There are two levels of independent studies available for STSC majors.

All independent studies, whether at the 299-level or the capstone level, must engage most of the goals of the STSC major and be consistent with the curriculum.  Students may do one independent study as part of their major.

  • read scientific and historical texts critically, and assess their social, cultural, and political origins and ramifications;
  • identify the social determinants of science and technology in a variety of historical and contemporary contexts;
  • analyze the interplay of factors that have resulted in particular scientific and technological outcomes and policies;
  • pursue in-depth research projects using published sources, archival material, and technical and experimental data;
  • analyze data using both quantitative and qualitative methods.


1. STSC 299 - Independent Study
     This must be the equivalent in terms of work load of any middle-level course offered in the regular curriculum (approximately 42 hours of class time, plus reading and research)

  • 100-150 pages of reading per week average for the term
  • A minimum of two (2) short papers totaling 15-30 pages of writing (We do not recommend a single research or term paper.)
  • A schedule of regular assignments and meetings with supervisor throughout the term (every one-three weeks)
  • Topic
  • Work is graded by the adviser to the independent study but may be reviewed by the STSC Chair and Associate Director.
  • If a student wishes to use STSC 299 as a department elective, then the independent study must be supervised by a department faculty person.

STSC 299 Application.docx

2. STSC 499 - Capstone Independent Study
     This can ONLY be used to fulfill the capstone research requirement.

  • 150 pages of reading and research per week average for the term
  • One short midterm paper
  •  20+-page original research paper (that involves gathering and analyzing data and primary material, not a synthetic secondary source term paper)
  • Regular meetings with supervisor (at least every three weeks)
  • Assume 42 hours of class time equivalency plus reading and research time.
  • Work is graded by the adviser to the independent study but may be reviewed by the STSC Chair and Associate Director.

NOTE: Regarding internships and independent studies, according to College policy, an internship may not be used as an independent study. However, an internship may be used as fieldwork to collect research that may be used later as a part of a separate independent study.)

STSC 499 Application.docx

How to do an independent study in STSC

  • Develop a plan (the plan for an independent study is the equivalent of a course syllabus spelling out readings, written work and supervisor meetings) in conjunction with a supervisor
  • Download the independent study application for 299 or 499
  • Submit your application to the Associate Director within a week of the beginning of the term

  • If your application is approved, the Associate Director will get you registered for the independent study (either STSC 299 or STSC 499)
  • The application for any independent study is due no later than the end of the first week of classes ( the due date for Spring 2021 is Jan. 27th)