Independent Study Plans

Independent Study Projects

Most academic departments offer students opportunities to work independently with one of its faculty members. Students may approach a professor, and request to do a departmental independent study which, if successfully arranged, takes place under the rubric of the sponsoring department’s course code (i.e. ECON 1970 or SOC 1970.) When such an option is not available the student may choose to propose an Independent Study Project (ISP) through the College Curriculum Council. Each course proposal must have the approval of a faculty sponsor who shall be responsible for the scrutiny of the proposal, the evaluation of the work done, and the assignment of a grade. The faculty sponsor is not expected to give regular tutorial instruction.

Proposals for non-departmental Independent Study Projects (ISP) must be submitted in accordance with guidelines established by the College Curriculum Council on a form provided by the Office of the Dean of the College. The proposals will be reviewed by the College Curriculum Council to assure the academic quality of the proposed course and to avoid undue duplication. Independent study proposals have deadlines associated with them for each semester. For more information, please visit the Curricular Resource Center website.

Group Independent Study Project

Group Independent Studies (GISP) are cooperative inquiries in which participating students bear major responsibility for both planning and conduct of the work. They provide an opportunity for academic pursuits which might not be available in regular courses. They carry course credit.

Each Group Independent Study is sponsored by an instructor who holds a teaching appointment in Brown University and whose central functions are to assess the proposed study, to provide advice during the work, and to be responsible for the evaluation of each student’s work. Group Independent Studies permit instructors to interact with more students than independent studies can realistically permit. A Teaching Assistant or Teaching Associate may sponsor a Group Independent Study if the department chair recommends that he or she be permitted to do so.

Proposals for Group Independent Studies should be made on a form provided by the Office of the Dean of the College. They will be reviewed by the College Curriculum Council to assure the academic quality of the proposed study and to avoid undue duplication. Group Independent study proposals have deadlines associated with them for each semester. For more information, please visit the Curricular Resource Center website.

Each group should be sponsored by an instructor holding a teaching appointment at Brown University who is prepared to assess the proposed study, to provide advice during the project, and to be responsible for the evaluation of each student’s work. Normally this person will be a faculty member. Under exceptional circumstances a graduate student with appropriate expertise and teaching experience would be eligible to be a sponsor. In this case, the proposal must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae for the graduate student and a statement of qualification and recommendation from the chair of the graduate student’s department. The chair will assume ultimate responsibility for the academic quality of the GISP. The College will not offer remuneration for sponsors of GISPs.

At the end of each Group Independent Study, a joint student-faculty evaluation report of the accomplishments of the project must be submitted by the faculty sponsor to the College Curriculum Council.

Global Independent Study Project

Brown students studying abroad have the option of crafting a Global Independent Study Project (GLSP) with a Brown faculty member. Students accepted to this program work with faculty who have teaching or research experience in their proposed overseas study destination. Together, the student and the faculty member develop a project proposal that is an integral part of the student’s study abroad curriculum and that, where possible, is connected to the student’s concentration. Project proposals are submitted to the College Curriculum Council for review. Upon successfully completing the global independent study project, students receive one Brown credit. The remainder of the student’s course load abroad is taken through the study abroad sponsor institution.

Group Independent study proposals have deadlines associated with them for each semester. For more information, please visit the Office of International Programs website.