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Oklahoma State University

Office of Individual Study

Oklahoma State University

frequently asked questions


How many courses may I take at once?

There is no limit to the number of courses you may take at once, but we recommend no more than two at a time. You should take into consideration your workload, activities, and other commitments.

How long does it take to complete a Individual Study course?

How long you take to complete a course depends completely on you—how motivated you are and how many other commitments you have. However, since I.S. courses are designed to cover a full semester of material, it normally takes a minimum of 12 to 16 weeks to complete a 3-hour course. Additionally, the OSU Registrar’s Office requires that a student be enrolled for at least 30 days from enrollment date to completion date.

Why aren’t some of the courses listed in the catalog offered?

The I.S. catalog is printed once a year. Courses that are anticipated being available during the year are included at that time. If you have questions about availability, call (405) 744-6390 or visit our Website at Courses close when they are undergoing revision, if a new edition of the textbook will be used in the near future, or if the instructors are unable to teach the course for the time being.

What do I do if my course has prerequisites I have not yet taken?

Prerequisites are geared toward OSU students, but they may apply at other schools. You should discuss the prerequisites with your advisor at your institution to determine if you have the needed foundation to complete the course successfully.

How and where do I take my exams?

If you are an OSU student or live in the vicinity of Stillwater, you will come to the I.S. Office. Please bring an identification card that has your photograph. Please visit our student portal or call our office at 405-744-6390 to schedule an appointment. Please allow enough time to complete your exam before the office closes.

To take exams elsewhere, you must secure a proctor who is approved by the I.S. office. Exams are mailed to the proctor. After the exam is completed, the proctor will send it back to our office.

What is a proctor?

A proctor is someone who supervises test administration if the student is unable to come to the OSU Stillwater campus to take the test.

I’ve sent my request for an exam, but my proctor hasn’t received it yet. What do I do?

After requesting an exam, allow at least two weeks for the exam to arrive, keeping in mind that it could be longer especially near University holidays and closings. If that time period has passed and your proctor still has not received your exam, please call the I.S. Office and ask to speak with the Testing Supervisor. Exams are not faxed or emailed to proctors.

How do I enroll?

You can enroll any day the I.S. Office is open by phone or fax with either Visa/MasterCard/Discover; by mail with personal check, cashier’s check, Visa/MasterCard/Discover, or international postal money order payable (in U.S. dollars) to Oklahoma State University. Or you may enroll in person with any of the above mentioned types of payment. If you are a currently enrolled OSU student, you can use your student ID to charge courses to your Bursar account if you have no holds.

Can I talk to a I.S. advisor or counselor before enrolling?

I.S. personnel are not trained nor qualified to offer course suitability information regarding what will fit into a student’s plan of study. If students working toward a degree need academic advice, they are referred to their advisors by our staff personnel.

Is financial aid available for I.S. courses?

Financial aid is not available through the I.S. office. Contact your institution’s financial aid office for pertinent information.

How many courses may I take at once?

There is no limit to the number of courses you may take at once, but we recommend no more than two at a time. You should take into consideration your workload, activities, and other commitments.

What if I can’t complete my course in a year?

You may be able to purchase a non-refundable one-, two-, or three-month extension depending on course availability. The extension begins the day after your 12 months expire. To apply for an extension, contact the I.S. office (405) 744-6390.

How do Individual Study courses work?

When you enroll, you receive instructions (in print, CD, or website form) that direct you on how to access discussions, explanations, and reading and writing assignments. These guide you through the course as a classroom instructor would. Some courses require that written "homework" be delivered by land mail and/or face-to-face delivery, while others permit email or web delivery. Suggested exam completion schedules are also provided so you can complete your course in a timely manner. When "homework" is received, the office records its receipt and submits it to the instructor. The instructor has two weeks to grade assignments, then sends them back to I.S. with a grade and comments. I.S. records the grades and delivers/mails the assignments back to you.

Does I.S. offer any courses via the Internet?

We have several courses that have been formatted for the web. Each of those is identified with a "W" at the end of the course number. These courses require a connection to the internet.

If I take an internet course, where can I find help if I have a technical problem?

Contact the instructor of your course by whatever means they have indicated, or the OSU-Stillwater Information Technology Helpdesk.

Can I earn a degree from OSU entirely through I.S.?

Not at this time; however, if you are an OSU undergraduate, you may take I.S. courses for up to one-fourth of the required hours for your OSU degree.

Can a high school student enroll in college-level I.S. courses?

High school juniors and seniors may enroll for college-level courses on a credit basis with the approval of their high school principal or counselor. For more information, see the subheading "Concurrent Enrollment as a High School Student," found under "Entering the University—Admissions" in the OSU Catalog. Contact your high school counselor if you do not have a copy.

Can members of the Armed Forces and Veterans enroll in I.S. courses?

All college credit courses are approved for veterans and other eligible persons covered in the provision of the G.I. Bill. Military personnel interested in enrolling for courses should ask their education officer for information and application forms. Military Education Centers have copies of the DANTES Independent Study Catalog, which lists courses offered by regionally accredited colleges and universities, including OSU. Tuition assistance is generally available to military service personnel, although policy varies among the different services. The Veteran’s Administration will reimburse eligible veterans and service men and women for fees for I.S. courses. For more information, see the "Veterans" section under "University Services" on this website.

How do I drop a course or don’t want to complete it?

With a year-long Individual Study course, as long as you do not take the final exam (or submit the final assignment if there is no final exam), the course will not appear on your transcript and you will automatically be dropped by the I.S. system.

This procedure differs from semester-based (on-campus credit) enrollment. With semester-based Individual Study courses, you must drop from the course through the Sectioning Office by the dates set forth in the University schedule. If you do not drop from the course and do not complete all work, you will receive an "F" in the course.

How long does it take to receive back my graded assignments?

Allow three weeks from delivery to the I.S. Office to receive your grade. We ask instructors to grade your assignments and exams within two weeks. Expect slower grading during instructor's vacations, University holidays, OSU on-campus heavy testing periods. Students are advised to plan accordingly.

I need the credit to graduate; when are the deadlines for each semester?

For your final grade to be included on your semester grade report, you must complete absolutely all of your course assignments and exams. For current semester deadlines, contact the Registrar's office at Please remember instructors can take 2 weeks to grade. We recommend you complete assignments and final exams 4 weeks before needed.

Is OSU accredited and are earned credits transferable?

Accreditation is a system for recognizing schools that have achieved academic excellence. Oklahoma State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools and is a member of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Talk with the Admissions Office at your institution to find out if earned credits are transferable.

You may also consult the Department of Education’s Accrediting Branch, the governmental agency responsible for accreditation matters, or check to see if a school is listed with the CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation), the private agency responsible for accreditation. These agencies evaluate and publicly recognize the various accrediting bodies, which in turn accredit individual schools or programs. This list of recognized accrediting agencies and more information can be found at the following websites: Department of Education ( and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (