Directed Study Courses

Please read these Directed Study Guidelines before you start your application.

This guide is intended to be a helpful resource for students who are interested in directed study coursework. It outlines what a directed studies course entails, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the instructor and the student. If you have additional questions after reading this document, you are welcome to contact, Sami Lee, Undergraduate Advisor in Communication

What is Directed Study?

Directed Study is a one-term self-directed course that consists of readings and research completed under the supervision of a Communication (CMNS) faculty member. To qualify for a directed studies course, the student must have already completed two upper division CMNS courses prior to submitting their application for directed study and must be in “Good Academic Standing”. A maximum of ten units of directed study may be taken. Directed study units may not be used to fulfill the upper division units in Communication courses required for CMNS Honours, Majors, Joint Majors, Extended Minors, Minors and Dialogue Minors.

The work to be completed should be in proportion to normal expectations for Communication courses at SFU. For example, CMNS 479-1 would represent one-fourth of the work normally expected in a 4-unit course in CMNS. Expect a minimum of three hours of study per week for each credit hour.

CMNS 479-1 unit and CMNS 480-2 units cannot be stand-alone courses and must be attached to a regularly scheduled CMNS course you are enrolled in the same academic term. Students are expected to complete additional assignments such as a short literature review or book review that can help with another assignment in the course.

The onus is on the student to develop the proposal, provide necessary supporting documentation, obtain necessary approvals, maintain contact with the supervisor and see the project through to completion.


Directed Study coursework should be supervised by a faculty member in the School of Communication whose teaching and research are in the area(s) of the proposed work. Students should contact their supervisor one semester before their intended term of enrolling into a Directed Study course.

Application Procedure

Deadline: First day of classes for the Directed Studies term

We strongly recommend that Directed Study applications are submitted to be considered for approval 4 weeks before the start of the term. Applications submitted during the first month of the term may result in late fee penalties, a longer turnaround time for approval, or denial of the application.


Students’ responsibilities:

Three months prior to the start of the following term:

  • Obtain approval from a CMNS faculty member in the term directly preceding the directed study course.
  • Prepare a detailed statement of the work to be completed which includes methodology, outline of the topics to be covered, bibliography, expected word length, course deliverables, other learning assessments and timeline and deadlines.

Two months prior to the start of the following term:

  • Review the proposal with the faculty member, set up a follow-up meeting with the supervisor to finalize the proposal.
  • Present the revised proposal to the instructor, obtain a signature for the Directed Study Proposal Form.

5 weeks before the first day of classes of the following term:

  • Submit the final Directed Study Proposal Online.

During the Directed Study term:

  • Maintain contact with the instructor and see the project through to completion.

Instructor’s responsibilities:

Two months prior the start of the following term:

  • Review the student’s Directed Studies Proposal. Decide if it’s reasonable for the number of units they’ll be doing and provide feedback or suggestions to the student.
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting to finalize the proposal.
  • ·Review, approve and sign the Directed Study Proposal Form. Email approval will suffice.

During the Directed Study term:

  • Schedule regular meetings with the student throughout the term and provide support/feedback for the student.
  •  Grade student’s work and submit their grade online.

Once the student has submitted the proposal via the web form, it will be forwarded to the CMNS Director for approval. Approval is not guaranteed. Students should allow time to make modifications, if required, or to register in another course, if the proposal is not approved.

If approved by the Director, academic advisor Sami Lee will enroll the student directly into the course and notify the student and their supervisor via email.

Directed Study Proposal Form

Which course are you interested in?
In which semester will you be taking this course?

Supporting Documents

The total size of uploaded attachments can be no larger than 15MB
Current advising transcript sorted by ‘both’
The total size of uploaded attachments can be no larger than 15MB
Email approval from the CMNS Faculty Member as your supervisor
The total size of uploaded attachments can be no larger than 15MB
A detailed Statement of work (methodology, form of presentation, outlining the topic, 3-5 initial bibliography, expected word length, course deliverables, timeline and due dates)