Independent Study

The Independent Study in Sociology and Public Health (SOCI/PHST 405, 406, and 407) is designed as a supervised research project or critical/theoretical analysis. The Independent Study may focus on any substantive or topical area within Sociology and Public Health and utilizes one or more of the following methodological approaches: (a) modeling/theoretical synthesis; (b) designing and executing an original research project based on survey research, experimental research, observational research, historical/comparative research, or content analysis combined with a literature review and theoretical formulation; and (c) analysis of secondary data combined with a literature review and theoretical formulation.

Independent Study students benefit by: (a) learning Sociology and Public Health through active participation in sociological investigation; (b) practicing skills learned in the core courses within the discipline (Social Theory, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods and Analysis, and Seminar) and illustrated in all of the Sociology and Public Health curriculum; and (c) gaining experience in independent work that is much less structured than the normal classroom experience.

Requirements for Enrolling

The specific requirements for enrolling in the Sociology Independent Study are that the student:

  1. is classified (or will be at the time of the Independent Study) as a junior.
  2. has successfully completed Sociology methods courses and Sociology 350 Social Theory (formerly Sociology and Public Health 353) with a grade of "C" or higher.
  3. has demonstrated in the application proposal proficiency in writing or potential to develop such proficiency.
  4. has a minimum grade point average in Sociology of 3.0, or permission from the Department before enrolling.
  5. has submitted a Sociology and Public Health Independent Study Application to the faculty supervisor.
  6. has finalized arrangements with the faculty supervisor.

Students conducting an Independent Study must:

  1. begin work at the beginning of the semester (if not before) and work on the project throughout the designated time period - the Study may be completed in one semester as one unit (SOCI 406) or in two semesters as two 1/2 units (SOCI 405 and 407). On average, students should expect to spend eight to ten hours per week on the project.
  2. meet and work with the faculty supervisor according to a schedule and set of expectations that have been arranged between the two of them.
  3. follow through on all requests from the faculty supervisor for indications of work completed to date (e.g., notes from journal articles, data files, and rough drafts).
  4. complete and submit a final paper at least 20 pages long by the first day of final exams.

Full course credit (with an accompanying letter grade) is awarded for the successful completion of the Independent Study.

Recent Titles of Independent Research Projects:

David Casson: A Quantitative Sociological Analysis of Structural Stigma and Opioid Use Disorder

Hannah Guthrie: Analyzing Mental Health Policy in Virginia: The Relevance of Public Health in Politics

Kallie Parrish: Disability and Health

Elizabeth Roberts: Strength Training Perspectives in Breast Cancer Survivors

Rebecca Shannon: Generational Experiences of Stigma in Relation to PLWHA

Nicole Kemon: A Greening of Cryptocurrency: Environmental Discourse in the Digital Asset Space

Bennett Franz: Meals for Maroons: Food Insecurity on Roanoke College's Campus

Callie Hammer: The Relationship Between Natural Disaster Occurrences and Domestic Violence

Natalie Nemaayer: Comparing the Public Health Response of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 to the Coronavirus of 2019

Steph Zemba: "She looks just like us!": Older Immigrants, Othering, and American Identity

Emma Charles: Stressed or Anxious? College Students and Their Definitions of Stress versus Anxiety

Sociology Independent Study Application

Public Health Studies Independent Study Application