Directed Study Course Guidelines

For Advanced Study

Directed Study courses enable students to pursue advanced study with a Full-Time faculty member in a specialized area, and to conduct an in-depth examination of a topic that is not offered in courses scheduled for that semester or as part of their degree program.  When a student is interested in advanced study beyond what is covered in the department/program’s existing curriculum, they can work with a full-time faculty member to develop a specialized course and syllabus. The Directed Study syllabus will include assignments that require the student to engage in substantive reading/research, with the objective of producing a culminating project, artifact, or scholarly work. Note: Directed Study courses are not a mechanism for trying out a new course; the Special Topics course is more appropriate for this.

For Course Substitution

In special circumstances, students may need a Directed Study course in order to Stay on Track toward their degree requirements, for instance due to unexpected course cancellations.  In these cases, the syllabus content may mirror the standard course they are intended to replace, though typically with a revised balance between seat time ("instructional hours") and independent study hours.  The Department Chair or Program Director will be responsible for processing the course substitution once the grade has been recorded.  Adjunct faculty may be appointed for Directed Study course substitutions, at the discretion of the Dean.

Requirements and Procedures

Directed Study courses must be approved by the faculty member who is offering the Directed Study, the student’s faculty advisor or Department Chair/Program Director, the Area Associate Dean, and the Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Services in CASA. The Directed Study registration form must be completed and returned to CASA.  Once approved, CASA then registers the student for the course.  Faculty and students are encouraged to reach out to their Associate Dean to secure initial approval before embarking on the process of syllabus creation. 

Like all courses, Directed Study courses must have a syllabus following the College of Arts and Sciences syllabus guidelines.  The USF Credit Hour Policy applies as well, and each Syllabus should have a clear statement regarding how the course expectations meet the credit hour minimums: a minimum of 45 hours of student work is expected for each unit of credit (=180 hours for a 4-unit Directed Study).

As per the USFFA Collective Bargaining Agreement (see 17.9.8), Full-Time faculty are not compensated for Directed Study courses during the academic year (Fall, Intersession, and Spring terms). They are compensated during summer sessions at the adjunct faculty PHP rate.  Adjunct faculty are compensated for Directed Studies at all times, using the rate (PHP2, PHP, or non-PHP) appropriate to their rank and as stated in the PT-CBA (see article 18.9.1).