Independent Study

We talk a lot about Independent Study (I.S.) at Wooster, for very good reasons. Since 1948, students and faculty have been able to experience the power of these student-driven, faculty-mentored research projects. 

What is it?

Working closely with a faculty mentor, each senior major completes an extended yearlong project that typically culminates in an original research paper. The subjects of I.S. projects vary widely, depending on student interests and goals. Senior projects may explore culture, literature, film, society, history, or language and linguistics. In certain cases, students with the appropriate training may choose to produce artistic works, such as novellas, collections of poetry, or short films.

Faculty research and mentorship

Departmental faculty members all maintain active programs of research themselves. In some cases, student I.S. projects intersect directly with faculty research interests. However, professors in the department are also skilled at mentoring students who venture into other areas.

Inderdisciplinary approaches

The Department of French and Francophone Studies actively embraces interdisciplinarity. All departmental faculty members are cross-trained in more than one discipline. For their Senior I.S. projects, students often craft interdisciplinary approaches allowing for novel forms of exploration and exciting connections with other departments and programs.

Wide variety of research topics

Senior I.S. projects focus on many different parts of the French-speaking world, from European contexts (France, Switzerland, Belgium) to the twenty-six countries that comprise francophone Africa. Some students explore francophone locations in the Americas, such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, and Quebec. In many cases, Senior I.S. projects connect two or more geographic contexts. Study abroad experiences very often inform I.S. projects, whether directly or indirectly.

Abstracts of Senior I.S. projects, and a selection of full-text “exemplar” projects can be found at Open Works.