What are ISMs?
What are Independent Study Modules (ISMs)?
- ISMs, or Independent Study Modules, are modules which provide opportunities for USP students to obtain a personalised specialization on a specific topic. The student is given the freedom to work independently and to design the ISM in consultation with the faculty member to determine the assignments and research required for the module topic. The student is required to write a culminating essay or report at the conclusion of the module.
- ISMs must be pegged at level 3000 or higher.
- USP students must read at least one ISM but no more than three.
- USP students on DDP (between USP partner faculties adn with French Grandes Ecoles), SPS students, SDE students (ARK and IDS), USP Special programmes (Waseda DDP, cultural immersion at LSR/HC), and NOC/ilead who are granted the module waiver of 2 HSS + 2 ST Inquiry modules (including ISM requirement) will not be allowed to read any ISMs (or ISMs ride-on) to double-count towards major/faculty requirements. Please contact USP Office if you have any queries.
- Individual faculties* have different regulations/guidelines regarding ISMs. Please refer to your faculty for prior advice and approval before embarking on your ISMs.
* All FASS students must read at least one ISM and up to a maximum of two ISMs, each of level-3000 or higher. Students from ELL department should not pursue more than one USP ISM at level-4000. USP History Honours students may not do USP ISMs at level-4000. Students are advised to speak to their department ISM coordinators and administrators on their department’s guidelines on ISMs. Please note that departmental ISMs (those with module codes ending with 4660, eg EC4660, HY4660) are not USP ISMs. You will not be allowed to double-count the departmental ISMs as USP ISMs. Department ISM also precludes Honours Thesis. More info on USP ISMs (for FASS students) can also be found HERE.
Forms of Independent Study Modules
Independent Study Modules (ISMs) may take one of the following forms, as elaborated below.
- Individual or Small Group Study
A student can undertake an individual reading, research or project course under the guidance of a faculty member. A mutually agreed-upon proposal must be drawn up between the student and the mentor. This study proposal must state clearly the student’s obligations, the agreed-upon mode of assessment and the relevance of this module to his or her major. The student is required to write a culminating essay or report concerning the findings of the module topic, and should be actively involved in the presentation and discussion of the material.
A small group of (not more than seven) students may also undertake an ISM collectively but the group ISM must have a significant component of individual assessment. Group members may submit individual reports or a joint report, depending on the requirements of the mentor and the home faculty.
- Riding on existing modules
Faculties with a large number of students and insufficient resources may mount ISMs as follows. Existing level 3000 and 4000 modules can be enhanced by a department into ISMs *. Although the student attends the same lectures as his or her non-USP coursemates, he or she participates in separate or additional tutorial sessions with the mentor, covering more material (at least twenty per cent), at greater depth, and involving his/her active participation. The USP student takes the same examination as the other students taking this module, but the examination should constitute a smaller percentage of the USP student's overall assessment. The USP student should be assessed more rigorously in the area of continual assessments, e.g. projects and term papers which pay particular attention to the student's active involvement and independence.
* ISMs ride-ons are not applicable to FASS and FOE students.
Procedure for ISM / ride-on ISM application
You can start registering for your ISMs in the following manner:
- Start formulating a topic of interest well in advance and approach your prospective supervisor (with relevant research interests) to discuss and write a proposal for the ISM.
- Start working on the project several weeks before the start of the semester so as to have sufficient time for any project revision if necessary.
- Upon agreement with the supervisor, you can apply for an ISM using the ISM contract form (from the ).
- Obtain endorsement from the relevant departmental ISM co-ordinator (prior to the deadline as stipulated on the ISM application form).
- Submit the endorsed ISM application form to your faculty Dean’s Office. Please refer to the respective faculties’ website for details on the timeline. You may also refer to the Registration Details for more info.
- If you encounter any difficulties when embarking on a cross-faculty ISM, you may approach USP for assistance.
|Some Common Questions on ISMs||FASS||Biz||FOE||FOS|
|What is the minimum number of ISMs I have to do?||1||1||1||1|
|What is the maximum number of ISMs I can do?||2*||3||3||3|
|What are the forms of ISMs I can undertake ?||
|Must I submit an ISM application/contract form ?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Where do I submit a cross-faculty ISM ?
USP ISM application form
|Where do I submit my endorsed ISM application/contract form?||Dean’s Office||Dean’s Office||Dean’s Office||Dean’s Office|
|What can my ISM count or double-count towards (subject to faculty’s approval)?||Major or UE||Major or UE||UE only||Major or UE|
|When is the deadline for submission of ISM application?||Please check with your faculty||Please check with your faculty||Please check with your faculty||Please check with your faculty|
|Must the ISM be at least level 3000?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
*Different departments in FASS have different regulations. Please approach your departmental coordinators for department-specific guidelines before embarking on the ISM.
Please note the following:
- For USP+Law students, the Directed Research will be double-counted towards USP ISM requirements.
