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Independent Study Guidelines & Procedures

Independent Study Projects (ISPs) are a useful way to explore new areas of study or to deepen study or to undertake applied work in areas that are not readily available in the curriculum at Fairhaven or Western. Independent Study allows you to pursue your own academic interests at your own pace. ISPs also give you a chance to work in close relationships with faculty or other professionals and experts in a subject area. ISPs can also help you build confidence and the skills necessary to continue learning throughout life.


See the Complete Guide to Planning an Independent Study for complete instructions.

See How to Create a Group Independent Study for guidelines on Group ISPs.

Talk to potential faculty sponsor

During the preceding quarter, discuss and define your proposal with your faculty sponsor.


Write your ISP proposal

Include the 6 elements of an ISP:

  • Description
  • Qualifications
  • Resources
  • Demonstration of Learning
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Your Expectations of your faculty sponsor.

Limit your proposal to 3800 characters.


Submit your proposal to your faculty sponsor

  • Log in to Web4U Click on Student / Registration / Fairhaven ISP Request Form / "Create new ISP Request"
  • Select Fairhaven, Course Number, Term, Credits, Grade Mode (S/U), and Faculty sponsor.
  • Create a Title. Senior Projects (401a) must include "Senior Project" in the title, though you have the option of adding additional words after a colon. Similarly, your title for 280 must include the word "Practicum," and 480 must include the word "Internship."
  • Save often, at least every 8 minutes, to avoid the 10-minute Web4U time-out.
  • Paste your proposal text into the Proposal box.
  • Once you are registered, the text of your ISP proposal will be imported into your evaluation form, and will serve as the "Course Description." You will have the opportunity to re-edit it at that time.
  • Attach an optional note.
  • Click Submit. You are returned to your ISP List, where you can view all your ISPs whenever you want.
  • Watch for an email telling you your proposal is approved and ready to be registered.


Register your ISP

Register on Web4U just as you would any other class; use the CRN sent to you by email.



How to create a Group Independent Study

After consultation with a faculty sponsor, one member of the group submits the ISP proposal for the group, noting in the proposal the approximate expected number of participants in the group. Other group members do not need to submit a proposal, but they do need to notify the faculty sponsor that they wish to participate in the group, and they will need to register.

When the proposal is approved by the faculty sponsor and the Fairhaven Registrar, a course will be created and a CRN assigned. At that time, all members of the group will be sent an email informing them that the course is now available for them to register. Register as you would for any other class.

Students who wish to be part of the group but want to have a different course number, title, credits, or description for their ISP will need to submit their own ISP proposal and receive their own CRN.