Special Course Work

Independent Study

Independent study, under the guidance and supervision of faculty members, offers challenging opportunities for investigating areas beyond the limits of regular courses. A student may engage in independent study for credit, given the availability and approval of a faculty member knowledgeable in the chosen subject matter.

A total of seven independent study credits, including internships, may count toward graduation. Students are expected to arrange each independent study program before the end of the previous semester. A written proposal signed by the relevant faculty member must be submitted to the dean of the faculty for review. Proposal forms and detailed information may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office. The following are the four basic types of independent study: tutorial, research project, senior thesis, and creative project.


A tutorial is a course on a special topic not covered in a regularly offered course. Students meet regularly, usually individually, with their faculty supervisor to discuss the readings and are normally assigned a number of short papers. Recent tutorials have dealt with such topics as advanced Japanese, New Testament Greek, advanced Chinese, mysticism, European industrial revolution, recent bioethical issues, song writing. Students may take one tutorial a year beginning with the second semester of the first year, for a total of four tutorials.

Research Project

A research project is more specialized and usually more advanced than a tutorial, requiring greater independence and originality on the part of the student. Students conduct scholarly research with a view to producing substantial work in the form of a term paper or report. Among recent projects undertaken were studies involving ethical issues on intellectual property, weblogs and their implications concerning cultural values and global business, the U.S. Social Security system, and mestastable hydrogen atom collisions. Juniors and seniors are eligible to undertake research projects. A maximum of four research project course credits is allowed toward graduation, no more than two in a semester and no more than three in a year.

Senior Thesis

A senior thesis is original scholarly research undertaken in the student’s senior year, usually over two terms. The research culminates in a formal written dissertation and oral examination that is evaluated by a faculty committee. Outstanding theses are awarded distinction at graduation. Senior theses may be undertaken for one or two course credits; normally two course credits will not be awarded in the same semester.

Creative Project

A creative project is an independent course of work, under faculty supervision, in a creative medium such as painting, fiction, sculpture, poetry, photography, or music. Creative project credits are limited in the same way as tutorials; senior projects in studio art may be approved for a maximum of two course credits.

Adult Education

Lake Forest College takes a special interest in serving the adult community of the North Shore through the Community Education Office. Regular course offerings of the College are open to members of the community for credit and many may be audited. The College provides special academic counseling for adult students. Those who meet the established admission requirements may take courses for college credit in individually tailored programs on a part-time or full-time basis.

Adults who already have a bachelor’s degree may be interested in the College’s Graduate Program in Liberal Studies.

In addition, the College welcomes adults from the community onto its campus for the stimulating lectures, plays, discussions, and concerts that are a part of its rich, cultural environment.

For more information regarding College courses, including tuition, registration, and schedules, please call or visit the Community Education Office in Young Hall 222, 847-735-5083.

Off-Campus Study

Lake Forest College believes deeply in the value of studying abroad, and many students pursue such study, especially during the junior year.

The College has several study abroad programs of its own. The oldest of these involves spending half a semester in Greece after a period of study on campus. Lake Forest College also sponsors an International Internship/Study-Abroad Program in Paris, France, and a China Semester Program for Asian Studies—with internship option—hosted at Peking University in Beijing, China. A course-related spring-break study tour to Costa Rica is offered for students enrolled in Biology 380 Tropical Ecology and Conservation. Additionally, the spring course Asian Studies 274 (May China) includes a 3-week China travel component.  This course requires special application and submission of relevant off-campus study documents.

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest, a consortium of 14 distinguished liberal arts colleges to which Lake Forest College belongs, operates a rich array of study abroad programs on four continents for which Lake Forest students are eligible to be considered.

With prior permission of the Academic Appeals Board, students may also receive academic credit for study abroad programs sponsored by other accredited institutions. Since application deadlines begin as early as one full year prior to time of proposed study, students interested in study abroad should begin research and contact the Assistant Dean of the Faculty for Off-Campus Programs as soon as possible.

Although most students go abroad for a single semester, a student may petition the Academic Appeals Board for permission to spend an entire junior year abroad. The board may grant such an appeal when the proposed program provides significant enhancement of the student’s academic program and meets each of the following conditions: (1) It must be consistent with a liberal arts education; (2) it must provide academic opportunities clearly unavailable at the College; and (3) there must be good reason for thinking that the educational benefits will be significantly enhanced by a two-semester duration. Students must meet all campus deadlines for application, usually no later than the beginning of the spring term of the year preceding their proposed study.

Upon approval by the Off-Campus Consortium Committee, Lake Forest College enters into a limited number of consortium agreements with selected institutions in order to make it possible for qualified students on financial aid to retain their aid while studying off-campus. Students are urged to review the financial aid section of off-campus study information available on the College web page and to consult the Director of Off-Campus Programs. While studying abroad, students are required to carry health insurance that includes evacuation and repatriation coverage. A plan is available through the College. The application deadline for consortium requests is November 15.

