History, Philosophy, and Policy in Education


The Foundations Program Area of the ELPS Department offers several variable-credit courses that allow students to undertake independent study of various kinds.

  • H553 Travel Study (1-6 cr.)
  • H590 Independent Study or Research in History/Philosophy/Comparative Education (1-3 cr.)
  • H625 (1-3 cr.) Practicum in Education Policy Studies

Such courses are available to all students wishing to undertake a supervised project with a faculty member of the Foundations program area or in Education Policy Studies. Most students will opt to take such courses for 3 credits in order to count as a full course toward program requirements. The H553 is typically used by students who will be spending an extended period of time in a new setting where they can visit schools or other educational institutions, develop curriculum, analyze policy, etc. The H590 often serves as the course for fulfillment of the “Early Inquiry/Directed Research” requirement in the Ph.D., but it can also be used for a variety of types of specialized studies, ranging from empirical data collection or analysis, to independent readings courses. The H625 allows students to receive academic credit as they work in a new educational setting and document their learning.

How to Initiate and Execute an Independent Study
These courses are listed on the course schedule for each semester and summer session, with the Foundations program area coordinator (currently Levinson) listed as the instructor of record. However, the instructor of record is just the person who will submit the final grade. In practice, students should approach a faculty member who’s closest to their research interests and willing to supervise the project. Usually it’s the student’s current advisor, but sometimes it might be someone different because the special project they have in mind corresponds more closely to the expertise of a different faculty member. The “project” can vary quite considerably—for H590, it can range from a set of readings the student agrees to read and review (with a product ranging from an annotated bibliography to a paper of review and synthesis), to an empirical project that involves data collection and analysis (or lots of other possibilities in between). For H553, the project involves travel of some sort, and for H625 involves practical or internship training in a new education-related setting. The requirements and “deliverables” get negotiated in each case—with the idea that the amount of time a student spends on the project should correspond roughly to the amount of time dedicated to a normal 3-credit course (app. 100 hours). And yes, absolutely, summer is always a good time to enroll, with the understanding that supervising faculty members might not be available as frequently for consultation.

In order to enroll in these courses, students should submit the form linked below and include the name and email address of their faculty advisor. The advisor will then respond with approval or disapproval to the Department Administrator. This form will serve as the basis for authorizing the student to enroll in one of these courses, and allows the administrator to contact the immediate faculty supervisors to report the final grade to the Foundations coordinator for final submission to the Registrar.

Independent Study Request Form