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Independent and Field Study Information

Independent Studies include those opportunities outside of the regular curriculum in which a student is working closely with a faculty advisor to focus on a specific academic or theoretical area of study that is not part of the Kellogg curriculum.

Field Studies 
include those opportunities outside of the regular curriculum in which a student is working with an outside company or non-profit organization to address a real-world business challenge for course credit under the oversight of a faculty member. Students seeking a Field Study must find a faculty advisor and a project sponsor. The project scope must be agreed upon with the faculty advisor and sponsor. Students may pursue a Field Study as an individual or as a team.

Independent and Field Study Requirements:
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • A maximum 1.0 credit total of Independent and/or Field Study per quarter.
  • 45-60 hours of work for a 10-week 1.0 credit Independent/Field Study; 23-30 hours of work for a 5-week 0.5 credit Independent/Field Study.
  • No monetary compensation (salary, stipend, equity, etc.) for work completed as part of an Independent or Field Study.
  • Please note: Neither Independent Studies nor Field Studies are eligible for Pass/No Credit grading.

Additional Field Study Requirements:

  • Students must limit their time on-site with a sponsoring organization - this is an on-campus project with occasional visits to the project site
  • Students must represent their Field Study experience on their resume as an educational experience (not work experience)

Registration Process for an Independent/Field Study

  1. Secure a faculty advisor. The Kellogg Faculty Directory and the Northwestern Scholars database can be used to find a faculty member interested in your particular research area.
  2. Work with the faculty advisor to complete the Online Independent and Field Study Form. Do not submit the form to a faculty member without previously initiating discussion around Independent/Field Study work.
  3. Receive all approvals by the add deadline for the quarter in which the Study enrollment takes place (usually the end of the first week of classes or the end of the sixth week for a 0.5 credit Study). This deadline is also indicated on the online form.

Registration & Records will notify the student, as well as the faculty member, when enrollment is complete. The faculty member will provide the student's grade in CAESAR at the end of the quarter.

If you need help securing a Field Study Project, please go to the Kellogg Job Board and search “Experiential Learning” in the Company field. If interested in a listing, please reach out to the associated contact to discuss project details. Once project details have been agreed upon by both parties, please commence the above Registration process.

Please see Independent/Field Study Guidelines for Students for more detailed information about completing an Independent/Field Study at Kellogg.


Independent Studies FAQs

1. Can I take an Independent Study as an individual or a team?

Both. You can take an Independent Study as an individual or as part of a team. If you are part of a team, each person on the team will need to submit a separate Independent Study form.

2. What is the deadline to submit the Independent Study form?

The deadline to submit an Independent Study form is the same as the Add Deadline for the corresponding period. For example, if you are adding an Independent Study for the second half of winter quarter, you would need to adhere to the Add Deadline for the second 5 weeks of the quarter. That deadline is generally around the end of the 6th week of classes.

3. What are the expectations of a faculty supervisor?

The Independent Study is fairly flexible. The only requirement is that the faculty supervisor provides a grade for the student at the end of the project. Faculty supervisors also generally support the student’s research (through advising, referrals to other subject matter experts, approach to research, etc.) that is necessary to successfully complete the Independent Study. Some faculty will be more “hands on” than others and will have additional requirements for the student(s).

4. Who can be my faculty supervisor?

Any faculty member that has a Kellogg appointment can be a faculty supervisor.

5. How do I find a faculty advisor?

One of the best ways to find a Faculty Advisor is to ask a faculty member that you (or someone on your project team) has a good relationship with and who might have an interest in the area of your project. When you ask, you might consider asking the faculty member for suggestions of professors to reach out to for a project such as X. By doing so, if they are interested and have the time, they have an opening to say that they are interested. If they don’t, you have a great lead for a professor recommended by their peer.

6. How can I find a project?

Students can find a project in several ways:

  • Utilize your personal or professional contacts
  • Develop contacts through informational interviews
  • Leverage the Kellogg alumni network
  • Look on the Kellogg Job Board (Company Search = Kellogg Experiential Learning) for posted projects

7. As a student myself, can I submit a project for other students to work on?

Absolutely –If you would like to post a project or direct someone else to post one, please see the online project submission form.

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