Ad Hoc Seminars

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Ad hoc seminars are student-developed, student-directed seminars that explore specialized legal topics not covered in a regularly-scheduled Duke Law course. Students interested in developing an ad hoc seminar should review this page and schedule an appointment with Director of Academic Advising, James Lambert to discuss the process before moving forward.

  • The seminar must be organized by a group of at least five and no more than ten students. All enrolled students must participate in the development and teaching of the seminar to earn credit for the course. Time spent developing the course should be tracked to be added the timekeeping tool once the course is approved. Make sure to note what you were doing with regard to course development.
  • The organizing students must develop a course description, syllabus, reading list, and identify student learning outcomes as part of the seminar proposal. The syllabus and reading list must be developed in consultation with a reference librarian to ensure that the most current and relevant resources are identified for the course. To contact Reference Services, visit Ask a Librarian.
  • Ad hoc seminars must be supervised by a faculty member who will assess the academic merit and the feasibility of the seminar proposal, and who will be responsible for observing the seminar and evaluating student performance. The student organizers should have a reasonably well-defined topic, including some level of background research on the subject matter, before approaching a faculty member to discuss their interest and availability to supervise the seminar.
  • While ad hoc seminars are a great opportunity to explore topics of interest that are not part of our regular curriculum, they should still be law-related and academic in nature. Readings must be of suitable to rigor required for academic credit.
  • Most ad hoc seminars are organized such that one or two students are responsible for leading each class meeting. The syllabus/reading list should do more than list the readings for each week—it should identify themes and/or topics for discussion and for any required reflection paper.
  • Ad hoc seminars may be for one or two credits and may be graded or credit/no-credit. Due to the regular teaching and research responsibilities of faculty, one-credit, C/NC ad hoc seminars are strongly preferred
  • Assessment of student learning must be by way of a seminar paper and/or series of reflection papers of the kind generally produced in seminars, to be evaluated by the faculty supervisor. Fifteen pages of writing are required per credit. Consistent with other seminar courses at the law school, at least part of the writing for a two-credit seminar should be research-based, rather than reflection papers.
  • Students must demonstrate compliance with all credit hour requirements. Each credit of an ad hoc seminar requires 770 instructional (in-class) minutes over the course of the semester and 30 hours (1800 minutes) of out-of-class work.
  • JD students are eligible to take ad hoc seminars in their 2L or 3L year, and may count up to four (4) credits of ad hoc seminar courses toward the number of credits required to graduate. Students may not be added after the course is approved as it is expected that all participating students will contribute to the development of the course.

The student organizers must submit to the Director of Academic Advising a written proposal containing a course description, syllabus, reading list, and enrollment list, and other materials consistent with the above along with a proposal form. The deadlines for ad hoc proposal submissions are:

  • July 15 for seminars to meet in the fall semester
  • December 1 for seminars to meet in the spring semester