Regular class attendance is a fundamental part of legal education. Instructors may adopt individual attendance policies, which they must announce no later than the first class session of the course affected. No attendance policy may impose any sanction unless a student's unexcused absences from class exceed the number of hours of credit given for the course plus one, and no sanction may be more stringent than imposition of a failing grade for the course.
A student may add classes only in the first two weeks of the semester. After the second week of classes (fifth day in a summer session), classes may be added only with the express approval and signatures of an associate dean and the instructor of the course in question. Students contemplating adding a course after the course has begun should understand that they may be at a significant disadvantage.
A student may drop a class no later than the last day of classes in the semester or summer session. Enrollment in that class will be canceled and will not appear on the student's record.
Special Drop Rule
Where the nature of the course requires a continuous commitment by the student, the instructor may establish special rules about dropping the course. Notice of these special rules will be provided before enrollment in the early enrollment instructions issued at the law school.
Maximum and Minimum Load
Students are expected to complete all required first-year courses during their first year of enrollment in law school. Summer starters must take all required first-year courses in the first year plus sufficient electives in both the fall and spring semesters to carry a course load of no fewer than 12 credit hours and no fewer than 4 courses in each semester. After the first year, the maximum course load is 18 credit hours per semester, and the minimum load is 12 hours. The associate dean for academic affairs may approve a schedule of fewer than 12 credit hours under exceptional circumstances. Any student taking fewer than 12 credits without prior approval of the associate dean for academic affairs will not be in good standing with the law school.
A student must finish an incomplete course by the end of the next semester (excluding summer sessions), whether or not the student is enrolled in the law school during the next semester. If a student does not make up an incomplete grade by the end of the next semester, the incomplete will be changed to a grade of F at the end of that semester. The last day of the final examination period is the end of the semester. Waivers of this rule or extensions of the time allowed for making up incomplete grades may be granted by the academic committee only in cases of extreme hardship.
Students considering withdrawing are strongly encouraged to confer with the associate dean for academic affairs. Any student who has completed at least 29 credit hours and is in good standing may withdraw from all law school courses in which he or she is enrolled if the student completes all required administrative steps for withdrawal no later than the last day of classes for the semester. Students who wish to withdraw after the last day of classes for the semester must obtain permission from the academic committee.
Any student who withdraws before completing 29 credit hours must reapply for admission, except in extraordinary circumstances. Following the ABA Standard 311, such extraordinary circumstances, for example, might include an interruption of a student's legal education because of health issues, family exigency, or military service. A student facing extraordinary circumstances and wishing to withdraw before completing 29 credits, must be in good standing and must petition the academic affairs committee promptly in light of the relevant circumstances.
Whenever a student is permitted on the basis of extraordinary circumstances to withdraw with the intention of readmission before completing 29 credits, the law school shall place in the student's file a statement signed by the associate dean for academic affairs explaining the extraordinary circumstances leading the law school to permit an exception to the withdrawal and readmission rule. Discretion will be vested with the associate dean of academic affairs to decide on a re-integration plan that treats both the affected student and student body equitably.
Any student who has completed at least 29 credit hours and who is not in good standing must have an associate dean's permission to withdraw if the student wishes to return to school in a subsequent semester. A student who fails to secure permission to return must petition the academic committee for reinstatement.
Students must complete all requirements for the J.D. degree within 5 years of initial enrollment, except in extraordinary circumstances. Following the ABA Standard 311, such extraordinary circumstances, for example, might include an interruption of a student’s legal education because of health issues, family exigency, or military service. A student facing extraordinary circumstances and wishing to complete their degree beyond the 5-year limitation must petition the academic affairs committee promptly in light of the relevant circumstances.
Whenever a student is permitted on the basis of extraordinary circumstances to exceed the 5-year program limitation, the law school shall place in the student’s file a statement signed by the associate dean for academic affairs explaining the extraordinary circumstances leading the law school to permit an exception to the completion rule. See J.D. Degree Requirements.
Thorough examinations are given under the honor system at the close of every term. Some faculty members also give mid-term examinations. These examinations test students' reasoning abilities and their knowledge of a particular subject area.
Special examinations are given only in cases of absence from the regular examination because of sickness of the student or in the student's immediate family. Students should contact the faculty member whose examination they must miss as soon as possible, certainly before the date the examination is to be given.
Exclusion and Probation Rule
A student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of any regular semester, whether fall or spring, or at the end of two, five-week summer sessions, is on probation. A student who is on probation is not in good standing for purposes of the rules on withdrawal, and readmission following withdrawal, and all other rules that require good standing.
All students must achieve a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 during the semester in which they complete 90 hours, or they will not be permitted to graduate or continue in school. There is no appeal within the law school from this requirement.
A student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 after the completion of two semesters of full-time enrollment or two, five-week summer sessions and two semesters of full-time enrollment will be excluded from the school. A student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 after the completion of 59 credit hours or at the end of four semesters of full-time enrollment, regardless of the number of credit hours completed, will be excluded from the school. In either case, exclusion from the school is final. There is no appeal within the law school.
