I am a grad student but have an out-of-state bachelors that does not meet teaching cert requirements, so I have an undergrad class that I need to take as well. My advisor offered to do it as an individualized instruction this summer. What does this even mean? That he would make it available for me to take in the summer instead of winter?

  • 8
    Sounds like a conversation you should be having with your advisor.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 24 at 1:34
  • Sounds like your advisor would do a special, one-on-one class with you to fulfill that requirement. Likely over the summer since there would be a bit more time in their schedule to work with you.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 26 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


In some places such a course is actually just an "independent study" under the direction and review of a faculty member familiar with the requirements. It is normally someone who has taught the course before.

You do readings, maybe assignments, and probably some exam set by the instructor. There are no lectures. Office visits (or Zoom meets) would be a normal component so that you can ask questions.

And, yes, if you are willing to work several days a week on it, it is feasible to be done over summer rather than a regular term.


I'm currently taking an individualized instruction online language class at my local major university. Let me discuss how it's run and some questions you could ask your advisor.

The class I'm taking is a large-scale production which has been run for several years at least. There's a professor assigned to it, but a Ph.D student is the coordinator and there are nine tutors including the coordinator that take online 15-minute sessions. There is a very detailed syllabus, an online app for making, changing, and breaking appointments. You self-study the book and workbook and there's a large online website with resources. You can arrange to have online sessions if you have questions about the material (ungraded) or graded sessions where you perform dialogues, work on new situations, etc.

Now a language class is essentially a lab class so to give you an idea of the requirements, for a 4-credit hour semester class you have to do 49 graded 15-minute sessions. You're allowed to reduce the credit hours--I did when some relatives needed a lot of help so I reduced to 2 CR a few weeks ago, so I only have 4 more to complete for a total of 23 sessions.

If this course is more lecture-based, it should be easier to complete as independent study. If there is a lab component, you'll need to ask your advisor about that portion. My guess is that it's something like "History of State" and lecture-based.

Now for some comments and suggestions.

Summer sessions tend to be compressed. What's the schedule going to be like? Does your advisor have a detailed (or any) syllabus that you'll be following? Is there a list of learning outcomes/goals? How often will you meet? How will you be graded? Can you take it pass/fail?

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