Independent Studies

Independent Studies give major and minor students the option to gain ECTS credits for their required optional credits (Wahlleistungen) by doing independent projects of different kinds (see examples below). These activities need to be clearly distinguishable from work required for courses or the BA/MA thesis in most cases*, and are to be discussed with and agreed upon by a member of the teaching staff (supervisor) and by the IS Coordinator in advance.

Study Plan 2017 Previous study plan

BA: 1-5 ECTS
MA*: 1-5 ECTS

BA: 2-5 ECTS
MA*: 3-7 ECTS

The overall maximum may not be exceeded when doing multiple Independent Studies.

*If you are a combination MA student with an MA Major and a Minor in English, you can get up to 7 (previous study plan) or 5 (Study Plan 2017) ECTS for your major PLUS up to 7/5 ECTS for your Minor. However, you may not exceed 7/5 ECTS in each field of study. For example, if you have completed a 7/5 ECTS linguistics project for your literature major, you cannot do another linguistics IS in your linguistics Minor.

When planning your project, please take into account that 1 ECTS equals 25 hours of work.

Before you start with your project:

  • If you have any questions, contact the Independent Studies Coordinator.
  • See a member of the teaching staff and ask them to become your supervisor for the project you have in mind.
  • If you are an international student, you need to let the staff member who is supervising your Independent Studies project know if you need the project to receive a numeric grade (rather than just a pass or fail grade).
  • Fill in and sign the Independent Studies Form (PDF, 57KB) /  (as Word document, 24.5 KB) with your supervisor.
  • Get your project approved and the form signed by the Independent Studies Coordinator. The Independent Studies Coordinator will confirm how many ECTS you will be allotted for the project.

During your project:

  • You are responsible for the Independent Studies Form for the duration of your project. Make sure you keep it safe. However, some supervisors prefer to keep the form in their office instead.

After you finished your project:

  • Ask your supervisor to confirm the ECTS for your project and sign the bottom part of the Independent Studies Form.
  • Return the completed Independent Studies Form to the Independent Studies Coordinator or ask your supervisor to do so.
  • The ECTS will be entered into the system shortly after.

IS projects advertised by English Department staff members:
We consider these to be “mini-internships” in our department and we are happy to give you written confirmation for the work done.


Activity  Comments 
Independent piece of academic writing  Paper, essay, glossary, learning diary etc. 1,500 words = 1 ECTS
Piece of creative writing   
Participation in drama production  As actor/directing + written report or similar, scriptwriting (siginificant contribution to the conceptualization and production) 
Scholarly homepage 
Annotated bibliography 
Attending an academic conference   Report, paper, poster etc.
Academic student activity  e.g. excursion, reading group 
 Conference organization
Support staff member in organizing a conference. Depending on your role in the organization process, an additional written assignment might be required for IS credit.
Fieldwork e.g. data collection, archival and library research. Documented with a research report or equivalent.

Date collection can, in some cases, be part of your BA / MA thesis.

Independent Studies abroad  Studying abroad, acadmic work abroad. Only applies to students who are not required to study abroad. Non-academic work / travelling cannot be credited. 

*Language courses will no longer be accepted for independent studies.