A. Grading System
1. Numerical Grade Equivalents
Mitchell Hamline School of Law grades on a letter grading system shown in Table 1 below.
|Letter Grade||Numerical Equivalent|
2. Pass/Fail Grades
Courses are ordinarily graded on an A-F scale. With the permission of the Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs, an instructor may offer a course on a Pass/Fail basis. If an instructor is offering a course on a Pass/Fail basis, they must announce this orally or in writing prior to or at the beginning of the semester. A student receiving a pass earns a grade of S (satisfactory) or a grade of P (pass), which is not computed in their cumulative G.P.A. A student receiving a fail earns a grade of “F”, which is computed in their cumulative G.P.A. There is no limit to the number of Pass/Fail credits a student may earn. Individual students may not elect to receive a Pass/Fail grade in a course that is letter graded with the exception of the pass/fail option in Section A.5 below.
3. Notice of Grading Criteria
The syllabus for each course will list grading criteria for the course.
4. Grading Policy
Mitchell Hamline School of Law mandates a mean of 2.9 for all 1L classes, including third semester blended learning courses, with an allowable deviation of +/-.13 to +/-.24, depending on the size of the class, as shown in the table below:
|Class size||Required Mean Grade||Maximum Allowed Deviation|
Mitchell Hamline School of Law mandates a mean of between 2.7 and 3.3 for all Upper Level (non-1L) classes, with the exception of Clinics and Long Paper courses; Clinics and Long Paper courses are not subject to the mandatory mean. Each instructor is required to calculate and articulate the mean when they submit grades to the Registrar.
If the mean falls below 2.7 or above 3.3, then before submitting grades to the Registrar, the instructor must offer to the Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs an explanation of one or more factors that justify the deviation. Such factors include, but are not limited to:
- Class size (i.e., very small)
- Method of evaluation (e.g., exercises rather than final exams)
- Average GPA of class members (e.g., higher than the mean)
- Class objectives (e.g., to master rather than simply practice specific skills)
- Nature of student work required (e.g., team or group work)
- Multiple assessors
- Course requirements (e.g., number of hours)
The Vice Dean will sign off on the deviation OR will contact the instructor for further discussion. The Vice Dean will also report to the faculty at regular intervals regarding the deviations.
5. Pass Option
Subject to the limitations set forth hereafter, excluding independent research and clinical courses, a J.D. student may elect to convert a letter grade in any non-required course, other than those designated by the Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs as not available for the pass option, to a “Pass” represented by a “P,” for “C-” or better work. A student may only convert a letter grade to a “P” in one course during the student’s entire law school career.
Students may elect to replace their passing grade with a “P” by filing with the Registrar at any time after registering for the course but not later than 5 calendar days after their last grade is posted for the semester or term in which that course was offered. This five-day period shall not be stayed to await the final determination of incomplete (“I”) grades. A student who receives an incomplete grade and has not yet exercised the one-time pass option may, after the “I” is converted to a letter grade, exercise the option to change that converted letter grade to a “P” by filing with the Registrar not later than 5 calendar days after the “I” grade is converted to a letter grade. Once the pass option has been exercised, the student cannot reverse that decision, even if hindsight proves that another choice would have been more beneficial.
If semester rankings have already been calculated, students will not be re-ranked after the pass option has been elected even if cumulative GPAs have changed significantly.
6. Grade Changes
Once final grades are submitted, they cannot be changed unless a clerical error has occurred.
7. Grade Posting
Students can review their grades on the law school website using their student I.D. number and password. When new grades are being entered, students cannot access their grades. For grade security purposes, grades are not given over the telephone.
8. Calculating Grade Point Average
Grade point averages are computed as follows: the credit value is multiplied by the number equivalent of the grade received in the course. This multiplication product results in grade points. The sum of the grade points is then divided by the number of graded credits attempted. Only letter grades listed in the first table above are calculated in the grade point average.
B. Class Rank and Transcripts
1. Class Ranks
Class ranks are computed at the end of a student’s first two semesters and every fall and spring semester thereafter and appear on the transcript. The ranks are based on students’ cumulative grade point averages. Only those students who received all of their semester grades receive a class rank. Our goal is that non-senior ranks are calculated one week after the last non-senior grades are processed. Senior ranks are calculated when all senior grades are processed.
Students are ranked with other students who are proceeding through law school at approximately the same pace, except for the final ranking, in which students are ranked with their graduating class. Students who graduate in August are ranked with the subsequent January graduation class. A student’s class rank is not changed once ranks are computed. For grade security, students are not given their class ranks over the telephone. Students may request an official transcript without the rank listed by contacting the Registrar.
Information about how to order a transcript is found on the Office of the Registrar website. Students may print their unofficial transcript from the law school’s website by logging in to their account and clicking on the “My Transcript” tab.
The law school cannot release photocopies of students’ transcripts from other academic institutions. Students must request those documents directly from the academic institutions they attended.
C. Honors and Awards
1. Academic Honors (Graduation Honors)
Mitchell Hamline School of Law issues the following academic distinctions upon the completion of all coursework and the awarding of the J.D. degree: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude.
The criteria for Latin Honors are as follows:
|Academic Honor||Honors Criteria|
|Summa cum laude||GPA of at least 3.67|
|Magna cum laude||GPA of at least 3.50, up to but not including 3.67|
|Cum laude||GPA of at least 3.33, up to but not including 3.50|
GPAs are not rounded up for purposes of awarding Latin Honors. E.g., a student with a GPA of 3.49999 will receive the cum laude, rather than the magna cum laude, distinction.
For purposes of the January and May graduation ceremonies, honors will be based on the cumulative grade point average from the prior semester. Final honors are noted on the transcript and printed on the diploma.
2. Dean’s List/Dean’s Honor Roll
Students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.33 or better, based on seven or more graded credits, are placed on the Dean’s List/Honor Roll that semester. Students so honored receive a letter from the President and Dean of the law school and a notation on their transcripts. First year students are eligible for this honor contingent on meeting the above criteria.
3. CALI Awards
Faculty members may designate the Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) Award of Excellence to students who receive the top grade in a course. Students so honored receive a letter from the President and Dean of the law school and a certificate from CALI.