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. Details should be provided 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 20 pages).
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 academic work for non-creative 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
Creative writing projects require both the finished creative product (script, novel, essay, etc.) and academic writing.
Below is the required minimum amount of written work for creative projects of various unit values. Poems, novels, essays, scripts, etc., must be at least this length:
- 4 units: 20-25 pages of written work
- 3 units: 15-20 pages of written work
- 2 units: 10-15 pages of written work
Below is the required minimum amount of academic writing (which must be based on the readings and may take the form of response papers to the readings, or a research or analytical essay based on the readings and theories within those readings) for creative writing independent studies of various unit values:
- 4 units: 15-20 pages of academic writing
- 3 units: 10-15 pages of academic writing
- 2 units: 8-10 pages of academic writing
Instructors and students are expected to meet regularly throughout the semester. Meeting spaces for an Independent Study are identified and secured by the student and/or instructor. Please note that personal spaces (i.e. an apartment or dorm room) are not suitable. It is recommended that the instructor or student book an NYU space through Bobst Library.
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