Independent Research Projects

Individual Research Projects (IRP) allow upper level students to earn one, two or three out-of-class credits by engaging in original research and preparing a substantial work product under the direct supervision of a faculty member. A student may enroll in only one IRP in each semester and no more than five IRP credit hours each year.

A student enrolling in IRP must both register for the course and enter into a contract with a member of the faculty. The contract should set forth the number of credits to be earned, describe the project to be undertaken, set deadlines for submission of drafts, state how frequently the faculty member and student will be meeting to discuss the progress of the project, and spell out any other provisions the faculty member and student deem pertinent.

The student must also prepare and attach to the contract prior to submitting it to the faculty supervisor, a list of the titles (and subjects, if subjects are not apparent from titles) of all papers previously written for law school credit, including, but not limited to, papers for seminars, courses, other IRP’s, and law journals.

Once the faculty member and the student have signed the contract, the student should submit it to the Associate Dean for approval by the date in each semester for dropping or adding courses at the student’s discretion. After the Associate Dean signs the contract, the credit hours to be earned may not be changed. The original contract will be placed in the student’s file, and copies will be given to the student and faculty member.

As a rule of thumb, the student should expect to devote 3-5 hours per week over a 15-week semester for a one credit IRP, 6-10 hours per week per semester for a two credit IRP, or 12-15 hours per week for a three credit IRP. Customarily, the project will be a research paper, but the faculty supervisor and the student retain flexibility in end product, and this policy acknowledges that other research and writing experiences may fit within the description of the IRP. Where the project is a research paper, the finished product should be respectively 10-15, 20-30, or 35-50 double-spaced, typewritten pages of publishable quality.

Each project should be designed to be completed in one semester. Any extension in deadline must receive the approval of both the faculty member and the Associate Dean. The faculty member is solely in charge of grading the project, and the grade shall be a letter grade corresponding to law school course grades.

Students enrolling in IRP, whether for one, two, or three out-of-class credits, are expected to undertake and complete new academic work and should take note of College Honor Code, Section 2.01, which states that submitting work for credit in a course when that work has already been used for credit in a previous law school course is subject to investigation and possible sanctions, unless the student has permission from the instructor in the second course.

You can request an IRP contract from the registrar's office by completing the form request.

Questions, please contact:

College of Law 
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210040
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0040
phone: 513-556-0070
fax: 513-556-5777