LLM Academic Rules

1. Credit Hours per Semester

A full-time LL.M. student may not register for courses totaling less than 12 nor more than 16 hours in any semester unless permission is obtained from the Assistant Dean for International Programs or the Associate Dean.  Students are not permitted to enroll in more than 18 credit hours in any semester.

LL.M. students may elect a part-time schedule.  Such students must finish all of their work to earn the LL.M. degree within 48 months. (Visa rules may prevent part-time enrollment for some students.)

2. Degree Requirements

In order to be eligible for the degree of LL.M. in the U.S. Legal System, a student must have:

  • earned a law degree outside of the U.S. or be eligible to practice law outside of the U.S.
  • completed the required subjects and sufficient elective subjects to make an aggregate of 24 semester credit hours;
  • earned passing grades in 24 semester credit hours; and
  • completed a residence period of two semesters or its equivalent.

The required subjects are as follows: Two-week LL.M. Orientation program - zero credits; The U.S. Legal System - three credits; Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students - 3 credits.

*Updated by the College of Law Faculty at its meeting on April 14, 2017.

3. Classes outside the law school

LL.M. students may not take classes for credit toward the LL.M. degree outside of the College of Law.

4. Examinations

LL.M. students will be permitted one additional hour for each examination.   This does not apply to take-home exams.

LL.M.students  may bring a hard copy translation dictionary into exams unless otherwise instructed by the professor.   The dictionary may NOT have any notations or handwriting.

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 two exams scheduled on two 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.

5. Grades

Letter Grading Option

LL.M. students may elect letter grading. The election of letter grading for any semester must be made by the last day of the next to last full week before the end of regular classes for the semester and such election will apply only to that semester. In the absence of a letter grade election, the student will be evaluated on the modified pass/fail grading scale. If a student elects letter grading,  all the student’s courses that semester will be graded accordingly, except that such students may choose to take up to three credits per academic year under the alternative grading exception. Only LL.M. students who elect letter grades each semester they attend the College of Law are eligible to transfer into the J.D. program.  Letter grades are awarded in keeping with College of Law J.D. Academic Rules section 8 with the following exceptions.

  • The Mandatory First Year Curve for J.D. students does not apply to LL.M. students.
  • The Upper Level B+ Median for J.D. students does not apply to LL.M. students.
  • LL.M. students are not eligible for the Elective Alternative Grading Policy, unless they elect to receive letter grades during that semester and take no more than three credits per academic year under the Policy and a maximum of six credits under the Policy while they are at the College of Law.

Modified Pass/Fail Grading Option

LL.M. students who do not elect letter grading (above) will graded on the following modified pass/fail scale.

  • HP = High Pass
  • P = Pass
  • LP = Low Pass
  • F = Fail
  • AW = Authorized Withdrawal
  • I = Incomplete
  • IP = In Progress
  • N = No Grade Reported
  • T = Audit
  • UWF = Unauthorized Withdrawal, Failing

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.

The grades of "F" and "UWF" are failing grades.  The grades of "Low Pass," and "Pass," and "High Pass" are passing grades.  Credit is only granted for classes in which a student earns passing grades.

The grade of "IP" is reserved for courses continuing over two or more semesters.  If a student received a grade of "AW," no credit is awarded for the course, but the grade is not considered a failing grade.

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.

An LL.M. student may take one course per semester 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". Courses taken as an "Audit" will not earn the student any credits toward meeting the degree requirements set out in Rule 2, nor will they count toward the minimum credits a student must take as set out in Rule 1.  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 Rule 1.  A student wishing to audit a course must first obtain permission from the professor assigned to teach the course.

There is no mandatory curve or median for grading of LL.M. students.  The performance of LL.M. students is not considered in determining grades for J.D. students.

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.

Elective Alternate Grading Policy

1) Modified pass/fail LL.M. students are not eligible for Elective Alternate Grading. A letter-graded LL.M student may elect to take a course up to three credits during each academic year under the rules set forth in the Elective Alternative Grading Policy in J.D. Rule Section 8.09.   A letter-graded LL.M student 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.

2) 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.

3) A student may not elect grading on the modified pass-fail scale in any of the following courses:

  • A) any required courses, including:
    • 1) any course required for first-year J.D. students;
    • 2) Client Counseling or any course taken to satisfy the client counseling requirement;
    • 3) Professional Responsibility or Legal Ethics;
    • 4) any course designated as satisfying the writing requirement for graduation;
    • 5) any course designated as satisfying the seminar requirement for graduation;
    • 6) any course required of a transfer student to complete graduation requirements;
    • 7) 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.

4) 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, which will be no earlier than four days after all student grades have been released that were submitted by the semester grading deadline or four days after the release of a course’s grades that were submitted after the deadline. 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 no earlier than four days after the grades for that course have been released. The election will not be deemed final until the student receives an email confirmation from the Registrar.