For the purposes of graduation requirements, academic probation, and academic suspension, transfer credits received through Lake Forest College-approved consortium agreements do not count toward the GPA.

study abroad programs meet the GEC breadth requirements when applicable and the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirements.

For questions about selecting a program, requirements, procedures, application forms, deadlines, and financial aid, contact the Assistant Dean of Faculty for Off-Campus Programs, Jan Miller.


Internships taken for credit at Lake Forest College are off-campus learning experiences integrated into the academic program. Although the specific nature of internship experiences will vary, internships should clarify for students the relationship between traditional liberal arts study and the use or expansion of knowledge in nonacademic settings. Students are eligible to apply for an internship following the completion of two years of course work. Under the internship program, students work for academic credit in businesses, social and governmental agencies, and other institutions both in the Chicago area and elsewhere during either semester of the academic year or during the summer term.  A description of the program, Guidelines to Internships and Practicums, is available from the Registrar’s Office.

Students interested in pursuing an internship should contact the departmental internship liaison of the pertinent department and the director of college internships to begin the application process. Each academic department may establish its own application deadline. In order to have a summer internship, a student must submit a preliminary application to the director of summer internships no later than the Friday one week prior to commencement.

Students may count up to 3 internship credits toward graduation, not including foreign internship credit. A maximum of 2 credits will be awarded for each internship. Internships will count toward the maximum of 15 credits allowed in any discipline. These courses are graded only on a Credit/D/Fail basis. In order to participate in an internship, a student must have a C average in all prerequisite courses and may not be on academic probation.

Pre-Professional Development

Lake Forest College recognizes the advantages of joining the ideals of a liberal arts education with pre-professional and career preparation. The College therefore offers its students a number of pre-professional opportunities.

Cooperative Degree Programs

Professional schools recognize the importance of the liberal arts tradition. Students specializing in narrow fields can bring to their studies not only a fundamental knowledge of the subject but also a sense of broader ethical concerns and a flexibility of mind that the liberal arts college fosters. With these goals in mind, the several schools have set up cooperative degree programs with Lake Forest College. Students must complete all of the General Education Curriculum requirements of Lake Forest College except the senior studies requirement.

3+3 BA/JD Program with Chicago-Kent College of Law
3+3 BA/JD Program with Loyola School of Law
3+3 BA/JD Program with The John Marshall Law School
3+3 BA/JD Progam with Vermont Law School
Accelerated Admission at Monterey Institute of International Studies
Dual-Degree Program in Engineering

  • Pre-Professional Advising

    Lake Forest College prepares students for careers in teaching at the elementary, middle school/junior high, and high school levels. Courses leading to Initial Elementary and Secondary Certification in Illinois are offered. A major in education is available only in conjunction with another major.  Talk to any faculty member in the department for advice about entering the teaching profession.

    The Pre-Law Advising Program supports students who are considering the field of law as a career and assists them in the process of applying to law schools. Students receive close personal attention and advice and have the opportunity to participate in events related to the law professions. Faculty on the Pre-Law Advising Committee offer counsel on the range of law schools most suitable for each student and on all phases of the application process. There is no specific pattern of pre-law course work at Lake Forest College; a well-rounded, challenging four-year course of study in the liberal arts and all major undergraduate fields are appropriate training for future lawyers. A pre-law society visits area law schools, participates in regional and national mock trial tournaments, hosts visits by law professionals and law school officials, provides support for students taking the LSAT, and engages in other activities related to careers in law. Most students take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in the summer or fall after the junior year, and complete the process of law school applications during the fall semester of their senior year. Increasingly, students nationwide engage in pre-professional or volunteer work before commencing the study of law, so that students may consider applying to law schools at any phase during their post-collegiate careers.

    Students preparing for careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or other related health professions may major in any academic field, provided that their course of study includes the necessary science classes to ensure adequate preparation for the professional schools of their choice. Generally, these include a minimum of three courses in biology, four in chemistry, two in physics, and one or two courses in mathematics. Additional areas of study to be considered are English, ethics, logic, and the social sciences. In addition to each student’s chosen academic advisor, members of the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) are available to provide advice and information relevant to students interested in pursuing advanced study in the health professions. Students should inform the HPAC of their interest in the health professions as early as possible in their academic career. Further information about extracurricular professional experiences, the professional school application process, required standardized testing, and other important considerations are available through the HPAC.

Program Leaves
A student may enroll during the fall or spring semester for one course at another institution while remaining registered for three courses at Lake Forest for that term. If approved by the student’s advisor, the program must be checked with the registrar to assure transferability of the work. If the work is satisfactorily completed with a grade of C- or better in each course, and the credits are transferred to Lake Forest College, the student will be reimbursed for the per-course cost of the tuition at the other institution up to the per-course cost of tuition at Lake Forest College for the same period.

Auditing of Courses

Students who wish to acquaint themselves with a subject without receiving credit may audit a course with the permission of the instructor. Auditors are not subject to the requirements of the course, but they are expected to participate seriously. There is no audit fee for fulltime students; part-time students are charged a minimum amount per course. Examination for course credit is not permitted in an audited course.