Research and Directed Studies        

In addition to internship credit (COM 49000), the School offers students two other ways to pursue their interests in more depth:  research credit and directed studies.  Both are available for 1-3 hours (variable credit), both require faculty advisors, and the forms for both are available in the “instructions” sections below.


Research Credit (COM 48900)

The purpose of COM 48900 is to give students hands-on experience doing communication research.  By working with a faculty member on a research project, students will gain expertise in specific kinds of research, insight into whether or not they might be interested in graduate studies, and closer relationships with faculty that might result in mentoring and letters of recommendation.


Before registering for the course, a student must find a faculty member who has an active project in need of student assistance.  The faculty member, by signing the student into the course, agrees to supervise the student’s research and help the student gain research experience.  The learning agreement below must be signed by both student and faculty member and deposited with the director of undergraduate studies.

COM 489 Learning Agreement  


*The course can be taken for 1-3 credit hours.  For each credit hour, students are expected to work 3 hours per week during the regular spring/fall semester.  During the 8-week summer session, students are expected to work 6 hours per week in order to earn 1 credit hour. 

*Due to the pass/no pass structure, as long as students work the requisite number of hours, they will receive passing grades.

*The course can be repeated for credit an unlimited number of times.  Because it is a pass/no pass class, however, it cannot count toward major or minor requirements.  And only up to 3 total hours can count toward the 120 hours required for graduation as elective hours.  These 3 hours can be earned in a single semester (9 research hours per week) or over multiple semesters with fewer research hours per week.

*No research learning agreements will be accepted after 30 calendar days from the first day of the semester.

Directed Study (COM 49100)

Directed studies give students the chance to design their own classes.  With the help of their faculty advisors, students can investigate topics of interest that are not covered in regularly scheduled course offerings.  The directed study format allows students to gain expertise in a specialized subject, design assignments that best fit their learning styles, and work more closely with faculty than in a regular classroom setting.


Before registering for the course, a student must find a faculty member who is willing to advise the student on the chosen topic.  The student and faculty member will work together to develop a syllabus for the class based on the guidelines in the first document below, and then they will both complete and sign the second document below for submission to the undergraduate committee.  To be clear, a student wishing to take a directed study must turn in BOTH an application page AND a proposed syllabus/plan for the class that includes information about assignments and grading standards.  If the proposed plan sets clear expectations for both student and faculty, the undergraduate committee will approve it, and the student will receive a CRN to use in registering.

COM 491 Guidelines

COM 491 Application Page


*The course can be taken as pass/no pass OR for a grade.

*The course can be taken for 1-3 credit hours in spring, summer, or fall sessions.

*The course can be repeated for credit up to a total of 9 credit hours.  Note:  occasionally, special topics courses are sometimes offered under this number, in a normal classroom arrangement, in the regular schedule of classes.  These 49100 classes also count against the 9-hour maximum.

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