JD Academic Rules
Table of Contents
- Credit Hours
- Class Attendance and Course Preparation
- Course Withdrawal
- Withdrawal from School
- Study at Another Law School
- Outside Study
- Grades and Grade Averages
- Eligibility to Continue Study
- Repeating of Courses
- Degree Requirements
- Honor System
- Commencement Attendance
- Transcript of Grades
- Smoking, Food and Beverages
- Tape Recording of Classes
- Delegation of Authority
1. Credit Hours
Courses in the first year are required unless permission is obtained from the Dean. A full-time second- or third-year student may not register for courses totaling less than 12 nor more than 18 hours in any semester.
The College of Law grants credit to students who successfully complete courses based on work that reasonably approximates:
- not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- at least the equivalent amount of work as required above for other academic activities as established by the institution, including simulation, field placement, clinical, co-curricular, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
* Updated by College of Law Faculty February 12, 2016
2. Class Attendance and Course Preparation
Regular attendance and careful preparation are expected of all students.
If a student has been irregular in his/her attendance or consistently unprepared in any course, the instructor may, with the approval of the Dean and upon notification of the student, require the student's withdrawal from the course or his/her exclusion from the examination.
In the case of a required withdrawal, the notation "AW" (Authorized Withdrawal) or "UWF"(Unauthorized Withdrawal, Failing) shall be entered on the student's record, accompanied by a statement explaining the circumstances of the withdrawal. In the case of an exclusion from the examination, the grade "F" shall be entered on the student's record, accompanied by a statement explaining the circumstances of the exclusion.
3. Course Withdrawal
A student may withdraw and receive the grade of "AW" from a required or an elective course only in the event of an emergency and with permission of the Dean who shall consult with the course instructor, except that:
- During the first week of a semester, a student may withdraw without permission from an elective course which has a limited enrollment;
- During the first two weeks of a semester, a student may withdraw without permission from an elective course which does not have a limited enrollment.
A student who fails to substantially complete the requirements of any course shall receive the grade "UWF" (Unauthorized Withdrawal, Failing) in the course.
4. Withdrawal from School
Any student desiring to withdraw from the College of Law shall submit a memorandum to the Dean requesting that his/her withdrawal be authorized. The Dean shall authorize the withdrawal of a student during the last three weeks of classes only in an unusual case.
Any student who withdraws from the College of Law without authorization from the Dean shall be given grades of "UWF" (Unauthorized Withdrawal, Failing) in all courses in which the student was registered at the time of the unauthorized withdrawal.
5. Study at Another Law School
Any student desiring to take work in another law school toward satisfaction of the degree requirements of the College of Law shall submit a written request to the Dean. The request shall name the law school the student desires to attend, describe the course program contemplated, and set forth in detail the reasons for the request. For good cause shown, the Dean may approve the request, provided the law school involved is both ABA-approved and a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
The granting of credit and the recording of grades for approved work at other law schools shall be governed by the provisions of Section 8.04(b) of these Rules.
6. Outside Study
Any student desiring to take work not for credit in the College of Law in another college or school of this University or of any other college or university during the course of any semester must obtain the approval of the Dean.
Except as provided in Section 7.02, no student shall be permitted to take an examination prior to its scheduled time.
A student may defer an examination if one of the following applies:
- The student has two exams scheduled on the same day; or
- The student has three exams scheduled in three consecutive days.
In order to request the deferral of an exam under this rule, the student must complete a Deferred Exam Request Form and submit it to the Registrar by the due date set for the semester. The Associate Dean or her delegate will have discretion to decide which exam will be deferred after ascertaining the student’s preferences. Deferred exams will be administered on dates designated for deferred exams during exam periods and will occur after the original dates of the exams.
An examination may also be rescheduled in the event of an emergency or if it has become impossible or impracticable for a student to take the exam at the scheduled time. These are very rare and extreme circumstances that must be approved in advance by the Registrar.