- For USP+SDE students, certain major modules will be double-counted towards USP ISM requirements. Please refer to the SDE website for more information.
Special Arrangements (ESP and SPS students)
Engineering Science Programme (ESP) Students
- Student Matriculating From AY2012-2013:
- For Engineering Science Programme (ESP) students, the following ESP modules can be counted towards an inquiry tier USP Science & Technology module:
- ESP 2109 or
- Two of the following ESP modules can be counted as USP ISMs in the Science and Technology domain, thus substituting for two more inquiry tier USP Science & Technology modules
Special Programme in Science (SPS) Students
With effect from 2017 cohort, USP students enrolled in Special Programme in Science (SPS) will be granted a waiver of 4 USP Inquiry modules (2 HSS + 2 ST). The waiver includes the ISM requirement.
- Students Matriculating From AY2012-13 and onwards:
- From this AY onwards, USP will be under the revised curriculum. The Advanced Curriculum will cease to exist, and SPS modules will be used to fulfill USP inquiry modules. For USP students matriculating from this AY onwards who are in SPS:
- Any two of SP2173, SP2174, SP3175 and SP3176 will count as regular Inquiry modules in the Sciences & Technologies (S&T) domain; in addition,
- SP3172 will count as an ISM in the S&T domain
Each participating faculty in the University Scholars Programme will appoint ISM coordinator(s) for its faculty.
Specific responsibilities of ISM coordinator:
- To ensure that the department has sufficient ISMs for its scholars for each semester.
- To assist and advise staff in the department who want to offer ISMs.
- To answer students' questions regarding what students can or cannot do (regarding ISMs) in their departments/faculties, and to act as student advisor.
- If possible, to assist the faculty advanced module committee to propose and launch new course based modules. Currently, the departments in a faculty may not fully coordinate their activities with the faculty committee, and hence may not be aware of advanced modules offered and policies at the faculty level. This lack of coordination not only creates confusion within the faculty, but also among the students.
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
For more information on reading newly-designed ISMs at FASS, please go to:
School of Business
For more information on reading newly-designed or ride-on ISMs at BIZ, please go to:
Faculty of Science
For more information on reading newly-designed, ride-on and UROPS-based ISMs at FOS, please go to:
School of Computing
For more information on UROP-based, module-based ISMs, or ride-on ISMs at SoC, please go to:
Faculty of Engineering
For more information on reading newly-designed at FOE, please go to:
School of Design and Environment
For more information on modules read to fulfill ISMs at SDE, please go to:
Faculty of Law
For more information on modules read to fulfill ISMs at Law, please go to:
Sample of ISM Titles for AY2016/2017
List of ISM Undertaken in AY2016/AY2017
|1||Nudging donors and promoting micro-donations: Feasibility study in the Singapore context||BIZ|
|2||Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining of Review Based Texts||BIZ|
|3||Analysis open-close bidding under uniform-pricing rule||BIZ|
|4||New Forms of Collaboration and Ownership in the Age of Blockchain||BIZ|
|5||Our Stories on Dignity: Narratives of the Nursing Home Experience.||BIZ|
|6||The Arts and Happiness||BIZ|
|7||Digital Liveness: A Study of Intermediality in "#Foodporn"||FASS|
|8||Examining the discourse of incarceration in singapore||FASS|
|9||Search costs in online healthcare price listings||FASS|
|10||State capacity and gender preference in china||FASS|
|11||Second-person narration in undertale and its fanfiction||FASS|
|12||Early amatory fiction and the rise of the novel||FASS|
|13||Negotiating diversity in transnational Chinese films||FASS|
|14||A dual-structure analysis of coordination||FASS|
|15||Writing the gael in 18th century travel accounts||FASS|
|16||Encouraging recycling and waste reduction in Singapore||FASS|
|17||Abuse or use? The historiography of maps of Singapore||FASS|
|19||Portrayals of rationality in Jane Austen's works||FASS|
|20||Curating postcolonial discomforts: Singaporean museums||FASS|
|21||Third parties' emotions in side-taking situations||FASS|
|22||A place for kampongs amongst Singapore's urban spaces||FASS|
|23||Comparing Christian and Hindu prisoner rehabilitation||FASS|
|24||Changes in the size distribution of banks||FASS|
|26||A Suitable Framework for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Secular Reintegration Programmes for Ex-Offenders||FASS|
|27||A study of course allocation mechanism||FASS|
|28||At curtain call: digital archiving with A|S|I|A||FASS|
|29||Fantasy fulfilment in the marvel cinematic universe||FASS|
|30||Feminist revisions of 'the wife'||FASS|
