Academic Programs

Independent Proposal Option

Through the Independent Proposal Externship, students may receive credit for an externship done in conjunction with an independent study project..

The Fieldwork

Students receive 3-5 variable credits (C/NC) for the fieldwork, determined as follows:

  • 3 credits = 150 hours total (about 12 hrs/wk)
  • 4 credits = 200 hours total (about 15-16 hrs/wk)
  • 5 credits = 250 hours total (about 20 hrs/wk)

With permission from the Office of Clinical Programs, students may receive 6, 7, 8 or 9 credits for the fieldwork (300, 350, 400 and 450 hours, respectively).

Qualifying internships may be at a non-profit, government, or in-house counsel placement. An internship may be at a law firm, but only if the student works solely on pro bono assignments. For all placements, the student must be supervised by an attorney, and must work on projects typically handled by an attorney.

The Independent Study

Students work under the guidance of a faculty member and earn two credits for writing a paper and submitting journals. The paper must be at least 20 pages in length. There are seven journals due (4-6 pages each). Students may satisfy the upperclass writing requirement through the paper, under agreement of the sponsoring faculty member.

Please keep in mind that there is a 3-credit cap on independent study credits. The independent study credits also count towards the 16-credit cap on non-GPA credits.

How to Apply

Students should first contact Adrienne Smith at the Office of Clinical Programs ( to discuss whether the independent externship is the best option for receiving credit. The student should then seek a faculty sponsor. Students should refer prospective faculty sponsors to the Faculty Sponsor Agreement , which outlines the sponsor's responsibilities.

How to Find a Faculty Sponsor

Students seeking a faculty sponsor to supervise their independent proposal externship and research paper should begin by contacting individual faculty members who do research or practice through the clinical programs in the area in which the student will be externing. Seek out faculty who are not already overloaded with supervisory commitments. The Faculty Supervisory Database is designed to help students identify these faculty members.

If after approaching several faculty members, a student has not been able to find a faculty sponsor, please contact the Office of Clinical and Advocacy Programs who will assist in identifying a faculty sponsor.