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Requirements for Supervised Research Projects

Supervised research projects afford Vanderbilt law students the flexibility to pursue legal topics of special interest that are unavailable through seminars offered during their second and third years.

While supervised research projects demand less in terms of scheduled class time, their purpose is to provide students with the same experience of researching and writing a major paper as students who choose seminars, which includes familiarizing themselves with existing scholarship on their chosen subject. If you choose to satisfy the research requirement by completing a Supervised Research Project, you must follow these procedures

  • Submit a written proposal outlining the research project for which you seek supervision to a full-time faculty member no later than the last day of scheduled classes in the first semester of your third year of law school.
  • Secure the agreement of a full-time faculty member to supervise your project. Only full-time faculty (including visiting faculty) may act as supervisors. Neither adjunct faculty nor legal writing instructors may act as supervisors.
  • In addition to producing a paper meeting or exceeding the same standards as papers produced in seminars
  • Secure the approval of your research proposal from the faculty member who has agreed to serve as supervisor
  • Obtain a supervised research project form from the Academic Life Office, complete the form and have it signed by your faculty supervisor, and turn it in before the end of the drop/add period of the second semester of your third year.
    • Your completed form must include a brief description of the proposed research project.
    • Your supervised research project will be added to your schedule only after your form has been received by the Registrar.
  • Work closely with the faculty supervisor to refine your research topic, identify existing literature on the subject, and developing your own thesis.
  • Turn in at least one complete draft of the research paper for comments from the supervising faculty member before you submit the final draft.
  • Produce a paper that meets or exceeds the same standards as papers produced in seminars.