The Independent Study allows Criminal Justice students in their junior or senior year a unique opportunity to conduct specific, in depth research in an area of their choice (as relating to the field of criminal justice). Students work under the guidance of a faculty member. The Independent Study course (01:202:495) can be used to satisfy the 400-level elective required for completion of the major. Students may only take 3 credits of Independent Study per semester, but may earn a maximum of 6 credits overall, which can be used for the major.


It is up to the student to reach out to a faculty member if interested in completing an independent study project. Students are advised to set up an appointment to discuss the possibility of working on such a project, and it is helpful to have an idea in mind of the topic of research intended. The requirements for completing an independent study project involve completion of a research paper: this paper must be completed within the same semester that the student is enrolled in 01:202:495. The details and logistics of completing any research is up to the discretion of the faculty mentor.


N.B. Only full-time faculty members are allowed to serve as mentors for the Independent Study project.


Once a student has obtained a faculty mentor and both parties have agreed on the research topic, students must fill out the Independent Study form (also found in the Student Forms section), and have it signed by the faculty mentor. The student must then meet with the advising staff in order to submit the Independent Study form: we will provide a Special Permission Number in order to register for the independent study course. To schedule an appointment to meet with one of the advising staff, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




“Working with Dr. Desire has allowed me to learn more about the criminal justice field and the career options available, as well as build a good communication and relationship with a college professor, something I was never able to [accomplish] due to the large class sizes. He gave me a lot of advice and suggestions on the type of careers I could have with my interests in the forensic science field, which is how I came to be in his class and got an internship in NY with the OCME DNA Lab. Talk with a professor [you] would like to work with for an independent study project to build a good relationship.”


~Tiffany W. ‘13


“I had a great experience. [Independent study] gave me a unique opportunity to come up with my own research topic. It was also an honor to be able to develop a relationship with my professor. My professor was a mentor for me and helped me think about my research topic in a broader and more in-depth way, which I would not have been able to do if I was just writing a research paper in a regular class. I would highly recommend students to participate in an Independent Study. The relationship you develop with your research advisor is so influential: they not only help you with your research, but they also become a mentor that teaches you about the real world, career advice, and so much more."


~Alexa B. ‘13


“I greatly enjoyed working one-on-one with a professor I had built a relationship with at Rutgers. The independent study gave me the opportunity to research deep into a field I enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. The class is very flexible and it is very different than a normal college class. I actually learned more [doing an independent] study than I have in some regular classes. An overall great experience.”


~Daniel F. ‘13