Basic Information

Types of Independent Studies

There are four types of Independent Studies. The following two are the main ones:

  1. Independent Study Projects (ISPs)
  2. Group Independent Study Projects (GISPs)

Whereas these two have more specific roles:

  1. Academic Internships (AIs)
  2. Global Independent Study Projects (GLISPs)


All Independent Studies involve working with faculty to develop a credit-bearing course that is not a regular Brown offering. This means that participating students are responsible for researching the course topic, constructing a syllabus, and planning and conducting the academic coursework.  Each GISP and ISP is sponsored by a faculty member who assesses the proposed study, provides advice during the semester, and evaluates the work of student(s).

You must submit the ISP application the semester prior to the course being offered by the application deadline.


An Independent Study Projects (ISPs) is a course you create in which you are the only study in the course.


Group Independent Studies (GISPs) differ from ISPs in that other students can enroll for the course on [email protected] Furthermore, the application process is almost almost identical to ISPs.


Academic Internships (AIs) allow work or internship experiences to be done for credit. This means that you must complement your internship or work experience with external coursework such as readings and posters — that is the academic portion of the AI.

AIs can only be taken while classes are in session (e.g. summer internships cannot become AIs). AIs cannot be taken by first-semester students. AIs require you to coordinate with both a faculty sponsor and a workplace sponsor.  You must fill out the same application as for (G)ISPs but also with the AI Supplement form.


Global Independent Studies (GLISPs) are (G)ISPs but for students abroad.

Frequently Asked Questions

For specific questions regarding Independent Studies, see Frequently Asked Questions. You can also contact our Independent Studies coordinators at [email protected] or visit them at the CRC (Room 228, Campus Center).