Independent/Directed Study

Both Independent and Directed Study courses are a privilege extended to the matriculated student who has demonstrated his/her ability in regular academic work and has merited the special consideration of working independently with a faculty sponsor. Students are expected to do the work with much less supervision than is customary for a standard course.

Independent Study is a planned, educational process which is available to the student who wishes to broaden his/her educational experience beyond normal course structure and classroom and/or laboratory activity. Independent Study is intended to be an offshoot of an existing course. It provides the student with an opportunity to pursue/research a subject in more depth and in a more independent manner than would be possible in a traditional course. Independent Study does not apply to past life/work experiences for satisfactory completion of proficiency or challenge examinations.

Directed Study constitutes an alternate delivery of a course to be used in the student’s program of study when a particular course is not offered in the semester he/she wishes to take it. The material covered in a Directed Study course is essentially the same as that covered in the traditional course.


Only students who meet the entrance requirements of SUNY Canton and who are matriculated are eligible for Independent Study and/or Directed Study. In addition, the following requirements must also be met by the candidates.

The candidate must:

  1. Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.00 (based on a minimum of six credits) for a Directed Study or at least a 2.50 cumulative GPA for an Independent Study, or obtain special approval from the faculty sponsor, Department Chairperson, and School Dean.
  2. Not presently be involved in an Independent Study project.
  3. Obtain approval of a faculty sponsor, Department Chairperson, and School Dean.

Credit Granted for Independent/Directed Study

No candidate will be granted more than 8 credits toward an Associate degree program, or 16 credits toward a Bachelor’s degree program, through Independent Study and/or Directed Study at SUNY Canton. Normally, an Independent Study project will carry 3 credits. However, the actual credit apportionment for a given project will be jointly determined by the student and those approving the project so that it accurately reflects the amount of work and time involved. A credit hour represents a minimum of 45 hours of academic work. Credit for Independent Study may be obtained during any semester; however, special approval is necessary for enrollment in Independent Study during the first semester at SUNY Canton.

The credits assigned for a Directed Study course will be set equal to the credit value of the traditional course.

No more than one Directed Study or Independent Study course per semester or summer session is permitted unless approved by the School Dean.

Independent Study projects will generally be applied as elective credit or as extra credit projects over and above the normal course requirements. Independent Study will not be used for replacement of parallel established courses offered by the College. However, in special cases, Independent Study may be substituted for specific course requirements, if approved by the Department Chairperson and School Dean of the student’s major.

Grading Procedure for Independent/Directed Study

The grade issued for Independent Study projects will be in agreement with the College’s grading system and will be assigned credit hours and quality accordingly. An Independent Study project must result in tangible evidence and, where feasible, the final study or project will be filed with the School Dean’s Office responsible for the study.

Directed Study courses will be graded according to the grading policy set in place by the course syllabus and will follow the guidelines set up in the course description that is on file with the School Dean’s Office.

Cost for Independent/Directed Study

The Independent or Directed Study course credit hours must be included in the normal semester load and charges will be assessed in the same manner as for regular courses.

Registration for Independent/Directed Study

Independent and Directed Study courses cannot be registered for online. An application for an Independent or Directed Study can be obtained from the School Dean’s Office. The completed form must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office for processing. If you are ineligible for this option, or if the application or outline has missing information, then the application will be returned to the appropriate department either as a denied request or with a request for the missing information.

It is strongly suggested that the procedures as outlined above be completed prior to the registration period but no later than eight class days after the start of the semester in which the student anticipates beginning his/her Independent or Directed Study course. Special circumstances will be considered by the School Dean.