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Independent Study Applications are due Friday, October 30, without exception

Select students may apply to spend one FWT pursuing an independent project. This alternative to employment offers the time to delve into a particular problem, research area, theme, or question, working in association with a sponsor. A sponsor must be someone whose area of expertise is appropriate to the Independent Study (IS), who is not a family member and has a minimum of five years related experience in the field after undergraduate work. Bennington faculty are not obligated to sponsor IS and funding is not available to pay sponsors. Students interested in pursuing an IS must submit a complete online application along with a proposal describing the goals and methodology of the work, which can be copied and pasted into the application. A project proposed for IS is, at minimum, equivalent to the hours required for FWT. Alternatively, a student can split the IS option for use over two FWTs. In this case, the IS is completed during half of the FWT period and employment secured for the other half, and both the IS and the primary job site must be registered. The Director of FWT as well as the student’s sponsor, faculty advisor, and a faculty representative from the IS discipline (if not the faculty advisor's discipline) must approve the IS application/proposal. Students must have completed at least four terms and be in good academic standing in order to apply to do an IS. IS may only be 105 or 210 hours, and supplemental hours do not apply towards IS (or towards a 1/2 FWT).

Independent study application and proposal

  • Find a qualified sponsor, generally a scholar/professional familiar with the subject you intend to study during FWT. Arrangements for frequency and type of contact between sponsor and student during FWT are made individually. Check-ins should occur at least biweekly, providing an opportunity for the sponsor to evaluate your progress and for you to receive valuable feedback on your work as you progress. A sponsor must be willing to review and write an evaluation of your work at the end of FWT. Qualified sponsors outside the College will require approval from the Field Work Term and Career Development Office (FWT & CDO). This sponsor must submit a résumé/CV for review prior to approval.
  • Complete the IS application form inclusive of your IS proposal.  You will also need to send a copy of your IS proposal to your sponsor, faculty advisor, and faculty discipline representative (if applicable) for their approval.
  • Ensure that we receive email approvals from your sponsor, faculty advisor, and faculty discipline representative (if applicable) indicating approval of your proposal.
  • Submit completed proposals and application to the FWT & CDO by Friday, October 30, 2015. Extensions will not be granted and proposals will not be accepted after this deadline.
  • The FWT Director will notify you within a week as to whether your application is accepted or declined.

Independent Study sponsor evaluations

At the end of FWT or start of spring term, all students completing an IS arrange to meet with their sponsors to review work completed. Sponsors then submit written evaluations and assign a final “pass/fail” recommended grade. Administrative aspects of IS evaluation are handled by the FWT & CDO and final IS grades are determined by the FWT Director. IS topics, sponsor evaluations, and final grades become part of a student’s academic record. All students should arrange to review their work with their sponsor by February 26, 2016 in order for IS sponsors to have sufficient time to complete their evaluations by the March 11, 2016 due date.

FWT 2016 Independent Study Requirements

  • Submit a completed application and proposal by Friday, October 30, 2015.
  • Maintain the agreed upon check-in schedule with sponsor.
  • Complete the proposed work by Friday, February 19, 2016.
  • Review the completed work with sponsor by February 26, 2016, in time for sponsor to submit an evaluation by Friday, March 11, 2016.

A reflective essay is not required by the FWT & CDO for a full IS.

Proposal Guidelines

Your independent study proposal should address the following:

  • What are the goals of your independent study?
  • Describe your project, including what you will be doing, materials needed, and your process. (This is your personal syllabus for FWT.)
  • How will your efforts over the winter be connected to bringing your work to the world in some way?
  • How does this project connect to your Plan?
  • What will be your final product?
  • How will you be evaluated?
  • How often and by what means will you check in with your sponsor?

Provide a copy of your proposal to:

  • your faculty advisor;
  • a faculty discipline representative (if the IS is in a discipline other than that of your faculty advisor's);
  • your sponsor.

Each of these parties will need to email their approval of your proposal to the Director of FWT at the time your application is due (Friday, October 30, 2015). Additionally, copy and paste your proposal into your application form for review by the FWT & CDO. If you encounter any problems, you can directly email your proposal and application information to