College of Communication > Academics > Graduate Programs > Independent Study & Experiential Learning

Independent Study and Experiential Learning Policy

​Graduate students in the College of Communication are permitted to take a maximum of 8 credits worth of independent study/experiential learning courses. These courses include:

  • CMN 591 Internship
  • CMN 592 Independent Study
  • CMN 593 Research Practicum
  • JOUR 517 Experiential Learning in Journalism

Independent Study

Independent study is an opportunity for high-achieving students with substantial training in a communication subspecialty to individually shape a course of study with a faculty expert. An independent study is not a substitute for regular curricular offerings, a way around requirements or a schedule alternative for students unwilling to accommodate the timetable of a needed course. Independent study is an avenue for continued learning if a student possesses the initiative and discipline to structure and pursue a course of study on fairly independent terms.

If you are interested in conducting an independent study, please consult with your program director before proceeding.

  • Student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in their graduate coursework.
  • Student must have completed a minimum of six courses in their graduate program.
  • Student must obtain a faculty sponsor who is willing to serve as a resource person and evaluator in accordance with proposal guidelines. Please note that only full-time faculty are eligible to serve as independent study mentors.
  • Student must manifest the characteristics of initiative, discipline, independence and persistence that makes successful accomplishment of the independent study seem likely.
  • Student must meet deadlines, keep appointments, complete assignments/projects as agreed in the proposal. Substantial abbreviation of the timetable, which results in superficial study, will be unacceptable and cause for appropriate action by the faculty advisor. The student agrees to work independently, thus it is not the faculty member’s responsibility to follow-up with the student to receive timely work.

Research Practicum

The research practicum is an opportunity for high-achieving students with substantial training in a communication subspecialty to connect with a faculty expert. Students will train in a specialized communication research method and/or achieve hands-on practice in conducting scholarly research.

The research practicum may take various forms. For example, the student may become part of an ongoing research project led by the faculty member, and the research practicum would provide an opportunity for the student to apply previously studied research methods to the research project. Typical activities include data gathering, data analysis, interpretation of results, and writing research reports.

If the student wants to learn about a particular research method practiced by the faculty expert but not available in a regular graduate course offering, then the research practicum could be a course of study focusing on specialized research method(s) with agreed upon readings and assignments.

  • Student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in their graduate coursework.
  • Student must have completed a minimum of six courses in their graduate program.
  • Student must obtain a faculty sponsor who is willing to serve as a resource person and evaluator in accordance with proposal guidelines. Please note that only full-time faculty are eligible to serve as research practicum mentors.
  • Student must manifest the characteristics of initiative, discipline, independence and persistence that makes successful accomplishment of the research practicum seem likely.
  • Student must meet deadlines, keep appointments, complete assignments/projects as agreed in the proposal. Substantial abbreviation of the timetable, which results in superficial study, will be unacceptable and cause for appropriate action by the faculty advisor. While working in conjunction with the faculty expert, the student agrees to the independent nature of the research practicum, thus it is not the faculty member’s responsibility to follow-up with the student to receive timely work.