Student-Originated Studies: Independent Projects in Literature, Philosophy, Myth/Religion and Writing


Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

literature, philosophy, and languages

In this SOS, students will learn how to conceive, plan, structure and successfully carry through a major independent learning project. More importantly, they will have the pleasure and fulfillment of realizing a major college-level independent body of work. Students have an exciting array of humanities and artistic areas to work in. For example, I can foresee projects as different from one another as a well edited collection of stories or free form poetry (no novel-length projects will be accepted), perhaps illustrated and bound in a beautiful book, or a research project in religious symbolism and ritual in Celtic or Haitian worldviews, or in archetypal characters such as the Trickster, the Underworld mediators, or the artist/Orpheus and his quest. A student could write and compile an innovative collection of essays and images dealing with a philosopher such as Nietzsche or Foucault; or with a philosophical topic, such as the human/nature relationship, or the power and nature of artistic language.  Students could plan a multimedia spectacle or a short film based on artistic work as a small group in the style of the Surrealists.  This spring is an ideal time for senior students to prepare and edit a paper for graduate school entry purposes.

In other words, if it is a challenging academic or artistic body of work which you find deeply fascinating and which will keep you going enthusiastically for a quarter, we can shape this idea and make it possible for you to carry it through. We will do this step-by-step, in close collaboration between professor and individual student, and with the support of a small group of other program students working in similar veins of inquiry or creation, who will serve as a critique and support group. At Evergreen this mode of intellectual and creative work is a hallmark of our belief in fostering self-direction, intellectual discipline and stamina, and in pursuing academic projects about which we are passionate. It is no easy feat, however, to master the fine art of writing and proposing, let alone bringing to fruition, a top quality independent learning project. The purpose of this SOS is first, to coach you through the conception stage, then, to help you to choose your readings and activities and make your schedule, and finally, to guide and support you along the path to completion of the best work of which you are capable.

During the first eight weeks of spring quarter, students will meet every week with their professor as an individual, and as a member of a small work and critique group. We will meet as a large group, as well. Students will report in writing and orally on their progress every week. In the final weeks of the quarter, all students will present their completed work to the group.

Students enrolling should have a first proposal of a project which they want strongly to undertake, including, at least, the kind of work you plan to do, for example: writing poetry, studying the work of a given writer or philosopher, and/or studying a particular kind of religious or mythic symbolism. This should be carefully written, typed and ready on the first day of class. The rest we will do during the first two weeks of the program. You may enroll in this program for 12 or 16 credits.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

the humanities and arts

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.


Date Revision
March 19th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Variable Credit Options

12-credit option available.

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 24


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30321
So - Sr (16 credits): 30324
(1-16 credits): 30325

Go to to register for this program.

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