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Law School Catalog | 2006-2008

Grades and Minimum Performance Standards

Grading System

The following letter grades are assigned in the School of Law: A+, A, A-; B+, B, B-; C+, C; D; and F. In calculating the grade point average for law courses, an A+ counts as 4.30 points a semester hour; an A, as 4; an A-, as 3.70; a B+, as 3.30; a B, as 3; a B-, as 2.70; a C+, as 2.30; a C, as 2; a D, as 1.70; and an F, as 1.30. An explanation of the grading policy appears on the student's transcript.

Grades, except those in seminars, are based primarily on examinations. In two-semester first-year courses, a grade, based on an examination or other work, should be given and reported to the student after the first semester. If possible, some explanation should be given for the grade assigned. If such a preliminary grade is given, the instructor has full discretion to determine how the grade should be weighed in relation to the student's grade on the final examination; however, some allowance should be made for improvement on the final examination. Until the student has completed the second semester, first-semester grades in two-semester courses are treated as final grades.

Grades in seminars are based primarily on individual research as reflected in a paper and an oral report.

Registration on the Pass/Fail Basis

In general, students receive letter grades in law courses. The dean may determine that pass/fail grading is preferable for a course. Courses that will be offered only on the pass/fail basis are announced before registration.

A nonlaw graduate student who enrolls in a law school course offered for a letter grade may register on the credit/no credit basis if permitted to do so by his or her graduate adviser.

Minimum Performance Standards

A student must receive a final grade of at least D in a course to receive credit for that course. A student must have a grade point average of at least 1.90 on all law courses taken to graduate from the School of Law.

Grades of F are included in the grade point average, but courses in which the student earned an F are not counted toward the number of hours required for a degree.

A student who has received final grades for more than twenty semester hours and whose average falls below 1.80 is dropped from the law school for failure. A student who has received final grades for more than twenty semester hours and whose average is 1.80 to 1.89 is placed on scholastic probation. While on scholastic probation, a student who fails to maintain a 1.90 average on all law courses taken during any semester is dropped from the law school for failure.

A student who has been dropped for failure after receiving grades for thirty-three or more semester hours will not be readmitted to the law school, with this exception: if he or she has never been on scholastic probation in the law school, he or she may be readmitted on scholastic probation for one long-session semester. A student who has been dropped for failure after receiving grades for fewer than thirty-three semester hours may be admitted as a new student after he or she has remained out of law school for at least twelve months. The Law School Admissions Committee may attach significance to the prior failure. No student who has been dropped for failure from the School of Law will be permitted, prior to readmission, to visit classes.

A student who fails a required course must repeat it once. A student who fails an elective course may, at his or her option, repeat it once. The student may not repeat any course except a seminar more than once. A student who fails Law 297S, 397S, the seminar course, must repeat it until he or she has passed.

When a student repeats a course, the original and all subsequent grades are included in the student's grade point average.

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Order of the Coif

The Order of the Coif is a national law school honor society, founded to encourage scholarship and to advance the ethical standards of the legal profession. New members of the University chapter are chosen each fall from the top 10 percent of students who received the JD degree in the previous graduating class.


Established in 1912, Chancellors is the most prestigious honorary society of the School of Law. The purpose of the society is to honor and reward students who, through outstanding and consistent scholarship and achievement, have shown themselves most likely to succeed and to become a credit to their profession and their alma mater. Eligible for membership each year are the sixteen students who have the highest grade point averages among those who are not already members and who have completed forty-two semester hours of coursework in the School of Law. The number of Chancellors selected in one academic year may be increased from time to time, but at no time does the total selected in any year exceed 5 percent of the preceding senior class. The offices of Chancellors are, in order of scholastic standing and rank: Grand Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Clerk, Keeper of Peregrinus, and, in equal rank, such Chancellors-at-Large as are required to fill out the membership.

Order of Barristers

The Order of Barristers was established in 1965 to give recognition to the outstanding participants in the advocacy program. The organization was founded at the School of Law and is now a national honor society with more than a hundred member law schools from all parts of the nation. Each year a University of Texas law school student is elected national secretary. Membership in the University chapter is limited to ten third-year students, chosen by the Faculty Advocacy Committee, who have demonstrated superior abilities in advocacy.

Dean's Achievement Award

The School of Law does not participate in the American Jurisprudence Award Program. Instead, it offers its own Dean's Achievement Award. The award is given each semester to the outstanding student in each course, chosen from among those with the highest grades. Seminars and courses offered only on the pass/fail basis are excluded.

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Graduation under a Particular Catalog

A student may receive a degree in the School of Law by fulfilling either the requirements given in the catalog in effect at the time he or she entered the school or those given in the catalog governing any subsequent year in which he or she was in residence in the school. In any case, however, all the requirements for a degree in the School of Law must be completed within five years of the academic year on which the student's catalog eligibility is based. If a student leaves school to enter military service during a national emergency, the time required to meet the military obligation is excluded from the time allowed for completion of the degree.

General Requirements for Graduation

  1. No degree will be conferred except on dates publicly announced.
  2. The student must complete the last two long-session semesters, or their equivalent, in residence in the School of Law of the University of Texas at Austin.
  3. A candidate for a degree must be registered at the University in the semester or summer session in which the degree is to be conferred and must apply to the dean for the degree by the deadline given in the academic calendar. This date falls about eight weeks before the end of a long-session semester and about four weeks before the end of a summer session.
  4. Students are encouraged to attend the University's Commencement and the law school's Sunflower Ceremony, both held each spring. Summer and fall graduates are strongly encouraged to attend the Sunflower Ceremony along with spring graduates.

Degrees with Honors

Graduates of the School of Law who are judged by the faculty to have completed the Doctor of Jurisprudence with scholarly distinction are awarded degrees with honors. In general, honors are awarded solely on the basis of work done at the University's School of Law. Honors are awarded to graduates with grade point averages of 3.35 through 3.84; high honors are awarded to graduates with grade point averages of 3.85 through 4.04; highest honors are awarded to graduates with grade point averages of 4.05 or higher.

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Law School Catalog | 2006-2008 page 2 of 2 in Chapter 3
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