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Academic Policies

VI. COURSES AND COURSE ENROLLMENT

H. INDEPENDENT RESEARCH

Eligible students may receive credit for independent research projects resulting in substantial research papers supervised and graded by eligible Law School faculty members.

NOTE: Independent research projects are subject to the same policies as other courses. Policies governing withdrawal, paper deadline extensions, the upper-level writing requirement, grading, etc., with the exception of class attendance all apply. 

Independent research projects are subject to the following restrictions:

1) First-year students are not eligible to enroll in independent research projects.

2) Only full-time resident law faculty members may supervise independent research projects (see section I.G). Emeriti and visiting faculty members may supervise with the permission of the vice dean. Supervision by a member of the faculty of another school in the University is permitted with consultation by a member of the law faculty and with permission of the assistant dean for academic services.

3) Preliminary enrollment in semester-long and fall/spring yearlong research projects must be completed through SIS. All spring/fall yearlong research projects must be processed by paper application through the Student Records Office. NOTE: Confirm with the potential supervising faculty member that he or she is willing to supervise your project BEFORE enrolling in an independent research project.

4) Final enrollment is accomplished when a completed Independent Research Application is submitted to the Student Records Office by the end of the add/drop period of the semester in which the project is undertaken.

5) Students may earn one, two or three credits for each project based upon the substantiality of the paper produced. The number of credits to be earned is specified at the time of application. Students need to realistically plan the number of credits a given research project can support.
 
6) Credit for a single independent research project of two or three credits may be spread over two consecutive semesters for students whose actual work on the project extends over this period.

7) The supervising faculty member, in consultation with the assistant dean for academic services, may approve credit and time period changes to the project. However, absolutely no changes can be made after November 1 for projects due in the fall or April 1 for projects due in the spring.

8) Unless the supervising faculty member establishes an earlier deadline, the research paper must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on the last day of the exam period in the semester in which the paper is to be graded. Exceptions to this deadline may be granted only by the assistant dean for academic services or the assistant dean for student affairs.
Credits Paper Length
1
2
3
7,500 words
12,000 words
18,000 words

9) Guidelines for paper length by number of credits are provided here. Typed, letter-sized (8 1/2” x 11”), double-spaced pages, footnotes included, are assumed. These are intended only as guidelines; final determination of requirements is left to the supervising faculty member.

10) The final research paper must be submitted through the Law School’s online exam/paper submission system in accordance with the announced deadline. Late paper submissions will be penalized in accordance with section IV.D. of the Academic Policies.

11) No independent research credit may be earned in an academic year during which the student is enrolled in a third-year thesis (see section III.D).      

12) Any paper submitted for academic credit as independent research and also to satisfy membership or publication requirements of a journal must be completed and submitted  before the editorial process begins. Papers submitted after editorial work has begun will not be accepted for academic credit. This does not mean a student cannot discuss the project with anyone; quite the contrary. It is desirable to discuss the research and findings with others, including the journal editor who might know about the topic. The writing, however, should be entirely and exclusively the student’s own work.

13) Independent research credits will be combined with directed research credits for purposes of applying the overall ceilings on independent research credit (see section VI.E.F); i.e., students may earn a maximum of eight credits; a maximum of four credits per academic year; and a maximum of six credits under the supervision of any one faculty member. The hour limits described above are prescribed by the faculty and will not be waived except in very unusual circumstances, and then only upon request of the supervising professor to the assistant dean for academic services.

I. JANUARY TERM COURSES

The January Term is a distinct short course term separate from the fall and spring semesters. As such, January Term courses are not included in calculating course loads for the fall or spring semesters, but the credits are included in calculating the 86 credits required for graduation. January Term courses are offered each year during the weeks immediately preceding the start of spring semester courses. Typically, they meet for 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) per day for five consecutive days. Students earn one credit in each course. Courses are offered in both the morning (9:30-noon) and the afternoon (1:30-4), but students may enroll in only one January Term course each year.

EXCEPTION: While considered January Term courses, the rules for the Trial Advocacy College and study-abroad January term courses differ. As long as there is no time conflict, eligible students can enroll in the Trial Advocacy College and one regular week-long January Term course.

