Academic Policies Guide

Directed Research

How to Apply 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. Adjunct professors may supervise Directed Research only with the permission of Vice Dean Randy Hertz. A student who would like to have an adjunct faculty member supervise their Directed Research must submit in writing to their program office.
  • 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) before a student may register.
  • 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.

Adding Directed Research as a Course 

  • Students register for the Directed Research by completing an add/drop form that the student’s program office will supply upon receipt of the signed proposal within the stated deadlines. (An email from the professor may substitute for a signature on the proposal).
  • Directed Research credits may be added through Wednesday, September 18 for Fall 2019 and Wednesday, February 5 for Spring 2020.
  •  The usual allocation for Directed Research is two credits. A student may write a one-credit Directed Research but it will not suffice for the JD Substantial Writing/Option A requirement satisfaction. A three-credit Directed Research project is highly unusual and requires the approval of Vice Dean Randy Hertz.
  • Students considering a 3-credit Directed Research should contact their program office first.
  • 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 

  • A two-credit Directed Research may satisfy the JD Substantial Writing/Option A requirement.
  • 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 credis 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.