A student whose absence from an examination is not excused by the Dean shall receive a grade of "UWF" (Unauthorized Withdrawal, Failing) in the course. As approved by College of Law Faculty on April 16, 2010.
8. Grades and Grade Averages
Professors shall submit grades for their classes to the Registrar no later than three weeks after the end of the semester. If this due date for grades falls on a Thursday or Friday, the due date will be the next Monday.
- The grade "A+" is reserved for work of exceptional quality.
- The grades of "F," "UWF," and "U" are failing grades.
- The grade of "IP" is reserved for courses continuing over two or more semesters.
- Grades of "S" shall be recorded in the case of courses satisfactorily completed in other law schools and graduate programs and accepted for credit by the College of Law in accordance with the provisions of Section 8.05 of this rule. The grade of "U" will be reported for courses attempted but credit not given at another institution.
- For College of Law classes not graded by a traditional letter grade (A+ through F), the course will be graded on a scale of High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, or Fail. A grade of “Fail” will be treated as an “F”. High Pass is reserved for work that exceeds the professor’s expectations. Pass is assigned for work that meets the professor’s expectations. Low pass is assigned for work that in part did meet the professor’s expectations and in part did not meet the professor’s expectations. Fail is reserved for work that does not meet the professor’s expectations.
- A student who receives an Incomplete in a course must complete the course before the end of the semester next following the semester in which the Incomplete course was taken. An Incomplete may not be awarded to a student in the semester of graduation.
- After the first year of study, a student may take one course per year as an “Audit” if approved by the professor for the class. The student taking a class as an audit will not be required to complete class assignments, exams, papers, or other projects, but will be required to attend class. The audited class will be recorded on the student’s transcript with the grade of “T”, and this grade will not be used to calculate the student’s grade average. Courses taken as an “Audit” will not earn the student any credits towards meeting the degree requirements set out in Section 11.01, nor will they count as the minimum credits a student must take as set out in Section 1.01. However, students may not audit a course if the credits from that course would require the student to exceed the maximum credits as set out in Section 1.01. A student wishing to audit a course must first obtain permission from the professor assigned to teach the course.
Mandatory First Year Curve
Beginning with the Fall 1993-Spring 1994 grades, the following grade distribution policy applies to all first year courses.
- A 5-10%
- A- 5-10%
- B+ 10-15%
- B 15-25%
- B- 10-15% C+5-10%
- C 5-10%
- C- and below 0-5%
Upper Level B+ Median
A median grade of B+ is expected in all upper-level courses with enrollments of twenty or more students. This expected B+ median also applies to multi-section upper-level courses with fewer than twenty students. A median grade of B+ is recommended for upper-level courses with fewer than twenty students that are not multi-section courses.
The grades of Flex-Time Option students with fewer than twelve credits during a semester and less than 30 cumulative credit hours will not be included in the College of Law’s formulation of class rankings for that semester. However, such Flex-Time Option students will receive a notation on their transcript stating this policy, but providing the class rank decile range within which their GPA would place. Flex-time students with at least thirty cumulative credit hours at the College of Law or twelve credit hours during a semester will be included in the appropriate class rank. If the student has not accumulated thirty credit hours, he or she will be ranked only for the semester in which they took at least twelve credits.
Grade averages shall be computed by multiplying the honor point equivalent in each course by the number of semester hours allocated to the course and then dividing the sum of such products by the total semester hours allocated to the courses for which the grade average is sought, including courses in which the student has received a grade of "F" or "UWF."
Courses in which the grades of "AW," "HP," "I," "IP", "LP," “N”, “NA,” "P," "S," or "U" have been recorded shall not be averaged with other courses in computing a student's grade average.
Where a substantial number of courses are repeated in accordance with special conditions imposed incident to reinstatement of a student, only the grades received on repetition shall be included in subsequent computations of the student's grade average. In all other cases where a course is repeated in accordance with these rules, both the original grade received in the course and the grades received on repetition of the course shall be included in subsequent computations of the student's grade average.
