A stay at the London Centre offers you the perfect opportunity and support for independent academic research through an Independent Study elective course. As a global metropolis, London is home to world-class research facilities, such as the British Library, archives and museums. However, you can also conduct research in the city itself, e.g., through field studies; interviews; or visits to galleries, theatres and concerts. If you have any questions on doing an independent study while at the London Centre, please reach out to OCP Director Lezlie Weber.
Who should do an Independent Study?
You may be interested in an independent study if you want to:
- Work on your Senior Experience or an honors project while in London
- Focus on your major or minor while in London
- Work independently and deeply explore a subject of your choice
If you are considering an independent study, you will need to start planning before you leave for London and then once there be disciplined enough to work independently to meet your goals.
What is an Independent Study exactly?
- An Independent Study at the London Centre can consist of either one 6-unit course or one (or two) 3-unit course(s), designed by you – the student – in collaboration with a faculty mentor on the Appleton campus.
- Independent Studies focus mainly on primary sources in London. Students working on an independent study may, for example:
- Work with manuscripts and letters in the archives of London
- Study original artwork from museums’ collections
- Analyze connections between research and historical sites
- Interview individuals in specific communities in London and elsewhere in England
- Students will meet once a week with their Independent Study supervisors in Appleton to discuss their progress and plan their work for the upcoming week.
- Once back in Appleton, students can work with their faculty supervisor to develop an honors project or take a senior seminar that incorporates their research from London into their project.
Before Committing to an Independent Study, Some Considerations
Independent Study classes take a substantial amount of upfront organization and pre-planning. Here is what you will need to do before committing:
- Find a faculty advisor willing to supervise your Independent Study from a distance. When working with a faculty member to develop an Independent Study project, you not only need to find someone willing to help you develop that project, but also someone who will have the time to see you through the project. During the course of your term in London, you will need to check in remotely once a week with your Independent Study faculty. This is not only to make sure you are staying on track for the goals you have set, but also to fulfill visa and immigration requirements. Your professor will need to approve your weekly time sheets. Make sure that your professor is able to commit the time to your project.
- Before going to London, work with the Appleton-based faculty member supervising your Independent Study to develop a schedule for the amount and kind of work that you will plan to do each week.
- Discuss how and to what degree you may revise this schedule in response to your findings once you are in London.
- Also, prior to leaving for London, determine with your supervising faculty member how and when you will communicate weekly while you are in London. Know exactly what expectations are in place for the timing and amount of email correspondence or Skype/Zoom sessions, keeping in mind the time difference between Appleton and London.
- Decide on a 3- or 6-unit Independent Study. The amount of credit assigned to the Independent Study should be based on the expected number of hours per week you will spend on the course, keeping in mind that this time should encompass opportunities for experiential learning; work with primary resources; time spent researching; production of written work; time spent navigating access to museums, collections, archives, or interviews.
- A 6-unit Independent Study should require the same amount of time and effort as a full 6-unit course, with a greater proportion of time devoted to working independently and a correspondingly lesser proportion to meetings with your faculty. As a general rule, a 6-unit course would expect about 6 to 8 hours per week of work.
- A 3-unit Independent Study would correspond similarly to a half-course. Therefore, a 3-unit course would expect 3 to 4 hours of work per week.
- Talk with Off-Campus Programs (OCP) about your plans to do an Independent Study. OCP must approve your proposal before you can register for an Independent Study. Additionally, OCP can walk you through the logistics of your Independent Study application and registration.
- Contact the LULC director to discuss your plans. Your Independent Study proposal must also be approved by the London Centre Resident Director, so discussing your proposal early is essential to your plans. Additionally, the director can help guide you towards local connections, navigate access to London resources, get library passes, access archives, and find London-specific ways to approach your topic.
- Plan out the details of your Independent Study – know what you will look for and where to find it.
- Museums, Galleries, Libraries, and Archives - It is essential that inasmuch as possible, you pre-plan access to sources. If there is something in particular you need to see, you should plan on contacting them as far in advance as possible. You will need to know open hours, logistics on how to get where you need to be, contacts for those items. In addition, verify that you will have access. Some collections do not allow undergraduates access, for example. Some require that you request permission far in advance or make a reservation. (Some spaces book months in advance!) Some require a reader’s pass or letters of reference from your academic advisor. Know what you need before you need it.
- Interview Subjects - If you want to interview specific people in London, you should contact them in advance to allow enough time for replies. Explain why you would like to talk with them; explain your project in a short, direct, but polite way. Be considerate and avoid dictating terms or times for interviews; work with the people to show you value their input and respect their other commitments.
- Know Your Commitments in London - While you will be working independently on your Independent Study in London, you must expect to commit to the following:
- Meet remotely once per week with your academic advisor from Appleton
- Submit weekly activity logs to the London Centre Resident Director as documentation of your work and progress (for immigration purposes)
- Spend 3-4 hours per week (3-unit Independent Study) or 6-8 hours per week (6-unit Independent Study) working on your research
Registering your Independent Study
- You will need three approvals before you can register for your Independent Study:
- Faculty Supervisor
- Off-Campus Programs
- LULC Resident Director
- You will need to list your Independent Study in the Academic Plan section of your London Centre application materials.
- Fill out the London Centre Independent Study form, available from the Registrar’s office. This form will require the title and number of units for the independent study as well as a signature from both the Appleton faculty member overseeing the Independent Study and the Off-Campus Programs office.
Students undertaking an independent study are responsible for costs associated with their research and work. There are, however, some resources that may help:
- Senior Experience funding. If your independent study is related to your Senior Experience, you can apply for Senior Experience funding. While this funding cannot be used to cover tuition or standard program fees for study abroad, you can apply it to costs directly associated with your Senior Experience.
- Bertrand A. Goldgar London Fellowship. English students might pursue funding for costs associated with their research through The Bertrand A. Goldgar London Fellowship program. This fellowship is overseen by the English department to support English students conducting research in London. At most, one student each year receives this funding. This fellowship is awarded through the English department and questions should be directed to the chair of the department.