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Law Courses Catalog

Individual Research

Individual research projects provide students with the opportunity to gain greater knowledge about a specific area of law that interests them. Students engage in individual research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. The project should involve a level of research, analysis, and writing that is similar to that of a WIE or Capstone project. Many individual research projects will satisfy the WIE or Capstone requirement.

An individual research project usually qualifies for one or two semester hours of credit. Individual research projects that satisfy the Capstone requirement typically qualify for two credit hours. Some students who use individual research to satisfy the Capstone requirement choose to write a three credit paper.

Students may choose to do a two or three credit Individual Research project over one or two semesters. Students who choose the two-semester option may take their credits in either semester, or over two semesters, at their discretion. Students who choose the two-semester option will receive an incomplete grade at the end of the first semester. Once the paper is complete and graded, the student’s transcript will reflect that grade when grades are posted following the second semester. Students who choose individual research to write a Capstone paper are strongly encouraged to choose the two-semester option.

 

Other Details

Registration Deadlines: Students must sign up for an individual research project by the end of the add/drop period, unless they are signing up for an individual research project that begins the following semester. After confirming your plans with a professor, submit the Individual Research Registration form to begin the process. When it is received, the Registrar’s office will confirm the submitted details with the professor and register you accordingly.

Incompletes: A student who does not finish an individual research paper by the end of the semester in which it is due will receive an incomplete. To avoid an incomplete, the student must submit the final version of the paper in time for the advisor to grade it before the relevant deadline for the submission of grades. (Note that the deadline for graduating students is earlier than the deadline for students who are not graduating). 

A student who receives an incomplete must complete the paper by the end of the next semester (or by the end of the summer if the original deadline was in the spring semester). A student who fails to complete the paper within this timeframe must seek approval for an additional semester from the faculty advisor and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. A student who fails to seek such approval will receive a final grade of W (withdrawn) for the paper. (A student who receives a W on an individual research project will have to register for a new individual research project, and pay tuition for the new registration, in order to complete the project.)

Faculty retain their discretion to penalize late papers.

The following additional rules apply to individual research projects:

a. The individual research project must be approved in advance by the full-time or adjunct faculty member who is responsible for supervising and grading it. If the supervising faculty member is an adjunct professor, the project must also receive the prior approval of the Associate Dean of Faculty.

b. The individual research paper must be graded. It cannot be undertaken for pass/fail or ungraded credit.

c. The amount of credit to be awarded for an individual research paper will be based on standards set by the supervising faculty member, consistent with ABA requirement. The determination of such standards is within the discretion of the faculty member, and will take into account such factors as the size of the paper, the anticipated number of hours to be spent on it, and the complexity of its topic.

d. An individual research paper for more than two credits requires approval from the faculty supervisor, as well as from either the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or the Associate Dean of Faculty.

e. A student may register for no more than two individual research or tutorial experience projects in a single semester.

f. Unless the Dean otherwise approves, a student may not use more than eight hours of credit for individual research or tutorial experiences towards the requirements for graduation. The Dean’s approval will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances.

 

Students engaged in an individual research project must also follow the following one or two semester syllabus, unless their faculty supervisor chooses a different structure. Note that faculty supervisors have discretion to add or delete requirements from the default syllabus. Note as well that the requirements for WIE and Capstone papers, available in What’s What, also apply where relevant.

One Semester Syllabus for Individual Research

Weeks 1 and 2 – initial meeting(s) with faculty supervisor

Week 2 – writing workshop – attending the live presentation or viewing a recorded writing workshop is required for all students unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise. The workshop will be presented by a member of the Lawyering faculty and/or the Writing Specialist.

Week 3 – research workshop – attending the live presentation or viewing a recorded research workshop is required for all students who have not taken an advanced legal research class, unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise. The workshop will be presented by a Boley reference librarian.

- must also consult with a reference librarian by Week 7, unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise or unless the student already has taken an advanced legal research class.

Week 4 – turn in thesis statement and receive timely feedback from faculty supervisor

Week 6 – turn in outline and receive timely feedback from faculty supervisor

Week 11 or 12 – turn in paper, receive timely feedback from faculty supervisor, and meet to discuss feedback

Last day of final exams – rewritten paper due, unless faculty supervisor requires a different date

Two Semester Syllabus for Individual Research

First semester: 

Weeks 1 and 2 – Initial meeting(s) with advisor

Week 2 – writing workshop – attending the live presentation or viewing a recorded writing workshop is required for all students unless faculty supervisor provides otherwise. The workshop will be presented by a member of the Lawyering faculty and/or the Writing Specialist.

Week 3 – research workshop – attending the live presentation or viewing a recorded research workshop is required for all students who have not taken an advanced legal research class, unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise. The workshop will be presented by a Boley reference librarian.

- must also consult with a reference librarian by Week 9, unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise or unless the student already has taken an advanced legal research class.

Week 6 – turn in thesis statement and receive timely feedback from faculty supervisor

Week 9 – turn in detailed outline, reflecting research-based organization and analysis, and receive timely feedback from faculty supervisor

Week 12 or 13 – confer with faculty supervisor to address questions posed by research, whether to narrow or expand focus of the paper, and to make sure support exists for student’s thesis

Second semester:

Note: in addition to the requirements below, students must make an appointment with the Writing Center to discuss their paper at some point in the semester, unless the faculty supervisor provides otherwise. The student and supervisor may wish to discuss the best timing for visiting the Writing Center.

Week 5 – turn in paper to faculty supervisor, receive timely feedback, and meet to discuss feedback

Week 9 – faculty supervisor may require the student to turn in a rewritten paper at this point in the semester, with the expectation that the student will revise this version before turning in the final rewritten paper

- if so, then the faculty supervisor will provide timely feedback and will confer with student about the feedback

End of reading period – turn in final rewrite of paper unless faculty supervisor allows a later date

How to Register for an Individual Research

After confirming your plans with a professor, submit the Individual Research Registration form to begin the process. When it is received, the Registrar’s office will confirm the submitted details with the professor and register you accordingly.