Incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1977, CIS was founded in New Haven by a group of scholars determined to find outside the formal academy the intellectual stimulation available within an academic setting. Since then, CIS has developed into:
  • a forum for a wide range of intellectual and creative pursuits; 
  • a place of connection for independent scholars and artists; 
  • a community of colleagues for those who work and/or study on their own.  

While some of our members are engaged in research and publishing, we also welcome those involved in other intellectual pursuits. CIS's activities are governed by a board consisting of six elected officers, and its past presidents.

CIS is affiliated with the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, a nationwide network of organizations serving the interests of independent scholars. Affiliation benefits CIS as a group, as well as individual members of CIS: for instance, CIS members may submit papers to Independent Scholar Quarterly
For more information about NCIS, 
click on the above link, or e-mail 
Barbara Bell at

What we do
Who we are
Becoming a member
CIS is maintained by its members for their mutual benefit and often for the benefit of the larger community. Members have access to a range of services and activities, including:  

  • SALONS. Usually held on Sunday afternoons and led by members, CIS salons explore in depth a topic of current or scholarly interest. Among recent topics: international art crimes; the status of women in developing countries; contemporary music composition; the new world of social networking; the life and times of Cleopatra; the changing roles of museums.
  • AFFINITY GROUPS. Members often form groups to share work in a particular field or discuss a topic of common interest. The Center provides support both through publicizing each effort and by granting small sums for refreshments or other needs.
  • MINI-GRANTSOn application, the Center gives members small grants (up to $500) for travel expenses to conferences, permission fees for quotation, and the like.
  • PAPERS/ADDRESSES. At times a member will want reaction to a paper before presenting at a conference. CIS will arrange for a space, publicize the event, and provide additional support.
  • CONFERENCESCIS has organized one-day and two-day conferences on various topics (e.g. photography, translation, biography), with panels of experts in the field. These events are free, widely publicized, and open to the public.
  • GRANT ADMINISTRATION. Some grants for which our members might apply require an institution to administer funds and supervise the project. CIS can do so, and we are always ready to serve in that capacity.  
The Center for Independent Study (CIS) based in New Haven, CT provides a forum for and supports the work of individuals with diverse intellectual and creative interests. Our activities offer members a variety of opportunities to meet, interact, and learn from one another. We welcome those who share our goals. 

For more information:
Ruth Hein Schmitt, membership chair or 203-865-1491

You may also write to:
    The Center for Independent Study
    P.O. Box 203193
    New Haven, CT  06520-3193

Download our membership application.

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.
— Doris Lessing
...a community of individuals with diverse intellectual and creative interests.
Contact Us
Next event....

We would like CIS members and friends to know about the Institute for Learning in Retirement  ( Based in New Haven, the ILR is a non-profit, community-based group of retired and semi-retired people who share a love of learning.
CIS Sunday salon on April 3, 2016
Displacements: A conversation about immigration.
See calendar for details.