Independent Research

For Babson undergraduate students, one independent study may be proposed per semester for up to four semester hours of credit.

The Registration Process

Complete proposal for independent research through the Student Portal.


Students should indicate here whether their project is for 1, 2, 3, or 4 semester hours. Only one independent study may be proposed per semester for up to four semester hours of credit; no more than eight semester hours of credit may be completed through independent study work.


Independent Research proposals must be accepted by both the supervising faculty advisor and his/her division chairperson before it can be submitted to Student Advising & Success for approval.


Once the project proposal has been submitted through the Independent Research eForm, it must be approved by the supervising faculty member, Division Chair, and Class Dean. Forms must be submitted and approved by all parties before add/drop ends for the semester in which the IR will occur.


If students have registered for a course that will be replaced by the Independent Research Project, the student must indicate on the e-form which course is to be dropped.

Completion date

Independent Study projects must be submitted to the faculty advisor no later than the last day of class of the specific semester or summer term for which the project was proposed.

The Project Proposal

Specific learning objectives

This section should be a 100 to 200 word statement covering the purpose and the method of the research to be conducted. It should be complete enough so that any reader, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject area, will know the general plan of the investigation without further study of the proposal. Studies vary in type: some are case studies, some are statistical, some primarily aim at the general exploration to open up the problem while others seek to arrive at definite conclusions in a more enlightened area. This statement, then, should make clear the general methodological intention and scope of the academic research to be conducted.

Problem(s) to be investigated

This section of the proposal should indicate the relation of study to the student’s academic goals and objectives within Babson College’s curriculum. The student should, at the same time, point out the value of this Independent Study to him/her as a student and how it will allow him/her to achieve a more meaningful learning experience. This statement will rarely be more than 400 words in length. It may discuss the prior studies in the same area, a field situation to which the study relates, or the conceptual framework out of which the study arises. This section should make clear why the study is of academic value to the student and to his/her career goals and objectives. The specific assignment to be undertaken should be stated explicitly in this section. This would involve the definition on any crucial terms or concepts involved in defining the problem, and a statement of the major problem(s) to be investigated.

Proposed activities to meet learning objectives

This section should explain exactly how the study is to be explored. It will be necessary to define the specific questions to be answered in operational terms. The following points must be considered:

  • The discussion should point out what persons, documents, or other sources will be used in gathering data for the study. In most investigations it is necessary to indicate the approximate number of cases to be studied. A bibliography and texts used in the investigation must also be provided. The discussion should point out any sampling assumptions made and any characteristics of the groups selected which limit the applicability of the findings to other groups. The proposal should discuss what generalizations are possible from a sample of the type used.
  • The proposal should describe in detail the procedure to be used to obtain data. The discussion should point out what precautions are being taken to ensure objectivity, reliability, and validity.
  • The student should at this point explain in detail the role expected of his/her faculty advisor. It is important to note the schedule with which the student is to meet with his/her advisor to ensure proper development and completion of the project.

Output to be graded

Here the student will need to explain at length how he intends to proceed from his data to his conclusions. A statement is needed which defines exactly the output to be graded (paper, case study, presentation, etc.). Any notable assumptions made in the study should be made clear. The student should indicate what assumptions were made about the subject matter investigated, or if the data used are necessary and critical in interpreting that data as well as in accepting the findings of the study.