Welcome to Guided Independent Study at the University of Northern Iowa! We offer courses in print and online formats. Courses can be completed entirely at a distance — no on-campus attendance is required.
The following guide is designed to provide the information you need to be a successful Guided Independent Study student.
If you have any questions, please contact us at 319-273-2123, 800-772-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office is located at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE), Room 16, on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls and is open Monday-Friday, 8 am - 5 pm; summer hours are 7:30 am - 4:30 pm.
For technical support, please visit our support page.
View/print all topics on one page.
The University of Northern Iowa is accredited through the master's degrees, the specialist's degrees and the doctorate by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (NCA). Individual colleges and programs within the University are accredited by the respective professional accrediting agencies within their disciplines.
The University of Northern Iowa offers guided independent study courses in print- and online formats. Courses can be completed entirely at a distance — no on-campus attendance is required.
Online guided independent study
After your enrollment has been processed, you will receive a link for accessing your course materials, including textbook information and detailed instructions for completing your course. As you move through the course, you will submit each assignment electronically using eLearning, a computer conferencing program. The use of eLearning requires access to the Internet and a web browser. Examinations are taken under the supervision of an approved proctor.
Print-based guided independent study
Upon enrollment, you will receive a printed course guide that includes textbook information and detailed instructions for completing your course. The guide provides structured lessons that contain an introduction, assigned readings and written assignments. As you move through the course, complete each assignment, noting any questions you may have, and mail it to the Guided Independent Study Office. Assignments are forwarded to the instructor for grading. The instructor writes any necessary comments and answers any questions you may have before the work is returned. Examinations are taken under the supervision of an approved proctor.
Before enrolling, read the policies contained in this guide carefully especially those pertaining to refunds. Contact the Guided Independent Study Office to ensure all questions are answered prior to enrolling. If you do not receive your course guide and/or instructions within two weeks of enrolling, please contact us at 319-273-2123, 800-772-1746 or email@example.com.
Guided independent study courses do not follow the standard semester time schedule. You may enroll at any time. Enrollment in a guided independent study course does not constitute university admission.
Note to UNI Students If you need a guided independent study course to graduate, you must enroll in the course at least nine weeks prior to graduation. Exceptions will be made only with written approval from the instructor. UNI resident students earning credit hours through guided independent study will have those hours added to their credit-load during the semester of enrollment only. If this addition results in an overload, permission must be sought in advance from the Registrar’s Office.
Select your course(s) It is your responsibility to determine whether a particular course will apply toward your diploma, degree, certification or other educational goals. In general, we recommend that you enroll in no more than two guided independent study courses at one time.
Complete enrollment and submit form(s)
Online enrollment form
Printable enrollment form (pdf)
—by mail or in person—
Guided Independent Study
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0223
Tuition is $224 per credit hour, plus a non-refundable $10 enrollment fee — due at the time of enrollment. All students pay the same tuition and fees, regardless of graduate-level status and/or location (in-state or out-of-state). A technology fee also applies to online courses. MasterCard, VISA and Discover credit cards are accepted, and university billing is available.
You are responsible for postage charges on print-based assignments mailed to the Guided Independent Study Office. Return postage is paid by UNI. A $20 postage fee applies to materials mailed outside the U.S.
Tuition does not include the cost of textbooks. There may also be additional fees for materials for some courses.
Note to UNI students
Tuition for GIS courses is in addition to full-time, on-campus rates. Financial aid is not available to students who are enrolled in GIS courses. However, students enrolled at least half-time in regular coursework are eligible for federal financial aid. The aid may apply toward their total bill, which may include charges for guided independent study courses. Contact the UNI Financial Aid Office at 319-273-2700, 800-772-2736 with any questions.
A 100 percent refund is made when the university rejects an enrollment due to ineligibility for the course or when the Office of Academic Affairs rules that it would not be advisable for you to enroll in the course.
No refunds or credits will be made after six weeks from the original enrollment date, even if no assignments have been submitted. A 70 percent refund is made if you choose to withdraw from a course for any reason during the first six weeks of enrollment. If you have elected the university billing option, 30 percent of the tuition is charged.
