The Independent Study Project

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 thesis;
2)  To supplement the curriculum, to provide an opportunity to cover areas not usually available, particularly off-campus;
3)  To provide an opportunity for non-traditional, 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. 

A student chooses a topic in consultation with a faculty member who agrees to become the ISP adviser. The ISP Handbook and the Workshop, held in November of each year, 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. One New College ISP counts as one unit.  Three ISPs are required for graduation.  A student may register for a fourth ISP.

The first ISP must take place as on-campus study in order to assure the opportunity for frequent consultation between student and ISP adviser. When strongly justified by the educational benefits of a project, a student may petition the Provost for a waiver of this requirement.  To petition for a waiver, a student should send a petition form, found here (must be logged into the myNCF portal to access this document) and include a letter to the Provost describing the project and explaining what educational benefits justify doing the project off campus. The petition should be accompanied by the completed Independent Study Project Description Form and a letter of support from the project advisor. Transfer students are not bound by this requirement, although on-campus study during the first ISP is strongly recommended.  When practical, subsequent ISPs should also be done as on-campus study to permit adviser-student consultation.

Registering for the January Interterm ISP

The process of registering for an ISP has two steps: Registering and paying for the ISP, and submitting an ISP Description Form.

Step I: If the student has not yet satisfactorily completed the 3 ISPs required for graduation, the Registrar will automatically register the student for the January Interterm along with the fall registration, so that the student will be billed to pay for the January Interterm along with the fall semester. 

The student’s faculty contract sponsor can approve withdrawal of that ISP registration; the student is responsible for seeking the sponsor’s signature on an ISP Add/Drop Form to request this (deadline: December 1). 

If a student is not already registered for a January ISP but intends to do one, he or she may register for it during fall registration or during the fall semester, and pay for it as an addition to fall tuition. Registration may take place electronically if completed during the period before classes start, or it may take place through the ISP Add/Drop Form submitted to the Office of the Registrar (deadline: December 1). Students may not add a January ISP to their fall registration after the last day of fall classes.

Step II: In addition to registering and paying for the ISP, the student must submit an ISP Description Form signed by the project advisor and the fall contract sponsor. In order to complete the form, the student must articulate a title or topic for the ISP, a core bibliography,  the form of the final project (e.g. critical essay, research paper, work of art, series of examinations, performance, etc.), and a description  of the project including goals and procedures. 

The Office of the Registrar will accept the ISP Description Form without penalty to the student until the end of the first week of the January Interterm period if the student is able to submit the Form with signatures from the faculty contract sponsor and faculty ISP advisor. After the first week of Interterm, the form will not be accepted; if the deadline is missed, the student forfeits payment for the ISP, and the ISP is recorded as Unsatisfactory.

Renegotiating the ISP

ISP Description Forms may be thought of as mini contracts negotiated for the January Interterm period. Like term-length contracts, the forms may be renegotiated at the discretion of the original ISP advisor at any time during January. There is no ISP renegotiation form; instead, the student files a new ISP Description Form with the Office of the Registrar, printing the words “Supersedes Previous Form” at the top of the page. A student may change the ISP advisor until the last day of the Interterm. A change of project advisor requires the consent of both the original and the new advisor, and requires that a new ISP Description Form be submitted. The contract sponsor from fall semester must also sign the new form.

Summer ISPs

Since New College does not have a summer session, it is not possible to pursue a summer ISP through New College. However, with approval from your contract sponsor and a completed ISP Description Form, a student may enroll in academic activities at an accredited college or university for at least 4 semester credit hours (or 6 quarter hours) toward the ISP requirement. The credit hours must be earned with grade of C or better at the host institution in order to transfer back to New College. Since only one ISP may be accepted in transfer, the student should ensure that an ISP transfer credit not already been earned.

May 2 (5:00 PM) is the deadline for submission of the Summer ISP Description Form to the Office of the Registrar. For this form, your contract sponsor also serves as your ISP advisor.

Completion of the summer ISP is due by the day before fall classes begin. The official college transcript for the work must be received no later than the last day of classes of the subsequent fall semester. Earlier deadlines for completion and transcript submission may be set by the contract sponsor and/or the host institution.

Cancellation of the ISP

If a student is registered for an Interterm ISP but fails to turn in an ISP Description Form by the last day of the first week of the January Interterm period, then the Office of the Registrar records the ISP as cancelled, and the student’s ISP is recorded as Unsatisfactory.

ISP tuition and fees will be refunded to a student only in the following cases:

  • The student officially withdraws from New College during the semester preceding the ISP.
  • The student is granted an Emergency Leave of Absence during the semester preceding the ISP.
  • The student is dismissed during the semester preceding the ISP.

If the student has Bright Futures Scholarship funding, ISP tuition and fees are subject to repayment to the State of Florida.

Off-campus Study ISP Payment

Students engaged in a January ISP off campus (but not with a host institution) pay tuition and fees to New College. If, however, a student enrolls in a host institution to complete an ISP, the student should submit a request for waiver of New College tuition and fees.

Deadlines for Completing ISPs

All work completed as part of the Interterm ISP is due no later than the last day of the Interterm period. After that date, the ISP will be considered incomplete. A summer ISP must be complete by the day before the first day of fall classes (or earlier, if specified by the host institution or faculty contract sponsor); the transcript must be received by the Office of the Registrar by the last day of fall classes. (Earlier deadlines for completion and transcript submission may be set by the contract sponsor and/or the host institution.) If a student has turned in an ISP and has received no acknowledgment of his or her completed work in the Student Evaluation System, the student should contact the ISP sponsor and request that the professor indicate “All Work Completed” in the Student Evaluation System. Appeals of ISP terminations, and of ISPs that are deemed Unsatisfactory because they were turned in after the deadline for faculty to evaluate them, will be heard by the Student Academic Status Committee (SASC), which can waive termination in exceptional cases.

Deadlines for Faculty Evaluations of ISPs

A January ISP that has not been evaluated as Satisfactory in the Student Evaluation System by 5:00pm on the Wednesday of the eighteenth week after the beginning of the subsequent Spring Semester will be designated as Unsatisfactory. Summer work undertaken at another institution may, with the written consent of the ISP advisor, be counted as an ISP. The expected completion date for a summer ISP is the beginning of the subsequent Fall Semester; the last day of classes of that Fall Semester is the deadline for the Office of the Registrar to receive the official transcript from the host institution. A summer ISP that has not been evaluated as Satisfactory in the Student Evaluation System by 5:00pm on the Wednesday of the eighteenth week after the beginning of that Fall Semester will be designated as Unsatisfactory.

Office of the Provost
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota, Florida  34243

Phone: (941) 487-4200
Fax: (941) 487-4201
provost@ncf.edu