5) Upon proper notice to the Registrar of the student's election, the student shall not be permitted to rescind her election.

6) 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.

6. Honors and Dean's List

LL.M. students who have elected the Letter Grade option are eligible for Dean’s List beginning their first semester, so long as a full-time student is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours or a flex-time student is enrolled in at least 9 credit hours. The standard for qualification for the Dean's Honors List is a 3.33 grade point average or 2 High Passes and no grade lower than a Pass.

Letter Grading Option - Honors

Latin Honors will be awarded to letter graded students whose GPA falls within the award ranges determined by the Registrar.

Modified Pass/Fail Grading Option - Honors

LL.M. students who complete their degrees with at least 30% of their grades being High Pass; receiving no failing grades; and receiving no more than one grade of Low Pass will receive the distinctions of "With Honors" on their diplomas and transcripts.

7. Seminars and Clinics

LL.M. students may be added to closed seminar classes with the consent of the professor.  Because LL.M. students are not required to have upper-level writing experiences as are J.D. students, seminar professors have discretion to adjust seminar assignments for LL.M. seminar participants.

Professors of clinics have the discretion to offer LL.M. students the opportunity to participate in clinics in limited ways for fewer credit hours than would be earned by J.D. students.

8. Repeating 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, and both grades will appear on the student's transcript.  An LL.M. student may not repeat a course in which the student received a grade of "Low Pass" or higher.

9. Eligibility to Continue Study

In order to be eligible to continue study at the College of Law, an LL.M. student must not fail more than 1 course in any semester or no more than 2 courses in total.  A student who fails to comply with this standard shall be notified by the Dean in writing that the student is ineligible to continue study.

10. Visiting Status

Law students who initially trained in law outside the U.S. who have already earned an LL.M. degree from another U.S. university or who have completed the LL.M. degree at the College of Law but wish to engage in further law studies may be admitted to the LL.M. program as a "Visiting Student" with permission of the Dean.  Such students may remain a "Visiting Student" for no more than one year without special permission from the Dean.

Law students who initially trained in law outside the U.S. who wish to study law in the U.S. for only one full-time semester may be admitted to the LL.M. program as a "Visiting Student" with permission of the Dean.

11. JD Rules that Apply to LL.M. Students

The following College of Law Rules for the J.D. program apply to LL.M. students in the same way they apply to J.D. students:

  • Rule 2 - Class Attendance and Course Preparation
  • Rule 3 - Course Withdrawal
  • Rule 4 - Withdrawal from School
  • Rule 6 - Outside Study
  • Rule 7 - Examinations
  • Rule 12 - Honor System
  • Rule 13 - Commencement Attendance
  • Rule 14 - Transcript of Grades
  • Rule 15 - Smoking, Food, and Beverages
  • Rule 16 - Tape Recording of Classes
  • Rule 17 - Delegation of Authority

12. Rules Pertaining to Cincinnati Law LL.M. Student Applications for Transfer into the Cincinnati Law J.D. Program


Current Cincinnati Law LL.M. students who wish to transfer into the Cincinnati Law JD program will be considered for admission under this policy. This policy does not apply to LL.M. students at or graduates of other schools. The transfer admissions process is more selective than the LL.M. admissions process, and only exceptional applicants will be admitted. LL.M. students should not expect to be admitted to the J.D. program. This policy will take effect on August 15, 2018.

Criteria for Admission

The decision to admit an LL.M. student requires a determination by the Admissions Committee that the applicant is likely to be successful in law school classes; able to pass a bar examination in the U.S.; and a valued addition to the Cincinnati Law community and the legal profession.

Admission will be based primarily upon two criteria:

  1. the applicant's academic record as an LL.M. student at Cincinnati Law, with particular focus on the courses completed and the applicant’s performance in those courses, and
  2. recommendations from Cincinnati Law faculty.

To a lesser extent, the admissions decision will also consider the applicant’s pre-Cincinnati Law background, including schools attended and work history. Although applicants are not required to take the LSAT exam, if an applicant has taken the exam, the admissions decision will also consider that score.

Timing of Application

Students must complete at least two courses from this list before applying for admission1:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts (*Students are strongly encouraged to take Contracts)
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Business Associations
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Sales
  • Secured Transactions
  • Wills

Students may apply after receiving grades from the first semester at Cincinnati Law but no later than 30 days after receiving second semester grades. The Admissions Committee will accept only truly 2

outstanding applicants based on first semester grades. If the Committee denies an application after the first semester, the student may reapply after receiving second semester grades. Students who elect to be graded on a “High Pass/Pass/Low Pass” scale are not eligible to transfer into the J.D. program.