Opportunities for Individualized Study

The Fellowships Program

Rhodes recognizes that a liberal education extends beyond the classroom and encourages our students to take part in outside study, research, creative activity, internships, and community service—locally, nationally, and internationally. A Fellowship is defined as an activity outside the conventional classroom that complements and broadens the student's program of liberal arts educationFellowships support co-curricular experiences in which students take intellectual ownership in a faculty- or staff- mentored project or experience. 

At its best, experiential learning allows a student to practice skills and explore more deeply principles acquired through coursework. Most often the opportunity to discover and create on one’s own builds confidence and passion. Students return to the classroom with renewed interest and focus.

Rhodes has pioneered several programs such as Self-designed Student Fellowships, Rhodes St. Jude Summer Plus, the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, the Mike Curb Institute for Music, Urban Education Summer Institute, and the Rhodes Summer Service Fellowship Program that provide diverse opportunities for student engagement beyond the classroom. These programs have been so popular and transformative that the college is now engaged in an effort to offer even more opportunities for students to pursue their own personal interests, particularly through projects that involve sustained mentorship and a commitment to the three student learning outcomes associated with experiential education:

  • Participate in an experience that complements and broadens the student's program of liberal arts education
  • Develop critical reflection skills
  • Create a final product related to the fellowship activity

The Fellowships Program can also provide funding for those projects that require it, with the regular application deadline occurring in February.

For more information, contact the Director of Fellowships and Undergraduate Research (fellowships@rhodes.edu).

The Honors Program

The Honors program is a culminating experience in the major field, for seniors only. It is the principal means whereby a student may do more independent, intensive, and individual work than can be done in the regular degree programs. The Honors work offers an excellent introduction to graduate study as it employs the full resources of library and laboratory and encourages independent research and study.

All Honors programs include a project of a scholarly and creative nature. This project can be research culminating in a written report or thesis, or it can be a creative project as represented by an original production. An oral presentation of the final project is also expected. A copy of the final report or production is placed in a permanent file or on display in the library.

Students considering Honors normally take a one-credit tutorial in the second semester of the junior year. Emphasis in the tutorial will be selection of a topic, preliminary research and definition of the project, and preparation of the Honors application.

Although each department and program sets its own departmental and program requirements for Honors, there are general College requirements for the Honors program. To be eligible for the Honors program a student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average and a major grade point average of 3.50 at the time of application for honors. The student must graduate with a cumulative grade point average and a major grade point average of 3.50 in order to receive the honors designation at commencement.

At least four credits per semester in the senior year must be earned in Honors Tutorial courses. Up to eight additional credits of tutorial or related course work may be counted, resulting in a maximum of sixteen credits of Honors in the senior year.

Special attention is necessary to ensure the completion of the Honors project in time for it to be evaluated and approved. For this reason, a special timetable for submission, reviews, and approvals of Honors projects is set by each department and program. Failure to meet announced deadlines may result in the failure to gain Honors recognition.

Descriptions of the requirements for Honors are listed in each departmental and program section of this catalogue. The Honors Registration form is available as a downloadable form on the Rhodes Express website.

Directed Inquiry

The term directed inquiry indicates a type of independent study designed to give more individuality than is provided by regular coursework. A directed inquiry is a project agreed upon by a student and professor; it may be a laboratory experiment, special readings on a given topic, some type of art work, a group of essays, etc. The details of the project are agreed upon by the student and the professor. Directed inquiries may not be used to satisfy general degree requirements.

Credits for a directed inquiry range from one to four. Forty-six hours of work, including outside reading, experiments and conferences, are required for one credit. No more than twelve credits may be earned in any one department. The maximum number of credits for all directed inquiries allowed is twenty-four. Normally a first-year student may not undertake a directed inquiry until after the completion of one semester of regular studies. Special students are generally not eligible for directed inquiries.

Proposals for directed inquiries must be submitted for approval to the chair of the department. Appropriate forms are available online. These forms call for details such as the beginning and ending dates of the project and set forth specific rules governing such things as extensions or other possible considerations. The student should become familiar with this form well in advance of the date intended to submit a proposal so that everything will be in order and approved by the department when submitted. Applications for directed inquiries are to be submitted in time for the department to act and submitted to the Registrar before the date set for the project to begin. Normally a student will not be permitted to take more than one directed inquiry at a time.

