Curricular Resource Center

Group Independent Study Projects

Group Independent Study Projects (GISPs) are courses designed by a group of students (2-20) with a faculty sponsor's guidance.

About Group Independent Study Projects

Group Independent Study Projects are different than standard courses in that the students in the course must take an active role in the course design before the semester the Group Independent Study Project takes place; they also play an active role in the teaching and learning of the course content throughout the semester. Each Group Independent Study Project is sponsored by a faculty member who assesses the proposed study, provides advice during the semester, and formally evaluates each student's performance in the course. The faculty sponsor attends a minimum of 5 meetings, and they serve as facilitators or guides of the course content, supporting the students and their engagement with the material.

Group Independent Studies (GISPs) differ from Independent Study Projects (ISPs) in that (i) more than one student can be in the Independent Study and (ii) other students can enroll for the course on Courses@Brown. The application process is almost identical to ISPs.

At the end of each semester, students participating in Group Independent Study Projects (GISPs), Independent Study Projects (ISPs), and Academic Internships (AIs) are asked to give a 2-3 minute creative presentation about their work over the course of the semester. These presentations offer you the opportunity to share what you have learned during your Independent Study experience with an audience of your friends, peers, faculty and administrators.

Get Started

The semester before enrollment, proposals for Group Independent Study Projects are submitted to the independent studies subcommittee of the College Curriculum Council (CCC), a body of faculty, students, and staff who oversee the undergraduate curriculum writ large. Student coordinators at the Curricular Resource Center help students in the preparation of their proposals. To enroll in a GISP, you must be on the original roster submitted with the course proposal, written in the semester before the course offering.

The student coordinator and the faculty sponsor of the Group Independent Study Projects may petition for the addition of students not on the original roster to enroll in an existing GISP; they may do so before the end of the Add/Drop/Shopping Period (Spring '23: Sunday, February 5, 2023, 11:50 pm ET).

Students who are not on the original roster and who want to join the course must attend the first class session. By the end of the first week of the semester, the GISP student coordinator(s) must submit their petition to add any student to the roster by filling out this petition form. Dean Chang will email your faculty sponsor separately after receiving your petition.

You must submit the Independent Studies application the semester prior to the course being offered by the application deadline for that semester.

Group Independent Study Project Resources

  • Past GISPs Database - request digital copies of past Group Independent Study Projects. You can also stop by the CRC in the basement of the CareerLAB to browse the earlier Independent Studies proposals.
  • Potential GISP Ideas - submit your Group Independent Study Project ideas and find out more about the GISPs your peers are working.