Independent Studies in Music


Olin students have pursued Independent Studies in Music that focus on a variety of musical sub-disciplines such as Mixing Electronic Music, Music History since 1700, Hip Hop Production, Vocal Music Performance, and more. If you’re planning to do an Independent Study in Music, please refer to the below guidelines from the Registrar’s Office:

An Independent Study and Research (ISR) is an activity undertaken for pass/no credit academic credit. An ISR-G is an Independent Study or Research activity undertaken for a letter grade. ("ISR/G" is shorthand for both ISR and ISR-G.) The policies that govern these two academic activities are described in the course catalog. These guidelines are intended to help students and faculty plan and implement their ISR/G activities. Each ISR/G activity should have a detailed description and assessment plan. It is expected that your assessment incorporate Olin's Learning Outcomes.

Despite the use of the word “Independent” in the title, ISR activities can involve small groups of students working together on one project, or working on related projects.  Indeed, ISR activities with small groups can be more efficient and effective than solo projects.

Students interested in undertaking an ISR/G should begin planning it during the semester prior to the beginning of the activity.  Students should meet with potential faculty advisors to determine the faculty member’s interest and availability, and then should solicit faculty advice when planning the structure and goals of the activity.  The expectation is that a plan is formed well in advance and proposal forms can be submitted any time between pre-registration and the end of the add period.  No forms will be accepted after the end of the add period.

Although there is no limit on the number of ISR/G credits a student can earn, students should be aware that faculty time for ISR/G activities is a limited resource and many faculty will be too busy to serve as a mentor in a given semester.  The topics and work of an ISR/G activity should not substantially overlap with regularly offered classes.  Faculty are strongly discouraged from advising projects that overlap with classes, as they are not an effective use of faculty time.

Once the ISR/G begins, students should meet regularly with their faculty advisors.  Advisors and students are encouraged to maintain a shared representation of planned work, work in progress, and documentation of completed work, often in the form of an online planning board and/or online journal.  At the end of the semester, the final assessment (including either a pass/no credit or letter grade) should be based on the learning plan and evaluation plan as outlined in the proposal.