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Frequently Asked Questions About Independent Study

Before You Enroll...

What is Independent Study?
Is Independent Study right for me?
Will I get college credit for this class?
Is this course offered for a certain semester?
May I complete my class as fast as I want?
I am a U employee - will I get reduced tuition?
May I take more than one class at a time?
Do I have to take my class for credit?
What if I don't want a letter grade?
I'm still in high school - may I take a class?
Will financial aid cover this class?
How do I register for a class?
Will you bill me for my registration?
When will I receive credit for my class?

Now That You're Enrolled...

How do I get my class materials?
My course requires videos. How do I get them?
Is it possible to get a refund for my class?
Someone in the Distance Education office asked for my University of Utah ID#. Where do I find that?
What can I expect from my instructor?
My first assignment is ready, how do I turn it in?
May I submit my assignments in any order I want to?
I need to take an exam, what do I do?
What are the Testing Center's hours at the University of Utah?
What grade did I receive on my assignment?
I just moved and my address has changed; what should I do?
It's been 9 months and I haven't finished my course yet! Now what?
I need credit for a specific semester, will I get it?
Why isn't my Independent Study class showing up on my University of Utah schedule for this semester?

You've Finished Your Class!

I just finished my class; will you send me a transcript?
How do I request my transcript?

Independent Study Policies

Before You Enroll...

What is Independent Study?

Independent Study is a way to take college classes without having to sit in a classroom. Independent Study students use a course manual, textbook, assignments and exams to learn and earn college credit. Depending on the class, you may also use videos, computer disks, the Internet or interaction with other people. You'll communicate with your instructor in writing and by phone, fax or e-mail. Your instructor will give you feedback via written responses on your assignments and exams. Grades are based on assignments, projects and exams. You can register at any time during the year and you'll have nine months from the day you enroll to complete your class.

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Is Independent Study right for me?

Many people enjoy the flexibility that an Independent Study class offers. These courses work particularly well for:

  • Students with tight schedules
  • Students who need a specific on-campus class that is full for this semester
  • Teachers and other professionals who need classes to meet recertification requirements
  • Students who move out of town without finishing their degree requirements
  • Students who can't easily attend classes because of injury or illness
  • Military personnel whose duties make on-campus attendance difficult
  • Students who live in remote locations
  • Non-degree seeking people who are taking classes for personal enrichment

Be advised, however, that to complete an Independent Study class you must be a self-motivated and conscientious student.

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Will I get college credit for this class?

Yes. Credits are based on semester units just like their on-campus counterparts. Many colleges and universities accept credit earned from University of Utah's Distance Education classes. You may want to meet with your academic advisor and check your institution's credit transfer policy and your own personal department/major requirements before enrolling. If you are military personnel consult with your education officer. As a teacher seeking endorsements and certification requirements you should speak with your school district or state board of education recertification specialist.

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Is this course offered for a certain semester?

Independent Study classes are not tied to semesters. You may register for a class at any time and you'll have up to nine months from your date of registration to complete it. The semester that you complete the class is the semester you'll get credit.

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May I complete my class as fast as I want?

No. You have up to nine months from the day that you enroll to complete the course, so you may take as much time as you would like. Please note, however, that each course has an estimated completion time, giving you a rough timeline of the fastest a course could be completed in the most ideal circumstances. Keep in mind that these are college-credit courses that will take some time to complete. For the most part these courses are more difficult than their on-campus counterparts since you are virtually teaching yourself the material. Contact the Distance Education office for more specific information for the class you have in mind at 801-581-8801 or 1-800-467-8839. Please plan ahead; the semester you complete the class is the semester you'll get credit based on the University of Utah's deadlines.

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I am a U employee – will I get reduced tuition?

No; Independent Study classes are not funded from the University. Payment for these classes is processed separately from on-campus courses. Reduced tuition does not apply for Independent Study classes.

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May I take more than one class at a time?

