OtherLife.co presents

A 1-year program for independent writers working on the internet

Next Cohort Starts August 5.


Our promise

Build your platform, design your research agenda, connect with peers, and build an original body of work.

Intellectual life is exiting institutions for greater freedom and reach on the internet, but nobody's written the playbook—until now.

Justin Murphy

Justin Murphy received his PhD in 2014 and worked as a professor for 5 years before going independent on the internet in 2019.His research has appeared in IEEE Intelligent Systems, Foreign Affairs, International Studies Quarterly, and other peer-reviewed journals.Murphy now conducts his research and teaching on the internet full-time. He writes books, teaches online courses, and runs Other Life—a newsletter and podcast about philosophy and technology.Murphy started the first version of IndieScholars in 2019 because people started asking him for advice.

Justin Murphy


IndieScholars.org is an 8-week intensive cohort program followed by one year of periodic, 1-on-1 project supervision in the style of MA and PhD programs.The program combines self-paced instructional material, live group support, co-working sessions, and personal feedback sessions spaced out through the year.Over the first 8 weeks, we cover everything you need to know about building serious, long-term, independent projects on the internet. You'll build the infrastructure you need and begin writing and publishing. You'll leave with your own platform, a production system, published work, and a specific, personalized plan for developing your project sustainably over time.Here are some of the things you'll learn:

  1. How to read, write, and teach as a vocation in the post-academic era

  2. How to position your work for a public audience

  3. How to identify which ideas to focus on

  4. How to design a research agenda

  5. How to publish consistently and effectively

  6. Why "Personal Knowledge Management" is a myth

  7. Why "Audience-Building" is a myth

  8. How to publish a book

  9. How to teach courses

  10. How to add consulting and services

  11. The Indie Scholar path to a full-time, 6-figure income reading, writing, and teaching on the internet

Course Details

Next live cohort: August 5


When you enroll, you'll be given 5 hours of pre-recorded course videos and you'll be invited to book/RSVP several meetings in the first 8 weeks and several additional meetings over the following year.Week 1• Private 1-on-1 Orientation (1 hour)Week 1-8• Q&A Sessions every Monday at 12-2PM Central
• Writing Sessions every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 7:30-9:30AM Central
Week 9• Private 1-on-1 Feedback and Planning Call (2 hours)Week 26• Private 1-on-1 Midpoint Review Call (2 hours)Week 52
• Private 1-on-1 Final Review Call (2 hours)


After enrolling, you will receive an invitation to our private community.This is where participants share ideas, ask questions, exchange feedback, and organize extra-curricular events. The community also features a member directory and a searchable archive of all past discussions.The course community is private for participants in the course, but it's embedded in the larger Other Life community with 500+ academics, bloggers, authors, podcasters, Youtubers, founders, and investors working on long-term intellectual projects.

Your Work

It's great to build a public audience, but that's a long game.IndieScholars.org gives you a private audience of thoughtful readers and interlocutors straightaway.New posts in the "Share Your Work" section of the community frequently solicit dozens of thoughtful and constructive replies.Members of the community are frequently seeking podcast guests, interesting work to share with their audiences, startup co-founders, etc.

Hear what members are saying

Geoff Shullenberger

Geoff Shullenberger, PhD

"Immensely beneficial to me intellectually and personally. The library resources were essential for building my blog and podcast platforms, and the work sessions and conferences have helped me stay focused and productive."

Nina Power

Nina Power, PhD

"IndieScholars is the future: everything here is driven by genuine enthusiasm. Unlike contemporary academia, learning and communicating with others at IndieScholars encourages flourishing for all concerned."

Britt Olson

Britt Olson, Screenwriter

"The IndieScholars community enabled me to create a fiction writing group with the kind of open-minded, generous people that I've been looking for."

Emmet Penney

Emmet Penney
Exhaust Podcast

"I don't think I'd have been willing to stake out my own turf and create my own content online if it wasn't for Justin Murphy and IndieScholars."

Frequently Asked Questions

No previous training or education is required. Our only assumption is that you have at least some ideas or some sense of a project that you want to develop. There are teenagers running successful philosophy Youtube channels and there are PhDs who have never published a blog post. Some participants will have an academic background, but on the internet frontier we're all still freshmen.

The course is medium-agnostic. The frameworks and assignments will work for bloggers, Youtubers, podcasters, newsletter authors, indie book authors, and even visual artists. We don't teach you how to write or make art, we teach you how to port your perspective and content into an internet-based production system.

We do have people who use the IndieScholars program to support work they are doing for a degree elsewhere. These members may or may not be interested in building a serious independent project on the internet right now, but they find IndieScholars worth the price usually for one of the following reasons: To maintain regular exposure to outside thinkers and creators in the wild west; to learn about their options for building a parallel path on the internet (in case their institutional trajectory doesn't pan out how they'd like it to); or they just want the co-working sessions to make sure they're putting in the hours on their degree work.

