Instructions for LL.M. Students


Participants in the Winter Writing Program (WWP) will devote the winter term exclusively to the intensive research and/or writing of a paper worth 2 (or 3) credits under the supervision of an HLS faculty member. Placement in the program is in lieu of taking an HLS course for the winter term. In order to meet the minimum residency requirement, the research/writing done during the term must be for an approved writing project worth at least 2 HLS credits. The application deadline is Friday, November 15, 2013.

The work done during winter term is part of a larger project, typically the Written Work Requirement. It is the full project for which you register, and it is for the full project that you obtain an HLS faculty supervisor. The WWP itself does not confer credit. The following standard HLS writing formats qualify for the WWP; in either case, two of the applicable writing credits would be moved to the winter term.

  • LL.M. Long Paper written independently (3 writing credits, 2 of which would be placed in the winter term).
  • LL.M. Long Paper written in conjunction with a course or seminar (2 writing credits).

As explained further under Application Process below, the work to be completed during winter term should ideally be a draft of the paper or at least a detailed outline of the paper. You should be sure that the proposed paper is not similar to any other paper you have written or are now writing for degree credit. Please consult your faculty supervisor if needed.

In past years, students writing LL.M. Long Papers have reported the benefits of participating in the LL.M. Writers’ Workshop and making presentations of their work-in-progress to their assigned writing groups. WWP participants have reported this process as an aide to their progress over the winter term. Thus, applicants to the WWP are particularly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity at the earliest possible date.

Remember that if you participate in the Winter Term Writing Program, you cannot switch to writing a shorter paper later on. The Graduate Program evaluates applications carefully to help ensure that all students who enroll are prepared to make substantial progress on their research and writing during the winter term.

Check Degree Credit Requirements

It is the responsibility of all applicants considering the WWP in lieu of a winter course to first check their LLM credits against HLS degree requirements. Taking the WWP instead of a winter course eliminates the winter term as a source of classroom credits.

Application Process

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Program Office (WCC 5005) by November 15, 2013. All applications must be signed by the HLS faculty member who is to supervise the project; students should also direct their supervisors to the “Guidelines for Faculty Supervisors” document (either in hard copy or on line, depending on the supervisor’s preference).

  1. The application must contain a clear description of a feasible topic and a workable research methodology, all as set forth in a proposal approved by your HLS faculty supervisor. During the fall term, you must have done the necessary research to define your topic, identify key sources and work out your approach. This requirement is meant to assure that intensive directed research and/or writing can continue at a strong pace at the very start of the winter term. Students who have progressed with their intensive research prior to the winter term should find it possible to submit at least a detailed outline (or a first draft) to the faculty supervisor by the end of the winter term.
  2. The application must describe an arrangement for adequate supervision and assurance that the work will be done while the student is in residence in Cambridge. Such an arrangement could entail formal meetings and informal contact between the student and the faculty supervisor.
  3. Proposed Work Outside of Cambridge: A small number of students may be permitted to do their research outside of Cambridge during the winter term if necessary to the project. If you propose to do this, your application must make a clear case as to why you the work cannot be done in Cambridge (e.g. it involves source material unavailable at or through HLS), must define the nature and scope of the research work, and specify how your time will be spent outside Cambridge, including specific dates and locations. Where interviews are contemplated, the application must include the names of the subjects, the dates on which the interviews will take place, and a draft interview script. The application must also describe an arrangement for adequate supervision by your HLS faculty supervisor while you are away from Cambridge and assurance that the work will be done by the deadline specified below in Completion of Work.

Important Notes:

Students on visas who propose to travel outside the United States for the WWP should contact the Harvard International Office at (617) 496-2819 before you apply to the WWP. Changes in the laws may affect your ability to travel outside the United States and to return. Please also check this web site: Any student considering travel outside the United States should check all relevant travel advisories, and will be contacted separately regarding procedures for international travel.

Students are responsible for the ethical implications of their research. If a student’s project involves interviews, surveys, or obtaining information about individuals by other means, it may require review by the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research. The Law School liaison at the Committee, Rebecca Holmes-Farley (, can help determine whether a student’s project requires review, and assist with the application process.

  1. If you are registered in a winter course for which add/drop is administered through the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (“OCP”), you must follow OCP procedures and drop deadlines to avoid receipt of a WD; for further information regarding drop deadlines for clinical courses, you should contact OCP directly.
  2. If the project in your WWP application is in addition to any other extra-credit writing project(s) that you have in progress, you must follow applicable procedures for multiple written work projects (this includes multiple projects for the same supervisor as well as projects with different supervisors). Please consult with Nancy Pinn ( to determine whether you will need to file additional documentation. If you have questions about the multiple use of part or all of a single paper, as specified in the HLS Handbook of Academic Policies under Academic Honesty, please consult with the Graduate Program Office before the WWP application deadline.

Faculty Supervision and Completion of WWP Work

  • You and your faculty supervisor must agree on the final product for the WWP. The work to be completed should be a draft of a paper, or at minimum a detailed outline. You will not receive a grade, however, until the final paper is completed.
  • You must submit the agreed-upon work to your faculty supervisor by the deadline you have agreed on. Each faculty supervisor must file a signed report indicating that he/she has received the work specified for the winter term and that the work is complete and satisfactory.
  • If the work to be completed during the winter term is not the final paper, the final paper is due on April 25, 2014, or by an earlier date if required by your supervisor.

Your WWP application should represent a thorough and complete process of planning and discussion with your faculty supervisor since this same faculty member will supervise you through to completion of your paper.

Calendar for the January 2014 Winter Writing Program

November 15, 2013 Application deadline

January 6, 2014 Start of winter term

January 24, 2014 End of winter term

January 27, 2014 Start of spring term