

How do I enrol in Directed Studies?

  1. The student will usually begin with at least an area of interest for the Directed Studies course, and then find an instructor who shares the interest and is willing to supervise the project.  This may require some negotiation between the student and the faculty supervisor to settle on an issue that is of interest to both and of adequate scope for a DIS course.  The student is expected to have considerable input in the development of the project, but should be aware that not all projects will find a willing supervisor. 
  2. If it is a newly created course, the course proposal then needs to be approved by the Department before the student can register. The course outline can be designed in consultation with the instructor.
  3. A Course Registration Number (CRN) is created for the specific DIS section, with the section number beginning with “IS”. If the student has already taken a Special or Selected Topics course under the same course number, a new lettered course must be created as well.
  4. Once the CRN has been created, the student will receive an email through their myUFV account when they are able to register.

Student Responsibilities
The student will carry the bulk of the work associated with the project, and a sufficient amount of work must be performed to justify the credit given.  Normally this will be in the order of 3 hours per week for each credit.  That is, for 3 credits, the student would work for at least 9 hours per week on the project.  This time may include the time spent in weekly (or, minimally, bi-weekly) meetings with the faculty supervisor.  The student should normally expect to be evaluated on several pieces of work throughout the term.

Throughout the semester, the student must attend scheduled meetings, meet agreed deadlines for handing in work completed, and keep the faculty supervisor apprised of any changes anticipated or problems encountered. Due dates for drafts or milestones in the development of the paper or project and times for advisor-student meetings are to be agreed at the beginning of the semester.
The project, under normal circumstances, will be completed within one semester, and the final product(s) will be turned in for grading by the end of the term.

Instructor Responsibilities
Although the student is primarily responsible for design and completion of the paper of project undertaken, the supervisor must ensure she/he has sufficient resources to appropriately supervise the student.  This includes having some familiarity with the subject area, availability to attend weekly or bi-weekly meetings, and time for the close reading and provision of feedback for the pre-completion submissions of work and for reviewing some of the literature provided by the student.


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