We do a lot of sessions in total, so we certainly don't expect that every single participant will make it to every single session—people have different circumstances, jobs, time zones, etc. It's ultimately up to you to decide whether the sessions you can make are worth the price for you, in your own circumstances (this calculation will be totally different for different people). We do try to create a culture of hard work and consistency and discipline, and you'll probably get better results if you take it as an opportunity to really buckle down and reduce your other obligations/distractions, but we're never going to be angry or upset if you can't make any number of the sessions.

Currently, I'm capping new enrollments at 30 for each new cohort. Of course, lifetime members will accumulate over time, and some fraction of those will join each cohort, but statistically it will only ever be so many.

If I had to guess, I would expect most cohorts to fluctuate roughly around the 50-person mark for each cohort in 2022. Not sure the confidence intervals around that, but out of thin air I might guess the 95% confidence interval is between 30 and 70 active participants per cohort in 2022.

If things ever feel overly packed, it is straightforward for me to use the Zoom breakout rooms and manually put people in the most productive subgroups. I use my judgment depending on how things feel. Also, participants often form their own smaller specialist groups, so there's always that to balance against the larger group.

I can't say for sure over the long-term, but I will say I guarantee at least a total of 3 cohorts in 2022. Likely more, and hopefully for years into the future (IndieScholars started in Nov. 2019, so we're doing pretty well), but I'd prefer to be conservative and not over-promise.

If demand is high this year, I will probably elect to do more than 3 in 2022. But yea, we'll do 3 in 2022 at the very least, guaranteed.

The opening conference is for everyone to introduce themselves and the current state of their work.

Variance will be high. Some may prepare slides, some will shoot from the hip. Some people will only have some vague ideas, some will be in the middle of advanced projects. Some will be Humanities, some will be STEM. Some will be hobbyists, some will be commercial. The only common denominator is the indie thinker ethos (independent intellectual or creative work, using the internet to bypass or supplement the limitations of institutional pathways).

For the closing conference, everyone presents their work from the previous 6-weeks. People will have different goals so it's hard to impose a precise structure for what is expected of participants, but everyone will be asked to give an overview of what they produced, what kind of results they got, anything interesting they learned, and next steps.

The "next steps" part is a major aspect of the closing conference because the real goal is to push everyone out of the cohort with focus, clarity on their vision, a writing habit, and the real momentum of steady work over 6 weeks. One can only get so much done in 6 weeks, but ideally the cohort provides the structure and activation energy that participants will continue to use on their own for many weeks thereafter—possibly for life.

Each work session is composed of 4 "work cycles." I provide participants a spreadsheet they can use to track every cycle of every session (if they wish to). A cycle is composed of a 45-minute work sprint, followed by a 10-minute break.

In the 45-minute sprint, everyone has their mics off; everyone promises to work only on original writing. There is some wiggle room in the definition of "writing," in the case of engineers or visual artists, for instance, but you get the point: The primary form of original thinking and creation germane to your primary intellectual or creative project. No email, no social media, etc.

In the 10-minute breaks, people can do whatever—bathroom, get a drink, and everyone chats. Sometimes people ask each other substantive questions related to what they're working on, but with a water-cooler vibe.

After 4 cycles, everyone has done a ton of work, some possible friendships have been seeded, and that's that!

In some cases, yep. Some of our members have been reimbursed by employers, some have paid using their university research budgets. We'll even give you a form letter you can send to your boss or university HR department.

If you enroll, attend the first two sessions, and decide it's not what you were expecting, we're happy to give a full refund anytime in the first week—no questions asked.

Not a problem. All lectures are recorded and replays are made available. There are many work sessions; even if you can only do one per week, this alone will be worth the price for many participants. And the community discussion is asynchronous, so you can participate whenever works for you.

Sure. Just send a payment and then email me a link to the transaction record (justin{at}otherlife.co[dot]org).

ETH: 0x197514ed3A9D2720c1e2b89FFAD3E8484FDbc217

BTC: 3G8oGhs2nhmvFbLTXpKNuHamEDEeRiEuMT

Double check before you send, I'm not responsible for any mistakes you might make!


One-Time Payment


  • 8 Group Q&A Sessions

  • Private 1-on-1 project support over 1 year in the style of an MA/PhD

  • 5 hours of pre-recorded lectures and tutorials

  • 24 Work Sessions (3x weekly)

  • Free copy of The Independent Scholar book (PDF)

  • Private course community with searchable member directory

  • Periodic community seminars in philosophy, social science, and other topics

  • Complimentary subscription to the Other Life monthly print newsletter

12 Monthly Payments


  • 8 Group Q&A Sessions

  • Private 1-on-1 project support over 1 year in the style of an MA/PhD

  • 5 hours of pre-recorded lectures and tutorials

  • 24 Work Sessions (3x weekly)

  • Free copy of The Independent Scholar book (PDF)

  • Private course community with searchable member directory

  • Periodic community seminars in philosophy, social science, and other topics

  • Complimentary subscription to the Other Life monthly print newsletter

The Independent Scholar

Not sure?

Download our free book to get started by yourself.

OtherLife.co presents

A 1-year program for independent writers working on the internet

Next live cohort: October 16 - November 13


We just sent you an email with a link. Please click it so we know you're a human.If it went to your spam folder, please drag it to your Inbox and mark it "not spam!"