LL.M. Writing Project Requirement
To earn the LL.M. degree, candidates must complete the LL.M. Writing Project—a research paper based on a student’s original legal research, which must meet the following criteria:
- The paper must be worth at least two points of academic credit.
A two-point paper, whether written as a seminar requirement or as supervised research, generally represents about 140 hours of work, or 10 hours per week, and is usually 20 to 25 pages or 6,500 to 8,000 words, although individual professors may have different requirements.
- The paper must be graded on the A-B-C-F scale.
Credit (Pass)/Fail or other non-evaluative grades are not permitted.
The following will not satisfy the LL.M. Writing Project requirement:
- Reaction papers, opinion papers, journal entries, or critiques.
- A series of shorter research papers whose total equals 20 to 25 pages.
- Non-research based writing projects.
- Papers for which the research is based entirely or mostly on reading materials (cases, articles, commentaries, etc.) assigned by a professor for the course or seminar.
- Papers written for courses taken outside the Law School.
- Assignments written for LL.M. Legal Research and Writing.
- Student journal articles, notes, or research assistant assignments unless the student writes a paper that meets the LL.M. Writing Project standards as supervised research (see below for details on supervised research).
The Writing Project requirement can be completed in several ways:
If a student is enrolled in a seminar that requires a 20 to 25 page research paper and that seminar is worth at least two points of academic credit, then the seminar paper will fulfill the Writing Project requirement.
If a seminar requires a research paper of fewer than 20 pages, a student may seek the instructor’s permission to write a longer research paper (20 to 25 pages or 6,500 to 8,000 words) in order to satisfy the Writing Project requirement. In such cases, if the student writes at least 10-15 additional pages, the student may be entitled to earn one additional point of academic credit. The student must register the additional point by completing the LL.M. Supervised Research Form, and selecting Supervised Research: Course Related, L6689. In the case of a two-credit seminar, the student will thus earn a total of three points of academic credit—two for the seminar and one for the additional work done on the paper. If a seminar provides the option of a final examination or a research paper, a student who opts to write the research paper will fulfill the Writing Project requirement provided the final work product meets the standards set forth above.
If a seminar has a final examination or a final project (e.g., Negotiation Workshop or Deals Workshop), instead of a research paper, a student may seek the instructor’s permission to write a research paper worth at least two points of academic credit (20 to 25 pages) in addition to the final exam or final project, in order to fulfill the Writing Project requirement. The student must register the additional two-point paper by completing the LL.M. Supervised Research Form, and selecting Research for the LL.M. Degree, L6691.
- Supervised Research
See LL.M. Supervised Research for more details.
- LL.M. Essay
See LL.M. Essay for more details.
Registering Your LL.M. Writing Project
All LL.M. candidates must complete the LL.M. Writing Project Registration Form. Candidates must obtain the signature of both the professor and either the dean, director or associate director of Graduate Legal Studies, and include on the form a full description of the type of paper to be written. The form is due October 1 for writing projects to be completed during the fall term and February 1 for writing projects to be completed during the spring term.
Please note: the LL.M. Writing Project should not be submitted to the Office of Graduate Legal Studies, nor must it meet the requirements of the LL.M. Essay [link to new page].