Independent Research Project

Independent Research Project Guidelines

Independent Research Project (IRP)

The Independent Research Project (IRP) is an in-depth inquiry into a particular problem or topic situated in relation to current scholarly literature. The project may emerge from a course paper, but it should encompass a new research avenue or substantively develop an existing area of scholarship. The IRP should be approximately 40 pages in length.

Independent Research-Creation Project (IRCP)

Students who are cultural producers with an active and professionally recognized practice and/or academic qualifications in relevant disciplines (music, theatre, creative writing, visual arts, etc.) may opt to complete an Independent Research-Creation Project (IRCP). Research-creation projects typically combine scholarly investigation with a creative process or experimental format, such as a work of art, performance, film, website, play, or experimental text. Students undertaking the IRCP option are also required to provide a report or essay related to their project, discussing its conditions of production and its implications for academic scholarship. The ratio between the production and the written component will be determined in consultation with the supervisor. Documentation and/or presentation of production processes should be taken into account at all stages. Students who wish to undertake an IRCP must signal this intention with their application for admission to the program and, if deemed appropriate, a student will be matched with a faculty supervisor prior to their acceptance.

IRP/IRCP Proposal

The proposal for the IRP or IRCP must be approved by the student's supervisor and submitted to the Graduate Chair no later than 15 November. The proposal should take the following form:

  • tentative title of the project;
  • student's name and name of faculty supervisor;
  • description of approximately 500 words outlining the scope, goals, and significance of the IRP/IRCP, with a general description of the methods to be used;
  • working bibliography

Each proposal will be submitted to the student’s supervisor and a second reader, who together make up the IRP/IRCP advisory committee. The advisory committee will confer and report their decision to the student in a timely manner. The decision could take two forms:

  1. The proposal could be deemed sound and approved immediately.
  2. The proposal could be deemed not convincing and/or unworkable and require revisions or a new proposal. Any required revisions should be communicated to the student in written form. The proposal should be revised and re-submitted within two weeks.

IRP/IRCP Timeline

Students will present a portion of their IRP/IRCP during the mandatory Research II course (Winter Term), with the schedule to be determined by the course instructor.

The final version of the IRP/IRCP should be submitted to the advisory committee by July 30. After submission, and within a reasonable time frame, the advisory committee will assign a PAS/FAI (Pass/Fail) grade to the IRP/IRCP and provide the student with comments supporting the evaluation, and report the grade to . There is no formal oral defence of the IRP/IRCP.

Please note: students who have not completed all of the program requirements by August 31st will be assessed fall tuition.