Rutgers School of Business–Camden
Independent Study

What is an Independent Study?

Independent Study is a course proposed and designed by a student for in-depth study of a unique area or subject.

How do Independent Studies work?

The student makes the initial proposal, and approaches a suitable School of Business faculty sponsor to serve as a guide, mentor, and/or facilitator. The final design of the course plan will be worked out between the faculty member and student. Ultimately, it is up to the student to manage their own work in the designated time frame.

Who is eligible?

Any Rutgers–Camden student with a business major or minor may request an independent study in their Junior or Senior years, with at least 52 completed credit hours. It is strongly recommended that Independent Study students have at least a 3.0 GPA. No more than six Independent Study credits can be counted towards Graduation requirements. In addition, no more than three credits can be counted in an area of specialization. For more details on areas of specialization, see the Rutgers–Camden Catalog  .

Are there other considerations?

It is important to understand that faculty members are not required to take on any Independent Study proposals, and they receive no extra compensation for doing so. This type of one-to-one mentoring is a personal investment made by the faculty member, based on the assumption that the student will effectively manage the process and produce high-quality work. Just as with any other professional mentoring situation, it is important for the student to recognize and respect the level of trust placed in them, and make every effort to meet—or exceed—expectations.

Is Independent Study the same as Honors Thesis?

No, they are two separate programs. The information on this page is for the Independent Study Course only. You can find information on the Honors Thesis Program here.

How do I submit a proposal?

Following are four recommended steps that take Independent Study candidates from an idea through the proposal and to enrollment in an Independent Study.

The two most common types of Independent Study are:

  • Specify a research question—a clear statement of the specific issue or issues you plan to investigate, and what makes it interesting and important. The best research subjects have both practical and theoretical significance. As a best practice, provide strong documentation of your own personal interest in the subject matter.
  • Provide background to this question via a brief summary of previous related research. Include a reference list from both academic journals, such as the Journal of Finance and Economics, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Business Ethics; and from business publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Fortune.
  • Explain the methodology that you plan to use in your investigation. Methodologies can incorporate surveys, readings, interviews, etc. The more detail you can provide, the better you will make your case for the importance of the study.
  • Provide a clear timeline showing your deliverables on specific dates throughout the duration of the project. Deliverables include any written work or presentations. Make sure to schedule in progress meetings where you can review portions of your work and receive feedback.
  • Describe the anticipated benefits of the project, such as any expected outcomes for your own learning and how it fits in your educational program. Other benefits can be the potential contribution for other researchers and business people.
  • Describe the body of knowledge you want to study, making clear why it is important to you. Include an overview of available courses that you have investigated, and verify they do not cover the topic you are proposing.
  • List proposed sources for information you want to study. This could include books, articles in professional journals, academic research articles, and others. For each source, make sure to include full bibliographic information along with your reasoning.
  • Describe the final product of your work and intended audience. For example, is it a paper or chapter on the topic? Is it an oral presentation? A related business proposal?
  • Provide a clear timeline with specific dates for deliverables throughout the time of the project. These might include deadlines for written work or presentations, or scheduled progress meetings at which to review specific portions of the work and receive feedback.
  • Describe the anticipated benefits of the project. This includes your expected outcomes for your own learning and its fit in both your degree program and your career goals after graduation.

No matter which Independent Study format is chosen, it is the student’s responsibility to initiate the discussion with the prospective faculty sponsor. Ideally the student will seek out a faculty advisor who does related research and/or teaching in a field closely related to your proposed Independent Study topic.

Submit the following information to a full-time faculty member during the preregistration period for the semester:

  • Completed application form
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Your proposal, closely following the guidelines above.
It is up to the faculty member to accept or decline your proposal. They may suggest further discussions and/or revisions. If the student and faculty member reach an agreement on the Independent Study, documentation of their agreement is sent to the Area Head, who may immediately accept the proposal or request additional information for clarification. The Area Head may retain documentation in a central file for later reference. If the Independent Study topic is given the go-ahead, the form is signed by the faculty member and initialed by the Area Head. The faculty member will then provide the Special Permission Number (SPN) required for the student to enroll in the course.

