Special Study Opportunities

Special study opportunities include independent study, private music lessons, audited courses, and courses taken through consortium agreement. Each of these is designed to permit some latitude because the university is committed to honoring the integrity of individual academic journeys and nontraditional approaches to learning. Special study opportunities require students to comply with extra policies and procedures. The availability of each type is limited by restrictions that are designed to protect academic integrity at Naropa.

How to Register for Special Study Opportunities

Students cannot register themselves via MyNaropa for special study opportunities. Students must submit completed applications to Student Administrative Services (SAS) by the respective deadline. SAS then registers students before the end of the add/drop period.

Independent Study

Independent study is a semester-long course in which a student works with a Naropa faculty supervisor to present work reflecting the student’s independent research and learning on a particular topic. The design of the project and its schedule for completion, including deadlines and meetings with the faculty supervisor, are required for approval of the project, and are the student’s responsibility. The student is awarded credit based on following the proposed schedule, making and keeping appointments with the faculty supervisor, and the quality of the academic work submitted to the faculty supervisor. Neither approval nor credit are given retroactively. The regular tuition is assessed. The student must submit the approved independent study syllabus with the necessary signatures. If a student is planning to take an independent study, the student must begin the process the semester prior.

There are two respective applications for undergraduates and graduates pursuing an independent study. Both are available on MyNaropa. See the relevant application for full details regarding deadlines and expectations. The completed independent study paperwork must be submitted to Student Administrative Services by the respective deadline. Independent studies will not be processed after the add/drop deadline. Late adds are not permitted. It is the student’s responsibility to finish the work in time for it to be evaluated and graded, and for the grade to be submitted to the registrar by the grade due date of the semester in which the student is registered for the course. The student is responsible for all policies and procedures as outlined in the independent study paperwork.

Independent Study Restrictions

Students are permitted to take no more than 6 total credits of independent study (exceptions below). Undergraduate students will not be allowed to take independent study before the start of junior year. Undergraduate students in the BA Interdisciplinary Studies major are permitted to take up to 9 credits of independent study toward their degree.

A student must be in their junior or senior year or must be a graduate student to be enrolled in an independent study. Independent study courses may only be taken by nondegree students if they are full-time visiting students.

Audited Courses—Fall and Spring Only

Any current degree-seeking or full-time visiting student, as well as any graduate who has earned a degree from Naropa, may audit courses that have been designated as available to audit by the respective programs, and for which they have received instructor permission. Permission to audit any course is approved or denied at the discretion of the facilitating instructor. 

Students do not receive credit for audited courses. An automatic grade of “AU” is given, regardless of attendance or completed course work. To audit a course, a student or graduate must first confirm that the course is available to audit using the Courses Available for Audit schedule found on MyNaropa, which is also available from Student Administrative Services (SAS). Audit forms are available under Student Forms on MyNaropa and must be submitted to SAS, complete with required signature(s), within one week of the end of the add/drop period for the course. The fee to audit a course is $30 per credit.

Audit forms received for courses in which the student is currently registered, or has withdrawn from, will not be processed.

A student may never drop, withdraw from, receive a grade of incomplete for, or receive a refund for an audited course.

Private Music Lessons

Music majors are allowed to take one (1) credit of private music lessons per semester, up to a total of 6 credits, on their primary instrument or in their primary subject area, as determined in consultation with the Music program. Private music lessons on secondary instruments, or in secondary subject areas, will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Music program department chair.

Students who have declared a major in Interdisciplinary Studies may register for one (1) credit of private music lessons per semester, up to a total of 3 credits, when lessons are an integral part of the student's Interdisciplinary Studies degree program, with the approval of faculty from the Interdisciplinary Studies program.

All non-Music or non-Interdisciplinary Studies students may take up to one (1) credit of private music lessons total. No student may take private music lessons in a subject currently covered by a Naropa course. Only Music majors focusing on voice as their primary instrument will be allowed to register for private voice lessons. All other undergraduate students interested in studying voice should register for MUS208, which includes instruction in vocal technique.

All private music lesson applications are subject to Music program approval, budgetary restrictions, and availability. Priority will be given to Music majors. Applications must be received by the specific deadlines.

Consortium Agreements and Taking Courses Outside Naropa

The purpose of consortium agreements (also known as individual study opportunities) is to allow students to spend a semester at another school without withdrawing from Naropa, and to assist students in keeping their federal financial aid if they are taking a course at another school.

Procedure to Register with a Consortium Agreement

The information and application packets for consortium agreements explain the complete process and policies. Only students in good academic standing are eligible to take a consortium agreement. A student should see their academic advisor to determine if consortium agreement study is appropriate and the program and courses they intend to take fit with course work at Naropa. Restrictions apply to both the student and the consortium school. Please consult the consortium agreement packets for these policies.

To receive credit, the student must request a transcript from the consortium school and have it sent to Student Administrative Services (SAS). The transcript must arrive at SAS within one semester after the student has finished courses at the consortium school. After one semester has elapsed, the student is irrevocably assigned the grade of “F” for the course(s).

Courses taken through consortium are not considered “in-residence” courses; they are considered transfer credits. (See In-Residence Requirements and Transfer Credits.)

For undergraduates, courses taken through consortium must count toward the degree. Additional approval is needed to have a consortium course count toward major or minor requirements.

For graduate students, all consortium courses must count toward the degree. 

Financial Aid: If the student is receiving financial aid, aid will be based on the cost of attendance at the consortium school. Students may not use Naropa scholarships or grants to attend a consortium school. Students should consult the Financial Aid Office with any questions about how a consortium agreement may affect financial aid.

If a student wishes to take courses outside of Naropa but does not wish to apply for a consortium agreement, the student must gain permission to take the courses by completing a transfer credit pre-approval form, available under Student Forms in MyNaropa. The form must be submitted to SAS.