Independent study allows students an opportunity to build learning skills indispensable to the workplace and to personal, lifelong development of the mind. Independent study opportunities fall into two categories: faculty-designed, which are designed by faculty and listed in the Class Schedule, and which either parallel classroom courses or cover more specialized subjects; and student-designed, which allow students, with the help of a faculty member who serves as a guide and evaluator, to pursue a unique interest or project. Some independent studies are offered over the Internet.

  • Faculty-designed independent studies often parallel traditional courses, but do not have traditional attendance requirements.
  • Student-designed independent studies are initiated by students and developed in collaboration with a faculty member.

Faculty-designed independent studies (FDIS) are, as the name suggests, put together by Metropolitan State faculty members and are available in almost every area of the curriculum. Although faculty have designed these independent studies with specific learning objectives in mind, students can negotiate individual learning objectives and fine-tune other aspects of the independent study to meet their individual needs.

Faculty-designed independent studies either parallel classroom courses (such as writing, American history, counseling theories) or cover subjects that are more specialized, more topical in nature and not easily offered in a class. Independent study students work primarily on their own, communicating with instructors by phone and through the mail.Faculty-designed independent studies are listed in the Catalog and in each Class Schedule. 

Faculty Designed Independent Study Deadlines (FDIS): FDISs for Spring, Summer and Fall must be completed by the end of the semester for which it is registered. If you choose to register after the start of the semester for an independent study, you will have a shorter amount of time to complete. Grades are now due at the end of the semester.

Student-designed independent studies (SDIS) give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful for because it allows students:

  • to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level;
  • to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study;
  • to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study;
  • to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or
  • to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence.

Getting Credit for What You Know is a one-credit course that introduces students to the different forms of experiential and student directed learning.