Spring 2021 - JD Optional Pass/No Pass Policy

Feb. 4, 2021

Dear JD Students:

Here is the updated spring 2021 JD grading policy, including the optional Pass/No Pass regime.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


Jason Kreag

Associate Dean of Academic Affairs 

Spring 2021 JD Grading Policy

  1. We will use our traditional letter grading structure, which includes a mandatory curve for 1L classes and a target mean GPA for upper-level classes. Our standard grading policy includes the option for students to receive a "W" if they are forced to withdraw from a class after the drop/add deadline. It also allows for students to receive an "I" (Incomplete) if they need additional time to complete the course. Finally, the modifications to our traditional grading policy outlined here do not change the process Dean Jordan-Curtis employs for accommodations. 
  2. In addition to our traditional grading regime, in spring 2021, JD students can elect to receive a Pass/No Pass for one or more classes. 
  3. To select Pass/No Pass for one or more classes, students must first communicate this intention to their individual instructors by Friday, March 26, 2021. 
  4. When the faculty adopted this optional Pass/No Pass policy for JD students in fall 2020, it did so with a goal of ensuring that students have access to the information and resources needed to make an informed decision about the potential implications of this choice.  Last semester we sought to achieve this goal by requiring students electing Pass/No Pass to receive advice from the Academic Affairs and CDO team in the form of a video describing some factors to consider.  In addition, last semester many students sought individual advice from faculty members, CDO advisors, and members of the Academic Affairs team.  This semester, if a student is interested in selecting Pass/No Pass for one or more classes and if that student did not elect Pass/No Pass for any classes in fall 2020, the student is required to make an appointment with a member of the Academic Affairs team (Dean Brooks or Professor Bynum) or a CDO advisor before electing Pass/No Pass.  Of course, other students are also welcome to seek individual advice from the Academic Affairs team, CDO advisors, or faculty members.
  5. After these meetings, students must make a final and binding election of Pass/No Pass by Friday, April 16, 2021.  The Registrar will circulate a survey to students in April to collect this information.  
  6. Regardless of whether students elect Pass/No Pass, instructors will grade all exams and student work as if all students were receiving grades under the traditional College of Law letter grading regime.  
  7. In order to earn a Pass, students in the Pass/No Pass regime must receive the equivalent of what would have been a C under the traditional grading regime.  
  8. Credits earned under a Pass/No Pass system will not be considered for class rank.  Only classes graded under our traditional letter grading structure will be used for rankings. 
  9. The mandatory 1L curve and upper-level target mean GPA will be calculated for each class based on all of the JD students enrolled in the class.  For example, if 20 students are enrolled in Criminal Law, all 20 students will be graded on the traditional letter grading system.  If 5 of the students elect to substitute Pass/No Pass for the letter grade, the theoretical letter grade these students would have received under the traditional letter grading system will be used in calculating the mean GPA for the class.  
  10. Finally, this policy does not affect the upper-level graded units graduation requirement.  For example, if a 2L or 3L student is enrolled for 15 graded units this semester, and elects Pass/No Pass for three of those units, all of the 15 units will be considered graded units for purposes of the upper-level graded units graduation requirement.