|31||The sentence-final particle sia in singlish||FASS|
|32||Language use and attitudes of Tamil undergraduates||FASS|
|33||Doing long-distance friendships via skype||FASS|
|34||Tracking global growths in conservation volunteering||FASS|
|35||Domestic division of labour in queer households||FASS|
|36||Role of popular culture in global city formation||FASS|
|37||A cultural analysis of the US-Israel relationship||FASS|
|38||Phenomenology of gender transition and trans experience||FASS|
|39||Liberty and happiness||FASS|
|40||China and its human rights diplomacy in southeast Asia||FASS|
|41||Singapore-Indonesia relations in new order Indonesia||FASS|
|42||The emergence of depressive symptoms in animals||FASS|
|43||The effect of state humility on self-judgement accuracy||FASS|
|44||Gratitude and the propensity for risk-taking||FASS|
|45||Attitudes of young adults toward fostering in Singapore||FASS|
|46||Narratives of the 2016 sg elected presidency amendments||FASS|
|47||Capturing modalities in contracting for legal technology interfaces||FOE|
|48||Creating a social impact evaluation framework for Moolahsophy||FOE|
|49||Programming in vertical retirement/nursing homes and development of resident infokit||FOE|
|50||Design and build the next generation micro-sized unmanned aerial vehicle||FOE|
|51||Race car vehicle dynamics design and testing||FOE|
|52||Modeling macroscale fluid-solid interactions using mesoscale techniques||FOE|
|53||Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation of Bubbling, Slugging and Fast Fluidization||FOE|
|54||An Investigation of Ultralight WIGEVs (Title changed on 4 April)||FOE|
|55||Disabling Disabilities: Facilitating Interaction between People with Different Disabilities||FOE|
|56||Assistance Systems in Manufacturing: A Systematic Review||FOE|
|57||The Rhine-Jung Case and the Pre-Falsification Era of Psychology (Title changed)||FOE|
|58||The Resillience of Singapore's Water Management Strategy||FOE|
|59||Uncovering Kalman Filters: Diagnosing Faults in Air-Cons with Kalman Filters||FOE|
|60||Unpacking Particle Filters: Diagnosing Faults in Air-Cons with Particle Filters||FOE|
|61||Investigation on the Impact of the Community Health Angles Mentoring Program (CHAMP)||FOS|
|62||Unveiling the Power of Origami: A Galois' Theory Perspective||FOS|
|63||New Perovskite Semiconductors for Opto-electronic Applications||FOS|
|64||Graphene-Based Electrodes for Molecular Tunnel Junctions||FOS|
|65||Robust Pattern Formation of the Butterfly Wing||FOS|
|66||Molecular Characterization of GOGAT from the giant clam Tricdacna Squamosa, and effects of light on its expression||FOS|
|67||Chromatin Structure and Marks Affecting EZH2 Localisation||FOS|
|68||Magnon-Photon Coupling in Feromagnetic thin Films||FOS|
|69||An Assessment of Current Financial Products and Innovative Solutions for Aging Populations||FOS|
|70||Methods of Sediment Stabilisation in Seagrass Restoration||FOS|
|71||Developing helathcare sector client prototypes and schemas: Quantitative Approaches||FOS|
|72||Defining a social enterprise and it’s aspects with a prototype example||FOS|
|73||Preventive Law: Exploring Perfomative Arts||FOS|
|74||Narrative Inquiry of the Singaporean Secondary School Curriculum||FOS|
|75||Integration of Transient Workers in Singapore: Toward Cosmopolitanism or Not?||FOS|
|76||CaregiverAID (Identification of the current information gaps for Caner Caregives and coming up with a proposed sollutionbased on our findings)||FOS|
|77||The Effects Technological Standards on the Number of Essential Patents||FOS|
|78||Investigation of Arabidopsis poly(A)-binding protein 2 and 8 in controlling flowering time||FOS|
|79||Exploring Modeling Assumptions||FOS|
|80||Single-cell analysis of heterogeneity in cell fate decision||FOS|
|81||Value of health care from patients' perspective: literature review and questionnaire development||FOS|
|82||Introducing Hand-on Chemical Crystallography to Undergraduates||FOS|
|84||Combinatorial Set Theory||FOS|
|85||Mathematical Methods In Genomics||FOS|
|86||Numerical Analysis II||FOS|
|87||Linear and Network Optimisation||FOS|
|89||Candidate Management System for Garena||SOC|
|90||Building a production quality application on the iOS platform||SOC|
|91||Modular System Development Study||SOC|
|92||Machine Learning for Systems Biology and Translational Medicine||SOC|
|93||Pivot Tuition: A Next Generation Online Tuition Platform||SOC|
|94||A Patient Virtual Assistant on the iPad||SOC|
|95||Enhancing copy-paste functionality in PowerPoint through a PowerPoint plugin||SOC|
|96||Automating Open Source Project Workflows||SOC|
|97||Network Security Analytics||SOC|
|98||Iterative Development for a Static Program Analysis Tool||SOC|
|99||Managing an open-source, cloud-based peer evaluation platform||SOC|
|100||A Pivot - A virtual classroom tuition platform||SOC|
|101||Patient Virtual Assistant - A companion iPad app for hospital patients||SOC|