Yes. However, we encourage you to take no more than three courses at a time in order to succeed in your classes. We recommend you finish one course and then enroll in another.
NOTE: At the University of Utah a maximum of 30 nonresident (courses not taken in a classroom) semester credit hours may be applied toward the 122 minimum hours requirement for graduation. No more than 10 hours of nonresident credit may be taken during your senior year. Resident requirements vary from institution to institution, so check with your parent institution's graduation office to determine their independent study credit limits.

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Do I have to take my class for credit?

No. You may audit an Independent Study course, but the cost of the course remains the same. With this option you turn in assignments for instructor comments, but are not required to take exams. This class will appear on your transcript with a "V" for visitor. Contact the Distance Education office for more information.

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What if I don't want a letter grade?

If you're looking for credit but prefer not to receive a letter grade you may apply for the credit/no-credit option. With this option your transcript will read CR for grades of C- or above and NC for grades of D+ or below. You will need to request this option before submitting your second assignment. Contact the Distance Education office for more information.

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I'm still in high school – may I take a class?

Yes. High school students 16 years of age and older may take classes to satisfy high school graduation requirements if approved by your principal. Classes may also be taken to fulfill college requirements. To register, ask the Distance Education office for the High School Student Enrollment Form. It will request written approval from your parent or guardian as well as your high school principal.

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Will financial aid cover this class?

No. Financial aid is not available through the Distance Education office. Full payment is required at the time of enrollment. Due to the length of the enrollment period, Independent Study students are usually not eligible for funds originating through grants or loan programs, nor does enrollment in Independent Study courses meet federal requirements for loan deferment. You may want to ask your employer about reimbursement options. Some companies offer funds for continuing education that include independent study programs.

Military Personnel: The Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES) accepts credits earned from the University of Utah. Consult your education officer or nearest education center concerning individual, veteran or tuition supported enrollments. The DANTES correspondence study catalog contains course and registration listings. Veterans may be reimbursed for fees (no texts) for completed courses under the GI Bill. It is to your advantage to complete your class as rapidly as possible to save entitlement on the GI Bill. Contact your VA office before enrolling.

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How do I register for a class?

There are 3 ways to register:

1. Online - From the course description page click the "Add to Cart" link of the class you would like to take.
2. Over the phone - Contact the Distance Education office directly. Phone: 801-581-8801 Toll-free: 1-800-467-8839
3. In person - We are located in the Annex building in the A wing, room 2186. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. The Annex is directly east of the Huntsman Center. (SEE MAP)

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Will you bill me for my registration?

Sorry, but all courses must be paid in full at the time of enrollment. We accept cash (if you're here in person), credit card, check, or money order payments.

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When will I receive credit for my class?

The semester you complete your class is the semester you'll get credit based on the University of Utah's deadlines. Contact the Distance Education office for more information.

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Now That You're Enrolled...

How do I get my class materials?

Your course manual, coversheets and other important information will be mailed from the Distance Education office within two business days of your registration. Your manual will explain in detail how the class works; it will also include all lessons and assignments. You'll receive a "Policies and Procedures" brochure that will detail Distance Education's Independent Study policies (you can also read the online version here). Go through both your manual and the brochure before beginning your assignments.

Textbooks and all other supplemental materials (videos, computer disks, etc.) are ordered separately, they are not available through the University of Utah bookstore.

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My course requires videos. How do I get them?

You have two options:

  • 1. View the videos at the Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus.
  • 2. View the videos at a public library, if the specific video series is available there.

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Is it possible to get a refund for my class?

Yes. A full refund of the course fee, minus a processing fee, will be issued if you withdraw from the class by close of business on the 14th calendar day after registration; no refunds will be given after that date. Course manual fees are non-refundable.

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Someone in the Distance Education office asked for my University of Utah ID#. Where do I find that?

You will be assigned a University of Utah ID# when you enroll in your class. It will appear on your welcome letter, along with your course expiration date. You can also find it on your golden colored coversheets right under your name; it's an 8-digit code. The Distance Education office does not keep track of students based on Social Security numbers, your U of U ID# is separate from this.

