The Question: What Happens When Brown Doesn’t Offer a Class on Something You Want to Take?

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Questions, of course, are what make life interesting.  The Question will give you weekly responses to any and every possible question there is about Brown!  With The Answer coming from freshman Emma Harris, be prepared to feel like you know Brunonia inside and out!

GISPs, ISPs, and GLISPs.

Say that five times fast.





GISPs, ISPs, and GLISPs.

Okay, okay enough already. So really – what happens when you have an awesome idea for a course but can’t find anything like it in the course catalog? There are three common options here at Brown:

1) The ISP, or Independent Study Project

This is for all of the independent yet wildly creative souls out there. Basically you and your favorite professor (or one whose interests align with yours) design a course based on whatever your heart desires! You write the curriculum, grading system, study plan, everything. Definitely a cool option if there’s some really specific thing you want to learn about.

2) The GISP, or Group Independent Study Project

This is for you and your group of friends who spend hours on weekends reading about some cool thing and actually want to turn it into a course. Rutgers had a recent one on Beyoncé that got some media attention (any takers at Brown?? I’d be down!). Basically it’s the same thing as an ISP, but with a group. This past semester the coolest GISP in my opinion was on Les Miserables. Students got together with a professor and created this class where they read, watched, and listened to Les Mis all semester, then performed it themselves here at Brown!

Aaaaaaaand drum roll please! Finally…

3) The GLISP, or GLobal Independent Study Project

This is for all of you world travelers out there. Again, same model – find something cool you want to study and collaborate with a professor to create a course plan. The only catch here is that you do it while abroad! GLISPs are created to take with you wherever you are in the world, most focused on wherever you’ll be.

A few awesome notes about GISPs, ISPs, and GLISPs:

You DO get credit for them. They’re like any other class, so they count toward you graduating!

You DON’T have to pay any extra for them.

They ARE quite easy to do. All you need is a subject of your choice and a professor!

You can do them at ANY time – Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer! There are, of course, deadlines for proposals, but a GLISP can happen while you’re spending a month in Barcelona over the summer, an ISP can happen during Fall semester of your junior year, or a GISP can happen during your sophomore Spring! It’s completely up to you!

Do you have any questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Possibly The Question for next week?  Shoot me an email at for answers!


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