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Independent Study


Interested in doing communication research or working on creative projects?

Consider COM 3980 (Independent Study in Communication). This course is designed to afford exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on original research projects or special creative projects in the area of communication. Generally, the course is a three hour credit. Enrollment requires the consent of the Director of the School and the faculty member with whom you would like to work.

Who should consider taking an Independent Study?

Outstanding Communication majors or minors with junior or senior-level status who have taken and performed well in COM 2010 (Communication Inquiry) are welcome to apply for permission to take COM 3980 with Dr. Edwards. The Independent Study experience is especially beneficial for undergraduate students who are considering pursuing an advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D.) in Communication or a closely-allied field or for those who anticipate conducting research as part of their chosen occupation.

What are the benefits of an Independent Study?

An Independent Study allows you to work closely with a faculty member and to gain hands-on practical experience in aspects of the research process, including

  • extensive library research
  • collecting, analyzing and reporting data
  • conducting interviews, focus groups and experiments
  • administering surveys

Or on aspects of creative projects, including

  • instructional videos or other film projects
  • designing print or web materials
  • working on communication training workshops

Many of these skills are highly valued by graduate programs and in the workplace. Moreover, doing research or creative projects with a faculty member allows you the opportunity to build a great working relationship that could result in further opportunities and a letter of recommendation.

What does taking an Independent Study with Dr. Edwards entail?

A three credit-hour Independent Study translates to up to nine hours of work per week. You will spend part of this time (usually 3 hours) performing tasks in the Research Lab (314 Sprau Tower). The remainder of the work for each week will be completed on your own time on- or off-campus. In a given semester, Dr. Edwards is generally involved with 2-3 ongoing research or creative projects that you may be invited to work on. For a description of ongoing projects, click here.