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Independent Studies Program


The Independent Studies Program is divided into two phases: the Pre-Thesis Phase and the Thesis Phase.

1. Pre-Thesis Phase

New students in Independent Studies (I.S.) begin by developing a study plan with the assistance of advisors in I.S. This study plan focuses on expectations and objectives of a student's academic activities in the Program and establishes the habit of setting specific goals which provide structure for independent study. Each student during each Pre-Thesis Phase term will meet at least five times with I.S. advisors to discuss her/his academic work.

A study plan (Term Plan) is required of every student at the beginning of each term during the Pre-Thesis Phase of the Program. A complete record of academic work accomplished during each term (Term Performance Report) must be submitted at the end of each term. These documents of work completed in the Pre-Thesis Phase of the Program provide the basis for review and evaluation.

Students must spend at least two terms in this first phase if they have already completed two terms of university work, or at least four terms (of a possible six) if they have not previously attended university. While students in Pre-Thesis Phase may take regular university courses, they are expected to engage in a significant amount of independent study and are encouraged to develop a perspective beyond that of an individual discipline.

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2. Thesis Phase

The Bachelor of Independent Studies degree (BIS) is recommended to Senate by the Academic Board of Independent Studies. The Board is composed of faculty members drawn from the disciplines represented on the University of Waterloo campus. The Board is assisted in its assessment of each degree candidate by a committee of supervisors, appointed by the Board to advise and evaluate the students during the Thesis Phase.

Students may make application to the Academic Board for entry into the Thesis Phase of the Program after successfully completing a minimum of two terms in Independent Studies and at least four terms of post-secondary university work. Applicants must submit, in writing, a thesis proposal which details their post-secondary academic history, the proposed program of study and a timetable for completion. This document is prepared in consultation with the proposed academic supervisors who must approve the thesis proposal before it is submitted to the Academic Board, and with advice from the Contact Person appointed from the Academic Board.

The decision to accept an applicant for Thesis Phase is based on an assessment of (a) the applicant's general preparedness for BIS degree level studies, this is to do at least third-year undergraduate work, and (b) the suitability of the degree studies proposal with respect to academic level and the University's capability to support such studies and examine the resulting work.

On acceptance of a student's thesis proposal, the Board formally appoints the academic supervisors (degree committee) including at least two members of the University of Waterloo's regular faculty. Over a period of at least eight months, the student meets regularly with the supervisors to carry out the approved program. When the work is completed, the supervisors are required to submit written evaluation of the candidate's performance as a basis for recommending the awarding of the BIS degree.

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Infoucal@www.adm.uwaterloo.ca / University of Waterloo