Independent Study

A6911 Independent Study in Mass Communication

This course aims to prepare the Master of Mass Communication students for independent research. At the end of the course, students will be expected to understand how to design and conduct a research project in the area of communication study, and acquire in-depth knowledge in a selected research topic area.

This course is worth 3 AUs, is classified as a General Elective and is non-compulsory. Students interested in working directly with a supervisor on a short research project are encouraged to formulate a research topic and seek an instructor to supervise your research. Only students who have chosen the ‘Coursework Only’ option can register for this course and embark on the independent research.

Course requirements include 3 reports (Initial Proposal, Mid-Term Report and Final Report) and an Oral Presentation. Each item carries a certain fixed weightage and deadlines. Throughout the semester, the student will work with the course instructor to submit the final report by Week 15. The requirements should be completed within one semester.

Study Plan

To fulfill the 30 AUs requirement, ‘Coursework Only’ option students should register for 7 General Electives (GEs). A typical study plan for students will look like this:

Study Plan for Full time student
Semester 1 – 2 core courses + 3 General Electives (GEs)
Semester 2 – 1 core course + 4 GEs

Study Plan for Part time student
Semester 1 – 2 core courses + 1 GE
Semester 2 – 1 core course + 2 GEs
Semester 3 – 2 GEs
Semester 4 – 2 GEs

The registration for this course A6911 is slightly different from the other regular courses. Students interested to register for this course will need to request for approval using the A6911 Independent Student registration form which will be circulated by the MMC programme Office during the Course Registration Period 1 via email to the MMC students’ NTU email account. The completed hardcopy form has to be submitted to the MMC programme Office via the MMC role-based email account for processing.

All requests will be subjected to approval by the Programme Director. Once the Programme Director has approved the application, the MMC programme office will contact the student to register for this course online via GSLink during Course Registration Period II in any given semester of the academic year.

Guidelines and Procedures


  • The faculty supervising student’s independent study is called the “instructor”, which distinguishes from “supervisor” as supervision of student’s dissertation.
  • Students can only register for the Independent Study course once throughout their whole candidature.
  • Students are to look for their own instructor to supervise their Independent Study project.
  • Both instructor and student must agree to take on a particular project.
  • Students who have chosen or intend to choose the coursework plus dissertation option (Academic Track) are not eligible for this elective.
  • No panel is required for assessment of the course. The instructor will decide on the assessment criteria and grades for the student. No moderation will be made during Board of Examiners meeting.
  • The instructor should adopt the weightage as approved in the Independent Study course proposal by Board of Graduate Studies.
  • If a student is unable to secure an instructor, he/she should not proceed to register for this course.


  • Prior to the first day of Course Registration Period 1 of each semester, the student should identify a suitable instructor for the Independent Study project and obtain their approval.
  • The student should submit the signed Independent Study registration form, and initial proposal that outlines the following:
    • Motivation of the study
    • Problem statement and objectives
    • Procedure to achieve the objectives
    • Relevant citations to support the study
    • Deliverables and deadlines. Minimally, this describes the contents of the:
      • Proposal (Final Version)/Mid-term report
      • Final report
      • Other deliverables that are mutually agreed upon between student and instructor
  • The completed form and initial proposal should be submitted by the 5th day of the Course Registration Period 2 to the WKWSCI Graduate Office, for final approval by the MMC Programme Director.
  • Once the MMC Programme Director has given his/her approval, the MMC Programme Office will inform the student by email to add the course on their own via the Graduate Course Registration System.
  • The instructor must agree to be available for consultation to the study throughout the semester in which the Independent Study is implemented. Consultation schedules will be worked out by mutual agreement between student and instructor.
  • Once all approvals are obtained, the student should work towards completion of the Independent Study according to the proposal. Any deviations will require approval from the instructor.

Assessment and Deadlines

  • The instructor, based on how well the student fulfils the objectives of the Independent Study, will make the assessment.
  • Marks and grades will be given based on 100% CA, comprising:


  • The instructor is to finalise exact submission dates within the above stipulated deadlines.
  • The content of each of the above components will be determined by the instructor.


  • All reports to be submitted need to be done in single-column, single-space, 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins on A4-sized paper.
  • Word counts for specific reports are:
    • Initial proposal (together with registration form): 1000-2000 words
    • Mid-Term Report: 2000-3000 words
    • Final proposal: 2000-3000 words
    • Final report: 5000-7000 words
    • All of the above excludes citations, appendices, tables and figures.
  • Students will also be required to give a 30-minute presentation of the final report to the supervisor that includes a question/answer segment.
    • Scheduling of the presentation will be by mutual agreement between the student and the instructor, but this must be within one week after Week 13 of the semester or earlier
    • Final reportThe instructor may open the presentation to other students or faculty at his/her discretion.