Courses satisfactorily completed in other law schools may be accepted for credit by the College of Law in the discretion of the Dean.
Courses thus accepted for credit by the College of Law shall be given grades of "S," without regard to the grade received where the course was taken as long as a grade of "C" or better had been earned. The provisions of this Section shall apply both to students who transfer to the College of Law from other law schools and to those enrolled in the College of Law who take courses elsewhere with the permission of the Dean in accordance with the provisions of Section 5.01 of these Rules.
As soon as practicable after each examination period, the Registrar's Office shall distribute to each student an up-to-date transcript. A new transcript is also provided in the case of a change of grade.
Section 8.07 — Dean's Honors List
Effective Fall Semester 1994, the standard for qualification for the Dean's Honors List is a 3.33 grade point average. Students are eligible for this honor after the first full year and then each subsequent semester for work done in that semester by full-time students enrolled in at least 12 credit hours or flex-time students enrolled in at least 9 credit hours.
Section 8.08 — Latin Honors
Beginning Spring 2006 the College awards Latin honors to graduating students as follows:
Summa Cum Laude — top 5%,
Magna Cum Laude — top 15%, and
Cum Laude — top 30%
As approved by College of Law Faculty on April 16, 2010.
Section 8.09— Elective Alternate Grading Policy
- A J.D. student in the second or subsequent academic year of study at the College of Law may elect to be graded on a modified pass-fail scale (i.e., high pass, pass, low pass, fail) for coursework completed at the College of Law with limitations and exceptions as provided in the following sections.
- A student’s election to be graded on the modified pass-fail scale shall be limited to:
- A) (1) three credits per academic year; and (2) no more than six total credits while a student at the College of Law.
- B) Some courses at the College of Law are normally graded using the modified pass-fail scale. Credits for these courses will not count against the limitations provided in this policy in 2)(A) herein.
- A student may not elect grading on the modified pass-fail scale in any of the following courses:
- A) any required courses, including:
- any course required for first-year students
- Client Counseling or any course taken to satisfy the client counseling requirement;
- Professional Responsibility or Legal Ethics;
- any course designated as satisfying the writing requirement for graduation;
- any course designated as satisfying the seminar requirement for graduation;
- any course required of a transfer student to complete graduation requirements;
- any newly adopted required courses;
- B) any clinic;
- C) any course for which the professor has elected not to participate in the elective alternate grading policy for that course. In their first semester of teaching at the College of Law, adjunct professors and visiting professors must participate in the elective alternate grading policy unless their course is not eligible for alternative grading in accordance with this Section 8.09.
- A) any required courses, including:
- A student must provide notice of her election to the Registrar in a form and manner as the Registrar shall provide. Such election must be made by the deadline set for the semester by the Registrar, and will normally be the last day of the next to last full week before the end of regular classes for the semester. The deadline for making the election for a short course (or other course that meets on a basis other than at least weekly during the semester) will be the day after the third meeting of the course. The election will not be deemed final until the student receives an email confirmation from the Registrar.
- Upon proper notice to the Registrar of the student's election, the student shall not be permitted to rescind her election.
- Electing to have a course graded using this alternate grading system does not relieve a student from the requirements of the course as set forth by the professor including, without limitation, attending class, participating in class, taking quizzes, turning in projects and papers, taking exams, and attending court or other events.
Effective Fall 2012. Passed by the College of Law Faculty on October 7, 2011, and updated on October 25, 2013 and April 10, 2015.
9. Eligibility to Continue Study
In order to be eligible to continue study in the College of Law, a student must attain a cumulative average of at least 2.0 honor points for each year of study completed prior to the student's final year or semester as the case may be. A year of study is two consecutive semesters of study neither of which was included in another year of study. To be eligible for graduation, a student's cumulative average for all semesters of study must be at least 2.0 honor points. For the purpose of applying this section and for no other purpose whatsoever, the honor points earned by a student in a course in which the student's provisional grade is an Incomplete shall be credited to the semester in which the student completes the course.
