Brown University School of Engineering

Independent Study

Independent Study in Engineering is used for a variety of activities, including projects that explore a topic of interest to the student, projects that can be counted toward the engineering concentration requirements, and projects that satisfy the capstone design requirement.

Registering for an Independent Study

In order to register for an independent study, the student needs to do the following:

  1. The student should identify a faculty project advisor, talk with the advisor and together decide on a structure and plan of study for the project, including 
    (i) the means by which the student's efforts can be assessed (either for ABC/NC or S/NC);   
    (ii) will the project count for concentration credit and 
    (iii) if so, will it count for capstone design credit.
  2. If the student is an engineering concentrator, he or she needs to fill out the School of Engineering Independent Study Online Proposal Form (ENGN concentrator)
  3. If the student is NOT an engineering concentrator (e.g. BEO or concentration in another department), he or she needs to fill out the School of Engineering Independent Study Online Proposal Form (non-ENGN concentrator)
  4. Once the appropriate form has been submitted, the faculty advisor, and (if necessary) the concentration advisor will approve the project, issue the appropriate override for Banner registration and inform the student by email.
  5. When the student receives the approvial notification, he/she should register for the appropriate section of Engineering Independent Study.

Important Notes

  • An independent study for credit cannot involve any payment (e.g. paid internship, work, etc.)
  • Submitting the online form is not equivalent to registering for independent study. Once the independent study is approved, you must register through Banner.
  • If you are seeking Curricular Practical Training (CPT), you MUST be either an engineering or BEO concentrator in order to register for ENGN independent study. If you are neither of these, you should register for Indep. Studies through your concentration department.

Independent Study FAQs

What Independent Study Section should I register for?

Section Degree Program Suitable for Concentration Credit?
S01 Biomedical Engineering Yes
S02 Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Yes
S03 Civil Engineering Yes
S04 Computer Engineering Yes
S05 Electrical Engineering Yes
S06 Materials Science Engineering Yes
S07 Mechanical Engineering Yes
S08 Engineering Physics Yes
S09 A.B. in Engineering Yes
S10 BEO or Entrepreneurship
S11 Other Topics Related to Engineering No

If I am completing an Independent Study for an Honors Thesis (but not for concentration credit or Capstone design), what section do I register for?
You should register for Section 11 - Other Topics Related to Engineering (not suitable for concentration credit).

Who determines the grade for my Independent Study?
Your faculty advisor is solely responsible for supervising your project, evaluating your accomplishments and for assigning a grade (ABC/NC or S/NC - your choice). However, if you are requesting concentration credit, or capstone design credit, the concentration advisor will also consult with your advisor to ensure that the appropriate concentration and/or design requirements have been satisfied.

I need Curricular Practical Training (CPT) - what do I do?
If you are an engineering concentrator, or a BEO concentrator, you submit a proposal as described above. If you are pursuing any other concentration, you must go through that department, or consult with the CPT advisor in the office of the Dean of the College.