A. Minimum Credits and Minimum Cumulative GPA Required; Calculation of Credits
Students matriculating between fall 2016 and fall 2019 must complete a minimum of 83 credits with a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.2.
Students matriculating in fall 2020 or later must complete a minimum of 86 credits with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.2.
Students who transfer to MHSL must meet the requirements applicable to their anticipated graduating class.
- Purpose of this section. In approving and scheduling courses and other credit-bearing activities (hereinafter, “courses”), and in awarding credit, the law school will follow the guidelines in this Academic Rule 1.06, Section A, which are intended to be consistent with the “credit hour” definition in ABA Standard 310(b). According to Standard 310(b):
- a “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:
- (1) not less than [50 minutes] of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two [60-minute] hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
- (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in subparagraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution, including simulation, field placement, clinical, co-curricular, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
- a “credit hour” is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:
- Definition of a “credit hour.” Except as otherwise provided in this section, “credit hour” is the amount of work that reasonably approximates, over any length of time, a total of 750 (50 x 15) minutes or 12.5 hours of in-class work, plus 1800 (120 x 15) minutes or 30 hours of out-of-class work. The allocation of time between in-class and out-of-class work is flexible; 42.5 hours of required work in any proportion of in-class and out-of-class work will meet the credit-hour definition. For example, a 1-credit course that requires 10 hours of in-class work and 32.5 hours of out-of-class work meets the definition.
- In-class work. “In-class work” includes classroom instruction, other direct faculty instruction, and up to 50 minutes per credit-hour of time required for an exam or other assessed activity administered after the end of classes for the semester or other academic session (hereinafter “final exam or other final assessed activity”).
- Out-of-class work. “Out-of-class work” includes all work that students are required to complete in addition to in-class work. Examples of out-of-class work include reading and other preparation for in-class work, time spent on papers, simulations, projects, and other assignments outside of scheduled class time, and time spent preparing for and completing exams, quizzes, and other assessments outside of scheduled class time other than 50 minutes per credit-hour for a final exam or other final assessed activity. Course syllabi must clearly state the out-of-class work that is required.
- Guidelines for determining credit hours in courses and other credit-bearing activities. These guidelines illustrate application of the credit-hour definition to traditional course models and are not meant to suggest that any particular model must be adopted to meet the credit-hour requirements. Except as otherwise provided in this section, courses that require at least 42.5 hours of work per credit hour comply with the credit-hour requirements.
- Non-ARW Courses with In-class Meetings. Non-ARW courses with weekly in-class meetings will be scheduled for 55 minutes of in-class instructional time per credit hour each week over a thirteen-week semester. Courses meeting over fewer or more than thirteen weeks will be scheduled for 700 minutes of in-class instructional time per credit hour. In all cases, the scheduling of in-class instructional time is based on a presumption that the course will require a total of at least 1850 minutes (or about 31 hours) of additional work per credit hour, including time spent on final exams, other final assessed activities, and all other in-class and out-of-class work. Courses need not include any final exam as long as combined in-class and out-of-class work totals at least 42.5 hours per credit hour. Thus, courses that require multiple assessments—whether in-class or out-of-class, whether or not including a final exam or other final assessed activity—meet the credit-hour requirements if all required in-class and out-of-class work, including assessments, totals at least 42.5 hours per credit.
- ARW Courses with In-class Meetings. Instructional time for courses designated under Academic Rule 1.03, Section B, as ARW-designated courses will be scheduled in the same manner, based on the same presumption of additional work, as provided in Section A.3.a above, for non-ARW courses. However, students who opt to meet their ARW graduation requirement in the course by writing an 8,500-word “long paper” pursuant to the process described in Academic Rule 1.03, Section B, and students who have already satisfied their ARW graduation requirement but opt to write an additional long paper for the course, will earn an additional credit hour (i.e., three rather than two credit hours) to reflect the time spent researching and writing a long paper.
- Blended and Distance Education courses. If a course is offered in the Hybrid, EJD, blended, or blended weekend format, or if the course is otherwise a “distance education” course within the meaning of Academic Rule 1.06, Section G, the combined total amount of work required for the course (including assigned readings, recorded lectures, discussion boards, classroom hours, and written assignments) will be no less than 42.5 hours per credit hour. Professors teaching courses offered in the Hybrid, EJD, blended, or blended Weekend format, or any “distance education” courses, must demonstrate compliance with this standard by charting the work assigned in the course according to the guidelines provided by the law school’s instructional design department.
- Clinics and Field Placements. All clinic and field placement (externship and residency) courses require at least 45 hours of work per credit hour awarded, inclusive of time spent on casework and fieldwork, classroom time, time spent in supervision meetings, and time spent preparing for class. Students will track their time according to the policies and procedures developed by the Director of Clinics and Director of Externships.
