Independent Study Guide

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    Most Subjects offer an Independent Study module (number UXXX88) as an advanced one-semester single module, acceptable to the sponsoring Subject and available in any semester.


    The Independent Study module widens the opportunities for swift response to student and staff interests, for inclusion within the course of syllabus material which could not economically be sustained as a formal module, and for students to undertake work within the programme (in addition to a Project or Dissertation) which is substantially self-directed. It is also in harmony with current credit accumulation and transfer developments.


    The module involves individual or group work in an appropriate topic or set topics, conducted under supervision and with the prior approval of the Subject Committee.

    Examples (not intended to be exclusive) are:

    • A work experience
    • Laboratory, studio or library research work
    • Investigation with a tutor of a topic, or series of topics, that cannot be supported (for economic or other reasons) as a normally-designated module
    • A specialised seminar series
    • Work of a type not normally undertaken in a Project or Dissertation module.


    The student must register for the module and complete Form M88: Registration for an Independent Study Module (Moodle) which is available from Student Central before commencing the module.

    A proposed specification of what is to be undertaken in the module, any prerequisites or co-requisites, and the method of assessment (Form M88) must be agreed by the student and supervising tutor, preferably early in the semester prior to that in which the module is to be taken, and usually by Week 10 at the latest.

    The specification must be approved by the Subject Committee and the student given a completed copy of form M88, confirming acceptability of the proposed study, by the end of the semester before the semester in which the study is undertaken. The completed form must be submitted by the student to Student Central.  The form M88 is a sort of contract between the Subject and the student and so must be completed precisely.

    The student may withdraw from an Independent Study module up to the end of Week 2 of the semester in which the module is taken. Deletion after this deadline is not permitted.

    The Supervising Tutor is responsible for:

    • Supplying the module leader with the draft Form M88 for presentation to the External Examiner and Subject Committee.
    • Consultation with the Library and other resource centres on the availability of material required.
    • Returning a copy of the completed Form M88 to all participating students before the end of the semester before the semester in which the study is undertaken.
    • Supervising and assessing the study.

    Note: This leaves a wide range of discretion to individual tutors, subjects and subject areas to identify, advertise and negotiate particular areas of study, as well as to respond to student initiatives. There may be different supervising tutors in any semester for different specifications.

    The Module Leaderis responsible for:

    • Ensuring the necessary resources are available, in consultation with the Dean of Faculty.
    • Presenting the proposed specification to the Subjects Committee for its approval.
    • Confirming that the assessment has been carried out as agreed.
    • Completing the marksheet which will be generated for all students taking an Independent Study module acceptable to the Subjects in any semester in which students are registered; the un-moderated marks should be input online via Student Information by Thursday of Week 15 of the relevant semester.

    Note: Subject Committees may wish to give module leaders additional wider responsibility for encouragement and co-ordination of Independent Study within the Subject. It will be apparent that Subjects cannot and do not guarantee to be able to meet the requirements of all specifications proposed by students.


    There is no fixed formula for assessment, other than the following requirements:

    • The method must be established in advance, and recorded on the approved module specification.
    • The method must be agreed by the Subject concerned, as commensurate with the requirements of other single modules offered by the Subject.
    • The assessed work must be completed by the date agreed on the M88 and certainly by the middle of Week 12 of the semester in which the study is undertaken.

    Examples (not exclusive) are:

    • a diary, workbook, report or evaluative summary;
    • a series of essays, reviews, or experimental results with commentary;
    • an exhibition;
    •  a performance, with commentary
    •  an examination.