Independent Study, Graduate

Instructions for completing the Independent Study form

  1. Read the Independent Study Proposal Guidelines, Graduate carefully.
  2. Read and complete all steps contained in the Graduate Student Checklist by the specified deadlines.
  3. This form will be sent to the emails you enter for your adviser and instructor. You must follow up with them to make sure they submit their approval to Gallatin by the proposal submission deadline.
  4. Questions about this form can be directed to KatheAnn Joseph (

Student Information

NOTE: Students enrolled in another NYU school are generally not permitted to apply for a Gallatin Independent Study. In rare instances a student from another NYU school might be able to take a Gallatin Independent Study with a Gallatin professor. In all cases, students should contact Kathe Ann Joseph for more information.

Adviser Information

Instructor Information


According to policy, answers to these questions should be NO. If you answer YES to any of these questions, please submit a supplemental written explanation with the description of the study.

Independent Study Information

Description of Study

Like the course description in a college catalog, this part of the proposal should describe the general theme and scope of the independent study. (See Gallatin’s course descriptions for examples.) The theme may be stated as a problem to be investigated, an issue to be explored, or an argument to be defended. The description might indicate where your are starting out and where you would like to get in terms of answering a question, exploring a phenomenon, understanding a theory, building a skill or other goal. It should articulate the theme and strategy of the study as clearly as possible within 250 words.



You must provide a reading list with authors and titles along with the proposal. The list should be comparable to a similar graduate-level classroom course, which means that a four-unit graduate independent study requires a minimum of 10-13 books. The list of readings may include substantial articles and other secondary readings. (However, a single article is not equivalent to a book; at least 3 articles are needed to equal a book.) Readings may change during the semester as the study evolves, but the preliminary list should be appropriate for the number of units. Proposals for creative projects must include readings, as well.

Below is the required minimum number of books for independent studies of various unit values:

• 4 units: 10-13 books
• 3 units: 7-10 books
• 2 units: 5-7 books


Works to be Evaluated by Your Instructor:

 The proposal should indicate the kinds of work (response papers, research essays, creative works, etc.), which will be evaluated by the instructor. Assignments should be comparable in extent to a similar classroom course, which means that a four-unit independent study requires a minimum of 25-30 pages of assigned written work. Details should be provided about this work, including the number, length and type of work to be submitted (e.g., two research papers, one 12 pages and the other 20).

For creative projects (e.g., photography, film making, painting, etc.) students are required to submit at least 20 pages of academic writing* in addition to the creative work for four units. For creative projects in writing (e.g., screenplays, novels, essays, blogs, etc.) students are required to submit at least 15 pages of academic writing*. Creative project proposals need to include details about the substance and format of the work, whether short stories, chapters of a novel, paintings, etc.

Ultimately, it is up to the student and instructor to determine the specific format of the work to be evaluated by the instructor. The work for the study should be submitted according to the schedule of due dates agreed upon at the outset, and as with a classroom course, late work may be penalized.

Below is the required minimum amount of written work for independent studies of various unit values. (The number of required written pages for creative projects may be less.):

• 4 units: 25-30 pages of written work
• 3 units: 20-25 pages of written work
• 2 units: 15-20 pages of written work

*Academic writing can be, for example, response papers to readings assigned, and/or a critical analytical and/or research essay that discusses one or more of the theoretical concepts of the class.



Instructors and students are expected to meet regularly throughout the semester. You must provide a schedule of the meetings with the instructor, which includes the topics, the readings, and assignments to be covered during each session. You can revise your syllabus with your instructor once the semester begins.

Below is the required minimum number of meetings for independent studies of various unit values:

  • 4 units: 7 meetings 
  • 3 units: 5 meetings
  • 2 units: 4 meetings  

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