- Co-curricular Activities. Academic credit will be awarded for work on a law review, journal, competition team, internship with a professor, or other co-curricular activity upon determination that the student has completed at least 45 hours of work per credit hour awarded. Students are responsible for tracking their time according to the policies and procedures that apply to the activity involved. Prior to submitting grades for co-curricular activities, faculty advisors, competition coaches, or supervising faculty members are responsible for verifying that each student has tracked sufficient hours to justify the award of academic credit to that student.
- Independent Research. Academic credit will be awarded for independent research upon determination that the student has completed a project of sufficient scope and complexity to require at least 45 hours of work per credit hour awarded. Students are responsible for tracking the time spent in researching, writing, and conferring with a faculty supervisor on an independent research project, and supervising faculty are responsible for verifying that the time expended by each student justifies the credit awarded. Independent research proposals should include information sufficient to demonstrate that the project will justify the award of credit proposed. It is presumed for planning and approval purposes that a proposal for a research paper will justify an award of credit as follows:
Credits Requirements 1 credit 1) At least 5,000 words, and 2) the judgment of both the faculty member supervising the Independent Research project and the faculty member who approves all Independent Research proposals that the project will require the student to spend at least 45 hours researching and writing the paper and conferring with the student’s faculty supervisor. 2 credits 1) At least 8,500 words, and 2) the judgment of both the faculty member supervising the Independent Research project and the faculty member who approves all Independent Research proposals that the project will require the student to spend at least 90 hours researching and writing the paper and conferring with the student’s faculty supervisor. 3 credits 1) At least 12,000 words, and 2) the judgment of both the faculty member supervising the Independent Research project and the faculty member who approves all Independent Research proposals that the project will require the student to spend at least 135 hours researching and writing the paper and conferring with the student’s faculty supervisor. Three credits will be awarded only in rare circumstances.
This presumption applies at the time a proposal is approved and does not substitute for a demonstration that the time actually expended on the independent research project justifies the academic credit awarded.
B. Extracurricular Programming Required
All students will be required, before they are permitted to graduate, to attend at least six total hours of extracurricular programming (i.e., programming that is not offered as part of any course taken for credit) designed to increase their awareness of how to be effective lawyers in a diverse world. Of the six total hours of such programming required before graduation, at least four hours of such programming must be completed in the student’s 1L and/or 2L year. Events that would meet these requirements may be offered on campus, online, and/or off-campus (e.g., Elimination of Bias CLE events). Each student will be responsible for keeping records of each such event attended, including the title, location, duration, and sponsor of such event, as well as a brief description of its content. Students who transfer to MHSL must meet the requirements applicable to their anticipated graduating class, except that, if the timing of their transfer does not allow them to complete at least four hours of the required extracurricular programming before their 3L year, they may complete all of the required programming after their 2L year.
C. Limitation on Number of Non-Classroom Credits
A minimum of 64 credits must be from courses with regularly scheduled classroom instruction. Thus, no more than 19 credits under the 83 credit requirement (or 22 credits under the 86 credit requirement) can be applied toward graduation from field placements including externships, moot court or other competitions, Publications, independent studies (including the Independent Long Paper and Internships with Faculty), dual-degree (graduate school) courses, Teaching Assistant courses, including Learning Community Leader credits, or any course for credit that is substantially based upon time expended outside a regularly scheduled class time at MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school. This does not apply to seminars or clinics that require a substantial classroom component, foreign study programs approved by MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school, or courses conducted by MHSL or another ABA-accredited law school in accordance with ABA standards for distance learning.
D. Minimum/Maximum Time to Complete Degree
A student must complete their J.D. Degree no earlier than 24 months and not later than 84 months after commencing law school studies, except in extraordinary circumstances. Students who have not completed their course of study within 60 months must meet with the Dean of Students to develop a graduation plan that ensures completion within 84 months.
If a student claims that they should be permitted to exceed the 84-month program limitation, the student must submit to the Dean of Students a complete and official transcript of all law school courses the student has taken and the grade the student received in each course. The student must also submit to the Dean of Students a written petition to exceed the 84-month program limitation. The Dean of Students shall provide the student’s petition and transcript, along with a written assessment of the merits of the student’s petition, to the Chairperson and members of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. The Committee will deny the petition unless the Committee votes, whether in person or by email, to permit the student to exceed the limitation because the Committee has determined that the student has proved by clear and convincing evidence (i) that extraordinary circumstances permit an exception to the limitation, and (ii) that the conditions contributing to the extraordinary circumstances have been ameliorated sufficiently to allow the student to re-enroll. Per ABA Standard 311(b), Interpretation 311-2, if the Committee approves the petition, the law school shall place in the student’s file a statement signed by an appropriate law school official explaining the extraordinary circumstances leading the law school to permit an exception to this limitation. Such extraordinary circumstances, for example, might include an interruption of the student’s legal education because of an illness, family exigency, or military service.
