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Grading System

Grading System

Faculty members shall submit grades to the Registrar within twenty (20) days following the last examination of the semester.  For boot camps and other courses taught on a non-semester basis, faculty members shall submit grades to the Registrar within twenty (20) days following the last day of class for the course, or within twenty (20) days following the due date for any final exam, paper or other assignment in the class.  In the event faculty members fail to submit grades within the twenty (20) day period, a public e-mail shall be sent listing those faculty members who are late with their grades, with discretion given to the Dean to exclude the names of those with a legitimate excuse. College Council – November 18, 2004; March 3, 2005; November 21, 2011

1. General Rule. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph 2 below, grades in all courses with enrollment of more than 15 students shall achieve a mean within the range of 3.10 to 3.30.

2. Exceptions. Notwithstanding paragraph 1 above, the mandatory mean shall not apply to the following:
(a) Grades for Judicial Process, and for teaching assistants in the Legal Methods course and the Academic Support Program.
(b) By petition of the instructor within one week after the add-drop deadline and approval of the Academic Dean, grades in courses meeting the following requirements: (i) the course has enrollment of 25 students or less; and (ii) in accordance with procedures set forth in the course syllabus, the instructor provides students with extensive formative assessment of their written work designed to result in excellent final work product, such as thorough instructor commentary on one or more successive drafts of a substantial research paper or other major written project upon which the instructor will base students’ final grades.
(c) The Academic Dean may also exempt from the mandatory mean a subset of students in a course with respect to whom the requirements of paragraph 2(b) are met; and if the Academic Dean grants such an exemption and there are 15 or fewer other students enrolled in the course, the entire course shall be exempted from the mandatory mean policy.
(d) Approval by the Academic Dean under paragraph 2(b) or 2(c) shall be effective only for the semester in which the petition is filed.

3. Before posting grades each semester, all instructors teaching sections of the same first-year course shall confer in an effort to achieve a comparable distribution of grades across all sections. A consistent distribution across sections is a goal, not a requirement, of this consultation.

4. In all courses to which the mandatory mean set forth in paragraph 1 does not apply, instructors are strongly encouraged not to deviate from the 3.10-3.30 mean GPA range unless actual student performance is either unusually strong or unusually weak, and application of the mean would result in grades that either understate or overstate the merits of actual student performance.

College Council – March 5, 2009

A faculty member may give D’s and F’s the same value as a C- solely for purposes of the mean calculation.

College Council – September 22, 2005

Effective Fall 2009

Grades at the College of Law shall consist of the following:

1. Letter Grades – For all courses not included below, students shall receive letter grades.

2. Pass/Fail – Students shall receive a grade of pass or fail for clinic placements, student-edited journals, moot court board, and Traynor moot court participation. For directed research, students shall receive either a letter grade or a grade of pass or fail, as determined by the instructor. For competitions, students shall receive a grade of pass or fail unless the instructor, in consultation with the associate dean for academic affairs, elects to give letter grades to all students participating in the particular competition.

3. Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) – Students may elect to take one (1) advanced non-required course for CR/NC. Students may not exercise the CR/NC option in any College of Law required course (e.g., Constitutional Law II, Legal Profession, and any course to fulfill the seminar requirement or any course that counts toward a Certificate). Students may take only one course on a CR/NC basis during their law degree program. To receive credit, students must earn a grade of C- or better. The Registrar’s Office will send out an email with instructions during the last week of classes. Students may elect the CR/NC course during the final week of classes each semester and must make their election no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last regularly scheduled class day of the semester.

College Council – November 20,2008

  1. Class standings (numerical rank order of students) will not be maintained by the College of Law, except for the top ten GPAs in each graduating class, which will be calculated at the end of fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students with such a GPA will be individually informed. In the case of a tie, students with the same GPA will receive the same rank.
  2. At the end of fall, spring, and summer semesters, students will be provided with GPA cut-offs for the top 5% (second and third year classes only), 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30% and 50% of students in their class.

College Council—December 1, 2005; April 16, 2010; April 5, 2016; September 28, 2017

A student whose GPA is in the bottom 15% of the class at any time will be required to meet with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for academic advising and other appropriate assistance. In the discretion of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, in consultation with the Academic Support Program faculty and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the student will be required to do some or all of the following:
• Participate in the Academic Support Program;
• Meet with designated faculty members to review exams;
• Meet with a designated faculty member for curricular planning;
• Register for and complete specified law classes;
• Satisfy other requirements or conditions that the Associate Dean for Student Affairs deems appropriate.

College Council – April 5, 2016

a. A student with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.5 at the end of the first year or any semester thereafter is automatically dismissed from the law school, but he or she may petition for readmission.

b. A student with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.7 at any time will be required to meet with the dean of students for academic advising and other appropriate assistance.

College Council – March 13, 2008

A student who has not completed the second year may retake any first year class in which his or her grade was “C-” or less.

The second grade will replace the first for purposes of GPA and class standing, but both grades will be reported on the student’s record. The course will be counted only once for purposes of hours of credit towards graduation, in the amount of the hours for the second taking. No course may be retaken more than once.

