ISXX 400: Independent Research

Credits: 3

Schedule: By appointment

Prerequisites: Approval of Director

Course Description

The Independent Study course is a student-centered learning exercise. It provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding in a specific area or topic, personalized to the student’s interests, and to engage in advanced research with the support of a faculty mentor. This course is ideal for a student who has already studied a particular topic in a previous course (such as contemporary Italian politics or the artistic genius of Bernini) and would like to explore a more narrow aspect of that topic through individual research, while taking advantage of being in Italy for the semester.

The course begins with a thesis topic or area of study submitted to the Academic Director. In consultation with the Director, an appropriate faculty member will be identified as the advisor for the course. During the first two weeks, a more detailed proposal, bibliography, and project design will be submitted to the faculty advisor for approval. Upon approval, a project schedule will be established for the semester. By the third week, the student will have begun the project in earnest and will meet on a weekly basis with her/his advisor. The student is expected to submit all drafts of the study in a timely fashion, as scheduled by the advisor, and is personally responsible for meeting all deadlines for the completion of the project.

Approximately two weeks before the end of the semester the student will make a short, oral presentation to the advisor and other independent study and research students and submit the first draft of the study. At the end of the semester, the student will submit his/her final draft based on the independent study and, along with other independent study and research students, participate in a poster presentation event, highlighting the final results of the various projects undertaken during the semester.

Course credit equates approximately into 40-45 hours of research activity per credit hour.


Independent study projects are evaluated based on the successful completion of the research proposal, the final presentation of the project in poster form, and submission of a full-length study.