Academic Independent Study

What Is an Independent Study?

An independent study is a little-known secret across higher-level academic institutions which enables proactive college students to receive class credit towards their degree by self-studying more esoteric material under the special approval of a faculty member.

Unlike regular classes, independent studies are academic courses where the student is responsible for setting their own learning goals, choosing their own materials, and completing their own projects. All while still receiving college credit.

Independent studies are frequently used by students to retrace curriculum and classes offered by similar institutions, especially when strong precedent is available.

Why RET2 WarGames?

The Fundamentals of Software Exploitation by RET2 Systems is an advanced systems-level course suitable for ambitious Junior, Senior, or Graduate students. The course focuses heavily on assembly-level debugging, analyzing memory safety vulnerabilities, and exploring how modern exploit mitigations are often bypassed by sophisticated attackers.

A similar underlying curriculum can be found in several courses across academia:

RET2 WarGames is frequently used in both academic and commercial environments for individual self-study, classroom teaching, and professional trainings. It provides a more refined, feedback-driven learning experience than traditional materials.

Enrolling in an Independent Study

Although the process can appear intimidating, creating and enrolling in an independent study based on RET2 WarGames can be boiled down to the following steps:

  1. Obtain an independent study form. This is going to be a school-specific form published by your registrar and may outline other special requirements. This form typically provides basic information about the course for administrative purposes.

  2. Develop a course syllabus. This document must clearly define the learning outcomes, curriculum, and evaluation criteria (eg, grading, schedule) for the material you want to cover. We have prepared a syllabus that should satisfy most Universities' requirements:
  3. Identify and approach a faculty advisor. This will often be a systems or security professor at your school who is willing to sign-off on your independent study. When approaching a potential advisor, it would be wise to have a copy of the physical syllabus on hand that you can leave with them to review and consider.

  4. Get the independent study approved. Once your advisor signs off on the syllabus and independent study form, submit the materials to your school registrar. Your advisor is more than welcome to reach out to us with any questions about the material at

If this is your first time registering for an independent study, it is recommended that your start the process before the end of the semester prior to taking the course. That said, we have also seen students manage to get independent studies approved several weeks into an active semester.

Please note, you will still have to purchase student access to the course for your independent study.

Approved, Now What?

If you have successfully completed the enrollment of an independent study at your school for the upcoming semester, please contact us via your academic email and CC your faculty advisor.

We will provision your advisor with special instructor access to the platform such that they can monitor your progress or review your work for grading purposes.