Petition to Register for Independent Research

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”, 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 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