Developing an IC
The first proposal must be submitted by the last deadline of your 5th semester. For most students, this will be November 1st of junior year. Please note this is a strict deadline, and exceptions are only made for extenuating circumstances. All proposals must receive FINAL approval by the end of the 6th semester.
Submission deadlines for the 2021-22 year are September 1st (ONLY for students who are submitting a revision), October 1st, November 1st, February 1st, March 1st, and April 1st.
Developing an IC looks different for everyone. However, there are certain steps many people take to gather information and advice on how to explore their field, define their learning goals, and craft a compelling proposal:
- Why are you thinking about an IC? Remember, ICs often focus on the intersections between disciplines and are not meant to be a way to evade existing concentration requirements or be solely pre-professional in nature.
- Browse the IC database. You can request to view full proposals by emailing [email protected] with the title of the IC, the name of the ICer, and the year. When reading past proposals, take note of the faculty sponsor, the classes included, and how the proposal defines the IC’s field and learning goals. Keep in mind that even if you want to declare an IC that has already been approved, you must write your own original proposal. The IC application and approval process has also evolved; more recent proposals will give you a better sense of what the committee expects. Twenty years of paper copies of ICs are also available at the CRC.
- Consult the IC committee scoring rubric, which lays out what the committee is looking for and what makes a proposal successful.
- Meet with an IC Coordinator or the IC Dean (Peggy Chang) to talk through ideas (preferably well in advance of the first submission to allow time for thoughtful revisions). You don’t need to have started the proposal or have fully formed thoughts yet—we’re here to chat, help you work through your interests, and clarify the process from beginning to end. Email [email protected] to set up a meeting, or drop by office hours.
- After meeting with an IC Coordinator or the IC Dean, you can view this detailed slide deck about crafting your proposal.
- Find a faculty sponsor(s). You must find at least one faculty sponsor to support you and help you shape your IC. Your primary sponsor must be a full-time professor with a rank at or above senior lecturer (this includes Distinguished Senior Lecturers, Assistant, Associate, and Full professors; research professors and emeritia professors are also eligible). Primary sponsors cannot be visiting or adjunct professors, lecturers, clinical professors or professor of the practice. It can also be useful to have multiple faculty sponsors if you are drawing heavily from two fairly disparate fields, and you find the sole expertise of one formal advisor doesn’t quite meet the needs of your IC. To find a sponsor, we recommend checking out vivo.brown.edu to see what professors are doing research in the field(s) you are interested in and going to their office hours. Professors are often excited to talk to potential ICers because their work is innovative and unique! The Faculty Sponsor Info Sheet provides more information about the faculty sponsor role.
- Complete the IC Application and revise it with the IC Coordinators. We recommend working in the fillable Word template and then saving the final product as a PDF for submission. (A PDF application is also available for your reference.) You will need a letter of support from your faculty sponsor. Please also proofread and edit your proposal, and consider making an appointment at the Writing Center before submitting. Maggie Goddard is a graduate student at the Writing Center who sat on the IC committee last year, and they have a good sense of what makes a strong proposal. You can sign up for an appointment with one of them at this link. Most important, plan to meet regularly with the IC Coordinators as you prepare your proposal.
- Submit the completed application to this Google Form in PDF form by the deadline. Please label your file "[first name] [last name]_[IC title]_[date of submission]" (ex. "Josiah Carberry_Innovative Critical Pedagogy IC_November 2021”). Depending on the month and the volume of proposals we receive, you should expect to hear from us with a decision and feedback within a few weeks.
- Revise your proposal as necessary. It is rare for a proposal to be approved on the first submission, so don’t be discouraged if your proposal needs work. Consider the feedback you receive from the IC Committee, and make sure to visit the IC Coordinators to talk through your revisions.
- Students who are interested in applying for honors in their concentration should read the IC Honors Thesis Guidelines found in the Resources for Current ICers page.
- Note that an Honors Thesis is not necessary for an IC—senior ICers are required to do either a thesis or a capstone. Capstones are less formal than theses and can include creative elements such as documentaries or performances. All honors theses must be finished over the senior year in two independent study courses. Capstones for an A.B. can be finished in one independent study course senior year, and Sc.B. captones require two semesters of independent study. More information can be found in the Honors and Capstone Overview.
- If you are an international student, we recommend that you talk to Dean Peggy Chang and/or the Office of International Student Scholar Services about the relationship between concentration choice and how it is classified for practical training and work visa purposes. Many ICers have been international students, and we’ll do our best to make sure you can too!
- If you plan to go abroad, consider applying before you leave. While you can apply for an IC while abroad (the entire application process is online!), finding a sponsor and capstone or honors advisors is definitely easier when on Brown’s campus.
NOTE: Approved IC proposals must include a statement about how the student plans to fulfill the writing requirement during their 5th-7th (or penultimate semester) when they upload their approved proposal in ASK.