Petition to Register for Independent Research

Independent Research (commonly called a “499” after the old registration number) gives students the opportunity to work closely with a professor on an academic topic of mutual interest.

Independent Research may be supervised by a member of the faculty (including Emeriti, Visiting Faculty, and Senior Lecturers at the Law School, as well as tenured university faculty who maintain permanent offices in the law school, but excluding Bigelow and other Fellows as well as other Lecturers in Law) who is in full-time residence at the Law School. Visiting faculty may supervise Independent Research if they are willing to do so and if they are available to work with students until the Independent Research is completed, which in many cases will be after their visit has ended. Lecturers may not supervise Independent Research without advanced approval. Students who would like to work with a lecturer on an Independent Research project must submit a request to the Rules and Petitions Committee (via the Dean of Students) for advance permission to do so.

Please follow these steps to register for a 499:

-        Discuss the project with the faculty member;

-        Obtain the faculty member’s written consent to supervise the project via his or her signature on a properly completed Independent Research Petition (found below); and

-        Submit the form to the Assistant Registrar no later than the last day of the Instructor Approved Add/Drop Period.

Some students use the 499 as an opportunity to attempt to “write-on” to a journal.  Please refer to Section 1.17 (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 a 499 to “write-on.”

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Assistant Registrar, Jim Courtney at or 773-834-4255.

Download the Petition