Refund requests must be in writing and postmarked no later than six weeks after the enrollment date. Send your request to the Guided Independent Study Office via postal mail, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the online withdrawal request form.
When a refund is made, a charge of $15 is deducted for each assignment and examination that has been corrected. All course materials must be returned to the Guided Independent Study Office. The $10 enrollment fee is not refundable.
There are times when books, materials or instructors are not available, as well as times when courses are under revision. Some courses may also have restricted enrollment. If a course is not available, you may receive a refund for your tuition and fees or select a different course with the same tuition/fees.
Guided independent study instructors are faculty members who are on campus according to an academic-year schedule. Consequently, you should plan for delays in the return of assignments during semester and summer breaks. In addition, instructors may periodically be unavailable during professional development leaves and trips abroad.
If you must complete a course in a short time or during the summer, it is important that you confirm that the instructor will be available to review assignments and grade exams. Call 319-273-2123 or 800-772-1746, and we'll put you in contact with the instructor.
Required textbooks and materials are listed in the course guide, along with information on obtaining them. You must use the exact edition indicated. To ensure availability, purchase your textbooks immediately upon receiving enrollment confirmation. Textbooks are available from the vendor of your choice, including:
You are allowed nine months from the date of enrollment to complete a course. If you do not finish within nine months, one 90-day extension may be granted for a fee of $10. The extension must be requested in writing before the nine-month expiration date. Courses must be completed within a one-year period. An Extension Request Form is included with your course materials or you may complete the extension request form online.
You may transfer from one course to another within two months of the date of enrollment for a fee of $10 plus $12 for each lesson and exam that has been graded. The course enrollment date remains the same.
No more than three assignments may be submitted in a one-week period. Courses may have their own guidelines — read the syllabus carefully. The minimum time allowed to complete a course is two weeks per credit hour; a three-credit course cannot be completed in less than six weeks.
As a general rule, you should allow two to three weeks for assignments and exams to be graded and returned. This can vary depending upon the instructor’s schedule and semester breaks. If you must complete a course in a short time or during the summer, it is important that you make sure the instructor is available to correct your coursework.
You are responsible for completing assignments and exams early enough to ensure the grade is available when needed. The final exam must be completed and in the Guided Independent Study Office at least three weeks before the grade is needed. This is especially important if you plan to graduate. If you need a grade by the end of the summer session, you should confirm that the instructor will be available and that you will be able to complete all coursework by July 15.
Exams may be taken in your local community under the direct supervision of an approved proctor (e.g., a school superintendent, principal, testing center, college official, or public library official). Examination Request Forms are included in the course materials or you may complete the examination request form online. Request forms must be received by the Guided Independent Study Office 7-10 business days before the proposed exam date. An exam cannot be sent to a proctor until all preceding lessons have been received.
If you live in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area, you are encouraged to take your exams at the Guided Independent Study Office. Please call our office at 319-273-2123 to schedule your exam; you will not need to submit the online request form.
Exams should be taken within ONE MONTH after the last assignment has been submitted.
If taking a print-based course, submit the request form with the last lesson before the exam. Do not attach the Examination Request Form to print-based assignments. Do NOT provide exam information on the Assignment Identification Sheet; we may never see it.
Examinations cannot be returned to you. A grade slip with instructor comments is sent after the exam is graded.
After completing a course, you will receive a letter grade. Guided independent study courses may not be taken on a pass-fail or audit basis. You must complete all assignments and exams to pass a course. If you withdraw prior to completing two-thirds of the coursework, a “W” will be reported. If you withdraw after two-thirds of the work has been completed, you will receive an “F.”
Transcript ordering options through the UNI Office of the Registrar
It is expected that you submit your own work. While you may wish to study and discuss with others, work submitted must be your own. If it is shown you have plagiarized another’s work, or if any cheating is confirmed, you will, at the instructor’s discretion, receive an “F” for the work and/or course. If this occurs, there will be no refund.
