Independent Research Courses

The Indigenous Studies program offers four independent research courses: 2 half courses, INS 496H and INS 497H, and 2 full courses, INS 495Y and INS498Y. These courses are designed to enable students to deepen their understanding of Indigenous Studies and to develop their research skills by pursuing a topic in a branch of the discipline that interests them. The benefits of an independent research course are not limited to students in specialist programs or to those who wish to pursue graduate work. An independent research course will equip you with excellent research and analytical skills that will benefit you in the work place.

To enroll in an independent research course you will need to:

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 Program

he 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.

3. Obtain an Independent Research Course Form. Download an application form and fill out the student sections. You will need to get your Academic Supervisor fill out the appropriate section of the form. You will also be required to attach a one-page proposal to this form. The proposal should include a written description of your topic; the purpose and goals of your research; the primary and/or secondary research required; and your research methods.

4. 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.

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from these courses through ACORN – if you wish to drop the course you must contact Jennifer Murrin at to request to be withdrawn from the course.

6. 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).


  • INS 201Y
  • One additional INS designator full-course equivalent (FCE)
  • The completion of the majority of INS FCE’s (recommended).

Eligibility & 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 are NOT entitled to take more than one full Independent Research course throughout their program of study.
  • Enrollment in the course is subject to Director approval – the application MUST be approved prior to enrollment.
  • It is recommended that students complete INS390H1 prior to enrolling in an Independent Research Course
  • 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 for more information.