Instructions for completing the Independent Study form

  1. Read the Independent Study Proposal Guidelines carefully.
    Undergraduate Proposal Guidelines
    Graduate Student Proposal Guidelines
  2. Read and complete all steps contained in the Student Checklist by the specified deadlines.
    Undergraduate Student Checklist
    Graduate Student Checklist
  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 (

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.
Like the course description in a college catalog, this part of the proposal essay should describe the general theme and scope of the independent study. The theme may be stated as a problem to be investigated, an issue to be explored, or an argument to be defended. The essay might indicate where the student is starting out and where she 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 about 250 words.
The student must provide a reading list with authors and titles, even if tentative, along with the proposal. The list should be comparable to a similar classroom course (e.g., interdisciplinary seminars often assign 6-10 books, depending on length and complexity). Readings may change during the semester as the study evolves, but the preliminary list should be appropriate for the number of units, and should indicate the kind of works to be read. Proposals for creative projects should include readings, as well.
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 (e.g., interdisciplinary seminars typically assign about 25 pages of writing over the course of the semester). Provide details about this work, including the number, length and type of work to be submitted (e.g., two research papers, one 10 pages and the other 15; a portfolio of 20 exhibition-quality photographs plus four reading-response papers of 2 pages each).
A schedule of meetings should be produced to specify the topics and readings to be covered at each session, as well the expected deadlines for assignments. Students can revise and adopt their syllabus with their instructor once the semester begins.