Office of International Programs

Student FAQ’s

Brown in ParisBrown in ParisWhat is a Global Independent Study Project (GLISP)?

Brown’s Global Independent Study Project (GLISP) allows Brown students going abroad through any semester or year-long program to pursue a directed independent research project for credit. These projects capitalize on resources in the host country that are not available in Providence.  GLISPs are coordinated by the Office of International Programs (the OIP).

 What do I need to create a GLISP?

  • First, you need an idea that does not share much in common with an existing course at Brown and is a topic or subject that you want to spend time exploring.
  • You also need a Brown faculty sponsor. Identify potential faculty sponsors early in your process - professors tend to plan their semesters well in advance of students, and finding a faculty mentor is required. 

 How does a GLISP differ from a regular Brown course?

  • It is designed by students – everything from the course description to the syllabus and evaluation is created by students (with support from the faculty sponsor and the OIP).
  • It is about a topic not covered by an existing Brown course.
  • It sometimes, but not necessarily, includes innovative coursework: plays, music compositions, photography – anything you can think of, really!

 When is the application deadline?

  • The first Friday of November to do a GLISP in the following Spring.
  • The first Friday of April to do a GLISP in the following Fall.

"My GLISP on sports and society in Cuba not only helped me to better integrate myself into the community in Havana, but also greatly enhanced my Spanish interviewing skill. It allowed me to become more thoughtful and assertive when conducting interviews. This proved to be invaluable when I was conducting interview research for my senior honors thesis the following summer. Also, the experience of completing an independent study helped me to understand how to turn my own primary field research into coherent analysis." — Returned GLISP student

Can my GLISP satisfy a concentration requirement? 

This is up to your concentration advisor or department chair, but it is definitely possible.

Who can sponsor a GLISP? 

Any faculty member with a current teaching position at Brown. If there is no faculty member with appropriate expertise or interest in the topic, a PhD candidate can sponsor a GLISP. In such cases, the proposal must be accompanied by the graduate student’s Curriculum Vitae and a statement of qualification and recommendation from  the Chair of the graduate student's department. The Chair assumes ultimate responsibility for the academic quality of GLISPs sponsored by a graduate student. 

A supplemental instructor may assist with a GLISP and with the evaluation of student work. In such cases, the supplemental instructor must complete the attached Instructor Sponsor Statement and submit a resume documenting relevant background. Supplemental instructors help with GLISPs as a professional courtesy; the University provides no financial compensation for this or any other aspect of a GLISP.

How do I go about finding a Faculty Sponsor?

To jump-start this process, review Brown faculty who have demonstrated expertise in the country or topic through teaching, research or a combination of both.  Faculty Research Interests may help you identify potential mentors. Also, be sure to look at the list of GLISP proposals on the OIP website to identify any professors who regularly sponsor GLISPs in the field in which you are interested.

What is the role of the Faculty Sponsor? How often should we meet? 

The faculty sponsor is responsible for all grading and evaluations and that students meet the University standards. This requirement assumes that the faculty sponsor has a continuing awareness of the progress of the Independent Study through regular weekly meetings or discussions online (via email, Skype, etc.) 

What is the expected workload of a GLISP?

A GLISP is designed to be as rigorous as a regular Brown course (if not more). The standard workload is between 150-200 pages of reading per week including a midterm and final. That said, the workload of a GLISP varies according to the type of class being proposed, and there is plenty of room for creativity.

Can my GLISP coursework go beyond the classroom?

Absolutely! We encourage you to incorporate creative methods of evaluation and project work and to take advantage of resources available to you at your program site, host institution, and host country. 

How do I find readings for my syllabus?

We are fortunate to be at a university where professors tend to specialize in pretty much every area of study, so they are often the best resource. Ask them to lead you to other people if they are not able to help themselves. You can also look at syllabi from other universities or library books.

What are the grading options for GLISPs?

Like any other course taken in a study abroad program, GLISPs must be taken for a letter grade. S/NC is not available as a grading option. 

What happens after my GLISP proposal has been submitted?

Your proposal is discussed by a screening committee, comprised of OIP staff and professors, one of which is a member of the College Curriculum Council. They may reach one of three conclusions: pass your proposal, suggest changes to your GLISP and reevaluate it again (most common), or decline your proposal. Proposals that are approved by the screening committee are submitted to the CCC for final approval.

I missed the deadline to submit my GLISP proposal. What do I do?

Unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions if the submission deadline has passed. 

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