The International Studies Program offers students the opportunity to earn major credit for independent work with a University of Iowa faculty member. Independent projects must be approved by the International Studies Program prior to student registration.

For a full list of CLAS policies on independent study, visit the college's Undergraduate Independent Study Policies page. This website contains the Independent Study Contract which must be signed by both student and instructor.


  • Students must submit a Project Proposal (see below) and the Independent Study Registration Preapproval Form prior to registration.
  • Students must be in academic good standing to register for IS:3990 - Independent Study in International Studies.
  • If students wish for IS:3990 - Independent Study in International Studies to satisfy any part of their international studies major requirements, prior approval must be granted by the International Studies Program academic advisor.
  • Students may earn no more than 3 s.h. for each enrollment in IS:3990, with a maximum of 9 s.h. for all registration in IS:3990.

Project Proposal

Students must attach a project proposal to the registration preapproval form. The proposal must be typed and must include:

  • a one-page description of the project, including:
    • the dates and location of your work,
    • a specific research question,
    • a brief narrative,
    • the final form of the project (research paper, poster presentation, multi-media project, etc),
    • the grading criteria to be used by your faculty supervisor (i.e. 40% methodology, 20% style, etc.), and;
  • a rationale for the number of semester hours requested for the project;
  • a timeline for the project, including (but not limited to):
    • a plan for a preliminary literature review,
    • how often and by what method you will consult with your faculty mentor throughout the project,
    • target completion dates for the first and second drafts of your project, if applicable, and
    • a final completion date;
  • a reading list, in a recognized bibliography format, including at least ten works consulted in your preliminary planning and identification of a research question;
  • if you intend to complete your independent study while off campus you must include:
    • information regarding your overseas contacts and resources;
    • your plan for ongoing communication with your faculty mentor;
    • an explanation as to what preliminary work you intend to pursue before departure; and
  • proof that an application has been submitted to the Human Subjects Office, if necessary (see the Registration Preapproval form).

NOTE:  Any research which involves "human subjects" must be reviewed by the University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to the initiation of the project.  Proof of the determination/review process must also be submitted to the International Studies Program before the international experience proposal can be approved. Read a summary of the IRB process on the International Programs website.  For all questions contact the IRB at (319) 335-6465; or complete the IRB Determination Form to find out if your research meets the definition of human subjects research.