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Independent Study Projects (ISP) / Collaborative Study Projects (CSP)

Independent Study Projects (ISP) allow students to complete a supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest to supplement the established curriculum. The project requires independent study but also includes tutorial supervision; its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses.

A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of independent study. Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member.

Students (sophomores and above) with an accumulative grade point average of 3.00 or above may register for a particular ISP/CSP by requesting the assistance of a faculty member with appropriate interests and competencies to serve as a tutor. With the consent and assistance of the faculty member,

a student should prepare a proposal and an application for the work to be accomplished (applications can be obtained from the Registrar’s website). The student will be properly enrolled once the form is completed and approved and notification is sent to the Registrar’s office. Approval for anISP/CSP must be submitted to the Registrar no later than the end of the Add/Drop period or eight calendar days after the first day of the semester, whichever comes first. In order to meet this deadline, students are encouraged to meet with their chosen tutor as soon as they know they desire an ISP/CSP, preferably before the start of the term.

Each ISP/CSP may receive 3 credits. A total of 9 credits of Independent Study work may be credited toward any four- or five-year undergraduate degree. ISPs are available Fall, Wintersession, and Spring. They may not be taken during the summer.

Guidelines for Studio Independent Study and Collaborative Study Projects

The total amount of work involved (including meeting times, research, and writing) must be roughly equivalent to the amount of work the student or students would do in a typical studio course. For example, if a course meets for 5 hours per week, with an expectation of at least 5 additional hours of out of-class work, students will typically be doing a total 10 hours of work per week or 120 hours in a 12-week term. The equivalent amount of time and effort must take place for shorter semesters, such as Wintersession.

The student, or students, and tutor must meet on a regular basis for discussion–usually, 6-12 times per term. The ISP or CSP should occur on campus. If students plan to travel or work off-campus, there must be a good rationale for the travel or off campus site in terms of the content of the proposal including how the travel or location contributes to the project in an essential way and how the “meetings” will take place. E-mail as the sole form of weekly communication with the instructor is not acceptable, although videoconference or similar technology could be.

The description and rationale of the ISP or CSP, the schedule and manner of work to be produced, the meeting schedule, and the method of evaluation should be articulated very clearly and thoroughly in the Independent Study Application or the Collaborative Study Application. The checklist for Independent Study in Liberal Arts is available at the Registrar’s website.  

ISP registration information >>

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