Independent Study Guidelines

Generally, the minimum length of paper should be as follows:

  • One Credit: 25 double-spaced pages
  • Two Credits: 40 double-spaced pages
  • Three Credits: 50 double-spaced pages
  • Four Credits: 60 double-spaced pages

JD students may earn 1-2 credits for independent study work. LLM/MJ students may earn 1-4 credits for independent study work.

These totals are without the footnotes. For measuring purposes, use Courier, 12-point type with 1″ margins. If another typeface is used, make appropriate adjustments in calculation.

Subject matter is to be determined by the advisor and the student, within an appropriate academic scope of legal education and, if relevant, the focus of the applicable graduate degree program.

Ordinarily, there should be an initial draft, which the advisor reviews; a revision, which the advisor also reviews; and a third draft or later draft, which the advisor accepts as the final paper. Additional intermediate drafts are not precluded.

Here is an example of a workable schedule:

  • Mid-September (Mid-February): The student should prepare a rough outline of the paper. The student and the advisor should meet to discuss the availability of sources, research strategies, and to suggest other possible avenues of research.
  • Mid-October (Mid-March): The student should prepare a draft of the paper. The student and the advisor should meet again to discuss writing and citation styles and address any questions/problems that the student may encounter in putting the research into writing.
  • Mid-November (Mid-April): The student and the advisor should meet and the student should be prepared to present and discuss the paper with the advisor in an advanced draft form. At the discretion of the advisor, other faculty members, scholars, reference librarians, writing advisors, or outside commentators may be present to assist the student in developing final changes to the paper.

Both the faculty member supervising the independent study project and the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs must approve the project. Copies of the form indicating approval of the project will be retained by the Registrar’s Office. The final due date must be no later than the first day of the finals period for the semester in which the independent study project is undertaken. The final paper must be turned in to both the faculty member and the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs by the approved due date in order for credit to be given for the project.

Download the Independent Study Application