For well-qualified students who would not otherwise be able to enroll in our on-campus program, the Independent Research Fellows Cohort (IRFC) offers the same course of study found in our traditional Ph.D. program in an intensive and innovative format. Independent research fellows complete foundation coursework and prepare for the comprehensive exams and qualifying competencies necessary for achieving doctoral candidacy through a special low residency format. A limited number of students accepted into these cohorts take 42 credits of coursework in a hybrid alternative structure over a two-year period.
Joining the traditional brick and mortar experience with innovative and interactive learning, research, assessment and presentation technologies, four separate residency requirements span seven days each over the course of two years. To ensure the integrity of the cohort community, residencies cannot be individualized or postponed. In rare cases of illness or emergency, a single residency week requirement can be fulfilled by one semester of on-campus coursework for three graduate credits.
Because of the accelerated and intensive nature of the format, independent research fellows are chosen through a close assessment of each applicant's:
- Demonstrated intellectual maturity and proven ability to work independently.
- Inclusion of clearly defined research interests that fit with faculty's expertise in the personal statement.
- Familiarity and comfort with using alternative learning and communication technologies (including access to high speed Internet or DSL and a capacity to run advanced software applications).
- Ability to commit to the rigor and intensity of the yearlong cohort experience.