Independent Study

An Independent Study is a course in which the student learns and demonstrates understanding of course content, with limited instructor oversight. Independent studies are primarily intended as an opportunity for students to study a topic not covered in an existing course in the University Catalog.

An independent study version of a course that exists in the University Catalog should be created only when a needed class (such as a prerequisite course) is not available during a particular quarter, or when a student cannot otherwise accommodate a required class in their schedule prior to graduation. Students may not attend a class currently being offered and use that as part of their Independent Study Agreement.

Only matriculated students at Seattle Pacific University may register for independent studies.

Registering for an Independent Study

To register for an independent study, students should work with their supervising instructor to complete the Independent Study Agreement form, available from the Office of the Registrar.

Students should submit their signed Independent Study Agreement form to the Office of the Registrar no later than the 10th day of the quarter.* The student’s supervising instructor and the instructor’s department chair or dean may sign the form or submit their approval via SPU email to

The Office of the Registrar will create the course as noted on the agreement. A confirmation of registration, along with a copy of the agreement, will be emailed to the student and the supervising instructor.

*See the University Academic Calendar for specific dates.

Completion and Grading of an Independent Study

The student and supervising instructor should meet on a regular basis, according to the number of consultations noted in the agreement. Work for the independent study should take place outside of a classroom setting.

Students will be assessed using Normal Grading (letter grades, A–E) unless another grade mode is mutually agreed upon with their supervising instructor and listed on the Independent Study Agreement. Grades for independent studies will be released at the same time as grades for all other courses, as noted in the University Academic Calendar.

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