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What can I expect from my instructor?

It's important that you read your instructor's comments on assignments; this is one of the best ways that your instructor will communicate with you. Keep in mind that with a correspondence course it will take a little time to get assignments back. Allow about 10 working days for the instructor to grade your assignments/exams. If it's being returned to you via US mail, you'll want to make allowances for that as well. If you would like to contact your instructor directly just look in the front of your course manual, on the very first page, where you will find contact information. This lists the best way to contact your instructor directly. If you have not heard back from your instructor, after several attempts to contact them, let the Distance Education office know and they will contact your instructor for you.

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My first assignment is ready, how do I turn it in?

You may submit neatly written or typed assignments by mail, e-mail, fax, or in person. Be sure to keep a personal copy of all assignments you hand in. All assignments must be submitted in chronological order with a proper coversheet. See your course manual for more information.

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May I submit my assignments in any order I want to?

No. Each course is set up with a purpose. Please complete all coursework in the order specified in your course manual. All assignments must be submitted in chronological order. If they are submitted out of order they will be held in the office until the missing assignments are turned in.

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I need to take an exam, what do I do?

Wait! Make sure that all of your assignments previous to the exam have been returned to you graded; if they haven't, you're not eligible to take your exam yet. If they have, look below to see how to request your exam.

  • If you are a local student (meaning you live in Salt Lake County) you must take your exams at the University of Utah testing center. You will need to pay a $5 fee and bring a photo ID with you. Contact the Distance Education office or visit this link to request your exam.
  • If you live outside the Salt Lake County area, you must arrange to have your exam proctored by a university or college testing center. You'll find detailed instructions in your course manual or on your course website. If you would like to request an exam, visit this link or contact the Distance Education office.

NOTE: If you fail the Final exam or Final project, you fail your class.

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What are the Testing Center's hours at the University of Utah?

The Testing Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 3pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5pm to 8:30pm. Visit their website for more information: www.sa.utah.edu/testing
NOTE: The testing center will not have your exam if you have not requested it through the Distance Education office. Exams will not be sent until all assignments previous to the exam have been graded and returned to you.

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What grade did I receive on my assignment?

Unfortunately our office is not able to give grades over the phone due to FERPA (privacy) regulations. We would be more than happy to compare your grade for you, "You received the same grade for assignment 6 that you received for assignment 2." Or, "Your grade is 3 points higher than it was on assignment 4."

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I just moved and my address has changed; what should I do?

Contact the Distance Education office; we will change your address in our database as well as send you new coversheets to reflect the new address. Or, you can check the box available on your golden-colored coversheets, hand-write your new address and send it in with your next assignment. We'll send you new coversheets reflecting your new address as soon as possible.

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It's been 9 months and I haven't finished my course yet! Now what?

Students may purchase up to six one-month extensions which are non-refundable, so plan carefully. Please contact the office for the current cost of extensions. Each extension will go from month to month; for instance, if your course expires on January 17th, purchasing one extension (regardless of when you purchase it) will change your expiration date to February 17th. A second will take you to March 17th, etc. Contact the Distance Education office for more information. You may also request an extension online here.

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I need credit for a specific semester, will I get it?

You will receive credit for your class for the semester you complete your course based on the University of Utah's deadlines. This means that even if you enroll in Summer semester it does not guarantee you will receive Summer credit for the course. Contact the Distance Education office for more details.

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Why isn't my Independent Study class showing up on my University of Utah schedule for this semester?

Independent Study classes only show up after a student has completed the course. If you need proof of enrollment before you finish, contact the Distance Education office.

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You've Finished Your Class!

I just finished my class; will you send me a transcript?

The Distance Education office does not send out transcripts. Once you have completed a course and a final grade has been posted to your record, you can submit a transcript request online through the University of Utah Registrar's Office. Please submit your request well in advance of any deadline to insure a timely delivery.

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How do I request my transcript?

You may submit your transcript request online through the University of Utah Registrar's Office.

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