Independent Research Petition

Independent research gives students the opportunity to work closely with a professor on a topic of mutual interest, usually with the goal of the student producing a major or substantial research paper. Independent research may be supervised by a member of the tenured or tenure track faculty at the Law School, or Visiting Faculty, Emeriti, faculty members holding the title of “Clinical Professor of Law”, “Associate Clinical Professor of Law”, “Assistant Clinical Professor of Law”, Professors from Practice, Senior Lecturers at the Law School, and tenured University of Chicago faculty with permanent offices at the Law School (but excluding Bigelow and other Fellows and Lecturers in Law) who are in full-time residence at the Law School. Visiting Faculty may supervise independent research if they are willing and available to work with students until the independent research is completed, which in many cases will be after their visit has ended. Students who would like to work with a Lecturer in Law on an independent research project must submit a petition to the Rules and Petitions Committee (via the Dean of Students) for advance permission to do so.

Please follow these steps to register for an Independent Research:

  • Discuss the project with the faculty member;
  • Obtain the faculty member’s consent to supervise the project via email. The consent should acknowledge whether you are requesting WP or SRP credit for your project. Please upload an email of the approval in the space provided below.
  • This petition must be submitted no later than the last day of the Instructor Approved Add/Drop Period.

Some students use the Independent Research as an opportunity to attempt to “write-on” to a journal.  Please refer to Section 6.1 (JOURNALS) of the Student Handbook for a more detailed description of the process of writing onto a journal and the pros and cons of using Independent Research to “write-on.”

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Office of the Registrar at

Year of Study
Credits (3 by default)
(6000-7500 word paper; 6000-9000 word paper for SRP's)
(4500-6000 word paper)
(3000-3600 word paper)
Do you intend for your paper to fulfill any of the following Writing Requirements?
One file only.
10 MB limit.
Allowed types: gif, jpg, png, bmp, tif, txt, rtf, html, odf, pdf, doc, docx, jpg, png.