Directed Study

The directed study is a thesis project that you design in consultation with a faculty member, making sure that it integrates theories and concepts from both of your academic concentrations equally. Research projects vary in structure and presentation depending on your concentration areas and interests, but you can expect to complete the equivalent of a 135-hour research project. This option is best for students who already have a particular issue to research or a meaningful project to share.



A scholarly research project involving analysis that is presented in written form. This thesis represents a commitment to research, critical thinking, and an informed viewpoint of the student. Think traditional research paper.

Creative Project

A project that combines scholarship and creative work in which the primary outcome consists of something other than a written document but includes a written document that supports the creative endeavor and involves scholarly research. Past examples of projects include: educational curriculum, screenplays, art shows, business plans, sustainable architecture building re-design, etc.


Step 1: Explore your research interests

This is the most important step—finding the right research project will help you develop your skill-set for the next step in your career. It is imperative to start with creating a project proposal. This will make finding a faculty to work with much easier. To get started, please review How to come up with a thesis for a paper (without divine intervention)This video was created by one of your IDS professors, Paul Cassell, to help you begin thinking about your directed study project.


Below are some additional ideas to get you started: 

  • What classes have you most enjoyed?
  • When people ask you why you like your major, what do you say?
  • Whether you are an online or ground student, The ASU Library is a good place to start!
  • Try completing the Directed Study Planning Worksheet!
  • Reflect on past experience to determine interests.
  • Talk to faculty about topics that are interesting and relevant to coursework, major, career interests, or from ongoing faculty research.