5.8. CSCI 4970W (Advanced Project Laboratory), CSCI 5991 (Independent Study), CSCI 5994 (Directed Research)

Advanced Project Laboratory (CSCI 4970W), Independent Study (CSCI 5991), and Directed Research (CSCI 5994)

CSCI 4970W – Advanced Project Laboratory

What is this option?

Advanced project laboratory is for a project of some type, usually an implementation project. It's somewhat like a senior project, but gives more flexibility in terms of the topic and the exact type of project. It's not necessarily research (although it could be partially research). The project idea is typically created and developed by the student and presented to a faculty member well in advance of the semester they would be working on the project.

Why is CSci 4970W writing intensive? How much writing is expected in this course?

4970W is writing intensive since projects usually involve a writing component, for example, to document what the project consists of in detail. The amount of writing should be enough to satisfy the University's writing intensive requirements

CSCI 5991 – Independent Study

What is this option?

Independent study is a catch-all that could be used, for example, to look at an existing area in more depth than is covered in existing classes, look at an important topic that isn’t covered in set classes. Independent studies usually don't involve research or an implementation project.

CSCI 5994 – Directed Research

What is this option?

Directed research is for a study that is primarily research. Research in the sense of "cutting edge" research; not in the sense of "I need to do some online research for an essay I need to write for a class." Often this could be joining a research lab of one of our faculty members. Sometimes this could be focused on a student’s idea to research a given area, but it’s more common to connect the experience to a faculty member’s research focus.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I attempt to set these unique experiences up (etc.)?

You should contact faculty members whom you have taken a class with, know well, or are doing research you have a strong interest in. Note faculty members are not required to supervise projects, and so they might say no. Or they might say yes, but have specific conditions such as you working on an existing project in their research lab. Once you have found a faculty member who is willing to supervise your work you can request a permission number to add the course at the following link: https://wwws.cs.umn.edu/forms/independent_project

When should I begin contacting faculty to set this up?

This will vary, but it is a good idea to contact faculty in advance of registration to see (i) if they are willing to supervise this, and (ii) if there is any preliminary work you need to do.

What would be the time commitment for these options?

As a general rule, the time commitment should be commensurate with the number of credits (e.g., a 3 credit project would be about 10 hours/week). That being said, due to their nature independent student, research, and advanced projects tend to be more variable than regularly scheduled classes

Can the courses be used as part of a track or as an upper division elective in CS?

Yes, but at most 3 credits of the advanced project course (CSCI 4970W), independent study (CSCI 5991), or directed research (CSCI 5994) can be used as part of the upper division track in the BS program or upper division CSCI electives in the BA program. More credits of CSCI 4970W, 5991, and 5994 can be approved by advisors on a case-by-case basis.