Independent Study (299) Sample Syllabus

October 23, 2023

Dear Colleagues, 

Many graduate students enroll in independent study courses (often but not always called “299s”).  We write to remind you to follow the guidance sent to all faculty on August 21, 2023 

Many of you have asked for a sample syllabus. While a “one-size-fits-all” does not exist, we have developed such a document (Berkeley 299 Syllabus Example), which is intentionally kept short. A few things to note:

  • While there should be a syllabus specific to each student on file, what faculty expect from a student often depends on what stage of their graduate studies they are in. There is nothing preventing departments from coming up with cohort-specific templates that, in some settings, can be used as is (e.g., a second-year or third-year version).
  • These independent study syllabi only have to undergo COCI review if the department does not already have such a course on file, or if the department wishes to make changes to an existing course (e.g., unit value or grading scheme changes).
  • You are free to add more material to these syllabi if you wish. Some departments have added reference to the Abusive Conduct in the Workplace Policy, or the Code of Student Conduct
  • As a reminder, work for employment is distinct from independent study and this should be reflected in the design of an independent study program. Failure to follow the Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs (CCGA) guidance for 299 courses could result in a grievance being filed, which, in turn, puts your department at risk of having to pay the costs resulting from the settlement/resolution of the grievance. 

If you have specific questions, please contact or Employee & Labor Relations (ELR)

Thank you,

Benjamin E. Hermalin
Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost 

Maximilian Auffhammer
Chair, Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate 

This messaqge has been sent to all faculty.