Departmental ISPs (DISPs)

About DISPs

Departmental Independent Study Projects (DISPs) are an alternative to Independent Study Projects (ISPs), which are proposals reviewed the semester prior by members of the College Curriculum Council. A student works with a faculty member who registers the DISP through his/her/their department; this course is often called, "Independent Reading and Research" or "Independent Research."

While DISPs also allow individual students to initiate, design, and execute a credit-bearing course with the help of a faculty advisor, a specific course title will not appear on the student’s transcript. The approval process does not require the submission of a syllabus during the semester prior to the DISP; a student interested in this option usually prepares a rough syllabus with the professor not later than two weeks into the semester that the DISP takes place.

The Registrar's deadline for registering for a DISP is no later that four weeks from the start of the semester. 

How do I get started?

First, you need an idea, a topic, an orientation, or a subject that you are truly interested in. Discuss your topic of choice with relevant professors and faculty members to refine your course outline. Each department has unique regulations regarding structuring and deadlines of DISPs, so it is important to communicate both with Brown faculty who do related work and with department chairs. DISPs must be registered by the 4th week of the semester during which the course will take place (unlike ISPs, for which a formal application and syllabus is due the previous semester).

Visit the CRC during open hours to discuss your topic and the merits of choosing an ISP of DISP.

Note:  For DISPs, students do NOT need to submit a proposal to the CRC. However, it is probably a good idea to draft one anyway, so that students and faculty sponsor are "on the same page" moving forward into the semester.