Learn about academic regulations for the KU School of Law, including the grading policy, clinic rules and withdrawal policy.
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 the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs 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 and Student 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 and Student Affairs will not be in good standing with the law school.
A student must finish an incomplete course by the end of the following semester (excluding summer sessions), whether the student is enrolled in the School of Law 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.
Withdrawal and Readmission Following Withdrawal
Students considering withdrawing are strongly encouraged to confer with the Associate Dean for Academic and Student 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 the student 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 and Student 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 for Academic and Student 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 permission from the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs 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 five 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 five-year program limitation, the law school shall place in the student’s file a statement signed by the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs explaining the extraordinary circumstances leading the law school to permit an exception to the completion rule. Read 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.
Individual Student’s Right to Reschedule Exams
This policy takes effect with the fall 2023 semester.
Except for those excused in advance by the instructor, all students are required to take final exams when prescribed. However, a student enrolled in two or more courses with final exams scheduled to begin during the same calendar day is entitled to notify in writing the instructor of the course with a lower enrollment no more than 30 days after the first day of classes for the semester that the student meets the criteria for requesting an alternative exam date.
If such a student makes a timely notification, then the instructor shall offer that student another time. The student and instructor shall work to find a mutually agreeable alternative exam date, with the instructor having final authority. The student is responsible for reserving a room at the selected time and the instructor is responsible for administering a rescheduled exam, except in the case of students with disability accommodations.
For a course to count toward the “two or more” rule in the first paragraph, the Law School’s exam schedule must show that course’s exam as starting during that calendar day and consuming 24 hours or less. A course with a greater-than-24-hour take-home exam cannot count as one of the two. And for purposes of this rule, an exam’s start time is determined by the Law School’s exam schedule, not a different start time for a particular accommodated student.
Any student taking an exam at an alternate time after the original exam shall certify that they did not discuss the exam with any student who already has taken the exam or otherwise receive any information about the exam, directly or indirectly, other than from the instructor. Conversely, any student who takes the exam before the rest of the class shall certify that the student will not provide information about the exam, either directly or indirectly, to any student who has not taken it. Students taking an exam at an alternate time shall remove themselves from group chats and other social media to prevent inadvertent exposure to or sharing of exam information.
Minimum GPA Requirement
All students must achieve and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better. There is no appeal from the following rules concerning probation and exclusion:
First-year students whose grade point average is below 2.0 after the completion of two five-week summer sessions or at the end of the fall semester are on academic probation. A student who is on academic probation is not in good standing for purposes of the rules on withdrawal, readmission following withdrawal, and all other rules that require good standing.
Students 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.
Students whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of the semester in which they complete 90 hours will not be permitted to graduate or to continue in school.
These requirements apply equally to 2-Year J.D. students. Therefore, 2-Year J.D. students are on academic probation if their cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of the fall semester, and 2-Year J.D. students whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.0 at the end of any semester or the completion of two summer sessions thereafter will be excluded from the 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 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.
Clinic / Field Placement Rules
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.
A student may earn a maximum of six hours of credit toward graduation through the Field Placement Program. Field Placement hours count toward the 16-credit hour limit on field placement and clinic credit hours that may be applied to graduation.
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 and Student Affairs only in exceptional circumstances.
For some clinics or field placements, the student must qualify as a supervised legal intern under Kansas Rule 715. 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 and Student 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.
Notice of Contingency Plans for Distance Learning
Updated on Jan. 19, 2023:
In accordance with Standard 107(a)(1), the University of Kansas School of Law requested and was granted by the ABA an emergency variance for the 2020-21 academic year from the strict application of the limits on distance education as outlined in Standard 306(e) due to the coronavirus pandemic. This variance was extended for the spring 2022 semester. The emergency variance provides the law school with the flexibility it needs to meet its ABA obligations, respond to individual students and faculty health and safety concerns, and comply with the university, state, and local requirements that may be imposed.
Pursuant to the ABA Managing Director’s Guidance Memo released in March 2022 (Continuation of COVID-19 Emergency Variances), the University of Kansas School of Law may utilize the COVID-19 emergency variance to exempt courses offered remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Distance Education limits in the Standards without further application to the ABA until such time when the Council determines that the exemptions shall no longer apply.