Standards for Directed Research

  1. A student is required to submit a Directed Research Proposal and Approval form (155 KB PDF) to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in hard copy before enrolling. The proposal would include why the topic is being chosen, whether the student has taken a class in the subject area, whether the student has undertaken research on this topic for work, another class, Law Journal or Moot Court and what the goals of the project are and the proposed hours of credit. The faculty member supervising the project and the Dean must approve the project in writing prior to enrollment.
  2. Directed Research projects must be supervised by the faculty member on a regular basis. Exactly how the project is to be supervised--weekly or less frequent meetings on an as needed basis is best left to the individual faculty member. However, the faculty member should set some deadlines and have at least four meetings with the student. Suggested meetings and deadlines:
    1. Two weeks after enrollment--topic outline of project to be reviewed with student to determine scope of research.
    2. Four weeks after enrollment--complete annotated outline submitted and reviewed with eye toward additional research requirements or aids.
    3. Eight weeks after enrollment--rough draft of project submitted, reviewed by faculty member with discussion to follow.
    4. One week before finals start, final product turned in.
    If the Directed Research is taken in the summer session, the faculty member and student should work out an acceptable comparable schedule for meetings and deadlines.
  3. As a general rule, the student should put in at least 43 hours of work for each credit hour. Before a student may receive credit for a directed research project, the student must submit a time sheet (18 KB Excel file) accurately recording all time spent on the project, including researching, writing, meeting with faculty, etc. The time sheet should be submitted to the faculty member along with the final draft of the project. Substantially more student work is required in producing a Directed Research project than a project that is the sole basis for a grade in a classroom course awarding the same number of credit hours. In classroom courses, the student has the additional requirements of preparation for and participation in class.
  4. A Directed Research project for three hours credit will be approved rarely and only for work by the student that substantially exceeds that required for most Directed Research projects.
  5. Production of a project that purports only to describe the existing law on a particular topic ordinarily will qualify for no more than one hour of academic credit. When the proposed topic is one that has been studied in a classroom course the student is taking or has completed, the proposed research must extensively explore facets of the topic not discussed in class to qualify for even one hour of credit.
  6. Students are not permitted to receive credit for Directed Research for a project produced for the student's employer, any other law school course or activity. A student may receive credit for additional research on a topic first researched for the student's employer but only if the amount of additional work by the student independently satisfies requirements for a Directed Research project. The student will be required to provide the professor at the outset of the project with the research already performed for the employer.
  7. Ordinary grading standards will be applied.
  8. As a general rule faculty members may supervise no more than four Directed Research projects a semester.

November 1, 1990; revised January 18, 2012; revised November 29, 2016; revised June 14, 2019.