The Student Independent Study at USM is available to junior or senior-level students and affords them opportunities to pursue otherwise unavailable advanced work in their major or minor. Student independent study also affords students exposure to advanced study for graduate school.
The USM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHS) defines the Independent Study as follows:
"a contractual agreement between a student and a professor intended to extend learning beyond courses already in the curriculum. An Independent Study shall function as a for-credit course of instruction in which the student takes the initiative for learning in a format approved by the instructor." (Definition retrieved from http://www.usm.maine.edu/cahs/independent-study-proposal.)
The USM Department of Economics Independent Study described in the USM undergraduate catalog is:
ECO 490 Independent Readings and Research in Economics
Independent study and research of various student‐selected areas of economics.
Prerequisites: ECO 101 or ECO 102 or permission of faculty sponsor, junior or senior-level standing, a completed independent study form and sponsorship by an economics faculty member. May be taken more than once. Cr 1–12.
The general USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Proposal and Approval process is outlined below:
- The student would initiate the USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Proposal Approval process by identifying and consulting with a full-time regular USM ECO faculty member who may be willing to supervise the ECO 490 Independent Study.
Ordinarily, the student would seek a faculty supervisor who has special expertise in the student's proposed area of study. ECO faculty may or may not agree to supervise an ECO 490 Independent Study, at their sole discretion.
- After the student identifies an ECO faculty member interested in supervising the ECO 490 Independent Study, the student would then submit an academic proposal for the ECO 490 Independent Study addressing each of the five topics identified in the USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Approval Form.
The requirements for designing an academic proposal for the ECO 490 Independent Study project are outlined on the USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Approval Form.
To receive CAHS approval for the student to register for the ECO 490 Independent Study, the typed student proposal for the ECO 490 Independent Study must address each of the five topics outlined on the USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Approval Form and should delineate important theoretical questions that the student seeks to examine, explain how the student readings and research will illuminate these questions, describe the final ECO 490 Independent Study product, and indicate the number of ECO 490 course credits (i.e., 1–12) the student plans to earn for successful completion of the ECO 490 Independent Study.
If, upon review of the ECO 490 Independent Study Proposal the ECO faculty supervisor is satisfied that the student can successfully complete the readings and research, and also believes that the student has proposed a viable study, the ECO faculty member may agree to supervise the ECO 490 Independent Study and approve the proposal.
- The USM CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Approval Form must be approved (signed) by all of the following:
After the completion of steps 1–3 above, the CAHS-approved ECO 490 Independent Study proposal will be forwarded to the USM Registrar's Office to enroll the student for credit in ECO 490. This final part of the CAHS Independent Study Approval process may require at least a few days to complete—that is, after the completion of steps 1–3, above. It is the student's responsibility to follow up on this final part of the CAHS ECO 490 Independent Study Approval process by checking their Student Center in MaineStreet to ensure that they are actually enrolled in ECO 490 for the appropriate number of credits.