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py individual project

The Individual Project allows the PY student to pursue some one intellectual interest for an entire year. The interest may be fairly broad (some field) or more narrow (some topic or problem within a field); it may be an old interest further pursued or one recently discovered. The project may be directly useful for further study and career, but it may also be the serious pursuit of a side-interest. The Individual Project is arranged - as the component name indicates - according to individual background, current interests and future plans. The work on the project culminates with a 25-page Essay to be submitted at the end of term 3.

 Every Individual Project is guided by a supervisor with relevant expertise. Supervision takes place in one-to-one tutorials dedicated to focused discussion of issues, close study of texts and other materials on which the student is working, as well as to general discussion about method, essay writing and the overall shape of the project. Tutorials take place weekly and last minimally half an hour, but can be more frequent and substantially longer. The student should expect a significant amount of preparation in terms of reading and writing for each tutorial. The weekly conversations with the supervisor are meant to inspire and direct the independent work in the library.

 Conversations with the supervisor are complemented by conversations with fellow students. Such conversations largely depend on student initiative, but from time to time they are an integral part of the formal requirements of the course. At the end of term 3, for instance, all PY students present the results of their work at a small conference, open to all ECLA students and faculty, where the task is to make sense of one's project in front of a non-expert audience. The ability to do this, and the related ability to engage intelligently as a non-expert with the projects of others, are important skills that the PY Programme aims to promote.

 The formal requirements of the Individual Project may be fulfilled in two ways. Some students work in Format 5 and some work in Format 3.

 The task for a student working in Format 5 is to familiarize him- or herself with a field or domain of study - including some of its important methods and approaches - as far as possible in the course of a year. In the course of terms 1 and 2 the student writes four papers on different topics within the field, i.e. two papers each term (submitted in week 5 and 10). The four topics are chosen by the supervisor (whenever possible in the light of the student's interest) in a way that facilitates the student's attempt to gain an overview of the field in terms of both substance and method. The supervisor also prepares a reading list (whenever possible in the light of the student's interest and with the student participating in the work), and the weekly tutorials are mainly dedicated to the discussion of the present essay topic in the light of these readings. Term 3 is dedicated to rewriting one of the four papers and tutorials are meant to support this rewriting process. The student chooses which of the four papers to rewrite, and the supervisor articulates a suitable essay question (whenever possible in the light of the student's interest).

 The task of the student working in Format 3 is to familiarize him- or herself with a topic or problem - including some of the important approaches to that topic or problem - as far as possible in the course of a year. Term 1 is dedicated to the identification of the topic and to the first articulation of the project. The general topic is chosen by the student, but it must be a topic that the supervisor is willing to work on and competent to supervise. The tutorials of term 1 are mainly dedicated to discussion of first readings on the topic and to the articulation of the scope and aim of the project. At the end of the term the student must submit a Topic Essay in which the topic and project agreed upon with the supervisor are outlined. Term 2 and 3 are arranged by student and supervisor in the light of the Topic Essay. At the end of term 2 the student submits an essay which presents the substantial and methodological progress made in the course of the term. This essay may also contain a brief re-articulation of the project if this have been improved upon since the Topic Essay was written. The Final Essay is submitted at the end of the term 3. It should contain a final articulation of topic and project, a presentation of the substantial progress made, and outline the methodological considerations that have been relevant for the progress made.