- Minimum credits to be earned at Mitchell Hamline School of Law: To receive a J.D. degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, a J.D. student must earn at Mitchell Hamline a minimum of half of the total credits required for graduation—43 credits under the 86 credit requirement; 42 credits under the 83 credit requirement.
- Limit on credits earned outside the law school by enrolled students: While enrolled at Mitchell Hamline, students may earn no more than 15 credit hours toward the J.D. degree outside the law school. This limit includes credit hours from foreign institutions under Academic Rule 1.08. Foreign Study, Section A or Section B; credits earned at other ABA-approved law schools as a visiting student under Section F below; and graduate-level courses taken outside the law school.
- Limits on credits earned in other graduate programs (non-law programs): Students may earn no more than 6 credit hours toward the J.D. degree in graduate-level courses taken outside the law school, unless the credits are earned pursuant to a joint degree or dual degree agreement between Mitchell Hamline and a graduate program at another school. Students in approved dual degree programs may earn up to 9 credit hours toward the J.D. degree.
- No credit prior to matriculation: No credit will be awarded for course work taken prior to a student’s first matriculation at any law school.
F. Credits Earned at Other Law Schools (Transfer of Credit)
Credit earned at other law schools may be transferred to a student’s Mitchell Hamline School of Law record only with the approval of the Dean of Students or Vice Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs. All regulations that apply to credits earned at Mitchell Hamline also apply to transfer credits.
Two types of credits earned at other law schools are regulated by this section: (1) credits earned while visiting another law school and (2) transfer credits earned prior to enrolling at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
- Regulations Applying to All Forms of Credit Earned at Other Law Schools
- ABA Approval. Credits must be earned at an ABA-approved law school or an ABA- approved program sponsored by an ABA-approved law school.
- Minimum Credits at the Law School. J.D. students must earn a minimum of 42 credits (if 83 credits are required for graduation) or 43 credits (if 86 credits are required for graduation) at Mitchell Hamline to qualify for a J.D. degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Credits earned by legacy students at Hamline University School of Law or William Mitchell College of Law are considered Mitchell Hamline credits for purposes of this rule.
- Computation of Credits. In most cases, Mitchell Hamline accepts the number of credits assigned by the school where the course was taken. Credits for courses taken at law schools on a quarter system are computed as follows: 1 quarter credit = 0.7 semester credit.
- Grades. All grades earned in courses allowed for transfer credit are displayed on the transcript, but are not computed as part of the Mitchell Hamline grade point average or class rank. All courses taken for transfer credit must be letter graded and students must earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or its equivalent to receive transfer credit.
- Regulations Applying to Credits Earned While Visiting Another Law School
- Advance Permission Required. A student may petition the Dean of Students for permission to visit away (subject to the credit limits below). For spring and fall visits away, approval will be granted only when there is a compelling reason. Compelling reasons include things such as: military commitment, caring for a dependent child or a parent, or employment relocation of a spouse or life partner. The circumstances giving rise to the need to visit must go beyond convenience, financial considerations, or a desire to network in a different geographical area after graduation.
- Completed “Transfer of Credit” form required prior to enrolling in courses. Students who wish to receive credit for courses taken while visiting another law school must complete a Transfer Request Form prior to enrolling in courses. A student will not receive credit for a course that substantially duplicates coursework for which the student has already earned credit.
- Grades. All grades earned by Mitchell Hamline students who visit other law schools are displayed on the transcript, but are not computed as part of the Mitchell Hamline grade point average or class rank. All courses taken must be letter graded and students must earn a grade of at least C (not C-) or its equivalent to receive transfer credit.
- Required Courses. All required classes (see Academic Rule 1.03. Curriculum Requirements) must be taken at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. No credit will be awarded for courses taken elsewhere that substantially duplicate Mitchell Hamline required courses.
- Limits on Visiting Away. The following limits apply to students visiting other law schools:
- A maximum of 15 total credits earned at another school or schools may be applied to the Mitchell Hamline J.D. degree. This includes credits earned:
- While visiting another school during a fall or spring semester; and/or
- While attending a summer or J-term study-abroad program offered by another law school.
Credits earned through the three Minnesota law schools’ consortium program are treated as credits earned at MHSL and do not count toward the 15-credit maximum.
- A maximum of 7 of the 15 total credits may be earned from J-term and/or summer courses at another school or schools, including study-abroad programs. For study-abroad programs offered by other law schools through the Consortium of Innovative Legal Education (CILE), the 7-credit limit will be waived, but all credits earned through a CILE school other than MHSL are counted toward the 15- credit cumulative maximum. A study-abroad program offered by Mitchell Hamline is not considered a visit away.
- No student may take a course at another law school if the dates of the course overlap with any portion of a Mitchell Hamline session in which the student is enrolled, unless the student first gets advance permission from the Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs.
