Academic Policies Guide

Directed Research

How to Register for Directed Research

  • Students must contact individual instructors and agree on a research project.
  • Students may ask any full-time or visiting faculty member to supervise Directed Research.  A student who would like to have an adjunct faculty member supervise their Directed Research must submit a proposal to their program office to request permission from Vice Dean Randy Hertz.
  • A written proposal must be submitted to and approved by the instructor, then submitted to the student’s program office (i.e., the Office of Academic Services, the Office of Graduate Affairs, or the Office of Graduate Tax Programs) along with an add/drop form in order to register.  (An email from the professor may substitute for a signature on the proposal).
  • The written proposal must be at least 1,000 words and should describe the subject matter of the Directed Research and the issues the student intends to explore in the paper.  All students must state in the proposal how many credits the Directed Research should be for and JD students must state if the paper is for the Option A or Option B writing requirement. JD students, please review the Substantial Writing Requirements webpage.
  • Students considering a 3-credit Directed Research should contact their program office first.  A three-credit Directed Research project is highly unusual and requires the approval of Vice Dean Randy Hertz.
  • Late requests to add a Directed Research will only be considered if your credit load (not including the Directed Research credits) does not drop below the minimum 12 credits at any point in the semester after the add/drop period.
  • Students who are granted permission to late add Directed Research will not be permitted to drop classes if the result is inconsistent with the above.

Other Considerations 

  • Failure to make academic progress on a Directed Research may result in a student’s withdrawal with a grade of “WD.”
  • While Directed Research does not count toward classroom credit, it does count toward the 52 required full-time faculty credits for the JD degree if it is supervised by a full-time faculty member.
  • After March 15 of the student’s final semester, no faculty member may accept a request from a student to perform directed research or other work for law school credit unless the student has first received the approval of Vice Dean Randy Hertz. Students must send their petitions to their program office, not to Dean Hertz.

The Vice Dean may allow such work if the student needs the credit for May graduation and July bar certification subject to the following:

  • ​No more than two (2) credits can be earned in this matter
  • In making his or her decision, the Vice Dean shall consider (a) the date of the student's request; (b) the nature of the proposal; and (c) whether the missing credits or the timing of the student's request are the result of circumstances that were within the student's ability to avoid. Failure of the student to properly calculate his or her credit at an earlier time, failure in a course, and removal from a course for excessive absences are examples of circumstances within the student's control to avoid. 
  • If the missing credits result from circumstances outside the student's control, the Vice Dean will permit the credit if at all academically reasonable. 
  • If the Vice Dean approves the student's application, it will be the student's responsibility to find a faculty member willing to supervise the student's proposed work and award the credit in a timely matter.