ENTO 896 - Independent Study

The independent study course requires departmental approval to enroll. Students in this course may conduct individual or group projects focused on research, literature review, or extension/enhancement of other coursework. This work is conducted under supervision and evaluation of a departmental faculty member, which in most cases is the student’s advisor. A second option is being a teaching assistant for an online M.S. course or an outreach project. Independent study contracts for ENTO 896 must be filed with and approved by the course coordinator, Erin Bauer - ebauer2@unl.edu. Students are limited to a total of 4 independent study credits during their program.

OPTION 1. Research, Literature Review, or Enhancement of other Work

The specific subject chosen may stem from a student's own experience and interests. A scholarly product is expected, which might be a term paper culminating from an extensive literature review, a series of readings accompanied by short papers or some other appropriate and approved activity. In some cases, independent study can be used to enhance work done on the student’s ENTO 888 M.S. Project. All projects are to be completed by the student working independently with occasional guidance, as needed, from their faculty advisor. Students considering a course of independent study should identify for themselves their area of interest and contact the course coordinator, who, depending on the topic proposed, will either agree to be the faculty advisor for the project, or solicit another faculty member to supervise the project. Projects must be turned in two weeks before finals week for a grade to be assigned for the enrolled semester. Unfinished projects will be assigned an incomplete until it is finished.


  1. Identify a topic or activity you wish to pursue for your independent study.
  2. Write a brief descriptive of what you wish to do and submit to the course coordinator (ebauer2@unl.edu) for approval. Include the following:
    • Date submitted
    • Name and student ID #
    • Semester/year enrolling in independent study
    • Full title of project
    • Purpose and objectives of project
    • Procedures for completing project
    • Proposed outcomes
    • Proposed Timeline
  3. Changes to the approved project must be discussed, in writing, with the student’s independent study advisor.

OPTION 2. Teaching Assistant

The teaching assistant option allows students to experience online classes from the teaching side, or help develop outreach curriculum and/or conduct outreach programs. Students can choose to do an independent study in either Online Courses or Outreach Education. Specifics are outlined below.

Assist with Online Courses: This includes, but is not limited to, grading papers; assisting the instructor; and discussion room, social media, or other assignment coordination. This is a good choice if you are interested in a particular topic and would like to learn more, or experience the teaching side of online education. For M.S. classes, it is required that you have already taken and passed the class in which you wish to be a TA. Examples of classes might include Insect Biology (undergrad course…online section), Insect Ecology, Insect Behavior, etc. Contact the Independent Study course instructor (Erin Bauer at ebauer2@unl.edu) with the class you are interested in and she can make arrangements. At the end of your TA semester, you’ll provide Erin with a short paper, or a similar assignment, about your experiences as a TA. We can discuss the exact product based on individual interests.

Outreach Education: Develop new educational materials for use in our outreach program (online or on-site kits).  You will work with Erin Bauer, Outreach Coordinator, to complete projects. Specific opportunities or projects may be available depending on the semester. In addition, if you are local in Nebraska, you may have the opportunity to conduct outreach programs in the community.