Independent Experiential Studies Courses

Indigenous Studies offers two independent experiential studies courses: one half course, INS 493H1, and one full course, INS 494Y1. These courses are designed to enable students to deepen their understanding of Indigenous Studies and to develop their research skills by pursuing a project in consultation with both an Indigenous organization or community and an academic supervisor. The independent experiential studies course requires the student find an off-campus, Indigenous community or organization interested in research. The student negotiates with the community or organization to identify and define a research project of mutual interest between the student, the community or organization, and an academic supervisor, and they also determine milestones for all parties to work with. This course will equip a student with excellent research and analytical skills as well as provide the student with an understanding of the research needs of Indigenous organizations and communities.

Enrolling in an Independent Experiential Studies Course:

1. Find a continuing faculty member who is willing and able to supervise your research. We suggest that you review the research interests of our continuing faculty and lecturers by clicking on the names below. Students may also be interested in the research interests of faculty listed under ‘Friends of the Program’. Please note, only continuing faculty, lecturers and friends of the program can supervise independent study courses.
The following faculty and friends of the program are eligible for you to work with:

INS Faculty

Friends of the Program

2. Identify and negotiate with a community organization a mutually agreeable research project. You MUST arrange for someone within this community or organization to co-supervise you (along with your Academic Supervisor) throughout the process of your research. It is your responsibility to provide your Academic Supervisor and INS with the contact information for your Community/Organization Supervisor.

3. Contact the faculty member you would like to work with directly to confirm that that she/he is willing to be your Academic Supervisor.
For contact information, please click on the appropriate person in People.

4. Obtain an Independent Experiential Studies Course Application Form.  Download an application form and fill out the student sections. You will need to get your Academic Supervisor fill out their section of the form. You will also need to have your Community/Organization Supervisor fill out their section of the form. You will be required to attach a one-page proposal to this form. The proposal should include a description of the nature and purpose of the research you will be conducting with the Indigenous community or organization you are partnering with.

5. Email your form and all supporting documentation to the Coordinator Jennifer Murrin at Alternatively, you can drop your form off in person to Jennifer Murrin in the North Borden Building, 563 Spadina Ave, 2nd Floor.

6. Once the Director of the Indigenous Studies Program has approved your application, the Coordinator will register you in the course. You are unable to register for these courses on your own through ACORN. You are also unable to withdraw from these courses through ACORN – if you wish to drop the course you must contact Jennifer Murrin at to request to be withdrawn from the course.

7. Students are required to meet with their Academic Supervisor on a regular basis throughout the course to discuss course work and progress (usually every one or two weeks). Your are also expected to meet regularly with your Community/Organization Supervisor as they will have input into the final grade you receive in the course


  • INS201Y1
  • INS390H1
  • Enrolled in the Major or Specialist program in Indigenous Studies
  • Completion of 10 FCE’s
  • Completion of the majority of INS FCE’s (recommended)

Eligibility and Restrictions

  • These courses are reserved for advanced students who have already completed introductory courses in the area in which they wish to conduct further study. Typically these are third or fourth year students.
  • Academic supervisors MUST be a continuing faculty member, lecturer, or U of T appointed faculty member who has expertise in the area and is willing to oversee your course of study.
  • Students MUST also arrange for a member of the community or organization to co-supervise their activities and research within that community or organization.
  • Students are NOT entitled to take more than one full Experiential Studies Course throughout their program of study
  • Enrollment in the course is subject to Director approval – the application MUST be approved prior to enrollment.

Students wishing to conduct research involving human subjects are required to complete an Ethics Protocol Form for their Independent Study. Please obtain the Undergraduate Ethics Review Protocol Form – Student Initiated Projects AND refer to the University of Toronto’s Research Ethics Board (REBs) Website.