Basic Information

Types of Independent Studies

There are five types of Independent Studies. The following three are the main ones:

  1. Independent Study Projects (ISPs)
  2. Group Independent Study Projects (GISPs)
  3. Departmental Independent Study Projects, usually called independent reading and research courses in [email protected] (DISPs): Do NOT require CRC/College Curriculum Council approval the semester prior.

Whereas these two have more niche 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 (G)ISP/AI application the semester prior to the course being offered by the application deadline for that semester. (All DISPs can be arranged directly with the faculty instructor and is completely separate from the CRC's process!)


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


Group Independent Studies (GISPs) differ from ISPs in that (i) more than one student can be in the Independent Study and (ii) other students can enroll for the course on [email protected] 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. You must fill out the same application as for (G)ISPs but also with the AI Supplement form.

Caveats: 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. 


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


For a Departmental Independent Study course, work directly with your professor to determine the expectations you both have for the credit. They will give you an override code, and you must register for the course no later than the Add a Course deadline listed on the Academic Calendar--the end of the fourth week of the semester.

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 us at the CRC (Hemisphere Building, which is at 167 Angell Street at the Ground/Lower Level).