Each department provides opportunities for students to undertake individualized coursework. Tutorial studies follow an existing course, while four other options provide opportunities for students to pursue an individualized course of study at different levels: directed study, independent study, advanced research, and advanced creative study. Independent, directed, advanced research, or advanced creative study courses cannot be used to cover existing courses or projects more properly described as internships.
Each option requires students to invest at least 45 hours for each semester hour of credit and involves a contract between the student and faculty advisor regarding assignments and expectations for successful completion of the course. Written application forms are available in the Registrar’s Office and require the approval of the student’s faculty advisor, contract instructor, and department chair.
A combined maximum of 9 credits in directed study, independent study, advanced research, or advanced creative study may be used toward graduation requirements. A maximum of 3 credits of directed study may be used toward graduation requirements. Students may enroll in a combined maximum of 6 credits in independent study, advanced research, or advanced creative study in any one semester.
Tutorial study provides students with a special opportunity to take an existing formal course in the curricula that is not scheduled that semester or summer session, and that cannot be taken in another term without delaying a student’s graduation date. Students desiring a tutorial study must have an appropriate member of the faculty agree to supervise the study on a one-on-one basis.
The typical tutorial study involves readings, research, report writing, faculty conferences, and examinations. All tutorial study courses have the same course number as the existing formal catalog course.
Directed studies allow students to explore a specialized topic not covered by existing courses in the curriculum. No prior background in the topic is required, and students work under the direction of a faculty member. While no formal final product is required, students must demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension of the topic through appropriate assessments.
Directed studies may or may not count toward major or minor requirements, as determined by the department chair. All directed studies have a course number of 289.
Independent study provides an opportunity to undertake a program of supervised reading, research, or creative work not incorporated in existing formal courses. The independent study should build on students’ prior knowledge, improve competence in a major or related area of interest, and demonstrate application and analysis of learned material through completion of a formal document or creative work. A minimum GPA of 2.000 is required. All independent studies have a course number of 500.
Advanced Research or Advanced Creative Study
There are two options for advanced study: advanced research and advanced creative study. These advanced study options expand on the expectations of an independent study by requiring students to critically evaluate materials in their area of study and utilize that information as a foundation for synthesis. The goal of these studies is to produce an original work that must be submitted to the supervising academic department and presented to the LVC community. It is strongly encouraged that the work is shared beyond the College for presentation or publication.
Junior or senior standing and a minimum GPA of 2.000 is required; academic departments may set a higher GPA threshold and additional prerequisites. All advanced research courses are numbered 550 and advanced creative study courses are numbered 555.