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Forms: Independent Courses and Overload Permission

One of the best experiences you can have as a student at TCNJ is to work closely with a faculty member on independent study or research, or as part of a mentored internship.  This webpage describes the process of proposing these courses.

As these are courses taken for academic credit, paperwork needs to be submitted prior to or during add/drop week at the beginning of the semester to the Dean’s Office.  Please see the deadlines below:

Fall 2020: Tuesday, September 1 by 4:30 p.m.

Spring 2021: Monday, February 1 by 4:30 p.m.

If you have a hold in PAWS, please resolve this prior to submitting paperwork.

For Overload permission, you are eligible to apply to take up to 5 units in a semester if you have a 3.3 Cumulative GPA and at least 8 earned TCNJ course units.  The form and application information is at the bottom of this page.



COVID-19 Update:

For the Records & Registration (R&R) forms described below, there are signature lines for a subset of the following: Faculty sponsor, Department Chair, and/or Dean.  You will not be asking these individuals to physically sign forms.  As part of the process of submitting enrollment paperwork, you will be uploading email evidence of approval by your Faculty Sponsor and Department Chair (if applicable).    Associate Dean Grimm will sign as the Dean after reviewing your course materials and will send your paperwork directly to Records & Registration for enrollment.

For internships that are not virtual, your internship site must allow you to wear a mask and socially distance, and provide access to hand sanitation.  Please have a discussion with your internship site supervisor and your faculty sponsor prior to submitting your internship course paperwork.



TCNJ Policy distinguishes between Independent Study courses and Independent Research courses.  For Independent Study, the assumption is that there will be minimal faculty direction and, as such, the College requires significantly more detail in the course proposal.  For Independent Research, faculty involvement will be significant and, thus, the course proposal is minimal.  Please consult with your faculty sponsor to determine which course type best meets your goals.

*Note: if you are interested in completing independent work related to a course that is in the Course Catalog but not currently offered, this is not an independent course.  You should complete a Special Arrangement Course Form.

Please click on the links below to find the forms and online applications for each of the different course types:


HSS Independent Study

Proposal Process:

1. Students should verify that they are eligible (TCNJ GPA of 2.5 and at least 12 earned units (4 must be TCNJ units)).  Students cannot enroll in more than 1.5 units of independent study in a given semester.

2. Students interested in completing an independent study course for academic credit need to work with a faculty sponsor to write a course proposal that contains:

  1. A detailed project description and deliverables
  2. The anticipated time necessary for each course deliverable
  3. A description of prior coursework and/or other experience that prepared the student for the proposed work
  4. The frequency and duration of meetings with the faculty sponsor
  5. Project milestones completion dates, where applicable
  6. The methods by which the student’s work will be evaluated (e.g., paper, performance, presentation)

[Requirements quoted from TCNJ Alternative Undergraduate Course types policy (May 6, 2019): Section 2.c]

3.  If approved by the department, students should complete the R&R enrollment form, this includes obtaining permission of the faculty sponsor and the Department Chair. You will need to list the topic of your independent study on the form. Your course number is 391.

4.  Upload the approved form AND the course proposal into the HSS Independent Study/Research Proposal System

You must get approvals from your department prior to uploading forms into the system. You must use the new forms (at the bottom has a Revised 08/2017 date). 

Associate Dean Grimm will sign AFTER you have submitted your paperwork.

Please submit early to avoid missing registration deadlines.  You will get an e-mail from the Dean’s Office when your paperwork is submitted to Records & Registration.

HSS Independent Study/Research Proposal System


HSS Independent Research/Thesis/Project

Proposal Process:

1. Students should verify that they are eligible (TCNJ GPA of 3.0 and at least 12 earned units (4 must be TCNJ units)).  Students cannot enroll in more than 1.5 units of independent research in a given semester.

2. Students interested in completing an independent research course for academic credit need to work with a faculty sponsor to write a course proposal that contains: “Research objectives and the techniques expected to be employed in the research work.”  [Requirements quoted from TCNJ Alternative Undergraduate Course types policy (May 6, 2019): Section 2.c]

3.  If approved by the department, students should complete the R&R enrollment form, this includes obtaining approvals of the faculty sponsor and the Department Chair. You will need to list the topic of your independent research on the form.

