Independent Study

The course Independent Study will foster the development of independent study and research skills such as reading and critiquing the scientific literature, formulating scientific questions, and integrating knowledge into a coherent synthesis. Students will undertake a self-directed program of reading and synthesis of ideas.  This course option must be conducted under the guidance of a faculty member acquainted with such work, and will follow common guidelines to ensure academic standards are maintained.  Students should, in consultation with the faculty member, prepare a plan of the study, carry out the appropriate reading, and then describe the results of their study in a substantial report or essay.   This course may be taken in any one term, and should be completed within the period of that term.  The due date for all work, including online course completion, will be at the end of the current term.

The source material for Independent Study is now expanded to include online courses from a variety of educational sources, including Udacity, edX, and Coursera, subject to those courses being approved as relevant to the student's study and of sufficient educational merit.  Seek approval before enrolling if credit is required.  Total of external course credits permitted (online courses and international workshops) must be less than 50% of degree requirements.  Your online course proposal must be approved by GS before you enroll in the online course, and the course fee can only be reimbursed AFTER completion with evidence (ex. completion certificate). Please contact Academic Program Team ( for assistance with online course purchase, after your request is approved, but before making the payment.

Student and tutor should agree on the extent of supervision provided, such as timing and format of face-to-face meetings, progress checks, and so on, especially for online courses.  This should be detailed in the proposal, and the student should commit to this undertaking. 

A list of online courses previously approved for this purpose can be seen HERE, so check here first for examples of approved courses.


The aim of this course is to provide an opportunity for independent learning on a topic that a particular student may wish to study individually, with appropriate guidance. Online courses allow formal structured tuition in areas not covered by the existing OIST course offerings.
Course Content: 

Tutorial style under supervision of an OIST faculty member.
As each topic will be a unique project with its own requirements, there is no fixed schedule.  Independent Studies must be completed within the boundaries of a regular term, and not cross terms without prior arrangement.

Please submit your request for Independent Study using THIS FORM.  This request can come from either teacher or student.

The proposal for independent study should outline the material to be covered, and describe assessment items and tasks.  Material that is delivered by set readings, exercises, and discussions at OIST are regarded as 'taught components', and must be assessed by some form of written assessment. Externally-provided material (such as online courses) may be included as all or part of the independent study content, and such material should not be assessed by the tutor, even where the tutor provides support and discussion. 

After completion, the tutor (an OIST Professor) will be asked to provide an evaluation of the assessment item set for any component taught by the OIST Professor.  If the course content is entirely online, other evidence of successful completion must be provided by the student for credit to be given, and no evaluation from the Professor is necessary.

Grades for this course are only Pass or Fail.  If you enroll (after the proposal is approved, enrolment is automatic), you must complete or a Fail grade will be awarded. If not approved, you will be notified. If you require an extension, please contact Academic Affairs before the specified end date.

After completion, a student may be asked to provide a brief report on online course material, conditions, support, etc., to the Graduate School to assist in quality control.

Course Type: 
Written assessment of some form, or certificate of completion of online course, are required. Graded as Pass/Fail.