Individualized Study

Directed Studies

Juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or higher may request to take a directed study in their major or minor for academic credit. Students must design the directed study in cooperation with their academic advisor and a faculty member who will supervise the study. A directed study may not be used to meet General Education requirements. An application for directed study must be submitted to the registrar no later than one week before the beginning of the semester in which it is to take place. The policies below apply to all Directed Studies:

  1. The proposed study must embody significant academic purpose and content, equal in quality to a regular course, yet be of such a nature that it cannot be obtained within an existing course. The amount and distribution of work should be similar to that of a regularly offered course of comparable credit.
  2. It may be used only for advanced course credit in a student's major or minor field.
  3. The student must be a junior or above and have demonstrated in departmental course work that he or she has the capability and background to study independently. The academic advisor's signature certifies this ability.
  4. The student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher.
  5. A student may take only one Directed Study per term and no more than a total of two courses toward graduation. A faculty supervisor may direct no more than two Directed Studies per term.

 The procedures to be followed in obtaining approval of a Directed Study proposal are:

  1. The student obtains application form and instructions from the Office of the Registrar.
  2. The student meets with the faculty member who will supervise the study, and they jointly prepare an agreement, listing the objectives of the study, its relationship to the student's overall program, the specific content and procedures of the study, the definition of student and faculty roles, and the product or response to be made by the student on which his or her learning will be evaluated. The number and frequency of regular contacts between the student and supervisor will be indicated. Students doing research off-campus will contact their supervisor at regular intervals.
  3. This agreement is then approved by the student's academic advisor, if different from the supervisor of the study.
  4. The agreement must also be approved by the chair of the department offering the study. The student then submits the completed and signed application to the Office of the Registrar no later than one week before the beginning of the term in which the directed study will take place, with the exception of international directed studies.
  5. If the directed study is at an international site, the student must complete required activities in the Office of International and Off Campus Programs and obtain approval from the Associate Dean of International and Off-Campus Programs. The Associate Dean of International and Off Campus Programs’s signature on the directed study, or course by arrangement form, indicates approval. For an international January or spring Directed Study, the deadline for submission of the completed form is November 1. For a fall international Directed Study, the deadline for submission of the completed form is March 1.
  6. The approval of the Registrar validates the agreement.
  7. Should the student wish to appeal a rejection by the Registrar, the proposed agreement will be reviewed by the Committee for Academic Affairs (CAA).

Upon fulfilling the agreement, the student receives credit on the transcript for the course as titled. A copy of the agreement will be placed in his or her permanent file. Directed Studies are graded on an A/F basis, not S/U.

Individualized Major

Students may choose to develop an individualized major designed to meet their needs and interests. The program must be developed in consultation with an academic advisor and must be submitted and approved by the end of the first semester of students' junior year. Students wishing to consider such a possibility must discuss it with their academic advisor. Any such programs must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The proposal must contain a block of 48-60 credits chosen according to a coherent organizing principle based on the student's needs and interests. That principle must differ significantly from those underlying standard majors. The proposal must make a clear, explicit, and convincing case for the theoretical and/or practical interconnectedness between the departmental disciplines. It is recommended that proposals also specify why, on balance, it is worth sacrificing more depth in each discipline in order to gain the particular individualized perspective proposed.
  2. When two disciplines or fields are included, the proposal must show why the need met by the proposed individualized major cannot be met by any other single major, double major (two stand-alone majors), or multi-disciplinary major.
  3. The proposal must contain junior level (300) courses from at least two standard disciplines or fields. In at least one of these disciplines or fields, work at the senior level (400) must be selected.
  4. The proposed major must show how all other requirements for majors are met (e.g., the speaking, writing, and computing competencies). The requirements of the major must include the required upper division hours.
  5. The proposal must include a culminating experience at the senior level (400), focused upon the organizing principles of the major and in the form of a senior seminar, internship, or directed study.
  6. All general education provisions of the curriculum must be observed. No more than three (3) courses may be used to fulfill both a major and a General Education requirement.

