Independent Study is designed to provide credit for field research, academic study not available in regular course work, or practice or performance in the arts. It is not suitable for group instruction, paid work, or activities outside the competence or concern of one of Harvard’s departments. Students doing Independent Study work closely with a qualified adviser (ordinarily a voting member of the Harvard Faculty) who must be an officer of the University, and whose professional competence is appropriate for the subject area of the Independent Study. The faculty adviser assists them in developing a plan for their Independent Study and provides them guidance but not regular instruction.
Any sophomore, junior, or senior whose previous record is satisfactory may petition to undertake Independent Study for non-letter-graded credit (independent studies are graded pass/fail). You may petition to take up to a maximum of 16 credits of Independent Study. Independent Study courses are subject to the same rules for dropping and withdrawing as any other course.
Independent Study does not count toward General Education requirements and does not normally count toward concentration or secondary field requirements.
If you are interested in pursuing Independent Study, review the complete guidelines and consult with your advisers.