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17-699 Independent Study

Independent Study is a variable credit full semster course.

An Independent Study course is one that is designed by the student to pursue in-depth study in a particular area of interest. An Independent Study can be taken for 9 or 12 units. Each Independent Study, regardless of the proposed units, fulfills the requirement of one elective course only. A maximum of two Independent Studies are permitted to apply toward degree completion requirements.

The purpose of the Independent Study is for the student to further explore an area of interest that he or she may have just scratched the surface of while taking one of the core courses.

While the Independent Study is intended for individual students, it may be completed in very small teams. All members of the team must have completed the core courses in the MSE/MSIT program. A team endeavor must be more significant in scope than a project taken on by an individual.

Note: All Independent Study proposals are due no less than 2 weeks prior to the completion of the semester preceding the semester in which the proposed Independent Study course will take place.

The steps for the Independent Study are as follows:

Propose a project. This will take the form of a formal document and will be considered the first deliverable of the project. The proposal must include:
  • an executive summary
  • a definition of the work to be completed, including
    1. deliverables
    2. timelines
    3. reviews
    4. final report
  • an advisor (a Carnegie Mellon faculty member)
  • a proposal of how you want the grade to be generated from the independent material
  • Click here to download the Independent Study Proposal Form
Deliverables will always include a report that summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the technique in the chosen domain and relates what went well and poorly during the Independent Study.
Discuss the project.
Receive approval.
Begin the project.
Report periodically to your faculty mentor.


More course details can be found in the Independent Study syllabus.