Course numbers are as follows:

393 is for independent research and 493 is for senior independent research

494 is reserved for non-thesis work that is part of the College-wide honors program

Honors thesis numbers are 396 and 496, or 497

4.  Upload the approved form AND the course proposal into the HSS Independent Study/Research Proposal System

You must get approvals from your department prior to uploading forms into the system. You must use the new forms (at the bottom has a Revised 08/2017 date). 

Associate Dean Grimm will sign AFTER you have submitted your paperwork.

Please submit early to avoid missing registration deadlines.  You will get an e-mail from the Dean’s Office when your paperwork is submitted to Records & Registration.

HSS Independent Study/Research Proposal System


For course-based mentored internships, you will work with a faculty member to propose an academic course that complements your internship experience.  These experiences are either independent or class-based.  Class-based internships are scheduled in PAWS and enrolled students meet as a group with the instructor.  Currently, class-based internships are offered by Psychology, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (PSY398, WGS398).  All departments sponsor independent internships (399 or 487).

Spring 2021 Internship Scholarship

The Fund for Students in Unpaid Internships in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, established in 2019 with donations from 139 friends and members of the TCNJ community, provides a stipend of at least $750 for a 1 unit/4 credit HSS internship, for HSS students with financial need who undertake an unpaid mentored internship for academic credit at a site focused on public service and social justice. The eligible course numbers are 398, 399, 487 and 488. Please see the linked call for applications:  Unpaid Internships Fund

Applications for Spring 2021 are due January 15, 2021.

Please click below for more information about adding course credit to an internship experience and for the course application system:

HSS Internships (Independent and Class-based)

YOUR INTERNSHIP HOURS CANNOT START UNTIL YOU RECEIVE APPROVAL FROM THE DEAN’S OFFICE.

Please enter a start date on your paperwork that is at least 1 week after you submit into the HSS proposal portal.

To find an internship, there are resources provided by your department, and The Career Center lists many opportunities for students in HSS.

Proposal Process:

1. Students should verify that they are eligible (TCNJ GPA of 2.0 and at least 3 earned TCNJ units). Students may count no more than 3 units of internship toward a TCNJ degree.

2. Students interested in completing an internship for academic credit need to work with a faculty sponsor to write an internship course proposal that contains:

  1. “The proposal should state the number of credit hours from any previous internship, as well as the semester taken and the firm, institution, or agency where the internship was completed.
  2. The proposal must explain exactly how credits are to be earned, what on-the-job activities will be required of the intern, and how these activities relate to program learning goals and objectives.
  3. The proposal must describe the methods of evaluating the internship to be used by the faculty supervisor, which may include evaluation(s) by the on-site supervisor.
  4. The proposal must specify learning goals and objectives. The learning goals may be general to all internships in a department (at a particular course level) and/or be specific to the particular internship experience.”

[Requirements quoted from TCNJ Internships policy (August 3, 2016): Section III.C]

3.  If approved by the department, students should complete the R&R enrollment form, this includes obtaining approvals of the faculty sponsor and the Department Chair.

4.  Upload the approved form AND the course proposal into the HSS Internship Proposal System (link is below)

You must get approvals from your department prior to uploading forms into the system. You must use the new forms (at the bottom has a Revised 08/2017 date). 

Associate Dean Grimm will sign AFTER you have submitted your paperwork.

Please submit early to avoid missing registration deadlines.  You will get an e-mail from the Dean’s Office when your paperwork is submitted to Records & Registration.

HSS Internship Proposal System


For those students who wish to participate in independent research or internships abroad, we do have approved courses at several TCNJ Study Centers.  Students submit course proposals for review, but enrollment occurs in partnership with the Center for Global Engagement.  Please click below for more information:

HSS Global or Away Experiences: Independent Research and Internships

Global Internships

If you are an HSS major or minor and have a planned internship abroad (or at The Washington Center, in Washington, DC) for that major or minor, you need to submit an internship proposal prior to starting your internship. You do not submit the Records & Registration enrollment form and you should follow the deadlines below (not the deadlines listed at the top of this page).

