Independent and Directed Study (IDS)

Independent and Directed Studies allow students to initiate, develop and complete courses under the supervision of a faculty member.

  • Independent Study is intended to be an extension of a traditional course. It provides the student with an opportunity to pursue/research a subject in more depth and in a more independent manner than would be possible in a traditional course. Independent study requires an outline form, developed through consultation between the student and the instructor/sponsor, which serves as the official course description.
  • Directed Study is designed to be a substitute for a traditional course that is not offered in the semester for which the student wishes to enroll. The material covered in such courses is essentially the same as that covered in the traditional course.

The purpose of the IDS program is to allow students to:

  • Pursue learning outcomes that extend beyond those normally taught in the classroom. 
  • Pursue studies independent of the classroom schedule. 
  • Have prior learning recognized for a course they may not have completed.
  • A primary goal is to encourage independent study under the supervision of faculty members. In addition to research projects, internships and practicums, the different programs use individual study, case studies and directed readings as the basis for various independent study offerings. 

The student and the supervising faculty member develop the content and format of the Directed Study course. The program of reading, assignments and method of evaluation will be dependent on the subject under study. Supervision is also on an individual basis, and while there may not be regularly scheduled class sessions, the student is expected to schedule and maintain regular meetings with the IDS faculty member.


  • An IDS course must be undertaken with a view to specified learning outcomes. 
  • The course may be taken for variable credit and not more than twice and for no more than 6 credit hours. One, two or three credits of selected studies may be earned for each IDS course reported. IDS courses should not be taken to replace required courses.
  • The following requirements govern enrolment for credit in independent study:
    • The consent of the instructor and college dean must be obtained before enrolment.
    • The content of the study should differ from the content of the regular course offerings.
    • The contact hours between student and faculty member must be sufficient to ensure consistency with credit earned in regular course offerings.
    • Students must have at least junior standing (i.e., 3rd year), including transfer students, who have earned at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA at Alfaisal University and who give sufficient evidence of initiative, originality, and intellectual maturity to warrant the expectation of distinction in the program. Students may do Independent Directed Studies in any discipline in which they obtain the required permission.


  • Students wishing to take an independent directed study must complete the Directed Studies Application Form and have it approved by the faculty member most familiar with the topic of study and obtain further approval from the dean of the college in which the student is enrolled.
  • The dean of the college may form a committee to recommend the approval at the college level.
  • The faculty will work with the student to select a reading list, projects, and evaluations appropriate to the topic and the credit level chosen.
  • All needed materials will be presented in a syllabus attached to the application form.