The Approval Process
The IC sub-committee of the College Curriculum Council, a committee of faculty, deans, and students, meets six times during the school year to review submitted IC applications. They use the IC rubric to evaluate ICs.
Proposals will receive one of the following decisions from the committee:
- Approved: Proposal has met all of the requirements for an IC. The course of study provides the student with the ability to meet their stated learning objectives; the IC has a cohesive narrative, course list, and capstone/thesis; the IC studies the field broadly and deeply in an area of focus; the student has strong advising support from faculty sponsor(s) and other advising networks; and the student has met full approval before the end of their 6th semester.
- Provisionally Approved: Proposal has nearly met all the above requirements; student needs to address 2-3 minor points or areas of concern; the proposal does not need to go back to the full committee.
- Revisions Required: Proposal has met some but not enough of the necessary requirements for provisional or full approval; if resubmitted, proposal will go back to the full committee.
- Substantial Revisions Needed: Proposal needs significant rewrite, e.g.: narrative needs reframing and perhaps reconsidering, stated concentration lacks cohesion amongst the stated areas of study, student has not argued persuasively enough for its distinction from one of Brown's standard concentrations, course list does not align well with learning goals, it is unclear with courses are available at Brown for the intended field of study, faculty sponsor letter is insufficient; student is encouraged to workshop their proposal with a member of the Writing Center.
- Not Approved: IC proposal cannot be completed at Brown (e.g., a field of study outside the scope of the liberal arts); proposal is too similar to a standard concentration; student was not able to achieve Provisional Approval by the end of their 6th semester. Student can resubmit their proposal, but must meet with IC Coordinators to discuss structural changes to the proposal.
Few ICs receive approval on their first submission. However, ICs which do not receive approval always receive feedback from the committee to help you revise and edit your proposal should you choose to resubmit. Our goal is to make Independent Concentrations happen, not prevent them from happening!
In the past few years, about 50% of students who submitted a proposal were eventually approved. Most students who were not approved were given the option to resubmit but decided not to. Students are strongly encouraged to come to the CRC to discuss their feedback and the committee’s decision in more detail before resubmitting.