Exams and papers for January Term courses are due no later than two weeks after the course ends; final grades are due no later than four weeks after assignments are due (six weeks after the course ends). Students are expected to attend 100 percent of class sessions. The instructor may reduce a student’s grade for any absence and a student who misses more than one class session risks receiving a WF grade. Special add/drop rules apply to January Term courses as follows:

1) After the add/drop period ends in December, students may enroll in, but not drop from, January Term courses that have not yet begun and are not fully enrolled.

2) For January Term courses that are not fully enrolled when the first class session begins, students may add (with instructor approval) and drop until the second class session begins.

3) Students may not drop from January Term courses that are fully enrolled when the first class session begins.

J. JAG SCHOOL COURSES
Each year the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School invites law students to enroll in a few of their courses. While the JAG School is not a department at the University, their courses are treated as courses in other University departments (section VI.E.) as follows:

K. MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE COURSES

Mutually exclusive courses are courses that cover material so duplicative of each other that only one of the courses may be completed for credit. Students may not enroll in mutually exclusive courses including multiple sections of the same course (e.g., two sections of Evidence). Mutually exclusive courses are listed in the online course descriptions on the Law School’s website.

L. PREREQUISITE COURSES

Many courses have prerequisites (or, in a few cases, concurrent requisites). Prerequisites are listed in the online course descriptions on the Law School’s website. Students must meet all prerequisite requirements for courses they wish to enroll in or have an approved prerequisite waiver on file in the Student Records Office in order to be enrolled. Only course instructors may waive course prerequisites. To obtain a waiver, students must arrange for the instructor to e-mail a prerequisite waiver directly to the Student Records Office.

M. REPEATING COURSES

Students may not repeat courses in which passing grades were earned. Students may re-enroll in courses in which they earned failing grades. Each enrollment will appear, with associated grades, on the student’s transcript. All grades received are included in GPA calculations. A student who earns a failing grade in a required course may elect to re-enroll in the course with any instructor she or he chooses unless the faculty member assigning the failing grade requires otherwise.
 
N. SHORT COURSES

Short courses are designated "(SC)" at the end of the course title. Short courses are specialized courses typically offered by visiting experts in a given area of the law. While most are scheduled for a two-week period, some may be longer. Exams and papers for short courses are due no later than two weeks after the course ends; final grades are due no later than four weeks after assignments are due (six weeks after the course ends). Students are expected to attend 100 percent of class sessions. The instructor may reduce a grade for any absence and a student who attends fewer than 80 percent of class sessions risks receiving a WF grade. Special add/drop rules apply to short courses, including JAG School “short courses,” as follows:

1) After the add/drop period ends, students may enroll in, but not drop from, short courses that have not yet begun and are not fully enrolled.

2) For short courses that are not fully enrolled when the first class session begins (including those that begin during the add/drop period), students may add (with instructor approval) and drop until the second class session begins.

3) Students may not drop from short courses that are fully enrolled when the first class session begins (including those that begin during the add/drop period).

O. TIME CONFLICTS

Students may not enroll in courses with overlapping class meeting times no matter how minuscule the overlap. In addition, no credit will be granted for courses scheduled so close together that full attendance is unlikely. At least 15 minutes must be allowed between consecutively scheduled courses not on the same campus (North Grounds and Main Grounds are considered separate campuses for purposes of this rule). Please note that other schools’ enrollment schedules may differ from the Law School’s, and the Student Records Office may not learn of a time conflict until after the add/drop period has ended. Nevertheless, students will be dropped from one of the conflicting courses when a conflict is discovered.

P. YEARLONG COURSES

Yearlong courses are designated “(YR)” at the end of the course title. Unless specified otherwise, students receive a YR (yearlong) grade and no credits at the end of the first semester. Final grades and all credits earned are assigned at the end of the second semester only. NOTE: Withdrawing from a yearlong course, particularly during the second semester, may affect students’ residency status for one or even two semesters.

Index

Academic Policies (continued)