New College Independent Studies Courses provide an opportunity for individual students to pursue a research project with a faculty supervisor. For further information, see below for our Frequently Asked Questions.

Applications should be made using our application form. Completed applications must be submitted to the Program Office for approval by July 15 for the Fall or Fall/Winter session; November 15 for for the Winter Session or by April 15 for the Summer Session. If any of these dates fall on the weekend, the deadline will be the following Monday.  Students will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of an application.

Contact Us

General Inquiries and Applications:

Program Administrator

Registrar’s Office
Telephone: 416-978-2460, Email:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone take a New College Independent Study course?

In order to qualify for a New College Independent Study course, you must either be a New College student OR enrolled in a New College Program.

Are there any prerequisites?

There are no specific prerequisites. However, you must have the appropriate background knowledge and preparation required to complete the project. For example, a student without lab experience should not apply for a chemistry project involving extensive laboratory work. And we normally expect you to be in your third or fourth year (i.e. completed 9 full course credits).

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

While there is no minimum GPA required, students are expected to be in good academic standing.  Your academic record will be assessed for strength and depth in the area of the proposed study.

Who can supervise a New College Independent Study course?

Supervisors must be a member of the faculty at the University of Toronto, i.e. a professor or a lecturer. Sessional instructors are not eligible to be supervisors.

Are there any topic restrictions?

No. But New College independent study courses are intended as opportunities for research: the project should involve posing appropriate questions, application of relevant research methods, critical analysis and reporting of results, originality and independent investigation.

How much work is involved in an independent study course?

We advise supervisors that the expected amount of work should be about the same as in an equivalent regular course. But you should be aware that the time you spend is very much up to you, and that most students find these courses highly interesting and can often put in more hours than they might in a regular course.

Can I complete a full (“Y”) course in one term?

No. The amount of work, and the time needed to read the literature, gather data or ideas, do an appropriate critical analysis and write a good report precludes doing a full year project in one term. These are special experiences, and should not be rushed.

Can the College recommend a supervisor?

No. Students are expected to find an appropriate supervisor for their intended project

How do I enroll in a New College Independent Study course?

Download the Independent Studies Application Form and submit it via e-mail to When you have completed your proposal and obtained the required signatures, return it to the Programs Office (see deadlines below). Once your project has been reviewed and approved, you will be enrolled in the course by the Programs Office. You will receive a confirmation letter and a copy of the Independent Study contract in the mail.

What are the deadlines for applying for an Independent Study course?

Applications for Winter session courses must be received by the last Friday in August; for Summer session courses, applications must be received by May 1st. This allows time for the proposal to be reviewed and for you to make revisions to the proposal if necessary. Applications received after these deadlines may be approved (subject to Faculty of Arts & Science deadlines), but students will not have the opportunity to revise their proposals if they are not approved.

What are the course requirements?

The course marking scheme must fall within Faculty of Arts & Science guidelines, and, for “H” courses, include a minimum of 10% by the drop date set by the Faculty of Arts & Science. For “Y” courses, the marking scheme must include a minimum of 20% by the end of the first week of classes in January.  For Summer Session courses, the marking scheme must include 10% for “H” courses and 20% for “Y” courses by the drop date.  Additionally, a final written paper/essay/report worth at least 50% is required (around 30 pages for “Y” courses or 15 pages for “H” courses). A copy of this report must be given to the Programs Office at the end of the project.

How much detail is needed in the project proposal?

Your proposal should include a brief description of your topic, the question you are investigating, and the methodology that will be used.

Why must I submit a copy of my final paper to the College?

Your final paper is graded by your supervisor. We keep copies of your final report on file only as a record of the work completed and in case of petitions or other concerns that might arise.

The course I wanted to take is full – can I take it as an Independent Study course?

No. Independent Study courses provide the opportunity to do research with a faculty supervisor. They are not meant to duplicate established courses.

My supervisor said that the signature of the program director, college principal or departmental chair is not necessary – is this true?

No. The signature indicates that the director, principal or chair is aware of the faculty member’s involvement in the project and agrees to it. Proposals missing any of the signatures will be considered incomplete.

Can I do more than one project course? Can I do more than one New College Independent Study course?

A second project course may be approved if you can demonstrate that it is significantly different from the first one and it is with a different supervisor. If you are applying for a second project course, you must include a description of the first project course and the supervisor’s name. By “project course” we mean any independent study or research course, including but not limited to NEW390Y, 391H, 490Y and 491H.