Individualized Learning

Independent Study

An independent study is a form of study initiated by the student for the purpose of expanding knowledge and/or skill in a particular area of interest. The work must be completed within the term of registration. Independent studies are not allowed for courses described in the catalog. Students cannot earn Writing Intensive credit by taking any course, Writing Intensive-designated or not, as an independent study. In proposing an independent study, students work with a faculty evaluator to develop a learning contract that specifies the content and objectives of the study as well as the requirements and procedures for evaluation. The amount of credit to be earned for the study also is included in the learning contract. An independent study may be taken for one to four credits and is graded S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) unless it fulfills a requirement for the student's major or minor.

Directed Study

Directed study is the individual study of a course that is offered at the University. The directed study must be approved by the instructor, department chair/program director/division, and academic dean. Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses. Negotiation of learning activities for the course is conducted between the instructor and student and primarily involves individual learning. CORE 1000W The Reflective Woman and CORE 3990W Global Search for Justice may not be taken as directed study.


Students interested in an internship must contact their program director or major department to determine program or major requirements for internships.

Internships must be added by the last day to add a full-term course.

If there are no requirements for internships in the program or major, faculty and the internship director will work with the student to create a quality internship experience:

  • Students must make arrangements for a faculty member to serve as an advisor, as the faculty advisor must approve the internship learning contract. The contract will include: selection of internship site, learning goals and timelines, strategies for achieving those goals, methods to be used to evaluate achievement, requirements of the site supervisor, and the appropriate credits for the internship.
  • The faculty advisor and student work with the internship director, who assists in generating possible sites, consults on learning goals and timelines, consults on strategies for achieving those goals, assists to clarify the relationship with the site supervisor, answers questions, and provides training in resume preparation and interviewing.
  • The chair or program director of the department giving credit for the internship must approve the completed internship learning contract.


Undergraduate research provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and further develop critical-thinking skills through collaboration with an advisor (a St. Catherine faculty member or a researcher at an off-campus site) on a scholarly project. Such projects, often arranged to take place either during the summer or in January, introduce students to scholarship as it is practiced in the discipline and anticipate and help prepare them for graduate study and an academic career. Students may arrange to earn credit for the research.

Opportunities for students to become involved in undergraduate research are made possible through both University-wide and individual departmental programs. Students interested in pursuing a research project should contact a faculty member or their major department chair. The registration form for arranging academic credit for research is available in the Office of the Registrar website.