What happens after my proposal is accepted?

With enrollment complete, you will begin your work on your Independent Study. Please note that it is solely your responsibility to set the necessary appointments with your faculty mentor and adhere to the proposal timeline.

What happens when the work is finished?

Upon completion, you will provide all deliverables to your faculty mentor, in accordance with the descriptions and deadlines put forth in the final, approved proposal.

Simply completing the work is no guarantee of an A grade. High-quality work is expected. When the student and the faculty mentor agree that the work is complete, the faculty member assigns a grade and submits that to the registrar for posting to your record. To allow for any needed discussions at this point in the process, it is wise to schedule completion of the planned work a week or more before the standard grade submissions for that semester.

Students are asked to sign a permission form stating that their project will be retained for future reference and may be used as a sample or guide for other students considering independent study.

Record Retention:

Each area coordinator maintains a file of Independent Study Projects. This should contain the original agreement document, a copy of the final written outcome of the project and a copy of the student’s signed permission to use as guide for future projects. As area coordinator responsibilities are passed to another individual, this file will also be handed over to the new coordinator. Project samples are to be retained for two years.

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BLDP Shadowing Days Application

After being notified of a match, students are responsible for providing personal information to the matched executive (e.g., current resume and cover letter with information on career ambitions). The information on this application is for internal use only, for us to match you as well as possible with and executive from among our alumni database.

BLDP Application

The Spring 2021 Application is now open! 

Priority will be given to applications received by Sunday, November 15, 2020. Applications are accepted until all seats are filled. Space is limited, so apply early!

The seminar application process is our gateway for entry into the program. Upon acceptance into BLDP, students will be emailed their acceptance letter plus a special permission number allowing registration for the BLDP seminar.

Requirements

Seminar applications are solicited each semester and require

  1. completed application form (submitted online and found elsewhere on this website),
  2. a personal essay, and
  3. two letters of recommendation (one academic; one other).

Rutgers-Camden students are invited to apply to apply for enrollment in the BLDP seminar. All applicants are expected to meet both of the following selection criteria:  Have sophomore standing or above and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or above. First-semester transfer students will be evaluated based on their GPA earned at Rutgers. Students who fail to meet these admission criteria may still be allowed to apply for (and possibly enroll in) the BLDP seminar, but they will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The director balances evaluations to make final decisions on people accepted for the seminar (up to a maximum of 15-20 each semester).

Students who are admitted to the BDLP are rquired to adopt the BLDP Code of Conduct. A signed contract is required from each student.

Students may count activities toward “leadership units” that were initiated prior to taking a seminar, as long as those activities occur primarily during their enrollment in their academic program.

Application for Admission to BLDP Seminar

Applications For BLDP Seminar will be ongoing until class is filled.

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  • Contact Information

  • Academic Information

  • Please enter a number from 0 to 500.
  • Transfer students only.
  • Employment Information

  • List relevant employment history

  • EmployerPositionDates of Employment 
  • School Leadership Information

  • Provide evidence of leadership initiative while enrolled in school by listing all school-based organizations and activities in which you have held a leadership role while a student.

  • OrganizationRoleDates 
  • Community Leadership Information

  • Provide a list of community or volunteer activities in which you engaged in a leadership role.

  • OrganizationRoleDates of Activity 
  • Essay

  • Please write a short essay between 150 to 350 words, in which you discuss the reasons why your application should be considered for the Business Leader Development Program, including what you hope to gain from the program and what you can contribute.

  • Additional Submission Instructions

  • For your application to be complete, this form and TWO REFERENCE LETTERS must be on file in the Director's office. Ideally, you will receive one letter from an academic source (e.g., a former or current instructor), and one from a business source (e.g., a former employer - even if for a part-time or volunteer position). Your letter writers should mail them directly to: Dr. Oscar Holmes IV, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs, Rutgers University, School of Business, 227 Penn Street, Camden, NJ 08102 or email the letters to oscar.holmesiv@rutgers.edu.

    Please only submit one application. If you experience any technical problems or need to submit the application again, please contact ldrshp@camden.rutgers.edu.

    Thank you.

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