A student who fails to comply with the standards set forth in Section 9.01 and whose cumulative average for the year of study is below 1.5 shall be notified by the Dean in writing that the student is ineligible to continue study.
A student who fails to comply with the standards set forth in Section 9.01 of these Rules and whose cumulative average for the year of study is 1.5 or higher shall be notified in writing by the Dean that the student is ineligible to continue studies in the College of Law and that the student may submit within a time period specified in the notification a written request for one probationary semester. The student's exclusion shall not be deemed final unless the student fails to submit the request within the time specified.
The student's courses for the probationary semester must be approved in advance by the Associate or Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs.
The exclusion of a student who submits a request for a probationary semester is final if the student's average for the probationary semester is below 2.6 honor points and the student's cumulative average is below 2.0. The student shall be notified by the Dean in writing that the student is ineligible to continue study.
Beginning with the class of 2021, a student who completes the first semester study with a cumulative average below 2.8 honor points shall:
- Participate in the first year, second-semester Academic Success Program, and
- Complete the following five bar-tested courses: Business Associations; Criminal Procedure 1 or 2; Evidence, Sales; Wills and Estates, and
- Complete the 3-credit skills section of Legal Ethics, and
- Complete the course Legal Analysis and Drafting for the Bar Exam.
Beginning with the class of 2021, a student who completes the first year of study with a cumulative average below 2.8 honor points shall:
- Complete the following five bar-test courses: Business Associations; Criminal Procedure 1 or 2; Evidence; Sales; Wills and Estates, and
- Complete the 3-credit skills section of Legal Ethics, and
- Complete the course Legal Analysis and Drafting for the Bar Exam.
Beginning in the fall semester of 2018, a transfer student to the College of Law shall:
- Complete the following five bar-tested courses: Business Associations; Criminal Procedure 1 or 2; Evidence, Sales; Wills and Trusts, and
- Complete the course Legal Analysis and Drafting for the Bar Exam.
10. Repeating of Courses
A student who receives a grade of "F" or "UWF" in a required course must repeat the course and receive a passing grade in the course to be eligible to graduate. A student who receives a grade of "F" or "UWF" in an elective course may repeat the course for credit.
A student who has received a grade of "D-" or higher in a course may not repeat that course for credit, except that a student who is declared scholastically ineligible to continue in the College of Law but who subsequently is reinstated under special conditions may repeat courses as deemed necessary by the faculty, and a student who receives a grade of "P" in Introduction to Law but who subsequently withdraws from the College during the first semester receives no credit for the course and must repeat the course upon his/her return.
11. Degree Requirements
In order to be eligible for the degree of Juris Doctor, a student must have:
- obtained a baccalaureate degree from an approved educational institution prior to commencing the study of law;
- completed a residence period of three academic years or its equivalent,
- completed the required subjects (including the writing requirement) and sufficient elective subjects to make an aggregate of 90 semester hours;
- earned passing grades in 90 semester hours of work; and
- attained an overall scholastic average of at least 2.0 honor points.
The required subjects are as follows:
|Subject||Required Credit Hours|
|Civil Procedure||six hours|
|Client Counseling (or its equivalent)||two hours|
|Constitutional Law||six hours|
|Criminal Law||three hours|
|Introduction to Law||one hour|
|Legal Research & Writing||three hours|
|Legal Ethics||two hours|
In addition, every student must successfully complete one seminar and one of the following options:
- a casenote, comment, or a series of shorter works of the same quality and aggregate quantity expected of longer papers for a law review or journal,
- the writing requirements for the Intramural Moot Court Competition,
- a drafting course,
- an Individual Research Project,
- a second seminar, or
- complete the writing requirement in one of the following classes: Antitrust, Human Rights, Remedies, or White Collar Crime.
