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Directed Readings

Political Science 498R - Directed Readings

POLI 498R: Directed Readings is used to award credit for directed readings outside of an existing course.

A student may register for POLI 498R under the following conditions:

  • The student contacts a faculty member who is willing to approve, supervise, and grade his or her work during the course of study.
  • Working with the supervising faculty member, the student drafts a 500-700 word proposal with two parts: (a) a bibliography that states and justifies the topic and lists the readings, and (b) a study plan that indicates how hours of work will be spent and how the student will be graded, including specific assignments, grade weights, and deadlines. Note that in all cases, a written report demonstrating the student's added knowledge is required for the study plan.
  • The topic studied is relevant to the discipline of political science and is not being offered as part of the regular department curriculum.
  • Although the quantity and substance of this material may vary, reading is on an advanced undergraduate level and occupies the student's time for at least 45 hours for each credit hour for which the student is registered.
  • The course of study builds on coursework that the student has already completed. Directed Readings is ideal for a student who wishes to learn more about a specialized topic for which there is no regular course that is taught. A student should prepare for Directed Readings by taking some or all of the courses relevant to the proposed topic of study.
  • Prior to registering for the course, the student must complete the Contract for Directed Readings and have it signed by the supervising faculty member and the department curriculum coordinator. Copies of the contract will be given to the student and to the supervising faculty member; the original will be retained in the department files. Students are strongly advised to complete this process before the beginning of the semester to ensure the required approvals are in place before university registration deadlines.
  • NOTE: Students that will be out of the country during the semester/term the course is completed will be directed to register through the Kennedy Center.

Restrictions or Prohibitions:

  • Under no circumstances can a student receive 498R credit for work done as a teaching assistant or for a cooperative education experience (internship).
  • Credit may not be received for work that is regularly compensated.
  • Directed Readings is usually not appropriate for an introductory course of study. It should also not be used to replicate the course of study of an existing class.
  • Scheduling concerns are never an appropriate reason to create a Directed Readings.


  1. In consultation with the supervising faculty member, draft the proposal.
  2. Complete and sign the POLI 498R: Directed Readings Contract.
  3. Obtain the signature of the supervising faculty member.
  4. Obtain the signature of the Political Science Department Associate Chair for Curriculum.
  5. Deliver the contract and proposal to the Political Science Department Secretary.