VCU Honors College

Academics

Honors Independent Study

HONR 492

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credits. Maximum of 4 credits. Maximum total of 9 credits over all semesters. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing, and approval of Honors College dean and faculty mentor. Intensive study under supervision of a faculty member in an area not covered in depth or contained in the regular curriculum.

Independent study (HONR 492) provides an opportunity for honors students to learn more about a specific topic of interest that is not included among existing VCU course offerings. Study is conducted under the guidance of a VCU faculty mentor who assists the student in planning and implementing the course of study. The independent study topic should be selected in consultation with the student’s academic advisor to ensure that the proposed course of study is relevant to the student’s educational goals. The faculty mentor must agree to be available to the student throughout the duration of the course.

The number of independent study credit hours for a single HONR 492 course may range between 1 and 4 credits. The number of credits are determined by the student’s advisor and the dean of The Honors College. Any single independent study class may not exceed 4 credit hours. Honors students may not register for more than 8 total credits of HONR 492. Independent study credits may count toward graduation with University Honors.

Students must complete the Honors Independent Study Proposal form [PDF], have it signed by a faculty mentor and meet with his or her honors advisor to discuss the proposal prior to being registered for the course.

Any assignments required for the project must be submitted to a faculty mentor at least two weeks prior to the end of the semester. The structure of the assignments will depend on the type of project and must be determined in detail as part of the proposal process. The faculty mentor will assign the grade for the course based on the evaluation criteria stated in the independent study proposal. To obtain credit and a grade for your independent study, students must submit the outcome materials specified in your proposal to a faculty mentor. The faculty mentor will assign the final grade and communicate that grade to the honors dean via official VCU email, who serves as the instructor of record for all HONR 492 courses.

Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor prior to preparing the Honors Independent Study Proposal. Students are responsible for contacting and selecting a faculty mentor. The student will work with the mentor to prepare the proposal and obtain approval signatures. The student must then meet with his or her honors advisor who will review and, if satisfactory, submit the proposal for approval by the dean. The proposal must be approved and signed prior to the first day of classes for the given semester. Once approved, the student’s honors advisor will register the student for the course.

The faculty mentor is responsible for guiding the student in the study of the topic, meeting with the student to discuss progress, working with the student’s honors advisor to develop criteria for evaluating the student’s work, and communicating the grade for the course to the honors dean.