Not that kind of experimenting.
November 11, 2018 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Are there any other "experimental colleges" similar to UC Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies, where undergrads pursue a self-directed, accelerated course of study, work closely with faculty, and do original research? Alternatively, are there any post-bacc or master's programs that would be similar in culture?
posted by octopodiatrist to Education (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Hampshire College
posted by Mngo at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

A friend of mine went to Evergreen State College, which sounded like that from his description. I think UC Santa Cruz might be similar.
posted by pinochiette at 3:51 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

New College of Florida also follows this model. (And has no grades and the students traditionally refuse to wear shoes, and so on.)
posted by vogon_poet at 3:53 PM on November 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Indiana University Bloomington
posted by saturdaymornings at 4:06 PM on November 11, 2018

Gallatin at NYU! They have both master's and undergraduate programs. (Full disclosure: I am a student in the grad program).
posted by colorblock sock at 4:07 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Olin College of Engineering might be worth a look.
posted by john hadron collider at 4:09 PM on November 11, 2018

I went to Evergreen way back when, it was definitely like that. Also Fairhaven College @ WWU.
posted by lovecrafty at 4:21 PM on November 11, 2018

Not a University program, but I’ve hired and paid undergrads to do semi-self-directed original research, working closely with faculty, along with customized teaching and training. I’ve published four articles with three undergrads who were listed as coauthors. This is in the life sciences.

I’ve only done it at one large state insitution, but my colleagues have done it at several, and I hope to do it at at least one other institution: all it really takes is an REU (research experience for undergraduates) grant, often available as a rider to an existing NSF grant.

My point is this type of undergrad research participation can happen all sorts of places, even at a small scale, and without specific programs dedicated to it. REU is a key term that will help you find people doing stuff like this in the sciences in the USA.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2018

Quest Univesity and St Johns.
posted by caek at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2018

I'm a Hampshire graduate, it's sort of like that. I think nowadays something like Goddard might also be what you are looking for.
posted by jessamyn at 4:46 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pretty much any good college in the country is going to have undergraduates doing original research with close faculty mentoring. It's a requirement for admission to many graduate schools. The regional commuter college where I work, which you've never heard of, offers it to as many of our students as possible every semester, because that's our job.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:58 PM on November 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

To elaborate on hydropsyche’s good point: this can be available at many/most good institutions. But in practice, in many circumstances, this kind of experience is missed by many students, even if they are bright and accomplished, and the people who do get in are self-motivated high achievers with good pre-existing informational networks and awareness of how to search for such opportunities. It’s not clear why you are asking, but in case it’s personal; feel free to reach out to anyone you may know for further advice, including me and other MeFites.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:24 PM on November 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

CUNY has a thing like that.
posted by vrakatar at 7:00 PM on November 11, 2018

All decent schools should offer undergraduate research, with previous posters' caveats about access, and plenty of colleges offer pass-fail courses. [this does not mean that nobody gets grades; the pass-fail is often strictly an option]

What might set some programs apart is that they have a cohort of undergraduate researchers / "design your own major" students.
Especially if your research or major isn't in a large or well-structured department, having a cohort keeps you from feeling isolated when, say, you're the only person studying anything as obscure as the effect of geological change on Russian literature in the 1880s.

e.g. my high school had a science program where everyone did research at some local university or lab, and reconvened in class to about it? I'm not really sure what they did in class, but boy did they develop a cohort.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:24 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Reed College in Portland Oregon, is known to be quite liberal and free-form.

Also Brown University in Providence, R.I.
posted by hydra77 at 9:20 AM on November 12, 2018

Marlboro College in Marlboro, VT is exactly this.
posted by danceswithlight at 11:14 PM on November 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here's a list of Great Books programs that are either part of their respective school's course of study or, in some cases, the whole program. Great Books-style programs sound like they would fit the bill. Makes me want to go back to school.
posted by nosila at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2018

UMass Amherst, where I work, has the Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration program, which is like that.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:35 PM on November 13, 2018

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