UNI credit is in units of semester hours. No more than one-fourth of the work required for an Iowa teaching license or B.A. degree (with the exception of the Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree) may be earned through Guided Independent Study.
The Guided Independent Study Office does not provide academic advising. Questions about applying course credits toward degrees or majors should be directed to the appropriate academic department or your record analyst. You are responsible for acceptance of credit at the institution in which you are enrolled. If you wish to transfer credit to another school from UNI, you should make specific arrangements with that institution prior to enrolling in any course.
Any student with a B.A. degree who is taking a graduate-level course is expected to complete the course for graduate credit. If enrolling as a graduate student with a degree earned at an institution other than UNI, you must request verification of all degrees B.A. or higher from each institution. Requests can often be made in writing, by phone, fax, e-mail, or online through the institution. To be considered official, verifications or transcripts must be sent from the issuing institution direct to the UNI Office of the Registrar, 227 Gilchrist Hall, Cedar Falls, IA, 50614-0006, or faxed to 319-273-6792.
Guided independent study courses are not ordinarily applied toward a graduate degree at UNI. Please consult with your advisor about the applicability of course work toward your degree requirements. With the consent of the Graduate College Dean, graduate students may use guided independent study to remove deficiencies in their undergraduate work.
Courses are designated by an alpha subject field and 4-digit course number. The alpha subject field refers to the department or area of the course; the number refers to the specific course. Courses 0000-2999 are primarily designed for freshman and sophomore students. Courses 3000-6999 are primarily designed for junior, senior, and graduate students. Only those 5000- to 6999-level courses provide graduate-level credit.
DANTES For military personnel, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) was established in 1976 to provide educational support on a voluntary basis for educational programs in military organizations. Personnel on active military duty should contact their Education Officer for information about enrolling in this program. UNI is a participating member. More information about the DANTES Distance Learning Program
Veterans Guided independent study courses have been approved by the Veterans Administration. For information regarding eligibility and registration, veterans may contact their local or regional Veterans Administration Office, the Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000, or visit the Veterans Benefits and Services website.
Renewal and reinstatement requirements are established by the Board of Educational Examiners and are subject to change by this board at any time. Information concerning the renewal or reinstatement requirements may be obtained from:Board of Educational Examiners Practitioner Licensure Bureau Grimes State Office Building Des Moines, IA 50319-0146 Phone: 515-281-3245 Web: www.state.ia.us/boeeThe following regulations apply to the renewal of most licenses.
UNI Continuing and Distance Education
Extending distance learning opportunities in a variety of formats, UNI Continuing and Distance Education allows you to reach your academic goals in a format and time frame most convenient for you and your busy schedule.
Off-campus courses are offered at various sites throughout Iowa each semester and during the summer, with face-to-face instruction and courses delivered via video conferencing including the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) and Adobe Connect.
Semester-based online courses typically follow a schedule in which the instruction begins and ends within traditional semester time frames. These courses are paced such that a cohort group of students moves through a series of modules together in the same general time frame.
Contact us for information on any of these and other available programs.
Jump right in
It is wise to start on assignments promptly and establish a definite goal, such as completing one assignment every week or two. Students who start assignments soon after receiving the course materials have a significantly higher completion rate.
Submit your assignments
Mail all assignments and communications for print-based courses directly to the Guided Independent Office, not your course instructor. Assignments for online courses are submitted online. Please read the materials carefully for specific course instructions. After submitting your first assignment, you should hold the second assignment until the first has been returned. Later assignments may be sent as completed without waiting for the return of previous lessons, unless otherwise specified by the instructor. Do not hold assignments to be sent two or more at a time. It is always a good idea to keep a copy of each assignment. Occasionally, assignments are lost or damaged in transit. If coursework is lost in the mail or inaccessible online, it must be resubmitted.
Keep in touch
If a note is included with a print-based assignment, fold it separately with visible notice that it is not a part of the coursework. If the communication concerns examinations or other office business, please label it clearly for Guided Independent Study. Please notify the Guided Independent Study Office immediately with any name or address changes.