What is a degree project?
A degree project is ISI’s equivalent of a graduation research project. Each and every student chooses an issue for themselves and uses various techniques to explore the roots of the problem and solutions to it.
Fourth-year undergraduate students are generally required to write a graduation thesis, but the deliverables of a degree project can include not only a thesis, but also copyrighted material, policy proposals, performances, a startup company, and social practice within the framework of a nongovernmental/nonprofit organization (and a report on such activities). Students are expected to undertake initiatives of a kind that could only be achieved because of ISI’s unique nature and which would not be possible at a conventional undergraduate school.
Solving the complex problems of modern society requires students to demonstrate interdisciplinary problem-solving skills, which involve mobilizing all the skills acquired during their university career to date, namely creative task-framing skills, practical teamwork skills, and international communication skills. As the degree project is a subject designed to put these skills into practice, one could describe it as a subject that assumes the shape of each student’s efforts over their four years at ISI.
Another distinctive feature of this subject is the multi-supervisor system, in which faculty members with expertise in a variety of fields provide supervision. Not only do faculty members provide advice concerning the issue being tackled by each student from their own specialist viewpoints, but also the principal supervisor works with the sub-supervisors to explore interdisciplinary approaches. As such, students cooperate with faculty members to solve the issues being tackled.
The degree project has three stages: Degree Project 1 (DP1), Degree Project 2 (DP2), and Degree Project 3 (DP3). Accordingly, students steadily progress step by step to reach their goals.
DP1 is undertaken during the third year, with students working with their principal supervisor and sub-supervisors to identify an issue and draw up a research plan. DP2 is undertaken during the fourth year and involves writing academic papers, conducting experiments, and producing material in accordance with the plan. DP3 involves presenting the outcomes, with the presentation given in English.
We want students to go beyond the boundaries of conventional disciplines and think about demonstrating the distinctive features of ISI with unique output based on unfettered thought.