Independent Study Guide

Krystal Rodriguez during her field study with Witness for Peace

LALS GUIDELINES FOR INDEPENDENT STUDY 


In LALS, there are three distinct and non-overlapping ways to undertake independent study, which refers to scholarly work that does not occur in the standard classroom environment.  They are: (1) field study, (2) internship, and (3) directed reading
In LALS, there is a limit of three independent studies that can be used as electives required for the major, or a maximum of 15 units from independent study that can count toward the LALS degree (that limit includes EAP courses, if any).

1 - Field Study

2 - Internship

3 - Directed Reading

Goal

Project is research-driven, with substantial final written product

Project can have a research component, but focus is hands on learning/service while student is embedded in an organization

Project is focused on the further development of expertise in a certain topic via extensive reading/writing

Product

Normally a senior thesis, but can also be expanded/analytical paper or creative project

Varies (e.g., journal and/or paper analyzing issues related to the experience)

Varies (e.g., literature review, proposal, expanded paper, etc.)

Credits

Minimum 5 units, full-time encouraged

Minimum 2 units (5-6 hrs/wk), 5 units  (12-15 hrs /wk encouraged)

Minimum 2 units (5-6 hrs/wk) to 5 units  (12-15 hrs /wk)

Grading

Normally P/NP; student is supervised by and works closely with his/her faculty mentor

P/NP; student is supervised by organizational staff person, who submits final report to sponsoring professor

P/NP; student meets regularly with and is supervised by faculty sponsor

Pre-Req's

LALS 196 (Pre-Field Research Seminar--effective 2012-2013) or equivalent

No course pre-requisites

No course pre-requisites 

Preparation

Good academic standing, evidence of preparation. Two quarters lead time minimum

Good academic standing, evidence of preparation. One quarter lead time minimum

Good academic standing, evidence of preparation. One quarter lead time minimum

Permission

Permission by faculty and completed petition for independent study form

Permission by faculty and completed petition for independent study form

Permission by faculty and completed petition for independent study form


1 - FIELD STUDY

Purpose and Academic Requirements for Field Study

Field study in LALS refers to the undertaking of independent research by a student either domestically or internationally, working closely with faculty. Typically, field study contributes to fulfilling the LALS Senior Exit Requirement, whether in the form of a senior thesis, an expanded paper or a creative project.  However, the successful completion of a senior thesis, expanded paper, or creative project does not require field study.  Field study is not synonymous with taking a course through the Education Abroad Program (or other study abroad program), although students taking EAP can add a field study component during their time abroad.  Before engaging in field study, you must meet with your faculty advisor in LALS, discuss your plans, and fully develop a research proposal with a clear research design.  It is highly advisable that you start planning for field study a year in advance or earlier; two quarters lead-time is the minimum time required to undertake field study.

LALS students are eligible to participate in field study if they are in good to excellent academic standing.  Students should show evidence of preparation for field study (e.g. good to excellent performance in relevant coursework, appropriate language skills for the field site, prior work/practical experience).

As a pre-requisite for field study, students must enroll in the pre-field preparation course LALS 196 (5 units, graded) to assure readiness to make the most of the field study experience.  Ideally, you should take this course during your junior year, especially if you intend to do field study during the summer before your senior year.  The preparation course is designed for LALS majors/combined majors with approved research projects (i.e. who have discussed their research project with their advisor and agreed that field study is essential to their project).  The course will provide the framework within which you will develop your individual project in preparation for successful completion of fieldwork.  Through class discussions, reading materials, and assignments the class will address the different aspects of research, helping you to finalize your research plans.  Students who possess equivalent experience and training (e.g., a similar Sociology or Anthropology course) can petition to waive LALS 196.

When you fulfill the pre-requisite(s) and are ready to enroll in field study, you must meet with your advisor and complete the “Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course” form.  After you met with your sponsor, you bring that form to the Undergraduate Advisor to obtain the call number for the course (make sure all the fields are complete – including your sponsor’s signature). Academic credit for field study can be for a minimum of 5 units and maximum of 15 (if doing a full-time FS during the summer), for a letter grade or P/NP depending on instructor’s approval. As you complete this form, you and your advisor should discuss the work that is to be submitted (e.g. field notes, data, journal, final report when you return from study site) based on your plans and the research proposal developed during the pre-field preparation course.  It is your responsibility to present the required coursework when you return from field study and/or on the date specified by your faculty advisor.


2 - INTERNSHIP

Purpose and Academic Requirements for Internships

An internship is an excellent opportunity to apply the concepts learned in LALS classes, to learn more about a career or field of study, and to develop valuable work experience.  Because you need to apply and make arrangements with a sponsoring organization off-campus, you should plan your internship ahead of time—ideally, at least one quarter before you begin the internship program. It is never too early to search for and apply to an internship program.

Students can find information for internships in the LALS Department bulletin board and the UCSC Career Center. You might also want to contact other departments in the Social Sciences (for example, Anthropology and Environmental Studies) and the Humanities.

LALS students are eligible to participate in an internship(s) if they are in good to excellent academic standing. Students should show evidence of preparation for the internship (e.g. good to excellent performance in relevant coursework, appropriate language skills if required at the internship site, prior work/practical experience).

When you are ready to enroll in your internship, you must meet with your faculty advisor (or faculty sponsor) to discuss your plans and goals for the internship, and to complete the “Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course” form. After you met with your sponsor, you bring that form to the Undergraduate Advisor to obtain the call number for the course (make sure all the fields are complete – including your sponsor’s signature).

Academic credit for internships can be for a minimum of 2 units (and maximum of 5) for P/NP.  As you complete the “Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course” form, you and your advisor should discuss the work that is to be submitted (e.g. journal, final report/analytical paper when you complete your internship) based on your plans. It is your responsibility to present the required coursework when you complete your internship and/or on the date specified by your faculty advisor/faculty sponsor.


3 - DIRECTED READING

Purpose and Academic Requirements for Directed Readings

A directed reading enables  students to work more closely (usually one-on-one) with a faculty member of their choice on a clearly defined effort or project.  This can entail delving into a body of literature, developing a research proposal, working on a creative project, etc.  While there is a diversity of possibilities entailed under the directed reading option, the common denominator is a clear agreement, commitment, and set of expectations between student and faculty member.

LALS students are eligible to participate in directed reading if they are in good to excellent academic standing and have permission from the faculty member with whom they will undertake the directed reading.  Students should show evidence of preparation for the directed reading (e.g. good to excellent performance in relevant coursework, appropriate language or other skills).

When you are ready to enroll in your directed reading, you must meet with your faculty advisor (or faculty sponsor) to discuss your plans and goals for the directed reading, and to complete the “Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course” form. After you met with your sponsor, you bring that form to the Undergraduate Advisor to obtain the call number for the course (make sure all the fields are complete – including your sponsor’s signature).

Academic credit for internships can be for a minimum of 2 units (and maximum of 5) for P/NP.  As you complete the “Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course” form, you and your advisor should discuss the work that is to be submitted (e.g. journal, final report/analytical paper when you complete your directed reading) based on your plans.  For the 2-unit option, a weekly response paper or equivalent assignment is standard, and does not require original research.  For the 5-unit option, a 10-12 page final paper or equivalent product is required.

It is your responsibility to present the required coursework when you complete your directed reading and/or on the date specified by your faculty advisor/faculty sponsor.

Important: For further information about these policies on independent studies, please check the LALS website for updates, and meet with your faculty advisor. The Petition for Undergraduate Individual Studies Course form is available from the plastic dispensers outside of the LALS office (Merrill 32), downloadable from the Registrars Office’s and LALS’ website.

September 2, 2011