Catalog Policies

Independent Study

CalArts approves of Independent Project/Private Directed Study for credit in the artistic disciplines and the School of Critical Studies when the study or project undertaken represents an opportunity of unique value to the student in his or her area of study.

The Institute defines Independent Project/Private Directed Study as on–campus studio or academic work undertaken outside of Institute–scheduled lecture or studio class time and under the direct supervision of a faculty member of the Institute.

Independent Project/Private Directed Study may be undertaken in any area of valid artistic/academic interest to the student, with any faculty whose education and expertise qualify them in that area and whose teaching and mentoring schedule allows time for the supervision of the project/study.

Independent Project/Private Directed Study may be undertaken as an adjunct to the student’s coursework in a program; it may satisfy specific divisional or programmatic requirements; or it may constitute the student’s entire program of study during a given semester.


  1. The student and the chosen faculty supervisor complete an Independent Project/Private Directed Study Contract, clearly defining what is to be accomplished during the period of study. The contract must be approved and signed by the student, the faculty supervisor, the metier dean and the dean of the faculty supervisor’s school.
  2. The credit value of the independent study will be determined and assigned by the faculty supervisor at the time the contract is written and signed as follows: 
    Lecture Course: One contact hour plus two hours of out of class preparation.
    Studio Course: Two contact hours plus one hour of out of class preparation.
    Individual Lessons: 
    One hour of contact with at least two hours of practice.
    Independent Study:
     At least three hours of work per week.
  3. The approved and signed contract indicating the Independent Project/Private Directed Study’s credit value must be presented at the time the student registers for the course. The original will be kept in the Registrar’s Office and a copy will be sent to the faculty supervisor with the class roster.
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