A cornerstone of the New College experience is the Independent Study Project (ISP), which allows you to design and conduct your own hands-on research.

During the four-week Interterm each January, you can focus on a specific aspect of your field of study, or explore something new through an immersive experience (whether that is a lab experiment, a scholarly paper or a creative endeavor). New College does not hold regular class meetings during January, so you can also use the time to study abroad (from Antarctica to the Amazon), take part in an off-campus internship, or create your own art exhibit or performance. Three ISPs are required for graduation.

The ISP requirement addresses five educational objectives:

  1. To train students to carry on independent research, to prepare them to plan and carry through an effective senior capstone project;
  2. To supplement the curriculum, to provide an opportunity to cover areas not usually available, particularly off campus;
  3. To provide an opportunity for nontraditional, innovative, experiential learning projects;
  4. To encourage work-related experiences, such as internships;
  5. Generally to provide an opportunity for intensive involvement with one subject, as a change of pace from the regular terms.
  6. A student chooses a topic in consultation with a faculty member who agrees to become the ISP adviser. The ISP Handbook and ISP Workshop provide guidance to students as to the types of ISPs that faculty encourage. Projects may be carefully defined at the beginning, or left open-ended and exploratory. The content and demands should be roughly equivalent to that of a term-length tutorial. A full-time, four-week academic activity, the ISP is incompatible with full-time employment; a regular semester contract; or a second, simultaneous ISP. 

A selection of recent ISPs include:

  • Mapping Sarasota’s Meal Gap: Identifying Solutions to Local Food Insecurity
  • Museology: Exhibiting Florida Archaeology
  • “Difficult Women”: The Art of Creating Unlikeable Female Characters in Creative Writing
  • Coral reef ecology field internship in Panama
  • Health literacy mobile app development
  • Starfish regeneration and field techniques
  • The Remaining Hours: A Collaborative Experimental Performance
  • Fighting Red Tide: Looking Towards a Fungal Solution
  • Stage Combat: Basics of Armed and Unarmed
  • Developing a robotic prosthetic hand
  • Using big data to solve economic and social problems


  • Dive deeper into the ISP

    Welcome to ISP season

    All New College students must complete at least three ISPs in order to graduate.

    Connecting to conservation

    Maya Greenberg spent her independent study project season living in what seemed like a rainforest.

    An aural approach to birding

    Hope Sandlin is using her love for birds to create an unusual independent study project.

    ISP students beating stress, boosting focus

    New College students are learning how to better cope with the stress of college life.