The following procedures shall be observed in preparing and obtaining approval for Individualized Majors:

  1. The student obtains application forms and instructions in the Office of the Registrar or its website.
  2. The student and the advisor shall jointly prepare an application, expressing the organizing principle and listing the courses that will make up the major. Students should have an advisor from each department from which they are taking nine (9) or more credits toward their individualized major program.
  3. If ten (10) or more credits are taken from any single department, the chair of that department must approve the proposal.
  4. A review committee composed of three faculty members, the Registrar, and the Dean of Academic Programs will evaluate the proposal. The Dean of Academic Programs is responsible for forming this committee and calling the meeting. (If the proposal follows a previously approved program, the Registrar will approve it and place it on file.)
  5. The student submits the application  with two additional copies to the Office of the Registrar. All proposals must be submitted and approved by the end of the first regular semester of the student's junior year. When the proposal has been approved, one copy will be filed in the Office of the Registrar, one copy will be sent the student, and one to the advisor.
  6. Programs that are rejected may be, upon appeal, reviewed by the Committee for Academic Affairs (CAA).
  7. An approved program may subsequently be amended with the approval of the student's advisor(s) and the Registrar.


An academic internship is a learning/practicing experience, preferably taken in an off-campus setting, in which students explore and/or apply a body of knowledge and skill in a structured non-classroom setting. It can take place in many settings and may make use of almost every knowledge and skill area in Bethel's curriculum. Credit is available through some departments to qualified students in their majors. Inquiries should be directed to department chairs. The internship may be part-time or full-time and may be salaried or non-salaried. Routine jobs or work that repeats previous experience do not qualify for an academic-credit internship. The work must provide an opportunity to meet academic/educational objectives. 

An acceptable internship is one that expects students to explore career aspirations and make a deliberate application of their academic knowledge and skills; to continue to learn as stimulated by the problems and issues encountered; to grow in their personal maturity and confidence in one's abilities; and to develop empathy with, and understanding of, persons, groups, and settings typically not encountered on campus. An internship must embody significant academic purpose and content, equal in quality to a regular course, yet be of such a nature that it cannot be obtained within the existing course structure.

Students may register for an internship in either a course-based internship through an academic department or as an individual internship. An internship is conducted under joint supervision of a Bethel faculty member and an on-site supervisor. Both parties agree on the specific objectives by the end of the first 1/3 of the term of the internship. Both parties stay in touch during the internship, if required, and at the end of the internship experience. There should be a plan for on-going processing of the experience (e.g., log, weekly meetings, etc.). If the internship is completed as an individual internship, it is expected that the Bethel faculty supervisor will interact at least bi-weekly with the student.

If the internship is to be completed in the context of a course, students must register for the internship course through the standard registration process. To remain enrolled in the internship class, all required paperwork is due to the faculty member no later than:

  • October 1 for fall term internships
  • The January session add/drop deadline for January session internships
  • March 1 for spring term internships
  • June 15 for summer term internships

A faculty member may set an earlier deadline in her/his course.

If the internship is at an international site, students must complete required activities in the Office of International and Off Campus Programs office and obtain approval from the Associate Dean of International/Off Campus Programs. The signature of the Associate Dean of International/Off Campus Program on the internship form indicates approval.  

 Application for Internship due in the Office of the Registrar:

  Local International
Fall Internship October 1 March 1
January Internship Add/Drop Date November 1
Spring Internship March 1 November 1
Summer Internship June 15 March 1

Requirements for students:

  • Declared major or minor in the department of the internship being proposed;
  • Junior or senior standing.
  • Minimum of 10 credit hours completed in the department;
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 and a 2.25 GPA in the major (individual departments may require a higher GPA)
  • Meet additional criteria as established by each department.

 Requirements for course:

  • An internship may earn from 1 to 4 credits.
  • Each internship credit requires a minimum of 45 on site hours at the internship site. (3 credits = 135 hours, 4 credits = 180 hours)
  • A maximum of 9 credits in internships may be taken within the 122 credits required for graduation.
  • Each separate internship must have goals and objectives different than the prior ones taken for credit.
  • Internships are graded S/U (see Grading).
  • These policies identify minimum university-wide requirements. Departments may choose to supplement with additional requirements.

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