Students interested in completing an internship for academic credit need to work with a faculty sponsor to write an internship course proposal that contains:

  1. “The proposal should state the number of credit hours from any previous internship, as well as the semester taken and the firm, institution, or agency where the internship was completed.
  2. The proposal must explain exactly how credits are to be earned, what on-the-job activities will be required of the intern, and how these activities relate to program learning goals and objectives.
  3. The proposal must describe the methods of evaluating the internship to be used by the faculty supervisor, which may include evaluation(s) by the on-site supervisor.
  4. The proposal must specify learning goals and objectives. The learning goals may be general to all internships in a department (at a particular course level) and/or be specific to the particular internship experience.”

[Requirements quoted from TCNJ Internships policy (August 3, 2016): Section III.C]

Please follow the steps below to submit your proposal:

  1.  Tell The Center for Global Engagement about your internship in their application
  2.  Have the Chair of your department sign for the internship course on your study abroad course approval form
  3. Secure an internship
  4. Complete the on-line proposal.  
    1. For students at The Washington Center, your paperwork is due 1 week after you start the program in DC.
    2. For students in London, your paperwork is due at the end of Week 7.  You will interview for your internship in Week 6.
    3. For other students, please contact the HSS Dean’s Office for an application deadline.

HSS Global Internship Proposal System

Global Research/Study

If you are an HSS major or minor and have a planned independent research course abroad (or at The Washington Center, in Washington, DC) for that major or minor, you need to submit an independent research proposal prior to starting your course. You do not submit the Records & Registration enrollment form and you should follow the deadlines below.

You should follow the TCNJ guidelines relevant to the independent research proposal:

The student will prepare a written proposal meeting the following requirements:

  • A detailed description of the project
  • The amount of time devoted to each major aspect of the project
  • A description of prior course work or other experience which prepares the student for
    the proposed activity
  • The frequency and duration of meetings with the faculty sponsor
  • Dates for completion of project milestones where applicable.
  • The methods by which the student’s work will be evaluated must be clearly stated in the
    proposal. Some appropriate forms of evaluation include a paper, a performance, and/or a
    presentation.

Please follow the steps below to submit your proposal:

  1.  Tell The Center for Global Engagement about your independent research course in their application
  2.  Have the Chair of your department sign for the independent research course on your study abroad course approval form
  3. Complete the on-line application.  

HSS Global Independent Research Proposal System



The normal course load for HSS majors is 4 units but students may take up to 4.5 units without permission.  For overload permission to take 5 units (usually 5 classes), please click below to read about the process:

HSS Overload

The normal course load for HSS majors is 4 units but students may take up to 4.5 units without permission.

Students who have earned 8 units at the college and maintain a 3.3 cumulative TCNJ GPA may request an overload for a maximum of 5 course units. First-year students, with less than 8 TCNJ earned units, may apply for an overload to take an intensive language after than have a TCNJ GPA.  We do not approve overloads for the Winter Term or the Mini-Summer Term.

Application Process to take up to 5 course units:

1.  Students who are seeking  an overload should first discuss this with their faculty advisor or department chair. The advisor and/or department chair should inquire as to why they are requesting the overload, review their academic record, and determine the likelihood of a successful semester with such an overload.

2.  If approved by the department, students should complete the overload request form and have the Department Chair approve the form.

3.  Upload the approved form into the HSS Overload Request System

You must get approval from your department prior to uploading forms into the system. Associate Dean Grimm will sign AFTER you have submitted your paperwork and process your request in PAWS.

For Overload requests that do not involve Independent Study/Research or Internship, please submit your paperwork into our application portal using the link below:

HSS Overload Request System

NOTE:  If you are applying for Independent Study/Research or Internship and need Overload permission, you should submit your Overload  application using the HSS Independent Study/Research and Internship Proposal Portal (see below) where you will upload both your Overload form and your Independent Study/Research or Internship Application.  The Associate Dean, Dr. Lisa Grimm, will review it and sign the form, and grant overload.



Change of Major or Minor

Forms to Change/Add Majors and minors can be found on the Records & Registration website:  https://recreg.tcnj.edu/forms/

The internal change of major requirements were updated in Fall 2018 and so please read the material available on the Records & Registration website before completing the paperwork.

Other TCNJ Forms

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