College Council – March 13, 2008

a. At the end of each academic year, the students in each class with the top five GPA’s will be provided with the following awards:

Dean’s Award (awarded to student with highest GPA in each class)
Faculty Award (awarded to student with second highest GPA in each class)
College Award (awarded to student with third highest GPA in each class)
Barrister Award (awarded to student with fourth highest GPA in each class)
Quinney Award (awarded to student with fifth highest GPA in each class)

In the case of ties, the students with the same GPA will receive the same award.

b. Students may graduate with honors based on cumulative GPA at graduation as follows:
Highest Honors        3.8 and above
High Honors             3.6 and above
Honors                       3.4 and above

College Council—April 13, 2006; April 16, 2010

GPAs are calculated based upon a 0.0 to 4.0 range. Below is a list of the standard letter grades that may be given for College of Law courses, along with their associated point values for those grades:


To determine a GPA in the 0.0 to 4.0 range, the associated point value of the letter grade given for a course is multiplied by the number of credit hours for that course. This new value is referred to as the number of “grade points” that the student received for the course. All of the grade points that a student has, either by semester or cumulatively, are added up, then divided by the total number of credit hours used to determine the grade points.

In lieu of a standard letter grade, an instructor may assign the following for a particular course. Whether a course is CR/NC or P/F is established by the Curriculum Committee; a student does not have the option to elect CR/NC or P/F in a graded course.

CR – Student receives non-graded credit for the course.
NC – Student receives no grade or credit for the course.
P – Student receives non-graded credit for the course.
F – Student failed the course. An F affects the student’s GPA the same as an E.
EU – The grade EU is given to a student whose name appears on the Registrar’s final grade report but for whom there is no record of attendance or other evidence of participation in the course. When the instructor enters no grade for such students, the Registrar records a grade of EU in the student’s record. The EU grade, thereafter, is treated as an E in calculating the student’s GPA.
I – The grade I (incomplete) may be given for work not completed because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, provided the student is passing the course and needs to complete 20 percent or less of the work required for the course. Arrangements must be made between the student and the instructor concerning completion of the work. An I grade must not be used in a way that permits students to retake a course without paying tuition. Students who attend classes in a particular course during a subsequent semester in an effort to complete an incomplete must register (either as a regular student or for audit) for the course that semester.
T – The grade T (thesis/independent work) is given for thesis or other independent work in progress, but not for regular courses. The T grade remains in the student record until the work is completed and a letter grade is reported to the Registrar. There is no time limit governing removal of the T grade.
W – The grade W (official withdrawal) is given when a student officially withdraws from a class or from school after the 7th calendar day of the semester. Official withdrawals from a course or school before the 8th calendar day of the semester results in the deletion of affected courses from the student’s records. The grade W is not used in calculating a student’s GPA. For official withdrawal policies and procedures consult current registration materials distributed from the Registration Office.
V – The V (audit) grade is given for enrollment in courses for instruction without credit. Regular class attendance without other participation is customary. Students indicate their desire to audit a class at registration and obtain instructors approval. Tuition and fees are assessed at the same rate as classes taken for credit.

A book containing course grade distribution with median grade and mean average, for classes with eight or more students, shall be made available to students in the front office.

College Council – May 13, 1986; March 20, 2012

A student may appeal a grade received in any course in accordance with the grade appeal procedures found in the Student Code, Policy 6-400, Section IV-Student Academic Performance.

A student wishing to petition for readmission must submit the request in writing to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. The decision to readmit will be made by the College of Law Readmission Committee, which may require the petitioning student to interview with the Readmission Committee.

A student will be readmitted upon establishing:

  • past failure was due to circumstances beyond the student’s control or, in instances where a student has withdrawn or failed to complete J.D. requirements within four years, legitimate reasons for the student’s withdrawal or failure to timely complete the requirements, and
  • there is a substantial likelihood of success if the student is readmitted.

Earlier committee decisions are res judicata, but a student who petitions for readmission after being denied readmission by an earlier committee need show a substantial change in circumstances that indicates a substantial likelihood of success.

In order to achieve continuity in the decision process, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs should be made a permanent member of the committee.  The Associate Dean of Student Affairs is also responsible for keeping a file of committee decisions with a statement of considerations and reasons for each decision, including the committee’s vote, and for overseeing the implementation of conditions that the committee imposed as a requirement for readmission.

In every case where the committee readmits a student, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs will ensure that a statement explaining the considerations that led to the decision, including any conditions imposed by the committee on the student’s readmission, is placed and kept in the student’s file.

If a student registers and begins summer school classes before the committee has considered any disqualification resulting from pre-summer school grades, the committee will consider summer school grades for the purpose of determining the probability of successful completion of Law School requirements. If summer school grades bring the students GPA to 2.0 (2.5 beginning with the class of 2011) or above, the committee will not inquire whether the student’s earlier average was caused by circumstances beyond his or her control. In considering summer school grades, however, the committee may give reduced weight to those grades if it determines that the grading standards applied in the relevant summer school courses were clearly inconsistent with the usual standards applied in other courses at the College of Law.

The decision of the committee is final. No appeal to faculty, Dean, or College Council is provided.

College Council – March 6, 1985; April 27, 2000; March 28, 2017