UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Guidelines for Independent Study

I. Executive Summary

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte maintains compliance with the Academic Integrity Regulations as outlined in the University of North Carolina Policy Manual through these guidelines and processes for individualized instruction courses. This procedure outlines the guidelines that serve to protect the integrity of the curriculum as set forth by the faculty.

II. Procedure Statement

Effective individualized instruction requires appropriate academic preparation, regular consultation with a faculty member, and a clear plan of action including expected learning outcomes, assignments/readings, and assessment of the student’s work. The following procedures on faculty workload and review of course sections ensure effective instruction as well as compliance.

Faculty Workload

UNC Charlotte recommends that a faculty member may teach a maximum of three independent study students in addition to their regular teaching load each term. The Department Chair has the final oversight and authority over the number of independent study students an instructor may supervise in a given term.

Review and Approval of Nonstandard Courses and Course Sections

Departments must ensure that all forms of individualized instruction conform to basic guidelines set forth for all courses. As such, departments must have a syllabus and/or learning contract for all forms of independent study that include at a minimum the topics to be covered and/or expected student learning outcomes, number of credit hours, grading information, and scheduled meeting times. Departments may create their own forms or may choose to use the Independent Study Template forms below. Records of all syllabi/learning contracts should be maintained and stored in the department in electronic or printed form.

III. Definitions

  • Faculty – All persons who hold Professorial Rank (Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor) or a Special Faculty Appointment (Visiting Professor, Adjunct Professor, Instructor, Assistant Professor (Library), Assistant Professor (Military), Lecturer, Assistant Research Professor, or Artist-in-Residence).
  • Independent Study: A method of receiving credit for study or research independent of the assignments of any specific course, but supervised and graded by a faculty member.

IV. Procedure Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: July 24, 2013
  • Endorsed by Faculty Council: September 26, 2013
  • Revised: March 4, 2019 [Updated policy to include graduate students]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this policy referenced?
    The policy is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website.
  • Which students are covered under this procedure?
    This procedure applies to all students at UNC Charlotte.