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Subject area:    Independent/ Interdisciplinary Studies Bachelor, Master, Doctorate   


Awarding body:            Calamus International University.  For further details of CIU please see the about page.


Status of course:          The degrees are non-UK qualifications. For status of CIU please see the status page.  CIU is accredited by the International Association for Distance Learning.  


Entry requirements:      Bachelor - by accelerated entry - approx. 50% credit from previous studies and/or experience needed for entry.

                                   Master -  a suitable Bachelor's degree is normally required.
                                   Doctorate -  a Bachelor's degree (and preferably a Master's) are normally required.


Method of study:            Distance learning (taught course units are textbook-based) Textbooks are not included in tuition fees. 


Start date:                        Any time of year (subject to availability)


Duration:                         The standard period of registration for an accelerated (advanced-entry) Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree or a Doctorate is a maximum of 18 months, after which registration lapses unless continuing registration fees are paid.  This plan ensures that students can (a) complete as soon as academic requirements are fulfilled and (b) do not have to pay for long compulsory registration periods of several years before the final requirements can be met.  In some cases, where the student needs to meet additional requirements, the agreed initial registration period will be up to 24 months.




This brochure should be read together with the Calamus general prospectus (catalogue) and Course Unit List.  Calamus International University degrees are not UK degrees and do not have government accreditation.  


Independent / Interdisciplinary Studies - Self Directed Degrees by Distance Learning  (non-UK qualifications)

This Calamus International University programme allows the student to plan his/her own syllabus, identify the areas of knowledge or concentration required, choose suitable textbooks and/or other media and compile a study plan with particular objectives.  Normally, students applying for this plan will have adequate experience of their field and knowledge of appropriate theory.

All project ideas / degree major proposals would need to be approved before enrolment.

At Bachelor's level, the BA would normally be available by accelerated entry which means that the applicant would need approximately 50% of credit towards the degree from previous education, experience, etc.  If you are not sure whether you have enough credit, please send your resume or CV together with a one-page proposal giving your ideas for the study programme.

At Master's or taught doctoral level, The syllabus would normally be divided into approx. 15 distinct areas, and each area would be assessed by an essay of approx. 3,000 words or a report or work of similar value.

There will also be a final project of approx. 10,000 words or longer depending on the nature of the topic and level of the award.  A creative work might be accepted in lieu of a written project, though a written discussion of the creative work would be required as well as a presentation of the work (photographs, video, audio recording, etc.)

The first module would comprise the task of setting learning objectives, identifying areas of knowledge, deciding the study aims within each area, and listing key resources in each area such as textbooks and journal articles which are at an appropriate level and which are comprehensible to the student. In some cases, before a student can approach an advanced text with confidence, a more introductory text will need to be selected to provide the necessary grounding. The student will also draw up a study timetable with academic goals to be accomplished in each month of the programme.

Possible areas of study that can come within this plan include:

  • Communication

  • Business

  • History

  • Area Studies

  • Politics / Political Studies

  • Literature

  • Arts

  • Social Studies

  • Social History

  • Philosophy

  • International Relations

Areas in which Calamus International University offers taught programmes, such as Psychology and Religious Studies, may be added, though those areas have degree majors in their own right.

Any available CIU taught course unit (see our Course Unit List which may be accessed at ) may be incorporated in the degree, though for the subjects listed above, reference to an external library will normally be necessary.

The student should have access to a suitable library system. Many distant learning students will find that the best option is the electronic library Questia,, which allows access to thousands of books and journal articles for a low subscription.  You can browse Questia to see how well it covers your field of study before you join them. Fast Internet access is required.

Otherwise, if you are already a subscriber to a university electronic library, you may use that. Some students may live near to major university or public libraries that are suitable for their research. 

If you already have a collection of books and articles relevant to your subject, you may not need to use additional resources apart from acquiring a few more up-to-date texts.

The typical study period for an accelerated BA or an MA will be 12 to 18 months, and if further time is needed, additional registration fees will need to be paid.

Units will be assessed by a member of the Calamus Independent Studies team who may not be a specialist in the particular area.  The aim of each unit will be to demonstrate a knowledge of its principles and commonly accepted views or theories as well as the specialist work of authoritative relevant authors or new and challenging perspectives.

As is done in the case of the Calamus International University Independent Study Ph.D., the locus of expertise in the subject being studied is regarded to be the scholar, rather than an academic who requires the student to adhere to a particular theory or to conventional knowledge in order to pass.  Independent thinking and the study of new paradigms will be encouraged, though discussions and arguments should be backed up by authoritative and relevant references and citations.

It is possible to combine two main areas of study, for instance, to take a degree with concentration in History and Politics or in Social Studies and Philosophy.

Academic Credit

Academic credit may be allowed towards the M.A., and towards the non-research portions of a doctorate for previous studies such as diplomas, certificates and proof of classes taken at universities or with continuing  education providers.  You may also decide to take some such credit after enrolling by taking a class at a local college or at another distance learning institution, etc.  Credit may be gained for written work (books or articles) written after enrolment or for previous but unpublished work.  Professionals may gain credit for continuing professional activity in their field. 

Transcripts for degree studies at other institutions, in cases where the student did not complete the degree, may be taken into account without time limit as long as the student left in good standing.

General information and applications

Please see general details about Calamus International University at   and note its status at  Calamus international University is not a UK or US university and its degrees are not UK or US degrees.  The degrees are not government-accredited.  However, if an Apostille for the degree is desired, the graduate can apply for via our recommended Apostille agent – details supplied to graduates on request.  

The main literature and application form can be downloaded at

To apply, please send the completed application form, a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae, and an indication of your subject(s) of interest.   You may email your documents and any queries to us at

Tuition fees do not include the cost of textbooks, library subscriptions, etc. and the fees cover an initial registration period of up to 18 months, after which further fees are due if more time is needed.


Credit requirements


Bachelor -  120 credits including transfer credits.

Master -  45 credits including any transfer credits if the degree includes a thesis, or 48 credits without a thesis.

Doctorate (taught or research) - minimum 60 credits including any transfer credits if the degree includes a dissertation, or 70 credits without a dissertation.  The Ph.D. must include a dissertation.  A research doctorate will normally incorporate postgraduate transfer credits or credits from professional trainings.  If insufficient transfer credit is available then some CIU taught course modules may need to be taken in addition to the research programme and dissertation.


One credit is nominally equivalent to one semester hour as in the typical American degree programme. The average course unit taken with CIU has a value of 3 credits or 3 semester hours.




Further advice


This brochure cannot cover everything, and further advice is available on enquiry. For best advice, please send us a copy of your curriculum vitae or resume with details of all relevant trainings you have done.

To see our prospectus and course unit list, and also to download an application form, please go to our downloads page

To see our tuition fees on-line please go to our tuition fees page

Calamus International University which awards the degrees is not a UK or US university - for status details click here.

If you have any queries please contact us, preferably by email on

Page updated 22 April 2011

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