In the event that more than two students are interested in a directed inquiry on the same topic, a special topics course may be taught. Such courses must conform to the standard forty-six hours of study per credit.

The Tutorial Plan

The tutorial plan of instruction, like the Honors Program and the Directed Inquiry, has as its chief purposes the individualizing of instruction and the provision of a means whereby students may go beyond the scope of a class course, both in the amount of work done and the kinds of interests pursued. The method is often that of extensive reading under guidance, and conferences with the tutor on the material read, either individually or in a small group.

The content of a tutorial is usually that of a regular catalogue course that is not scheduled to be taught during a particular term. A student may request that the course be taught in the tutorial fashion if a member of the faculty is available and agrees to direct the course. Approval by the faculty member, the chairperson of the department involved, and the Registrar is necessary for the tutorial to be scheduled. At a minimum, forty-six hours of study are required for each credit or a total of 184 hours of study for a four credit course.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Interdisciplinary programs exist to provide an appropriate structure within which to offer study opportunities that do not fit within the bounds of existing departments, to bring together faculty and students from several disciplines to study areas of interest that cross traditional departmental lines and require an interdisciplinary approach, and to inform the campus community at large of the nature and importance of these areas.

Descriptions of Interdisciplinary Programs in the Courses of Instruction section of this catalogue.


Rhodes recognizes the need and the value of integrating traditional academic work and practical application. Internships are important ways in which students may have this experience. Internship credit is given for involvement in off-campus work related to a student’s academic work and supervised by a faculty member of the corresponding department. Internships are defined within the course structures of several academic departments. Requirements for acceptance as an intern are set by each department. Typically, only junior and senior students are eligible to earn credit for an internship. Internship experiences earning 3 (three) or more credits will satisfy the F11 requirement, require at least 10 hours of work per week, and the student is expected to integrate academic work with on-the-job activities. Internship experiences earning 1 (one) or 2 (two) credits normally require at least 6 hours of work per week, will include a reflective component such as a journal or final paper, and the student will meet with the faculty supervisor at least twice to discuss the internship and reflective component. Special internship opportunities can be proposed subject to approval by the department concerned. Interested students should contact the chairperson of the department and the Career Services Office.

Students pursuing an internship experience arranged through a department and/or the Career Services Office must register for the appropriate course in order to earn academic credit. This credit is considered part of the course load during a regular semester and during summer session. Forty-six hours of work, including on-site work as an intern, outside reading, and conferences, are required for one credit. Students with summer internships must register for the credit and pay the summer session tuition in order to receive the credit. Not all internships are paid, but those that are paid must meet the above requirements to qualify for academic credit.

No more than eight (8) credits in internships may be earned in one department per semester. A student may apply toward a degree a maximum of eight (8) credits of internship.

The Nancy Hughes Morgan Program in Hospital Chaplaincy

This program is designed for pre-medical students and persons going into other health-care related disciplines, the ministry, and counseling fields. It offers a carefully supervised internship in local hospitals where students serve as chaplains’ assistants, develop counseling skills, and sharpen their abilities to listen and respond to patient needs.

The Memphis Consortium of Colleges

Through arrangements between Rhodes and Christian Brothers University, or Rhodes and The University of Memphis, Rhodes students may take courses at those institutions during the fall and spring semesters. Only a certain set of courses is available at Christian Brothers and The University of Memphis; a student should contact the Registrar for further information.  To participate, the student must register for the desired class at either college and include the class on the semester’s course schedule at Rhodes.  This registration process is completed using the Crosstown Registration form available on the Documents and Forms Page of the Express website. 

To be eligible to participate in the Consortium, students must enroll in at least twelve (12) hours per semester at Rhodes to be considered full time. The course credit counts toward the semester’s credits at Rhodes; and as long as the consortium course does not result in a course overload for the semester, there is no additional tuition charge. The final grade for the course is computed in the student’s grade point average as if it were a Rhodes grade. Normally, only one course may be taken per semester through the Consortium arrangement.