curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships




Independent Study

Does not count towards the BFS seminar requirement.

Application form

See CURF’s research directory for information on faculty members who are looking for undergraduate assistance in their research. Also, consult with a faculty member from a relevant course or ask department advisors.

Defining a Project

Once a student finds a faculty member willing to sponsor the student’s independent study, he or she needs to meet with this faculty member and determine what the project will entail. The student will need to understand his or her project, where to begin with it, and what training, supplies or equipment will be needed. The student also needs to discuss very specifically what the faculty member will expect the student to complete by which dates, what outside reading and study must be finished, what the student will hand in for grading, how often the student and then faculty advisor will meet, and whether anyone else will be available for the student to work with on a daily or weekly basis.
h3. Registering for BENF 099

Please note that only students in the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program are eligible for BENF 099. Other students may register for independent study through a department or school number.

Also note that BENF 099 courses do not count towards the requirement of 4 Benjamin Franklin Seminars for BFS students.

First, with the help of his or her advisor, the student must write a clear and detailed proposal. The proposal should clearly describe the project, the student’s goals and responsibilities, and any reading he or she will do. It will also specify how the work will be evaluated and what the student will produce (a paper, bibliography, lab journal, etc.). When the student finishes the proposal, the advisor will fill in all of her or his information and sign it. The student must bring the proposal to the Benjamin Franklin Office by the due date. He or she should double check to make sure all the information is complete.

When the proposal is approved, the student will be assigned a course number and registered for that course. The student may call the BFS office on the last Friday of the Add period to get the course number. If the proposal is not complete and/or not approved, the student will not be registered.

A student must fully complete a proposal form each semester, even if she or he is continuing a previous project. BENF 099 is normally for one credit per semester. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may petition for more than one credit with a written letter of support from his or her sponsor.

To answer any questions, concerns, explanations or special circumstances, interested students should schedule an appointment with Linda Wiedmann at 215-746-6488, to discuss them, well before the due date.

Title and grades

The student and his or her faculty sponsor should agree on a title for the independent study which will appear on the student’s transcript. The title must fit into the parameters on the proposal form. At the end of the semester the student must submit a copy of the final paper or a copy of the lab journal to the BFS office. We must have some written proof of the student’s work in order for him or her to receive credit.

BFS will send the student’s sponsor a grade sheet from the Registrar: the sponsor determines the student’s grade.

Major requirements

This independent study will not automatically count for a student’s major. The student must meet with his or her major advisor or the undergraduate chair for the major and have the independent study approved for the major. We cannot do this for the student.


No student may receive pay and credit for the same project.

Progress Meetings

There will be mandatory mid-semester meetings of all students pursuing BENF independent study to discuss their research progress.

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CURF, University of Pennsylvania
3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH, Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-746-6488 ·