Independent Study Guidelines


COMM 6020 Communication Research Practicum

COMM 9500 - Independent Study in Communication

With both the thesis and the non-thesis degree plans, three credits of COMM 9500 Independent Study and three credits of COMM 6020 Communication Research Practicum may be applied to the degree requirements as electives.  With the approval of the Graduate Director, a graduate student also may choose to take two 9500 courses OR two 6020 courses, rather than one of each. 

The primary purpose of these two courses is to support graduate students, as they develop a personalized program of study to foster their own learning objectives and career goals for the M.A. degree.  To accomplish the graduate students' goals, one or two of these courses may prove useful as their electives.

  • COMM 6020, Communication Research Practicum, is a project-based graduate course designed to involve students in communication research and/or creative work from the proposal stage through conference presentation, publication/production. Prerequisites: COMM 5010 and 5020 and/or instructor consent.
  • COMM 9500, Independent Study in Communication, is an individually developed and implemented project in communication. A student desiring independent study credit must present to the faculty a well-defined topic for the project. Prerequisites: Graduate status.

These two courses differ from one another in that COMM 6020 is primarily research-driven, including a major research component or a research study of the graduate student's choosing or developed in collaboration with a graduate faculty member. COMM 9500 typically focuses on teaching and pedagogy, or service, though it may involve some research. Topics for 6020 or 9500 may be initiated by a faculty member or by the graduate student. 

COMM 6020 and 9500 both allow students an opportunity to explore educational opportunities outside the traditional classroom environment.  They are not available as a substitute for core course requirements. Students may enroll for a research practicum or an independent study only after permission has been obtained from a Communication faculty member.  The sponsoring faculty member provides the student with a permission number in order to register for either of the two courses. Learning objectives for 6020 or 9500 and a plan for their accomplishment are developed and agreed upon by the graduate student and supervising faculty member; the grade is determined by the faculty member.