Students in the 2-Year J.D. Program are subject to the same grading system that applies to other J.D. candidates, and these policies of exclusion and probation apply equally to 2-Year J.D. students. Therefore, a 2-Year J.D. student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 after the completion of two semesters of full-time enrollment at the University of Kansas School of Law will be excluded from the school. A 2-Year J.D. student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 after the completion of four semesters of full-time enrollment at the law school will be excluded from the school. There is no appeal within the law school.
The School of Law uses a 4.0 (A-F) grading scale: 4.0 (A); 3.7 (A-); 3.3 (B+); 3.0 (B); 2.7 (B-); 2.3 (C+); 2.0 (C); 1.7 (C-); 1.3 (D+); 1.0 (D); 0.7 (D-); 0 (F).
A mandatory curve is used. The average of grades in first-year courses must be 2.8-3.0. Seven percent of students in all First Year courses must receive a C- or lower in each class. The average of grades in upper-level required courses must be 2.9-3.1; as of fall 2019, Professional Responsibility is the only course subject to this average. As of fall 2019, the average of grades in all other courses must be 3.0-3.6 (the recommended range in these courses is 3.2-3.4).
Courses in which the faculty member finds it difficult or impossible to evaluate student performance with the precision necessary to assign letter grades may be graded Credit/No Credit when approved by the academic committee before the beginning of the semester in which the course is taught.
A waiver from the mandatory curve may be obtained from the academic committee by the faculty member teaching a course if the following conditions are met: it is an upper-level elective course, grades are determined in whole or substantial part other than by examination, the criteria for each grade are articulated clearly, and any student who meets the criteria for a particular grade will be given that grade. The waiver must be obtained before the beginning of the semester in which the course is taught.
Grade policy update for the spring 2020 semester only: The School of Law has adopted a revised grading policy – announced on March 30, 2020 – for the spring 2020 semester.
Due to the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, the law school grading policy is temporarily suspended.
All law students will receive either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" evaluations for all spring 2020 courses. Courses for which students receive satisfactory or unsatisfactory evaluations will not factor into students' cumulative GPAs.
As previously announced, the law school has suspended, until the end of the fall 2020 semester, the requirement to maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA to be eligible for continuing enrollment. Similarly, the law school has announced a suspension of minimum GPA requirements to maintain scholarships until the end of the fall 2020 semester.
For the purpose of evaluating satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance, all grade distribution rules, including the 1L 7% C minus or below policy, will not be applied in the spring 2020 semester.
Per University of Kansas Senate Rule and Regulation 2.2.10, “the grade of S [i.e., satisfactory] shall indicate the student did satisfactory work and these hours will count toward graduation."
As further guidance, the law school defines "satisfactory work" for the spring 2020 semester as:
- Participation, as established by the faculty member, in the online delivery of course content and completion of in-semester exercises and assignments, if applicable;
- Completion of the final exam, or other summative assessment, for the course, if applicable; and
- Performance in the final exam, or other required cumulative or summative assessments, demonstrating achievement at a level that would typically fall no lower than the range of a C minus caliber assessment.
A student's failure to satisfy any of these three elements demonstrates that the student performed unsatisfactory work.
This policy bars the assignment of "shadow grades," i.e., an assessment of the grade the student would have received under the law school's standard grading policy. Constructive feedback on student assessments, other than the assignment of a "shadow grade," however, may be provided by the professor.
No student may accumulate more than 16 credit hours from clinic and field placement courses — including the Criminal Prosecution Field Placement Program, Elder Law Field Placement Program, Field Placement Program, Judicial Field Placement Program, Legal Aid Clinic, Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program, Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies, or the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic — as part of the 90 hours of law school credit required for graduation. Concurrent enrollment in more than one of these clinics or field placements is permitted only with the consent of the directors of the clinics and/or field placements in which enrollment is sought.
Students must be in good standing to enroll in a clinic or field placement course. This requirement may be waived by the associate dean for academic affairs only in exceptional circumstances.
For some clinics or field placements, the student must qualify as a supervised legal intern under Kansas Rule 719. To qualify, the student must have completed 59 credit hours.
The credit-hour requirements are necessary to ensure that heavy course loads in the final two semesters will not interfere unduly with clinic or field placement work.
20-Hour Work Rule
A student may not engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week in any semester in which the student is enrolled in 12 or more class hours. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may waive application of the rule upon a showing by a student of exceptional circumstances.
The Honor Code
Matters of law student honesty and integrity in academic performance are governed by an honor code written and administered by law students. This system of peer review has been in effect for more than half a century and addresses issues such as plagiarism, cheating, and unauthorized collaboration in work assignments. Honor code violations, found to have occurred by the student committee after notice and hearing, are referred to the dean of the law school with recommended sanctions. Final disposition rests within the discretion of the dean. The honor code governs law students in the same way that the Code of Professional Responsibility governs members of the bar. The complete honor code may be found online. Copies also may be obtained from the Student Bar Association, the dean or an associate dean of the law school.