Directed individual study

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Directed Individual Study or DIS is a college, university or college preparatory school[1] level class providing a more in-depth and comprehensive study of a specific topic than is available in the classroom.

Courses may be taken as electives. In some cases, a Directed Individual Study may be:

  • A professor-student rendition of a course that will not be offered again before a student graduates
  • The college or university department does not have an established course on the subject area
  • The student wishes to research an available course in more depth
  • A course offered at another college or university that is not a part of the general curriculum.
  • Courses that may be applied to satisfy the requirements for a Master's degree


In general, a student should have or may have to acquire:

  • An earned overall GPA of 3.0 (B) or better
  • An earned 90 hours toward graduation
  • Have registered for a course load of no more than 15 semester hours
  • The advance approval of the department head of the department offering the course, and the instructor
  • Follow an approved course of study of prerequisite or courses


A student identifies an area in which he or she wishes to undertake research and approaches a faculty member with expertise in that field to request a Directed Individual Study.

The student and instructor complete DIS Form and submit it to the Academic Coordinator who establishes the course in the registration system. The student often titles his/her own subject area.

The content and requirements of the course are worked out between each instructor and student. Generally, students should not expect a faculty member to agree to a Directed Individual Study unless they have had the student in a regular class and are familiar with that student. The faculty member develops a related syllabus, for review and approval by the department chair and in some cases the Dean (education) of the college.