Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Credit for Courses: Independent Research Credit Rules

Independent research is a student-initiated research opportunity. It comes into being only when a student wants to research a particular subject and searches out a faculty member to supervise the project.

To protect and assist a faculty member, we recommend that the faculty member not undertake such supervision alone, but with at least two colleagues, all of whom must "sign off" on the project. This is not part of the rules, since it is not part of our tradition (at Loyola or, we believe, in legal education in general), but we think that it has much to recommend it.

  1. If a faculty member does agree to supervise a project, the following matters must be made clear to the student:The student may receive one or two hours of academic credit for the project. The expectation is that any product will be an excellent work of publishable quality.
  2. In order for a student to receive one hour of credit, the student must produce a paper of approximately thirty (30) pages in length. In order for a student to receive two hours of credit, the student must produce a paper of approximately sixty (60) pages in length.
  3. The student must agree (a) to submit a written outline of the project; (b) to submit a first draft (which the faculty member will read, critique and return); and (c) to submit the final written product.
  4. All of the foregoing must be submitted on dates that are agreed upon beforehand. This will be done on a form that is submitted to the Registrar; that form is available on-line.
  5. Both the faculty supervisor and the student must sign the form and submit it to the Registrar in order for the student to be able to register for the credit. In addition, that form must be counter-signed in all cases by the Associate Dean for academic matters.
  6. The student has the right to withdraw from this experience to the extent that a student may withdraw from any other course.
  7. If the student fails to submit either the initial outline or the first draft by the designated date, the faculty member has the option to revoke his/her supervision by so notifying the Registrar. If this occurs within the normal time limits for change of registration, the student will receive an "EC" (nothing on the transcript); if after that date, the student will receive a "WI" (which shows on the transcript but has no effect on the student's grade point average). Whether or not there is a tuition benefit will depend on the date of the cancellation of registration (following University rules).
  8. If the student fails to submit the final written product of a fall project by the beginning of the spring semester, or fails to submit the final written product of a spring project by July 1 of that year, the student's registration for that credit must and will be final (that is, it will not be erased from the student's transcript); students will not be allowed to "carry over" such a project into the next term. The student will receive a "NC" on his/her transcript; there will be no tuition adjustment at that date. (The student and the faculty member can, of course, agree to have the student register for the project again in another semester; that registration, like all others, will also require the counter-signature of the Associate Dean for academic matters. This new project will be treated like any new course, that is, students will pay appropriate tuition, etc.)


  1. Students cannot register for more than two Independent Research or Directed Studies projects with the same teacher, total (that is, throughout the student's entire law school career).
  2. Students cannot register for an Independent Research and a Directed Study project with the same teacher in the same semester, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances.
  3. Students who register for Directed Study (or Independent Research) cannot receive any form of pay or compensation for the same or similar or related work.
  4. Students cannot receive credit for Independent Research (or Directed Study) for their work on articles for the Law Journal or the Consumer Law Reporter.
  5. Students cannot receive credit for Independent Research (or Directed Study) for their work in connection with seminars or other curricular or cocurricular activities for which they are receiving credit, unless the Independent Research project is substantially different from the other.
  6. In any event, the administrative work undertaken by students for a faculty member (e.g., in connection with supervision of cocurricular activities) should not be the basis for the granting of academic credit. Instead, students (preferably undergraduate work-study students) should be added to the payroll and paid by the hour for their work.