Texas Tech University

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

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Upper-Level Writing Requirement


Academic Policies and Graduation Requirement

Date Approved and/or Revised

February 24, 2016, June 1, 2019 (revised)

Upper Level Writing Requirement

To graduate, a J.D. student must earn an average of "C+" or better on the writing assignments of at least one course that satisfies the upper level writing requirement ("ULWR”). A faculty member teaching such a course has discretion to impose a higher minimum grade for satisfying the ULWR. A faculty member may also certify that work completed for an ungraded course satisfies the ULWR.

In general, satisfaction of the ULWR requires a minimum of 5,000 words of finished written work reflecting substantial legal analysis and research. A faculty member teaching a ULWR course may increase this requirement.

Writing assignments satisfying the ULWR may include, among other possibilities: (a) a long research paper; (b) a series of shorter research or analytical papers; (c) substantial litigation documents (e.g., a memorandum in support of summary judgment, an appellate brief); or (d) substantial transactional documents (e.g., acquisition agreements, opinion letters).

ULWR courses require formative assessment of writing. This must include an iterative process in which the student submits written work, receives substantial faculty feedback, and then completes further written work in response to this feedback. Where a ULWR course requires one long paper, formative assessment will require the student to submit more than one draft for faculty evaluation.