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Juris Doctor Program

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Regular class attendance is a fundamental part of legal education. Instructors may adopt individual policies to monitor attendance. 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.

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Adding Classes

A student may add classes only in the first 2 weeks of the semester (fifth day in a summer session). Students contemplating adding a course after the course has begun should understand that they may be at a significant disadvantage.

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Dropping Classes

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.

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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.

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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 plus 10 hours of electives in the first year. 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.

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Incomplete Classes

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 affairs committee only in cases of extreme hardship.

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Withdrawal and Readmission Following Withdrawal

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 affairs committee.

Any student who withdraws before completing 29 credit hours must reapply for admission. There are no exceptions to this rule. Any student who has completed at least 29 credit hours and who is not in good standing must have the permission of the associate dean for academic 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 affairs committee for reinstatement.

Students must complete all requirements for the degree within 5 years of initial enrollment. See J.D. Degree Requirements.

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Thorough examinations are given under the honor system at the close of every term. Some faculty members also give midterm 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 or similar exceptional circumstances. 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.

See also Computers in the Activities section.

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Grading System

The School of Law uses a 4.0 (A-F) grading scale:

  • 4.0 (A);
  • 3.5 (B+);
  • 3.0 (B);
  • 2.5 (C+);
  • 2.0 (C);
  • 1.5 (D+);
  • 1.0 (D);
  • 0 (F).

The average of grades in first-year courses must be 2.8-3.0; the average of grades in upper-level required courses must be 2.9-3.1; and the average of grades in all other courses must be 2.8-3.4. The recommended range in upper-level courses is 3.0-3.2.

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 affairs committee before the beginning of the semester in which the course is taught.

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Clinic and Externship Rules

No student may accumulate more than 16 credit hours from the Criminal Prosecution Clinic, the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies, the Elder Law Externship, the Externship Clinic, the Immigration/Asylum Law Clinic, the Judicial Clerkship Clinic, the Legal Aid Clinic, the Legislative Clinic, the Media Law Clinic, the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, the Public Policy Clinic, or the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic as part of the 90 hours of law school credit required for graduation. Concurrent enrollment in more than 1 of these clinics and externships is permitted only with the consent of the directors of the programs in which enrollment is sought.

Students must be in good standing to enroll in a clinic or externship. This requirement may be waived by the associate dean for academic affairs in exceptional circumstances.

For some clinics and externships, the student must qualify as a supervised legal intern under Kansas Rule 719. To qualify, the student must have completed 60 credit hours. The credit-hour requirements are necessary to ensure that heavy course loads in the final 2 semesters will not interfere unduly with clinic work.

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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 in the Current Students section of the law school’s website. Copies also may be obtained from the Student Bar Association.

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Exclusion and Probation

A student whose cumulative grade-point average is below 2.0 at the end of any regular semester or at the end of the two 5-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 any 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 1.5 after the completion of 22 hours, or of either 2 semesters of full-time enrollment or two 5-week summer sessions and 1 semester of full-time enrollment, regardless of the number of hours completed, will be excluded from the school. A student whose cumulative grade-point average is below 1.8 after the completion of 60 credit hours will be excluded from the school. In either case, this exclusion is final, and there is no appeal within the law school.

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.