* Updated by College of Law Faculty on April 14, 2017
A seminar is a classroom course designated as such in its course description and requiring a significant research and writing project or projects. A seminar requires students to successfully complete a research paper, project, or a series of papers or projects no shorter than 25 combined pages and adequately prepare and participate in the course, including writing a draft paper that is reviewed and given feedback by a faculty member. Because a seminar includes faculty supervision of these significant research and writing projects, enrollment is generally limited to 15. Such supervision includes reviewing and commenting on at least one preliminary draft of the significant research and writing project or projects, providing individual feedback to each student on the project or projects in consultations with students prior to completion of the project or projects, and other supervision at the discretion of the professor such as commenting on the topics, bibliography, and outlines as the project develops.
* Updated by College of Law Faculty on March 11, 2016
An F or U grade does not constitute successful completion.
It is a requirement for graduation that a student complete, in an aggregate of 90 semester hours, at least 77 classroom credit hours. Generally, the required and elective courses, as well as the required seminars, are classified as classroom credit offerings. Non-classroom credit offerings include: Individual Research Projects, law reviews or journals, extern programs, the Human Rights Quarterly and the Moot Court Program.
For J.D. students entering the College of Law during the 2015/2016 academic year or after, the following are additional requirements for graduation:
Professional Development Requirement
Every student must:
- attend an annual professional planning meeting with the Center for Professional Development; and
- implement a professional development plan in conjunction with the Center for Professional Development.
In their second or any subsequent year of law school, students will complete one of the following lawyering opportunities involving actual legal work:
- Ohio Innocence Project,
- Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic,
- Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic,
- Indigent Defense Clinic,
- Sixth Circuit Clinic,
- Legal Externship,
- Judicial Externship,
- Brandery or other summer entrepreneurship experience,
- Summer Internship through the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program or the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, or
- Paid law or law-related work meeting law school requirements.
Adopted by College of Law faculty May 8, 2015.
For J.D. students entering the College of Law during the 2016/2017 academic year or after, the following are additional requirements for graduation:
Every student must successfully complete at least 6 credits earned in experiential courses.
Every student must successfully complete the required assignments, assessments, and program activities during the Orientation Week.
Changes in Required Courses
- Introduction to Law is no longer a required course.
- Lawyering II: Advocacy is a 3 credit hour course
* Updated by College of Law faculty during their March and May 2016 meetings.
12. Honor System
The conduct of a student in connection with his/her law study, including the taking of examinations and the submission of seminar papers, shall be governed by an Honor System adopted by the Student Bar Association of the College of Law and approved by the Faculty.
13. Commencement Attendance
A candidate for the degree of Juris Doctor is expected to attend the commencement exercise at which the student is scheduled to receive his/her degree. In cases of hardship, however, a degree candidate may submit a written request to the Dean asking that his/her degree be awarded in absentia. If the Dean approves the request, it shall then be transmitted to the President of the University, who shall take final action on the request in accordance with the By-Laws and Regulations of the Board of Trustees of the University.
14. Transcript of Grades
No member of the Faculty or staff shall reveal, issue, or transmit to a prospective employer or any other person or organization a complete or partial transcript or report of the record of any student or former student in the College of Law unless authorized to do so by the student or former student involved.
15. Smoking, Food and Beverages
Smoking is not permitted in the College of Law building.
Food and beverages are not permitted in the library.
Food is not permitted in the classrooms and the seminar rooms. Beverages, such as coffee and soft drinks, are permitted in the classrooms and seminar rooms provided that care is exercised to avoid spillage and provided that containers are removed after beverages are consumed.
16. Tape Recording of Classes
Permission to tape record classes must be obtained from the professor teaching the class. The giving or withholding of permission is discretionary with the individual professor.
Any authority granted to the Dean by these Rules may be delegated to the Associate Dean.