Senior Individualized Project (SIP) Guidelines
“The Senior Individualized Project is the capstone of Kalamazoo College’s program of liberal arts education. The SIP offers you the opportunity to make use of all your experiences at the College. In consultation with a faculty member who will serve as your faculty SIP advisor, you will determine the project’s form and the environment in which it is to be pursued.”
–Senior Individualized Project Handbook, 2005
German majors, minors, or students with advanced proficiency in German may choose to complete their Senior Individualized Project in the German Studies Department. Students who study abroad in Erlangen or Lüneburg during their Junior year are encouraged to begin developing a SIP topic while in Germany, or even during their sophomore year. An idea for a SIP may, for example, develop out of a student’s Integrative Cultural Research Project (ICRP). The SIP may be an original research paper on an aspect of German literature or culture, a translation, or a creative project based on individual research.
Guidelines for German Studies Projects
One or both members of the German faculty may serve as advisors for German SIPs. Once a student has chosen a SIP topic and advisor, a SIP contract must be filed with the department chair, as well as a SIP registration form with the Registrar’s Office.
German majors should write their SIP in German. Project may be completed in English under special circumstances. If you would like to propose an interdisciplinary project written in English, please consult with a faculty member.
A one-unit SIP (fall or winter term) should be 30-50 pages, depending on the topic and scope of the project. The final, revised draft of the SIP is due on the last day of finals week during the fall quarter.
- preliminary proposal:
- due Friday of Week 8 (Junior Spring for FALL; Week 8 of Senior Fall for WINTER)
- in English
- 1-2 page explanation of project including research questions and preliminary work (if this is related to previous research or ICRP); although the project will take shape as you work on it, please be as specific as possible about how you may organize the project
- list of German courses already completed in the department
- preliminary bibliography
- students will also sign a contract with the faculty advisor noting clear deadlines and work expectations
- registration deadline:
- Fall SIP: Friday of 1st week of Fall quarter of senior year
- Winter SIP: Friday of 10th week of Fall quarter of senior year
- Meet with reference librarian.
- We require students to meet with a librarian at an early stage to begin developing a list of sources
- Research/Background Reading Phase:
- All research needs to be done (i.e. readings completed) in Summer for a fall SIP, in fall and winter break for a winter SIP
- During the Term of SIP:
- intensive writing process, ca. 12 hours weekly work
- meet with faculty advisor every week or every other week starting in week 1
- during the 1st meeting discuss topic, research question, methodology, writing and error correction strategies, etc.
- deadline for completed 1st draft to be submitted by the student: week 9
- adviser provides feedback and suggestions for revisions by the end of term
- student revises the SIP (over winter break for Fall SIP; over spring break for Winter SIP)
- final submission: 1st week of Winter term / 1st week of Spring term
- in Spring:
- SIP Symposium: students will present work in a public venue
- presentation in English for a general audience (family, friends are welcome)
Other Tips and Reminders
- The SIP is the equivalent of a full-unit course. Therefore, you should expect to spend ca. 12 hours a week working on the project.
- Expect to meet with your faculty advisor weekly or at least every other week.
- It is important to begin to prepare for the SIP the quarter BEFORE you enroll: gathering research materials, outlining your ideas, gathering notes, etc. It is very difficult to complete the SIP on time if you begin during week 1.
- The SIP receives a pass/fail grade. You must not produce perfect work but you must put in the necessary time and effort to produce solid independent work.
- You will find that you use writing as a tool to develop your ideas. Sometimes writing is a necessary step to developing your argument and some of that preliminary writing will not be part of the final project.
- Although you should be editing your work (and language) as you go, it is important to have a full first draft before you make extensive language edits. This will save you work in case you decide to cut sections, for example.
- You should expect to spend time polishing and editing the language after completing a final draft. As you write, the German must be comprehensible, and you should avoid egregious errors such as subject-verb agreement errors or number/gender errors.
- Your SIP should be divided into chapters/sections and subsections that inform the reader about content (short and descriptive)
Grants and Funding for Research
There are some funding sources available for SIPs that meet certain criteria, such as the Hough Grant (call for applications goes out in spring), or the Beeler Fellowship (Due Week 3 of Spring) for research abroad (up to $2,750). A list of most of these sources is available from CIP or on the Grants & Fellowships website. There are grants to support individual, independent projects completed during official Kalamazoo College breaks (i.e. Summer, Winter, or Spring break). Eligibility will be determined based on financial need, project proposal, and host partner support. Please be aware that the application timelines for these grants and scholarships do not always align with the departmental timeline for the SIP proposal process. Look at the deadlines carefully and plan accordingly.
Exceptional projects may be considered for honors. There are no length requirements for Honors in the SIP. The SIP is read by two faculty members who must agree to award Honors. A student must also make a formal presentation during the German Studies Department’s SIP Symposium in spring term.
The following are examples of Senior Individualized Projects that have been completed in German Studies:
- “The Effect of Post-appeals on Facebook User Interactions in German Automotive Companies” by Shelby Hopper, 2018
- “Deutsch-Amerikanische Städtepartnerschaften: Geschichtliche und Organisatorische Trends” by Anne Nielsen, 2017
- “Die Integration der Flüchtlingsschüler*innen und Schüler*innen mit Migrationshintergrund in die Bildungssysteme der USA und Deutschlands” by Analise Robinson, 2017
- “Die Rolle der Frauen in Deutschland: Eine Analyse der soziologischen und historischen Entwicklung des deutschen Frauenbilds” by Sapana Gupta, 2017
- “Ein Blick auf den deutschen Waldkindergarten, die Freiluftvorschule ohne Grenzen” by Brittany Trombino, 2016
- “Die größten Einflüsse auf die deutsche Industrie” by Alyssa L. Walker, 2015
- “Der Mythos der Stunde Null und die Erinnerung im Film” by Mallory Zink, 2015
- PONS German-English dictionary – a recommended online dictionary
- DWDS – Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache – excellent online dictionary for advanced use; includes etymology, similes and antonyms, usage examples, frequency statistics, and more
- Formulierungshilfen – This document provides helpful expressions for writing academic papers in German. Prepared by the Writing Center of the Goethe Universität Frankfurt