At Hampshire, "Special Projects" are robust supervised or mentored learning experiences that students can pursue at or away from Hampshire with organizations (such as schools, labs, companies, or nonprofit organizations) or with community groups. Special Projects can be essential to a student’s education and should result in substantial learning. Special Projects may be paid or unpaid. They can be internships, practicums, or other independent projects approved by the student’s advisor that are evaluated by a site supervisor at the organization or community group hosting the activity. Special Projects can take place at any time of the calendar year and can be initiated at any time after a student enrolls at Hampshire up until the add/drop deadline in the final semester of Division III. They must engage a student in learning for 180 hours or more.
As Special Projects can be started and completed off the semester schedule, they do not count toward full-time student status for a given semester in Division I and II. This means that students must register for a minimum of three academic courses equivalent to at least 12 credits, which may include independent study and teaching assistantships in the spring and fall semesters in addition to any Special Projects in progress. In Division III, students must follow the Division III Policy Guidelines to use a Special Project for an Advanced Educational Activity. For outside institutions (graduate programs, scholarship organizations, transfer institutions, etc.), the College recommends four credits for a successfully completed Special Project. Please note that the special projects policy went into effect in summer of 2018.
If a Special Project is to be included in Division I, II, or III, it must be completed and evaluated by the appropriate divisional passing deadline.
- A Special Project completed by the Division I passing deadline may count as one of the six elective courses required for Division I.
- Students should speak to their committees to determine how Special Projects can be used in their Division II.
- A Special Project may be used to fulfill one of the two Advanced Educational Activities with permission of students' Division III committees.
The student secures the site and completes a registration form detailing the scope and length of the project, to be reviewed by both the student's advisor and the site supervisor.
- The site supervisor may be anyone approved by the student's advisor.
The student can submit the registration form with faculty approval to Central Records anytime (before or after completing the Special Project), but only completed, evaluated projects go on the permanent transcript. Central Records registers the Special Project with the student's advisor as the faculty member of record. When used as an Advanced Educational Activity in Division III, the registration forms are due the last day of the add/drop period in the student's final semester of enrollment. Students should list the Special Project on their contracts by the Division III revision deadline at the latest.
Only one registration is allowed for an individual Special Project, even if the number of hours of engagement exceeds 180. A student is free to do more than one Special Project at the same site, but they must register for them separately and the Projects should have different focuses.
Upon conclusion of the project, the student writes a reflective self-evaluation and obtains a written evaluation from the site supervisor stating that the Special Project has been completed and that the hour requirement has been satisfied along with narrative comments on the student’s work. The student submits the documentation to their advisors. The students may also, but are not obliged to, bring a copy of the site supervisor evaluation to Central Records for inclusion in their transcripts.
Special Projects can be started and completed off the semester schedule. When an advisor signs a student's form, the expectation is that the student will follow the procedure outlined above. If this process is not followed, the Special Project will not be included in the student's transcript.
If the student does not complete a Special Project, or separates from the College without completing, a registered Special Project, it will be removed from their transcripts without a "W" notation.
In addition to signing off on the registration form, the student's advisor completes an evaluation on TheHub based on the evaluation from the site supervisor. The student is responsible for obtaining the site supervisor’s evaluation and submitting it to their advisor along with their own self evaluation. The advisor’s evaluation may be brief or detailed, but at least certifies for the student's official transcript that the experience was completed and that the hour requirement of a minimum of 180 hours engaged in learning was satisfied. The evaluation ideally contains evaluative comments shared by the site supervisor.
Once the Special Project has been completed, advisors are asked to write their evaluation on TheHub as soon as possible, ideally within 30 days or by the semesters end. In Division III, the deadlines for Advanced Educational Activities apply.