Independent Study (Learning Contracts)

Center for Distance Learning students have the option of enrolling in study opportunities beyond online courses.

You and your faculty mentor may determine the best way to pursue an area of study, and devise a learning contract that addresses both your interests and degree requirements.

Learning contracts vary widely in the resources and methods of study that can be used. A learning contract may involve independent study under the direction of a mentor, an adjunct faculty member or instructor. It may involve taking a course at another college, interning in a government or social agency, working on a project with other students, or traveling in or outside of the U.S. with a specific study plan. The learning contract may combine several of these resources and activities. Some examples of titles of learning contracts completed by CDL students include:

  • Art in the Schools
  • Government Internship
  • Senior Research Project
  • Nutrition in Aging Services
  • Urban Studies (Description)
  • Science and Technology in Western Culture
  • Modern Russia 
  • Comparative Criminal Justice Systems (Description)
  • American Corrections Management (Description)

Center for Distance Learning students may also study with a mentor at one of the college's New York state locations. See the list of college-wide independent studies in the Learning Opportunities Inventory term guide. Go to MyESC and click on the register tab.

Off-Term Course

If a CDL Matriculated students with an approved degree program in his or her final term has a course that is not being offered, the mentor and student should attempt to make an appropriate substitution. If a substitution is not in the best interests of the degree program plan, the mentor and student may request an independent study in the topic area. This should be done at least one month in advance of the registration deadline. The independent study is set-up by the academic area coordinator. In some cases group activities may be so integral to course design that an independent study may not be appropriate. In that case, the student may need to cross-register or to wait until the course is offered. Students should carefully review the schedule of offerings on the online catalogue. CDL will make every effort we can to serve the graduating student if registration is conducted early.