Independent Study

Driven to explore.

The purpose of independent study is to make possible the study of a subject or the pursuit of an academic passion not regularly offered in the curriculum.

Students take the lead by finding a faculty member to advise the study. The coursework, developed in partnership between the student and the course advisor, must be supplemental to the required major or departmental requirements. With this in mind, students are encouraged to explore beyond the framework of the existing curriculum. Students must complete and submit the Independent Study Application to the Director of Upper School.

Independent Study coursework enables students to explore in depth their areas of interest, their burgeoning passions. 

When designing an independent study, students have choice and flexibility with regards to:

  • Duration (quarter, multiple quarters, year-long)
  • Grading (pass/fail or letter grade)
  • Credit (⅛, ¼, ½)

Students take the lead in designing coursework and determining the duration of the study. 

Students have explored many topics via an Independent Study, including:

  • Physics of Bridge Building
  • CounterCulture of Rock and Roll
  • Latin American History
  • Psychology
  • Linguistics and Computer Science
  • Women's Experience in Literature
  • Music Theory

The Lehr Fund for Public Purpose Programming is a unique opportunity for students who are pursuing an independent study connected to the Center For Public Purpose that develops innovative and substantial learning experiences focused on the most pressing social issues of Philadelphia.  The Lehr Fund enables students and teachers to design learning experiences that prepare our graduates with the skills and competencies to lead lives that make a difference; this includes Independent Studies.  Lehr Funding would cover extended costs related to the independent study such as travel, conferences, resources and materials.  If you are interested in learning more about ways an independent study can be supported by the Lehr Find, see the Director or Assistant Director of the Center for Public Purpose.

"I have a passion that isn't within the scope of courses available currently, and I wanted the chance to really dive into the topic. Doing an independent study gave me a chance during the day to set aside time for something that I normally did not get the chance to do. From it, I also got some great opportunities to converse with accomplished professionals in the creative writing field. I felt like I learned so much and I also just felt so much happier. The ability to pursue your passion is an experience that lifts a weight from your shoulders." - Student, Class of 2020