The College of Wooster is nationally recognized for its program of Independent Study, and for more than fifty years the College has required that every graduate complete a significant Independent Study project. The capacity for individual inquiry and expression marks the liberally educated person, and the Independent Study program at Wooster provides an opportunity through which this capacity may be nurtured. Independent Study provides all students the opportunity to engage in an activity both personally meaningful and appropriate to their individual fields and interests. It is not reserved for the few. Independent Study is the culmination of a Wooster education and provides the basis for a lifetime of independent learning.
Students begin in their first year to develop their abilities in writing, reading, and critical thinking required for the project and explore various areas of intellectual interest. Ideas for Independent Study are stimulated not only by course work in the major but also by courses in other areas, informal exchanges with faculty and students, visiting lectures, arts events, off-campus study, volunter work, and internship experiences. Students beginning Independent Study are assigned a faculty advisor to serve as mentor, guide, and critic.
Department or curriculum committee chairpersons will assign advisors after consultation with the student and appropriate faculty and consideration of the topic the student wishes to investigate. Students work closely with their advisors through regularly scheduled conferences designed to assist, encourage, and challenge the participants and to afford both students and advisors an opportunity to share the excitement of discovery and expression in fields of mutual interest. Learning is approached as an exploration shared by student and advisor alike, neither having all the answers, but each enjoying immensely the opportunity to search for solutions.