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Independent Study

Do you like working on your own? While many classes require research papers or projects, independent study is a step beyond.

Jamal Nelson '14

Jamal Nelson '14

Educational studies and history double major

For his independent study, Jamal helped develop curriculum that 6th through 12th grade teachers can use to make learning about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates more engaging and relevant to students.

In fact, 85% of our students take advantage of independent study by the time they graduate. While it's true that a professor might approach you with an idea for an independent study, what's more likely to happen is that the project will come from you.

You might find yourself in one of these scenarios:

  • A topic is covered in class, and it interests you so much that you approach a professor with a proposal to pursue it on your own for credit.
  • Maybe you're interested in lab or field research. If so, many science professors have lab research programs that involve several different students, each independently pursuing a particular aspect of the professor's general research.
  • The Art Department's Open Studio program allows you to work full-time on your art project(s) throughout an entire term.
  • If history is your passion, you could work on a project based on one of the historical document collections in Seymour Library's Special Collections.
  • As a literature student, you might develop a literary analysis project focused on a particular writer or genre.
  • If you're interested in the social sciences, you could interview Galesburg residents for a study of the local economy.

Many of our undergrad research opportunities help support independent study. Learn more about the Honors Program, Richter Scholarship, Ford Fellowship, and Ronald McNair Program.


Recent Independent Study Projects


  • pH study of a hydrogel polymer

Computer Science

    Educational Studies

      Educational Studies/Theatre

      • Impact of arts programs such as Marwen, Gallery 37, and Young Chicago Authors on students from underrepresented backgrounds in their likelihood to attend college

      English Literature

        English Literature / Anthropology and Sociology

        •  Talking about the Land: Reflections on Language and Landscape in Brazil

        Environmental Studies

          International Relations

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