WGST 4900: Independent Study in Women's and Gender Studies


Catalog Description:

WGST 4900 Independent Study. Three credits. A variable content course examining a topic within the study of women or gender not covered in depth in other Women's and Gender Studies courses. Student develops project, conducts research, and confers regularly with the instructor. Student must submit a formal project proposal to be approved by the Women's and Gender Studies Program's Independent Studies Committee at least one semester prior to enrolling for WGST 4900. Not offered during Summer terms. Prerequisite: Permission of director. May be taken for credit no more than twice.

Enrollment Information:

Students initiate enrollment by deciding upon a specific project, completing a formal proposal, and finding an assisting instructor. Details about this process follow.

Project: Know what you want to do. Aim for as precise a subject as possible, from field of study to specific topic/issue to focus of research paper or other final course product. Remember that you earn three hours of credit, so be sure the project is worthy of it. The more you know about your project, the more likely you will be to interest a faculty member in working with you, to create a satisfactory proposal, and to complete the course successfully. As noted in the course description above, keep in mind that one primary purpose for the Independent Study is to address areas not covered in depth in other available courses.

Proposal: Must be completed by student (in conjunction with assisting instructor and/or director of Women's and Gender Studies) then approved by the Women's and Gender Studies Independent Studies Committee (or its delegates) at least one semester prior to enrollment. No proposals can be submitted or approved during Summer term. Proposals should be written with attention to professionalism, clarity, and thoroughness. A proposal must contain the following elements:

  • Identification. (Student name, M number, major(s), minor(s), and proposed semester of enrollment in WGST 4900.)
  • Assisting instructor. (See below.)
  • Statement of goals and objectives. (What will you be studying? What will you produce from this research? What do you hope to gain from this independent study process?) [at least 200 words]
  • Statement of methodology. (How will you conduct your research?) [at least 100 words]
  • Bibliography. (Use proper citation methods for the relevant field of study.)
  • Timeframe . (Identify deadlines for all aspects of project.)

When completed, the proposal should be submitted typed, double spaced, to the Women's and Gender Studies office (James Union Building 308 or MTSU Campus Box 498).

Assisting Instructor: The director of Women's and Gender Studies will always be listed on transcripts as the instructor for WGST 4900 enrollments; however, she may or may not be actively involved in your independent study. You must find an instructor who has interest and experience in the field in which you will conduct your independent study (with the director's help, as necessary). This instructor should be a member of the MTSU Women's and Gender Studies Council (exceptions can be made on rare occasion, such as an absence of faculty members on Council with expertise in a specific field if the director agrees to co-supervise). The assisting instructor must agree to work with you on the project from start to finish--from creating the proposal the semester before you register all the way to reading the finished paper or other product and assigning a course grade.

Defense: Upon completion of the project to the assisting instructor's satisfaction, the student and assisting instructor will set up a project "defense," to be attended by the assisting instructor, the Women's and Gender Studies director, and the Independent Studies Committee (or its delegates). The group will offer praise, raise questions, offer suggestions for revision, provide food for thought for future work, and express any concerns about the project. After the defense, the student may be required to make revisions or otherwise address concerns expressed. When the assisting instructor is satisfied that the student's work has met the requirements and requests of the members attending the defense, she will assign the student a course grade.

If you have questions about any aspect of this course or the enrollment process, please contact Newtona (Tina) Johnson, Director of Women's and Gender Studies, at 898-5910 or ntjohnso@mtsu.edu.