Individualized Studies at the University of Washington - College of Arts and Sciences

Individualized Studies - The Senior Study

The Senior Study (INDIV 493) is a five-credit independent study project required of all Individualized Studies majors. It is the culminating project of the Individualized Studies program. As such, it is intended to provide an opportunity to investigate in depth, and with a reasonable amount of creative and original thought, a topic relevant to your Individualized Studies major.

Most Senior Studies are presented as lengthy term papers; however, when your major includes creative skills best demonstrated in a medium other than writing, your study may be expressed in that medium. You can use any format appropriate to your project, such as a case study, an editorial project, or a major creative work. For example, a student interested in children's literature and drama might wish to stage a production for children, or someone completing a major in computer documentation might produce a manual.

The senior study cannot be an internship. Some students have completed internships as a foundation or springboard for their senior studies, and this is encouraged. However, the senior study itself must be an original paper or project, not merely a report of "what I did on my internship."

The Senior Study is a substantial piece of work; remember, you are earning five credits for only one project. If you do a traditional research paper, the length should be around 35 double-spaced pages, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Research papers must include a bibliography. If your study is not a paper, you must submit a written summary outlining the purpose and content of your study, the problems encountered, and the solutions developed in the process of completing it. You should also submit any written material you have developed in the process of completing your study, such as a storyboard or a script.

Faculty Sponsorship

Although the Senior Study is to be the product of your own effort and skill, some supervision and guidance are essential. You must enlist as a sponsor a member of the faculty familiar with the field in which you are working. This sponsor will often be one of the two faculty members who originally agreed to sponsor your Individualized Studies major.

You will probably find it easier to enlist a sponsor if you approach him or her with one or more tentative project ideas. You and your faculty sponsor will together decide the topic and format of your senior study. You must select a topic that can be developed in depth; the five-credit senior study should represent an average of 15 hours of work per week for the quarter. You must also agree on the number of conferences required and how they will be spaced throughout the quarter. For example, your sponsor may feel that weekly conferences are in order, or you may both prefer a more informal arrangement allowing you to stop in whenever you feel you need help.

Print a copy of Individualized Studies 493: Information for Faculty Sponsors for your faculty sponsor. It answers questions frequently asked by sponsors.

Please remember that it is not the obligation of your sponsor to act as proofreader, to instruct you in the mechanics of composition, or to be responsible for your deadlines.

Submitting Your Proposal

After thinking about your study and talking with your faculty sponsor, you will be required to submit a INDIV 493 Proposal form outlining what you are planning to do for your Senior Study. Your statement should include a tentative title and a brief discussion of your topic and your objectives. If you are planning a study that will vary significantly from a more traditional research paper, please make sure that this is clearly indicated.

It sometimes happens that during the course of your study you find that your original ideas, as expressed in your statement, have changed. You must discuss any changes with your sponsor and with your Individualized Studies adviser, who may require that you submit a new senior study proposal.

Registration in INDIV 493

The INDIV 493 proposal must be signed by you and your faculty sponsor, and then turned in at the front desk in 141 Mary Gates Hall. Your proposal will be considered for final approval by Individualized Studies, and if it is approved you will then be registered for the credits.

You are encouraged to turn in your signed INDIV 493 proposal well in advance of the quarter beginning, but INDIV 493 is like other courses in that it can be added during the 1st week of the quarter for no additional fee, and can be added during weeks 2 and 3 for a $20 change of registration fee.

When your study is complete, turn it in to your faculty sponsor to be graded. A minimum grade of 2.7 is required in the senior project.

Grading

Your sponsor must submit a grade and a written evaluation of your study to the Individualized Studies Office by the end of finals week. To give your sponsor enough time to review your project, you should hand it in by the last day of instruction (or earlier, if your sponsor wishes). If you submit your project late your graduation may be delayed. If it is necessary to ask for an Incomplete, you should discuss this matter with both your sponsor and your Individualized Studies adviser.

The Individualized Studies office will mail a form requesting a grade to your sponsor late in the quarter. Your sponsor will grade your senior study and then return the project and the form, with comments, to the Individualized Studies office. We will also review your project and then submit your grade to the Registrar. You may pick up your project at 141 Mary Gates Hall; it will be kept for one year.

Final acceptance is based primarily on the grade and evaluation submitted by your faculty sponsor. If your initial grade is below 2.7, you must meet with your faculty sponsor to discuss the weaknesses in your project, then rewrite and resubmit the project for regrading. You must achieve at least a 2.7 grade to graduate.

Since the Senior Study is your concluding effort as a Individualized Studies major, Individualized Studies also reserves the right to reject or demand modifications in your completed study before allowing you to graduate.