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Planning Your Program

Planning Your Program

The Academic Study Plan is the centerpiece of your educational program at IUPS. It documents credits that you have earned by virtue of prior academic work and relevant life experiences and the required and elective courses that you will need to complete in order to obtain your degree.


As a guideline for determining the credit allowance for courses, the University has derived a standard from the Carnegie System, adapting a "total time commitment" aspect to our independent study model. However, while these guidelines are to be adhered to, it is not expected that either the instructor or the student maintain an exact calculation of time.


IUPS courses are designed in such a way to permit them to be interchangeable with all other semester credit systems worldwide, as well as to be easily translatable into other credit systems.


Approximately one IUPS credit may be awarded for each 45 hours of total time in independent study, including time spent in library research, reading and reflection, construction of course papers or other written materials, completion of assignments, projects and field placement activities, research and other academic investigations, professional enhancement activities, attendance at lectures, classes, seminars and conferences, or any other form, study or investigation that is included as a planned, allowed or required element or the course.


It is important to note that IUPS is more interested in the quality of the work done, rather than in a rigid quantitative approach. It is therefore the joint decision of the mentor and the student as to when the time involved is sufficient to warrant the appropriate credits.


While there are a wide variety of external study styles, you and your mentor should attempt to identify the most appropriate learning activities for each course. You will want to determine, for instance, whether the course will be conducted as a reading course, a research investigation, a field experience, or another method for acquiring new learning.


All courses and methods of completing the coursework must be approved by your mentor.


Sample Ways to Investigate Academic Literature

  • Carry out special advanced reading assignments under your mentor's direction and prepare a course paper in that area of specialization.

  • Conduct an exhaustive review of the literature in a specialized field of investigation. Such a course would include library research, reading, anecdotal notation, and the structuring of a course paper, which addresses an important issue within the discipline.

  • Pursue advanced readings under an academic author important to your field of specialization. You should make prior arrangements with the author to allow contact and discussion of the written material. A reflective course paper should follow.

  • Conduct extensive reading in support of the thesis or dissertation focusing in the areas of research methodology or bibliography development.

  • Utilize audio, video, library research, internet resources, etc, that are particularly relevant to the subject matter and discuss it with your mentor or write a paper.

  • Conduct a self-designed research project that investigates aspects of your field of study in considerable detail. You would develop a brief research plan, discuss the hypothesis with your mentor, conduct a review of the literature, develop the data-gathering instrument, and present the study and the findings in a formal manner.

  • Assist another researcher with a collaborative research effort. You should present a paper that describes your role in the project and how the research has better informed your understanding of the academic field.

  • Produce a book, journal articles, an original work of art, or other final product related to professional practice.

  • Participate in an on-the-job training or career shadowing activity leading to actual or potential job advancement. This activity can be coupled with maintenance of a daily journal followed by a course paper.

  • Organize a professional development activity that culminates in acquisition of new knowledge in your discipline.

  • Structure a course that integrates new learning with experiences obtained through professional activities. Such a course would require a moderate level of reading and an activity that permits you to demonstrate the ability to use the new material in a creative manner in the work place.

  • Structure a course to demonstrate the skills of a reflective practitioner, using problem solving and critical thinking to address real world issues in an innovative manner.

  • Attend conferences, seminars and workshops focusing upon your field of study and following-up that participation with a written or oral examination or a course paper.

  • Participate as a volunteer (or paid employee) in a supervised community setting that will allow you to practice in considerable depth some aspect of our professional in a real world setting.

  • Structure a supervised field activity that allows for research or professional development activities.

  • Conduct structured on-site investigations as an observer within practical professional settings, collecting information useful to your academic development.

  • Complete courses at other colleges, including class-based, technology-based, and correspondence courses.

Again, please note that all of these activities need to be approved by your mentor.

(Please refer to the IUPS Dissertation Manual for information about the proposal and the writing of the dissertation.)


Academic Study Plan

Changes to any aspect of the Academic Study Plan may be negotiated between you and your mentor, and submitted for approval to the Academic Dean at any time during the conduct of the program through the process of a formal addendum.


It may be necessary to add or delete certain courses from the Academic Study Plan. These changes can be accomplished with the approval of the University so long as the overall program retains its integrity and the studies normally expected of degree holders are maintained. If the course credit estimate is found to be inaccurate and no longer representative of the time and effort required for the learning activities, the credit award may be adjusted by addendum at any time prior to the approval of the transcript.

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