Upper-Level Writing Requirements
Juris Doctor Substantial Research Paper Requirement
Every J.D. degree candidate must complete a substantial research paper (SRP). A SRP is:
- a careful, extensive and original treatment of a topic that has been certified in advance as appropriate for SRP designation by a full-time member of the Law School’s resident faculty (or non-resident visiting or part-time faculty member approved by the dean) who also has agreed to supervise preparation of the paper;
- submitted by a student who has taken advantage of one or more opportunities to respond to suggestions and criticism in producing the paper; and
- not largely derivative of pre-existing or concurrent work undertaken for another academic degree, internship or other job, or some other project outside of the Law School (for example, a moot court or an exchange program).
A SRP is typically 40 pages in length, but revisions and opportunities to rework arguments and writing are more important than length.
A paper completed for a Law School course designated by the faculty as an advanced legal writing course may satisfy the SRP requirement if it is approved by the instructor of that course for this purpose.
A paper completed for independent study credit under the supervision of a faculty member in full-time residence at the Law School (or a non-resident part-time or visiting faculty member approved by the dean) may satisfy the SRP requirement.
Juris Master Thesis Requirement
Every J.M. degree candidate must complete and successfully defend a graduation thesis. The paper requirements for the graduation thesis are equivalent to those for the SRP and a student may submit a paper for which SRP credit was approved as his/her thesis.