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san francisco university high school

Independent Study

Students who wish to apply for an Independent Study should first enlist the sponsorship of a UHS faculty member or, in some cases, the supervision of an adult off-campus. Students should indicate their interest in pursuing Independent Study through a conversation with their mentor. Students must complete a proposal describing the motivation, scope, and goal of the study (see proposal checklist at the bottom). Proposals are due shortly following the Grace Period of either semester. The relevant academic department will then review the proposals and contact students with approval or questions and comments. First semester students who wish to pursue their Independent Study during the second semester must re-apply.

Students may apply for full semester credit for projects that will require approximately four hours of work per week, and for half-semester credit for projects that will require approximately two hours of work per week. All Independent Studies must be undertaken on a credit/no credit basis, with the possible exception of TA-ships and certain faculty-led seminars. Independent Studies receiving full semester credit must culminate in a formal presentation of some kind - either at the Independent Study symposium, by submitting a significant essay for publication in the Independent Study Compendium, or by some other public presentation approved by the sponsor. In all cases, the student is responsible for meeting regularly with the sponsor, while the sponsor is responsible for writing Progress Reports and for assigning credit. Following is a description of the categories available for Independent Study:

  • Project: This category encompasses all projects for which the student has designed the curriculum, including research, performances, studio work, and the teaching responsibility for student seminars. Students are asked to identify a "milestone task" that they will have completed by the fifth week of the semester, as a check on the viability of the plan. If they are unsuccessful at completing that task the project will be terminated and will not appear on their record.

  • Seminar: This category includes all independent work in which the curriculum is set by someone other than the student. This would include participation in a student production, the creation of a one-time elective course of study with a teacher, and enrollment in a seminar led by another student. Seminars may only be led by a UHS student or faculty.

  • TA: At minimum, TAs are expected to attend all classes and, with the direction of the teacher, design a job description that will be of value to the students in the course as well as develop the Teaching Assistant's own knowledge and skills within the discipline. Students interested in this category of work should start by identifying a teacher. The student's schedule may have to be adjusted to make time to attend the course they will be assisting in.

  • Off-Campus Coursework: This program enables students to receive credit for approved courses taken at another institution during the normal school year. The student must provide a course description, an accounting of the work to be accomplished, and an agreement by the instructor to write progress reports and provide grades.

  • Career Internship: This program allows students to explore career opportunities in professional fields beyond the school, including law, medicine, politics, business, architecture, community work, etc. An internship involves the close supervision by a sponsor who is a qualified professional and may not result in compensation of any kind. Students may enroll in a Career Internship on a credit or no-credit basis only.

  • Senior Project: This category includes "Projects" undertaken by seniors in the Spring semester which 1) pursue a long-term interest or talent which has been the subject of a previous class or study; and 2) result in a final exhibition (presentation or product) of significant stature that is shared with the community. Senior Projects may count as one course in the normal five course requirement and must be sponsored by a UHS faculty or Staff Member. Senior project proposals are due in late October for the following semester. For a more detailed description, please click here.

Below are some examples of Independent Study at UHS

Featured Independent Studies!


Independent Study Resources:

Byron Philhour
Dean of Teaching & Learning