Academic Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an independent study?

An independent study (formally called Supervised Research & Writing) is work done with a faculty member on a mutually-agreed upon topic, usually resulting in a substantial paper.

How many credits can I get for an independent study?

Students may receive 1or 2 credits after first year for an independent study project. (The maximum total credits for independent study work is 3 credits). Ordinarily, the length and depth of a paper determines how many credits you will receive for the independent study, but that is worked out with the faculty supervisor.

Can I do an independent study with an adjunct law faculty member?

Yes, if you obtain the Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs' permission.

Is an independent study the same as the Upper-class Writing Requirement?

Not necessarily. With the faculty supervisor's approval, you can do an independent study both for credit and a grade and for the Writing Requirement, but you don't have to use it for the Writing Requirement. If you are using it to satisfy the Writing Requirement, the faculty supervisor might expect more work, but you should check that with the faculty supervisor.

If I do an independent study for both credit (and grade) and for the Writing Requirement, what happens if I do sufficient work to receive a grade by the grading deadline but I can't complete the Writing Requirement by the grading deadline?

If the faculty supervisor agrees, you may continue to work on a paper for purposes of satisfying the Writing Requirement past the grading deadline, though you can't have the grade changed. However, this will not apply if you are in your last semester of law school.

Can I take an independent study with a non-law school faculty member?

This is governed by Article IV, section 1.b. of our Academic Regulations. Students must petition the faculty Academic Standards Committee for permission, subject to the criteria in Article IV, sec. 1.b.