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Directed Reading

Guidelines for Designing, Proposing, and Enrolling in a Directed Reading 
CCSRE | Updated May 2023

Like any other class, an independent study has an instructor and a course number. Unlike other classes, however, an independent study is "independent" because the student and faculty advisor co-design the course's scope, materials, and expectations. Directed Readings in CCSRE require the supervision of a CCSRE Senior Lecturer, A CCSRE Associate Director, or a CCSRE Tenure-Line Faculty Affiliate as well as approved by the CCSRE Academic Programs team.

Directed Reading units must recognize students' personal academic interests and initiatives. The reading and research assignments contained in the proposal must be specific to Directed Reading units and may not overlap with the requirements of any other course. No more than 5 combined units of Directed Reading and Directed Research may be counted towards major or minor requirements in CCSRE (including Asian American Studies, etc). Note that Directed Reading units may not be used, in part or in full, to compensate for or recognize administrative, teaching, or research labor that serves a Stanford faculty member, instructor, staff member, research initiative, or student group.

Proposals for Directed Readings in CSRE, ASIANAMST, CHILATST, NATIVEAM, or JEWISHST should be written in collaboration with the faculty advisor. Proposals must be submitted to CCSRE Academic Programs by week 8 of the quarter preceding the proposed Directed Reading. The CCSRE Academic Programs team will review proposals and notify students and faculty advisors of the status of the proposal by Week 10. 

Once the proposal is approved, the instructor of record is responsible for ensuring student adherence to the official proposal and evaluating student work accordingly. Concerns about student performance should be directed to the CCSRE Academic Programs team.


Proposal instructions

Proposals should be 2-3 pages in length and must include:

  • A narrative of how the Directed Reading fits into the student's academic trajectory in CSRE
  • A description of how the Directed Reading fills a crucial gap in Stanford's curricular offerings 
  • Desired unit count, and an articulation of why the unit count is appropriate (note that each unit of credit must represent 3 hours of work weekly)
  • A schedule of readings
  • A schedule of synchronous meetings with the faculty advisor (note that students and faculty members must plan to meet synchronously at least biweekly and must check in at least weekly)
  • A description of how the faculty advisor will assess student learning, including any pertinent assignments and due dates
  • The process (if any) for revising the reading or assignment schedule over the course of the quarter. 
  • Signature of the faculty advisor acknowledging commitment to the proposal, including the schedule of meetings and evaluation structure. 

Any revisions to the proposed schedule must be signed by both advisor and student and then submitted to CCSRE Academic Programs in a timely manner.

Proposals should be produced collaboratively by the student and faculty advisor and must be reviewed and signed by both parties before the submission deadline.