Directed Research and Study
DIRECTED RESEARCH AND STUDY PERMISSION FORMS MUST BE SUBMITTED AND APPROVED BEFORE REGISTERING FOR THE COURSE. SUBMISSION AND APPROVAL OF THE PERMISSION FORMS DO NOT CONSTITUTE REGISTRATION FOR THE COURSE.
The Directed Research and Study application form is available in the Student Affairs Registration Office in TNH 2.116, and online on the Forms page.
- COVID-19 Update: For Fall 2021 DRS registration, Law Academic Services is accepting digital signatures and/or approvals from supervising professors via email. Send all completed forms and/or emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These rules are intended to combine and supersede the prior rules for the separate categories of courses known as Directed Research and Directed Study. A Directed Research and Study project is one what involves either: (1) faculty directed independent scholarly research culminating in a final paper or project; or (2) faculty directed independent study involving knowledge skills or experience related to law, regular student faculty interaction, and faculty feedback and evaluation.
- Directed Research and Study (DRS) offerings must be approved in advance of registration for the course. For DRS offerings of 3 credits or less per semester, the approval must be sought from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. For DRS offerings of 4-6 credits per semester, approval must be sought from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs pursuant to Rule 8, below.
- For the summer session, students must register for DRS by the fourth class day of the first term. DRS is available only as a full-semester course. Late registration for DRS is not available.
- DRS may be offered only by a law school faculty member (including modified service faculty, lecturers, library staff who regularly teach courses for credit, and visiting faculty), or an interdisciplinary faculty member. Except in extraordinary circumstances DRS offerings may not be supervised by adjunct faculty members.
- The predominant purpose of all DRS offerings must be to provide a substantial pedagogic benefit to the student. All DRS offerings must entail close and sustained faculty supervision. If the DRS offering is intended to culminate in a final product (either written or otherwise), that product must reflect serious independent research and analysis on the part of the student. An appendix to these rules includes a nonexclusive list of the types of projects that are appropriate for DRS credit and the types that are not.
- Teaching Assistants may be awarded 1-3 DRS credits per semester for their work as TAs, so long as the TA position entails close and sustained scholarly and pedagogic interaction with the supervising faculty member. TAs are to be used as supplemental instructors for the enhancement of the learning experience for the students enrolled in the class, not as substitute instructors during regularly scheduled class meetings. The number of credits a student may receive for TAing a given course may not exceed the credit hours earned by a student taking the course, and a student may not receive credit for TAing the same course more than once. DRS credits for serving as a TA must be awarded on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not receive monetary compensation for teaching assistantships for which they are receiving academic credit.
- Students may register for no more than 6 DRS credit hours per semester.
- Unless granted an exception by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, a student may take no more than 6 DRS credit hours with any particular faculty member. Exceptions should be granted only where the student has proposed an unusually ambitious project of substantial pedagogic value that cannot fruitfully be undertaken without an exemption from this rule.
- To obtain permission to register for a DRS offering of 4-6 credits in one semester, the student and her faculty advisor must prepare a detailed proposal explaining the purpose of the project, the proposed course of study, the extent and type of faculty supervision that will be provided to the student, and the type of final product that will result from the DRS. This DRS Proposal must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, which will then schedule a meeting at which the student and the faculty supervisor must appear to discuss the project. The proposal must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before the student may register for the DRS offering.
- To obtain permission to register for more than 6 DRS credits with a particular faculty advisor, the student and her faculty advisor must prepare a detailed proposal explaining the purpose of the project, the proposed course of study, the extent and type of faculty supervision that will be provided to the student, the type of final product that will result from the DRS, and the exceptional circumstances that justify an exception to the 6 credit maximum with a particular professor. This DRS Proposal must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, which will then schedule a meeting at which the student and the faculty supervisor must appear to discuss the project. The proposal must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before the student may register for the DRS offering.
- DRS offerings of 1-3 credits may be assessed on a pass/fail standard or awarded a letter grade, at the discretion of the supervising faculty member. Election of the grading standard is to occur when the permission form is submitted. Any DRS project that is awarded a letter grade must culminate in the production of a final product upon which that grade is to be based. A 1 credit DRS should result in a paper that is at least 20 double-spaced pages, a 2- credit DRS should result in a paper equal to that of a seminar (30-40 double-spaced pages), and 3 credits may be awarded for work substantially beyond that (50-60 double-spaced pages).
- All DRS offerings of more than 3 credits must be awarded a letter grade on the basis of a final product. The final product must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before a grade can be submitted for the course by the supervising faculty member.
- A maximum of 12 DRS credits may be counted toward the fulfillment of law school graduation requirements.
- The number of credit hours to be awarded DRS projects is a function of time spent by the student. Each credit hour represents at least 60 hours of work by the student. Ordinarily, a Directed Research project should receive two hours credit. Three credits may be awarded for work substantially beyond that normally required for a seminar paper.
- At the end of each semester, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must circulate to the tenured and tenure-track faculty a list of all the DRS projects approved under paragraphs 5, 7, 8, and 9 above.