Directed Studies: What They Are & How to Get Started
King’s has a lot of really great opportunities for students to dig into topics that they are interested in and work with professors closely. One example of this is directed studies. For this blog I’m going to give you a rundown of directed studies at Kings!
What is a Directed Study?
A directed study is a course that allows students to work one-on-one with a professor in an area of study of their choice. It is like any other course that students can earn three credits in. The experience will be a little different depending on which professor you work with, although often you will mostly be directing what you want the class to look like. What kinds of papers do you want to write? What kind of resources will you be studying from? Books, videos, films, essays, etc? Your professor is there to guide you along the way and help you find useful resources.
How do you apply for a Directed Study?
The first step in applying for a directed study is picking the topic that you are interested in. A good idea to start is choosing something in your major concentration that you’d be interested in looking at with more detail. For instance, if you are Biology major it’s probably best to pick a topic in Biology.
After picking a topic, you will want to approach the professor that you’d be interested in doing the study with. Your best bet will be to contact a professor who is knowledgeable about or specializes in the topic you’d like to explore. Note that you will want to ask them at least a semester in advance so there’s a better chance that they will be able to work it into their schedule. Know that while all our professors will be happy to work with you, some may be too busy for the semester and may ask to push it a semester further or may not be able to do it with you.
After you have chosen a topic and have found a professor to work with, you will have to go to the office of Registrar to get an application form. On the form you will have to fill out the information on what topic you want to study. You will also need a signature both from the professor that will be supervising and from the Dean of your faculty. In addition, you will also need to create a syllabus for the course to prove that you are thinking about the class and objectives for it. Once you have completed all of this you will return it to registrar and they will approve it.
Once your course is approved, it will be added to your schedule on Crossroads and you will be good to go!
What are some examples of Directed Studies?
Many of the students who are participating in the Justice Fellowship through the Micah center this semester are also doing direct studies. Here are some examples of directed studies that students are pursuing this year:
- History 499 - Feminism in Canada in the 20th Century
I am actually doing a directed study right now. I am studying Feminism in Canada in the 20th Century with Dr. Caroline Lieffers. This class has been unique compared to any class I have taken. It is such an incredible opportunity to study the topic in much more depth, and to be able to work with Dr. Lieffers and glean on her wisdom surrounding the topic.
- History 499 - Reconciliation of Indigenous Peoples in Global Perspective, with a focus on Australia
- Theology 499 - Environmental Justice, with a focus on climate change
- Theology 499 - Worship Theology and Justice
- Environmental Studies 499 - Voluntary Simplicity
- Politics 499 - How has the rise of modern ideologies contributed to the loss of inter-generational considerations of justice sustainability? How might indigenous thinking and practices contribute to the recovery of these inter-generational considerations in our practices and institutions?
If you are interested in focusing on a topic that King’s doesn’t offer, or if you just want to work with a professor more on a specific topic, I definitely recommend that you consider doing a directed study!