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Institute for Public Policy Studies


During your time at DU, you may develop an interest in a policy field not fully addressed in the classroom; therefore, we encourage you to explore your ideas further by proposing independent study projects with IPPS instructors. Independent study projects are a great way to work closely with an instructor on a very specific policy issue of your choice. For example, you may take a general education policy course, but then wish to delve deeper into the subject by pursuing an independent study project about school choice. Independent study projects give you the flexibility to study topics that aren't offered as regular courses.

Approval Process

Prior to registering for public policy independent study credit, you must obtain approval from the public policy instructor who will supervise your independent study. Please follow the steps below to obtain approval:

A) Schedule an appointment to discuss your proposed independent study with the public policy instructor of your choice.

B) Prior to your meeting, develop an outline of your proposed independent study that includes (at a minimum)

  • Topic
  • How your topic is relevant to policy analysis
  • Proposed "product" and length of product (i.e., usually a "policy analysis paper" or two)
  • At least 5 sources you plan to consult (e.g., books, articles, and interviews); your final source list will be much longer
  • Number of hours you plan to work each week on the project
  • Proposed timeline for completion of project (that will be modified to adapt to your instructor's schedule), which includes at least 3 meetings with your instructor prior to final submission of product
  • Proposed number of public policy internship credits
  • Attach an "Independent Study / Research" registration form that can be obtained from the Registrar's Office

C) Ask your advisor to compose a short memo confirming the details of your Independent Study. Bring this memo, along with your proposal to our offices to obtain the independent study registration form.