- Attending Minnesota Law Schools:
- Consortium Description: Students may register for courses at the University of Minnesota Law School, or the University of St. Thomas School of Law, under the terms of the three Minnesota law schools’ consortium agreement.
- Consortium Course Tuition: For consortium courses, Mitchell Hamline students pay tuition to Mitchell Hamline. Consortium credits are counted in the student’s course load for the purpose of determining full-time status, tuition and fees, etc.
- Consortium Course Limitations: To qualify for consortium status, a course must not be offered during the academic year at the enrolling student’s home school. Clinics, externships, internships, and independent studies do not qualify as consortium courses.
- Consortium Space Limitations: Consortium status courses at each school must have space available after each school’s initial add/drop procedures have been applied.
- Consortium Summer and J-term Exclusions: Courses offered at any of the three Minnesota law schools during summer and January terms are excluded from consortium treatment. Students must petition to take summer and January term courses as visitors at the other school and pay tuition to the offering school. Summer and J-term courses taken at one of the other two Minnesota law schools are subject to and counted toward the maximum of 15 total credits that Mitchell Hamline students may earn at other law schools.
- Maximum Consortium Credits: Students may not earn more than six consortium credits during their law school career.
- Eligibility for Consortium Courses: Students must be in good standing at Mitchell Hamline School of Law to participate in the program.
- Consortium Student Policies and Procedures: Students must abide by all rules of the visited school and are graded and evaluated by the visited school’s standards.
- Grades and Transfers: The visited school awards grades and submits transcripts to the home institution. Consortium course grades appear on the transcript, but do not affect grade point averages.
- Receipt of Transcript: At the conclusion of the course, once grades have been posted, it is the student’s responsibility to request that the other institution send an official transcript to Mitchell Hamline’s Office of the Registrar. Upon receipt of the transcript from the other institution, credits are posted as transfer credits.
- Consortium Courses: All courses with space available when registration opens to consortium students are presumed to be eligible for the consortium agreement, except for those courses excluded above. Interested students should review online schedules to identify courses they would like to take.
- Consortium Student Requests: Consortium requests are processed through the home school’s registrar.
- A maximum of 15 total credits earned at another school or schools may be applied to the Mitchell Hamline J.D. degree. This includes credits earned:
Students may take up to 27 credits under the 83 credit requirement (28 under the 86 credit requirement) toward their J.D. degree through courses that are designated “distance education courses.” Students may take up to 10 of those credits during the first one-third of their program of legal education. A distance education course is one in which students are separated from the faculty member or each other for more than one-third of the instruction and the instruction involves the use of technology to support regular and substantive interaction among students and between the students and the faculty member, either synchronously or asynchronously. Source: ABA Standard 306.
H. Administrative Requirements for Graduation
- Mitchell Hamline School of Law must have a student’s official undergraduate transcript on file from a student’s degree-granting school not later than October 15 of the student’s first year at Mitchell Hamline. The transcript must reflect the conferral of a bachelor’s degree, unless an exception has been made allowing the student to matriculate without earning a bachelor’s degree. Transcripts reported by the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) will fulfill this requirement if it reflects the conferral of a bachelor’s degree. Failure to meet this requirement will result in administrative withdrawal from the school.
- If a student received Title IV student loans (Direct Student loan, or Federal Stafford, Federal Unsubsidized Stafford, and/or Federal SLS programs), the student must complete an on-line financial aid exit interview.
- If a student received a Direct Student loan, the student also must complete an on-line exit questionnaire.
- All tuition, fees, and other charges owed to the law school must be paid in full.
- In accordance with the directive from the American Bar Association, the Office of Career and Professional Development requires return of an on-line completed employment survey.
I. Posthumous Degree Policy
A deceased student who has not completed all degree requirements at the time of death may be granted an honorary posthumous degree if the following conditions exist:
- The student was enrolled or on an approved Leave of Absence at the time of death;
- The student was in good academic and conduct standing at the time of death; and
- The Dean or Dean’s designee and Board of Trustees approve the granting of the honorary degree.
J. Note Regarding Diplomas
Students must complete their employment survey through the Career and Professional Development Office prior to receiving a diploma. If students complete their degree requirements in the fall or spring semester the degree conferral date on the diploma will be the day that grades are due from faculty. If students complete their degree requirements in J-term or the summer term, the degree conferral date on their diploma will be the last day of the term.
 Note that a course that requires less than 500 (2/3 of 750) minutes or 8.375 (2/3 of 12.5) hours of in-class work per credit hour is a “distance education” course. Students may count no more than 27 credits in distance education courses toward their law degree and no more than 10 of those credits during the first one-third of their program of legal education. See Graduation Requirements, Section G, Maximum Online Courses Permitted.
 Courses that are not designated under Chapter 3, Section 2.B, as advanced research & writing (ARW) courses.