COMM 4999 Independent Study in Communication

The Department of Communication understands the meaningful work and knowledge that can be obtained by both professor and student during the course of an Independent Study (IS). However, there are University bylaws (as stated in the catalog) that must be followed when deciding, creating and putting an IS into action.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Independent Studies are noted on a student’s transcript as COMM 4999. Per the “Academic Regulations” section of the University catalog, courses numbered at “4000-4999” are considered to be “advanced undergraduate courses primarily intended for seniors.” Because of this, the COMM Advising office recommends that students be either a second semester Junior or a Senior if they decide to pursue an IS.
  • The instructor and the student shall agree on the number of credits the student may earn. Each course credit requires at least 42 hours of work per term. (See Credit Conversion Chart below.)
  • Students wishing to study a subject independently, for credit, must find an instructor to supervise the project. The instructor and the student then agree on the number of credits the student may earn. Once the form is received (including the syllabus), information will be confirmed with the Supervisor and the COMM Advising Office will process the request with the Registrar’s Office.
    • Faculty should work with the IS student to create a syllabus. The syllabus should specify what will be taught, how it will be taught, how learning will be assessed, and how grades will be assigned.
  • If the number of credits for your IS will cause you to exceed your term limits, you will need to complete an “Excess Credit Request” form through the ASC:
  • Without special permission, a student may not register for more than 6 credits of Independent Study coursework each semester. The 6 credits include credits coming from one course or a combination of courses.


  • Please fill out this form prior to the start of the 4th week of courses:

    Independent Study

    Step 1 of 2

    • Student's can complete an Independent Study for between 1 - 6 credits. Remember each course credit requires 42 hours of work, per term. For example, 3 credits of COMM 4992 means that 126 hours of work must be completed.
    • This is what will appear as your "course title" on your transcript.

Credit Conversion Chart

Each course credit requires at least 42 hours of work per term (3 hours of work per week during fall or spring semesters). Use the chart below to determine the number of hours of work per week required based on the number of credits desired and the length of the term. This chart serves only as a guideline, as credit approval is left to the discretion of the instructor.

Credits Hours per Week Hours per Term
14-Week Term
Fall & Spring
13-Week Term
Summer 3
5-Week Term
Summer 1 & 2
3-Week Term
Winter & May
1 3 3 8 14 42
2 6 6.5 17 28 84
3 9 9.5 25 42 126
4 12 13 34 168
5 15 16 42 210
6 18 19.5 252