Princeton University encourages students to explore their intellectual passions beyond formal courses and assigned readings.  

Independent work allows students to develop their own slant on a body of research by embarking on a discovery project in their department under the close supervision of a faculty adviser. In addition to showcasing a grasp of the particular learning goals of their major field of concentration, independent work allows students to develop and demonstrate the full range of abilities and traits that we seek to cultivate in undergraduate students: 

  • Independence of mind and judgment
  • Engagement with a scholarly conversation about a relevant problem 
  • The capacity to pursue a subject in depth
  • The ability to design and execute a complex project
  • The skills of analysis, synthesis, and clear writing
  • The maturity and self-confidence that grow from reckoning with an intellectual challenge

As a complement to advising provided in the academic departments, our Office devotes significant resources to supporting independent work as a central part of the undergraduate academic experience. We encourage students to connect with the Office of Undergraduate Research and The Writing Center as their project takes shape.