Field School 2019, Hydrology

Vancouver IslandUniversity

Directed Studies

Directed Studies

The Geography Department has a directed studies policy that applies when a student requests a course from the Department as an individual directed study, or a faculty member proposes to offer a special course
(e.g. GEOG 465 Special Field Studies in Geography) for a small cohort of students (up to 5) that is not part of his or her regular workload assignment.  This policy establishes that the decision to offer a directed study course lies with the Department, and not with individual instructors acting alone and without support from the Department.  Directed studies courses are offered on a voluntary basis and are in addition to a faculty member’s regular workload.

Sierra at CREATE 2023

Sierra De Buysscher-Nailor at CREATE 2023

Application Procedure

To apply for a Directed Studies course, the student must fill out a request form and submit it to the Chair of the Department.  For courses involving independent research (GEOG 490 or GEOG 491), students should make a request using the Geography Department Senior Research Project Request Form giving details about their proposed research project.  For all other courses operating under the Directed Studies model, students complete and submit the Geography Department Directed Studies Request Form.  A directed study request should be submitted no later than August 15th for a Fall semester course or December 1st for a Spring semester course; for year-long courses (e.g. GEOG 491), the request should be submitted no later than August 15th.  Requests for directed study courses are discussed at a regular departmental meeting and voted on based on the criteria set out below.


Decisions by the Department regarding directed studies requests are made in accordance with the following criteria.  In all cases, an instructor must be found who is willing to supervise the directed study student.

  1. A student is about to graduate and is missing a specific required course that is not being offered in the current academic year.  Note that course offerings are advertised for the current and immediately following academic years, so students should plan within that time frame accordingly.
  2. A student would like to undertake an independent research project, e.g. GEOG 490 or GEOG 491.
  3. An instructor(s) would like to offer a seminar course or a field studies course as a directed studies course. A decision to offer such a course will pay special attention to possible impacts on enrollment in other courses.
  4. A regularly scheduled upper-level course that is cancelled due to low enrollment may be offered as a directed study course; however, enrollment in other upper-level courses must not be significantly impacted by the offering of the directed study course.
  5. Directed studies courses should be assigned to faculty with relevant expertise, and distributed so that no faculty member has an unreasonable burden of directed studies courses.

students collecting tidepool species data, Pipers Lagoon

GEOG 490 – Directed Studies / GEOG 491 - Research Project

Students enrolled in a BA in Geography or BSc in Geosciences are welcome to take either GEOG 490 – Directed Studies (3 credits) or GEOG 491 - Research Project (6 credits). If you are interested in independent research, you are encouraged to approach a Geography instructor and discuss your proposed research project. At least one instructor is required to supervise your research project. Prior to registering for this course, a written statement needs to be completed and submitted using the Geography Department Senior Research Project Request Form. This form is used to provide details about your proposed research project and should include a work schedule and a final date for completion of the project. This form must be signed by the instructor, and submitted to the Chair of the Department for approval. Students wishing to complete an honours Geography degree are 

Alex at CREATE 2023

Alex Christensen at CREATE 2023

Research Ethics Policy

A reminder that students who undertake individual directed studies or research projects that involve human subjects are required to adhere to the Department’s Research Ethics Policy.  This policy is outlined on the following web page: