(Revised through December 1, 2021)

Table of Contents

  1. Graduation Requirements for the Juris Doctor degree
    1. Credit Hour Requirements 
    2. Grade Point Average Requirement
    3. Graded Credit Hour Requirements
    4. Mandatory Courses
    5. Duration Requirement
    6. Upper-level Writing Requirement (ULWR)
    7. Skills Training
    8. Pro Bono Service
  2. Special Rules and Waivers
    1. Special Rules: Transient Work
    2. Special Rules: Transfer Students
    3. Waiver of Graduation Requirements
  3. Graduation with Honors
  4. Class Attendance
    1. Policy
    2. Minimum Standard
    3. Instructor’s Standard
    4. Enforcement
  5. Full-Time Status: Employment Limitation
    1. Policy
    2. First-Year Students
  6. Grading System
    1. Grading System
    2. Grade Point Average
    3. Grade Normalization
    4. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grades
    5. Partially Ungraded (PU) Option
    6. Administrative Failure Grade
    7. Incomplete Grades
    8. Grade Appeal System
    9. Dean’s List
    10. Class Rank
    11. Reporting Grades and Grade Distributions
  7. Examinations
    1. Blind Anonymous Grading System (BAGS)
    2. Administration of Examinations
  8. Directed Individual Study (DIS)
    1. Purpose and General Requirements
    2. Enrollment Procedures
    3. Grading
    4. Limitation on Receiving ULWR Credit During Final Semester
    5. Residence Requirement
  9. Clinical Programs
    1. Clinical Programs
    2. General Limits on Clinical Credit Hours
    3. Last Semester Credit Hour Limitation
    4. 12-Credit Hour Rule
    5. Transient Students
  10. Co-Curricular Programs
    1. General Policies
    2. Approved Programs
    3. Law Journal Credit
    4. Appellate Advocacy Credit
    5. Trial Advocacy Credit
  11. Study Abroad
    1. The FSU Summer Program in Law at Oxford
    2. Summer Abroad Programs through FSU International Programs
    3. Summer Abroad Programs through Other Law Schools
    4. Semester Study Abroad in Exchange Programs Based on FSU Consortium Agreements
    5. ABA-approved Semester Study Abroad Programs Through Other Law Schools
    6. Semester Abroad Study at Foreign Universities

1.    Graduation Requirements for the Juris Doctor degree

A student is eligible to receive the Juris Doctor (“J.D.”) degree when the student has satisfied all of the following requirements.

A.     Credit Hour Requirements
Students must successfully complete 88 credit hours of approved course work within four years of matriculating into the College of Law, except as provided below in Section 2(B) for transfer students and in Section 15 for students who are readmitted after withdrawing or being dismissed from the College of Law.

“Successful completion” means a final grade of D− or better in a graded course.

“Approved course work” includes all regular College of Law courses, seminars and clinics; all approved transfer course work (see Section 2(B) below) all approved transient work as a visiting student (see Section 2(A) below); all qualifying co-curricular programs (see Section 10 below); courses in other schools and colleges approved for law school credit (see Sections 11 and 12 below); and credits approved under a Joint Graduate Pathway agreement (see Section 17).

A student may not count more than 15 credit hours of online classes towards this credit hour requirement. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will certify which classes are online classes for purpose of this section. The College does not ordinarily offer first-year courses online, but if it does, no more than 10 credit hours of a student’s first-year courses may be online unless the College is acting under an emergency authorization from the ABA.

B.    Grade Point Average Requirement
Students much achieve final cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of 2.00 or better for all course work undertaken in graded courses. There is no grade “forgiveness” if a student retakes a failed course; both grades are included in the computation of the student’s final grade point average. 

C.    Graded Credit Hour Requirements
Students must complete credits hours in graded courses as follows:

GPA of 2.25 or above: A student whose final cumulative grade point average is 2.25 or better must successfully complete at least 66 credit hours of graded course work. A student’s remaining 22 required credit hours may be satisfied by successful completion of ungraded course work.

GPA below 2.25: A student whose final cumulative grade point average is below 2.25 must successfully complete at least 72 credit hours of graded course work. A student’s remaining 16 required credit hours may be satisfied by successful completion of ungraded course work.
 

The following courses count as “graded course work” for the purposes of the Graded Credit Hour Requirement:

  • Topics I: Florida Bar Subjects 
  • Topics II: Multistate Bar Exam Subjects
  • Topics in Real Property, Torts & Commercial Law
  • Any other classroom-based, academic-support course approved by the Curriculum Committee 

D.    Mandatory Courses
Students must successfully complete the following courses to graduate:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law I
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Writing & Research I 
  • Legal Writing & Research II
  • Legislation & Regulation
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Professional Responsibility

Retaking required courses: A student who fails a mandatory course will ordinarily be assigned to a different instructor when retaking the course.

E.    Duration Requirement
As required by ABA Standard 311(b), no student may graduate and receive a J.D. degree in fewer than 24 months from the time they began their studies as a J.D. student at the College of Law or at another law school that the student was attending before transferring into the College’s J.D. program.

F.    Upper-level writing requirement (ULWR)
To satisfy the upper-level writing requirement, a student must (1) successfully complete a law school course, seminar, or Directed Individual Study (DIS) requiring a research paper of substantial length and involving at least one written critique of a rough draft; and (2) write a final draft of the required research paper that meaningfully responds to the professor’s critique of the rough draft.

For each student enrolled in a course for which the student can earn ULWR, the professor shall assign the student a grade for the course and certify whether the student has written a paper that satisfies the ULWR.

Only faculty members who hold full-time or courtesy appointments in the FSU College of Law may supervise and certify a student’s satisfaction of the ULWR.

With the exception of a DIS, only a graded course or seminar may be taken to satisfy the ULWR. If a student elects the Partially Ungraded grading option for a course, that course may not be used to satisfy the ULWR requirement.

A DIS may not be taken to satisfy the ULWR during a student’s last semester or term of law school.

Pursuant to ABA Standard 303 (Interpretation 303-1), a student cannot use a course to satisfy both the ULWR and the skills training (experiential course(s)) requirement described below. 

G.    Skills Training
A student must receive substantial instruction in “skills training.” In accordance with ABA Standard 303, a student must satisfactorily complete one or more “experiential course(s)” totaling at least 6 credits hours.

A student may satisfy the skills training requirement by successful completion and receipt of credit in a class certified by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as including “substantial instruction in ‘other professional skills generally regarded as necessary to effective and responsible participation in the legal profession,’” as that term is used in the ABA accreditation standards.

A student may also satisfy the skills training requirement by successful completion and receipt of credit in a class certified by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as providing select students in the class with skills training, if the professor in the class indicates to the Law School Registrar that the student’s work in the class involved “substantial instruction in other professional skills.”

Credits earned through the Public Interest Law Center, the Business Law Clinic, and the Externship Program are experiential courses under this section.

Pursuant to ABA Standard 303 (Interpretation 303-1), a student cannot use a course to satisfy both the skills training requirement and the ULWR described above.

H.    Pro bono service
Students must satisfactorily complete at least twenty hours of pro bono legal work in order to complete their J.D. degree. The work may not be performed until after a student’s completion of the first year of law school. The pro bono requirement must be completed 30 days prior to graduation.

“Pro bono legal work” means –

  • legal work on behalf of an indigent individual;
  • uncompensated legal work in conjunction with an individual lawyer, law firm or organization on behalf of a disadvantaged minority, victims of racial, sexual or other forms of discrimination, or those denied their human or civil rights; or 
  • other uncompensated legal work on behalf of the public interest. 

“Work on behalf of the public interest” means legal work that is designed to present a position on behalf of the public at large on matters of public interest." Public interest work does not include the direct representation of litigants in actions between private persons, corporations or other representations of litigants in which the financial interests at stake would warrant representation from private legal sources.

The Dean or the Dean’s designee must approve in advance all legal work that may be used to satisfy the pro bono requirement and must certify a student’s satisfaction of the requirement.

2.    Special Rules and Waivers

A.    Special Rules: Transient Work
An FSU College of Law student may be given credit towards the J.D. degree for up to 30 semester credit hours of approved course work taken at another ABA-accredited law school as a visiting student (a “transient student”). Though not required, it is recommended that the other law school also be a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). The following special rules apply to work done as a transient student.

i.    Requests to Visit as a Transient Student
Requests to visit as a transient student at another law school and all course work to be undertaken at that school must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in advance of registration at the other school. Ordinarily, only third-year students are approved to visit as a transient student at another law school, but a second-year student may be approved under special circumstances.

ii.    Academic Credit towards the J.D. Degree
Academic credit towards the J.D. degree for work done as a transient student at another law school may be awarded only for course work completed with a grade of C or better or the equivalent. Credit for course work completed with a grade below C or its equivalent will not be accepted for credit towards the J.D. degree. The student’s FSU College of Law transcript will include the grades that are listed on the transcript of the other institution, but these grades will not be included in the computation of the student’s FSU College of Law GPA. 

iii.    Graded Hours Rule
One-half (½) of the credit hours for classroom-based course work successfully completed as a transient student at another law school will be deemed “graded hours” for the purpose of calculating the graded credit hour graduation requirement described above.

B.    Special Rules: Transfer Students
A student who transfers to the FSU College of Law from another law school or from one of the College of Law’s LL.M. programs must satisfy all of the prescribed graduation requirements for the J.D. degree, except as otherwise provided in this section. To the extent that the student earned credits from online courses at their prior school, those credits will count towards the College of Law’s limit of 15 credits from online courses that can be counted towards a student’s overall graded credit hours, under Rule 1(A), even if their prior school permitted a greater number of online credit hours to count towards completion of a J.D. degree. 

i.    Minimum Credit Hours
At least 45 semester credit hours of approved course work must be successfully completed at the FSU College of Law. This requirement will not be satisfied by credit earned under the auspices of another law school or through graduate-level courses at FSU or Florida A & M University. 

ii.    Graded Hours
At least three-fourths (3/4) of the credit hours of course work that is successfully completed at the FSU College of Law must be graded hours. If a transfer student has earned transient credits at FSU College of Law prior to transferring, those transient credits will not proportionately reduce the number of graded hours required for graduation under this rule.

iii.    Transfer Hours
The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve all credit hours and required courses that may be applied to satisfy the FSU College of Law graduation requirements. Transfer credit may be awarded only for course work successfully completed with a grade of C or better or the equivalent. All transfer credits will be listed on the students’ FSU College of Law transcript with the grade listed on the transcript of the other institution, but none of these grades shall be included in the computation of the transfer students’ GPA at FSU College of Law.

C.    Waiver of Graduation Requirements
Under exceptional circumstances, a graduation requirement may be waived in accordance with the following procedure.

i.    Committee
A student may request to have a graduation requirement waived by filing a petition to do so with the College of Law Academic Waiver Committee. The members of the committee shall be appointed by the Dean.

ii.    Exceptional Circumstances
The committee may waive a graduation requirement only upon a finding of exceptional circumstances. Normally, the circumstances must be beyond the student’s control and not have been reasonably foreseeable.

iii.    Decision
A majority vote of the committee to reject a waiver request is final.

A unanimous vote of the committee to grant a waiver request is final. 

A non-unanimous majority vote of the committee to grant a waiver request results in the request being referred to the faculty. If a majority of the voting faculty approves the waiver, the waiver will be granted.

3.    Graduation with Honors

A graduate receiving the J.D. degree will be awarded the degree with honors when the graduate’s final class rank is as follows:
•    Summa Cum Laude (highest honors): Top 3% of graduating J.D. students
•    Magna Cum Laude (high honors): Top 10% of graduating J.D. students but below top 3%
•    Cum Laude (honors): Top 25% of graduating J.D. students but below top 10%

For purposes of determining the percentiles, the graduating class includes graduates from the fall, spring and summer semesters. The percentiles will be calculated after spring graduation (thus fall graduates will have to wait until after the spring graduation to learn whether they received honors), but they will include the projected number of summer graduates. If a summer graduate moves up into an award percentile, he or she will receive the corresponding honor. However, in no case will a fall or spring graduate lose the award designation after the initial determination has been made. 

4.    Class Attendance

A.    Policy
Regular and punctual class attendance is necessary to satisfy credit hour requirements.

B.    Minimum Standard
At a minimum, a student must attend at least 80 percent of class meetings to receive credit for a course unless the student’s absence is excused under university policies. Such excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official university activities. Excused absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.  

C.    Instructor’s Standard
As long as it is consistent with university rules, an individual faculty member may adopt an attendance standard that is more stringent than the minimum standard or may establish other reasonable rules and policies regarding class attendance, tardiness, class preparation or other classroom conduct. If more stringent than the minimum standard, a faculty member must announce the faculty member’s individual attendance standard or other rules at the beginning of the semester. In setting an attendance standard that exceeds the minimum, a faculty member should consider, inter alia, student needs to arrange job interviews.

D.    Enforcement
A student who violates the minimum attendance standard or a faculty member’s individual attendance standard may be administratively disenrolled from the course. Normally, administrative disenrollment will result in a grade of AD on the student’s transcript. At the discretion of the faculty member teaching the course, a student disenrolled for chronic absenteeism may be awarded a grade of Administrative Failure (AF, worth 0 grade points). A faculty member may impose other academic penalties for violation of the faculty member’s individual rules or policies.

5.    Full-Time Status: Employment Limitation

A.    Policy
A full-time law student may not engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week in any semester in which the student is enrolled in 12 or more credit hours. If a student wishes to take an underload, the student must complete an underload form and it must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  

B.    First-Year Students
All students are strongly discouraged from engaging in any employment during their first-year of law school.

6.    Grading System

A.    Grading System
The College of Law assigns the following grades to J.D. students. Each grade corresponds to a number of grade points: 

Letter Grade

Grade Points

A+

4.25

A

4

A−

3.75

B+

3.25

B

3

B−

2.75

C+

2.25

C

2

C−

1.75

D+

1.25

D

1

D−

0.75

F

0

The College of Law may also report the following Score Codes on students’ official transcripts: 

Code

Meaning

S

Satisfactory Work

U

Unsatisfactory Work 

I

Incomplete

AF

Administrative Failure

AU

Administrative Unsatisfactory

AD

Administrative Disenrollment
(no credit)

WD

Withdrawal from Course by Permission of the College of Law

W

Withdrawn from the College or University

 

B.    Grade Point Average
A J.D. student’s grade point average is determined as follows:

  1. the total number of grade points earned by the student, as calculated by multiplying (a) the number of credits for each class for which a grade is assigned on the student’s transcript with (b) the number of points associated with that grade; 
  2. divided by (2) the number of graded credits reported on the student’s transcript. 

The result is rounded to the nearest hundredth. Score Codes do not count as graded credits toward the computation of GPA, except that each AF and IE score is included as a grade with zero points in the computation of GPA. 

If a student transfers to FSU from another institution or earns transient credits at another law school, the grades earned at that institution will not be included in the computation of the transfer students FSU College of Law GPA.

C.    Grade Normalization

All grades awarded in the College of Law are subject to the following grade normalization rules.

i.    Mandatory Curve
The mean number of grade points (“mean grade”) in J.D. classes must be at least 3.15 and may be no greater than 3.25. However, for upper-level classes, if the mean incoming GPA for students enrolled in the course (as determined at the beginning of the semester) is greater than 3.20, the mean grade may be as high as the mean incoming GPA plus 0.05 points. If the mean incoming GPA is less than 3.20, the mean grade may be as low as the mean incoming GPA minus 0.05 points.

J.D. sections of classes are subject to an additional distributional requirement unless the class either (1) is a seminar or (2) has fewer than 20 students enrolled. If either of these exceptions applies, the class distribution will only need to meet the mean requirement above. If the exceptions do not apply, then in addition to the mean requirement, class grades must meet the following distribution:

A+

0 to 3%

A

5 to 15%

A−

10 to 20%

B+

20 to 35%

B

20 to 35%

B−

5 to 15%

C+ and below

0 to 20%

 

These distributional requirements do not prohibit an instructor from assigning one of each grade in any course, so long as the mean requirement is met.

The term “class” in this paragraph refers to a particular section of a course and not to multiple sections even when an instructor teaches more than one section of a course, except that a professor who teaches two sections of a course together as one class (using the same lectures, reading materials, assignments, and examinations for both groups) may curve both sections together.

ii.    Deviation for Good Cause
A deviation in the grades awarded in a class from those required under the curve or the class-profile option may be granted for good cause. The burden to demonstrate good cause is on the instructor requesting the deviation. Requests for good cause deviations shall be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines that the deviation from the curve or profile is de minimis and is justified, they are authorized to approve the grades. If the Associate Dean determines that the grade deviation from the curve or profile is either not de minimis or not justified, the professor may either change the grades so that any deviation is de minimis and justified or ask the Curriculum Committee for approval of all the grades.  All deviations must be approved before the grades are released.  All Committee action on requests for a grade deviation, and the reasons therefore, shall be reported to the faculty, except for de minimis deviations.

iii.       Grade Normalization Exceptions
“Special students” (see Section 18 below) shall not be included in grade normalization, except under the following circumstances. 

Both visiting “transient” students (a student who is currently in good standing and earning a J.D. or equivalent degree at an A.B.A.-accredited or provisionally accredited law school) and “exchange” students (a student who is currently in good standing and earning a law degree in a foreign law school that has concluded a consortium agreement with Florida State University and the College of Law) shall be subject to the grade normalization process. Such students may not elect the Partially Ungraded (PU) grading option, however.

A graduate student who is currently enrolled in another school or college at the university or at Florida A. & M. University shall not be included in grade normalization. Such students may not receive the “A+” grade.

Students in non-J.D. programs administered by the College of Law shall not be subject to grade normalization except as may be specifically stated in the curricular rules for each non-J.D. program.  

D.    Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grades
For ungraded courses, instructors or supervisors will award either an “S” for satisfactory performance or a “U” for unsatisfactory performance.   

E.    Partially Ungraded (PU) Option 
A student may elect to enroll in a graded law school course on a Partially Ungraded (PU) basis, subject to the following conditions:

i.    Availability
A J.D. student can make only one PU election during the student’s enrollment at the College of Law. Students may not elect the PU option for required upper division courses (i.e., Constitutional Law II or Professional Responsibility) or a course which is used to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

ii.    Election
To exercise the PU option, a student must complete and submit an PU request form to the Law School Registrar's Office by the end of the fourth week of classes for the fall and spring semesters and by the end of the second week for summer terms. Once exercised, the PU option is irrevocable regardless of the student’s grade in the course and regardless of any possible disenrollment from the course. 

iii.    Blind Grading
The instructor for a course will not be informed of the identity of those students who have elected to take the course on a PU basis, and the instructor will assign a letter grade to those students on the same basis as all other students in the class. The letter grades awarded to students electing to take the course on a PU basis will be taken into account by the instructor in normalizing the grades awarded by the instructor in the course.

iv.    Conversion Scale from Letter Grades to PU Grades and Scores
 When a student under the letter grading scale makes a PU election, the student’s grade for that class will be reported as follows: 

 

Original Letter Grade

PU Option Grade or Score

Grade Points

A+

A+

4.25

A

A

4

A−

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

N/A

B+

B

B−

C+

C

C−

C−

1.75

D+

D+

1.25

D

D

1

D−

D−

0.75

F

F

0

 

v.     Effect of a Satisfactory (S) Score in a Partially Ungraded Course
Credit hours earned by a student for a Satisfactory (S) score under the PU option will count toward the total hours required for graduation, but will not count toward the graded credit hours required for graduation.  

If a letter grade is earned by students who have elected the PU option in a course, it will count towards a student’s GPA and class rank. If a student receives a score of Satisfactory (S), it will not be factored into such calculations.

F.    Administrative Failure Grade
An Administrative Failure (AF) grade may, in the instructor’s discretion, be awarded only in the following circumstances:

  • where a student is administratively disenrolled for chronic absences;
  • where an enrolled student (other than one who has properly withdrawn from the College or one who has properly withdrawn from the course) fails to complete previously announced course requirements;
  • where a student fails to make a bona fide attempt to write an acceptable paper or complete an examination;
  • where a student permits an "Incomplete" (I) grade to expire without a bona fide attempt to complete the course; or
  • where a student withdraws from a course or from the College without completing the proper procedures.

On written request to the instructor, the student will be informed in writing of the nature of the grade and the reason it was awarded.

G.    Incomplete Grades
An interim grade of Incomplete (I) may be assigned by the instructor if a student has not completed all assigned course work at the time that grades are submitted.

All incomplete coursework must be completed by the end of the next academic term (including summer term), unless an exception is granted by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs prior to that time. 

An Incomplete grade not otherwise changed will become an Administrative Failure grade (AF).

H.    Grade Appeal System

vi.    Grounds for a Grade Appeal
The grade appeal system affords an opportunity for a student to appeal a final grade on the ground that it involved a gross violation of the instructor's own specified standards. The system is not a basis for appeal of the instructor's grading standards, nor does it cover situations in which the judgment of the instructor is questioned as to a grade decision. The system is also not a means of challenging whether a professor’s grades met the curve, because the curve is an administrative requirement to be enforced by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Curriculum Committee and is not part of a professor’s grading standards.

vii.    Procedure for a Grade Appeal
To appeal a final grade that the student believes violates the instructor’s own specified grading standards, a student must:

Step 1:
Contact the instructor to discuss the grade and attempt to resolve any differences. A student unable to resolve the student’s differences with the instructor, or a student not in residence for the succeeding term, must file a written appeal with the Dean or the Dean’s designee within sixty (60) calendar days following the assignment of the disputed grade. The student may file the written appeal before finally determining that differences with the instructor cannot be resolved. The appeal should contain the facts and circumstances on which the student's claim is based. The student must furnish a copy of the appeal to the instructor.

Step 2:
A student who is still dissatisfied may then request an appearance before a board composed of three students appointed by the Dean or the Dean’s designee (hereinafter the “student board”). This student board acts as a screening body only. It determines only whether the appeal satisfies the standard described above by a preponderance of the evidence. The decision shall be determined by majority vote, with any abstention counting as a vote that the appeal lacks merit. In its discretion, the student board is empowered to solicit evidence and testimony from the appealing student and any other person or entity. A negative decision by the student board will end the appeal. A favorable decision will be referred to a Step 3 committee.

Step 3:
A committee of three faculty members and two students appointed by the Dean or the Dean’s designee (hereinafter “the committee”) will review a favorable decision reached by the student board. The students appointed to the committee shall not include any student who served on the Step 2 student board. The committee shall conduct a de novo review of the appeal and conclude whether the appeal satisfies the standard described above by a preponderance of the evidence. In its discretion, the committee is empowered to solicit evidence and testimony from the appealing student and any other person or entity. A majority decision by the committee is final. 

viii.    Administration
Students appointed to the student board and the committee will be appointed from nominees selected by the SBA President or the President's designee. 

The Dean or the Dean’s designee will appoint a chair of both the student board and the committee. The Dean's Office will furnish notice to the appealing student and to the instructor of the appointment of a grade appeal board or committee.

The chair will select a meeting time and place and furnish notice to both the appealing student and the instructor. Both parties have the right to appear at any step and be heard and to submit any materials for consideration of the student board and/or committee that they deem appropriate. A student board or committee may determine its own procedures, except as otherwise prescribed herein. Copies of materials furnished to a student board or committee by the appealing student, the instructor, or any party or individual should, whenever practical, be furnished to the other party. The Dean's Office will provide staff assistance as needed to the Step 2 student board and Step 3 committee.

At the conclusion of each step, the student board or committee shall furnish a written report of its decision to the Dean or the Dean’s designee and to the parties.

In the case of a successful appeal at the Step 3 committee stage, the grade may be changed by the joint agreement of the student, the instructor, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In case of their failure to agree after a successful appeal, the appealing student may elect to keep their grade or to have it changed to Satisfactory (S). Such an S grade is credited towards the hours required for graduation and toward the graded hours required for graduation, as long as the course was a classroom-based course.

I.    Dean’s List
At the end of the Fall and Spring semesters, the designation of “Dean's List” will be noted on a student’s transcript if: (1) the student is a first-year student and the student’s grade point average is in the top 20% of semester grade point averages among first-year law students enrolled during that semester; or (2) the student is an upper-level (2L/3L) student and the student’s grade point average is in the top 20% of semester grade point averages among all upper-level (2L/3L) students enrolled during that semester. 

To be eligible for the Dean’s List designation, a student must successfully complete 12 or more credit hours for the semester with at least six credits that count toward the student’s GPA.

J.    Class Rank
The College of Law will generally calculate both interim class ranks and final graduation class ranks.

Interim ranks in general: For the purpose of interim ranking, students who began taking courses within FSU-COL between August 1 of one year and July 31 of the following year will be grouped together as a cohort.  The interim rank will indicate the performance of each student relative to their cohort, as measured by their GPA in FSU-COL courses up to the date when the ranks are calculated.  Interim class ranks are computed after the fall and spring semesters and shall not include courses completed in the following summer term.  No student who has not completed at least eleven credit-hours of FSU-COL course work in a semester shall be included within the rank calculations for that semester.  Interim ranks will only be reported following each cohort’s first six semesters of law school. 

Interim ranks for first-year students: First-year students will receive a regular class rank at the end of the fall and spring semesters.  First-year spring ranks may be recalculated in the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs if there are significant enrollment differences (e.g., outgoing transfers) after the end of a class’s first year at the College. For the purposes of this rule, a first-year student is anyone who started attending FSU-COL less than one year before the date when a rank would be calculated.  

Interim ranks for upper-class students: Once a student has been attending law school for at least one calendar year, they will receive both a regular interim rank and an upper-class rank at the end of each fall and spring semester.  Upper-class ranks will indicate the students’ relative GPAs for all courses except those that are part of the required first-year curriculum.  

For transfer students, the college will report an upper-class rank, but not a regular interim rank.  To the extent that transfer students started their legal education earlier or later than an FSU-COL cohort, they will be grouped with the nearest FSU-COL cohort for purposes of calculating the upper-class rank.  

Graduation class ranks: The final graduation class rank is determined by taking into account all students who graduate with the J.D. degree between September of one year and August of the following year. All students, including joint-degree students, are ranked based on the class in which they graduate. 

The College does not publish or publicly display class rankings.

K.    Reporting Grades and Grade Distributions
While the College of Law informs students of the grade they have earned in a course, the College will not generally release information concerning the overall distribution of grades in a class to students.

7.    Examinations

A.    Blind Anonymous Grading System (BAGS)
All College of Law examinations that count for more than 20% of a course’s grade are anonymously administered and graded pursuant to the Blind Anonymous Grading System (BAGS). Other graded work may, in the discretion of the instructor, be administered and graded pursuant to the BAGS system.

Each semester, the Registrar’s Office will assign a BAGS number to each student. Students must use their BAGS number to identify their examination papers in all courses subject to blind grading and must not use their name or any other personal identification on their examination papers. A single BAGS number is used by each student for all final examinations taken during the semester.

Additional BAGS numbers will be assigned to students in courses with a mid-term examination or other multiple evaluative instruments that are subject to blind grading.

An instructor may decline to grade a student’s examination if the student’s name or other personal identification appears on the examination paper.

B.    Administration of Examinations
Except as otherwise provided in this section, a student must take a final examination at the time it is scheduled. An unexcused absence from a final examination will result in an Administrative Failure (AF) grade.

i.    Excused absence
If a student, before or during an examination, believes that they cannot take or complete an examination by reason of illness, tragedy or similar compelling exigency, the student must immediately notify the instructor or a dean. Unless justified, a student’s failure to provide timely notice of an illness or other exigency will be deemed grounds to deny the student an opportunity to take or complete the examination at a later time.

ii.    Multiple examinations
If a student has two scheduled examinations on a single day or an examination in an afternoon followed by one the next morning, the student may request an alternative examination schedule. A request to reschedule a final examination must be submitted by the end of the fifth week of the semester to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Advancement or designee who, in consultation with the instructors concerned, will arrange for an alternate time for one of the examinations, if justified.  A request to reschedule other examinations must be submitted at least two weeks before the examination is set to occur. An examination ordinarily will not be rescheduled to a date earlier than that specified on the exam schedule.

iii.    Special accommodations
A student who is entitled to special examination accommodations because of a disability should make arrangements with the Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Advancement or designee. These arrangements will ordinarily be coordinated through the university’s Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). To be eligible for special arrangements, a student must complete and submit a request for special exam accommodations form by the end of the fifth week of the semester in which accommodation is sought.

iv.    Overseas programs 
An examination conflict arising out of a student's participation in an FSU summer overseas program immediately following the summer term in Tallahassee will ordinarily be accommodated. Students with such a conflict must either arrange for an early examination before leaving Tallahassee or else for an online administration of the exam.

8.    Directed Individual Study (DIS)

A.    Purpose and General Requirements
The Directed Individual Study (DIS) program provides an opportunity for second- and third-year students to enrich their legal education by pursuing a research project in an area of particular interest under close faculty supervision. DIS projects may be supervised only by a faculty member who holds a full-time or courtesy appointment in the College of Law.

A DIS project requires the completion of a significant research paper of substantial length (normally 40–50 pages). DIS credit will not be awarded for paid work, work performed in a clinical program, work that is not under the direct supervision of a faculty member, or work that was completed for other academic credit.

A DIS project may be for one, two, or three credit hours. The expectation is that a DIS project will receive two credit hours. A request to the Curriculum Committee for three credit hours should include an explanation from the student and the faculty director about why the project should be approved for more than the normal two credit hours. Three credit hours may be earned for a project that involves significant empirical work, that requires substantial translation of non-English sources, or that is of a scope that warrants more than two credit hours. The length of a DIS paper will not, by itself, be a basis for an award of three credit hours. No more than four DIS credit hours may be earned in a single semester.

B.    Enrollment Procedures
All DIS projects must be approved by the Curriculum Committee before registration. To apply for a DIS, a student must submit to the Curriculum Committee a request that includes the approval of the faculty member who will direct the study and a memorandum that describes the aim of the project, explains its significance, and indicates the student’s research plan.

DIS requests should be submitted to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee by the end of the semester prior to the one for which credit is being sought and must be submitted in time to allow for Committee consideration before the end of drop/add period for the semester.

Completed DIS requests require the affirmative vote of a majority of the Committee and will be decided before the end of the drop/add period for the semester. If a proposal is not approved, the Chair of the Committee will inform an applicant of the reasons for rejection. 

C.    Grading
A DIS project will be ungraded and shall be evaluated on an S/U basis by the supervising faculty member. No credit will be awarded unless one copy of the final DIS paper is submitted to the Curriculum Committee and certified by the Chair of the Committee as complying with the terms of the application as approved. 

D.    Limitation on Receiving ULWR Credit During Final Semester
A DIS may not be used to satisfy a student’s Upper Level Writing Requirement during the student’s last semester.

E.    Residence Requirement
Because DIS projects are designed to allow a student to work under the close supervision of a faculty member, it is presumed that approval will not be given for a DIS during a term when either the student or the directing faculty member is not in residence at the College of Law. In an exceptional situation in which the Committee is assured by the supervising faculty member that an appropriate level of supervision will occur, this presumption may be rebutted.

9.    Clinical Programs

A.     Clinical Programs
The College of Law’s clinical programs include both College clinics and externship placements. Enrollment is available in standardized offerings through the Business Law Clinic and the various programs administered by the Public Interest Law Center. The College also offers the following externship opportunities:

  • Appellate Externships
  • Corporate Counsel Externships
  • Criminal Justice Externships
  • International Externships
  • Judicial Externships
  • Public Interest Externships

The number of credit hours awarded for successful completion of a clinical program varies with each program.

B.    General Limits on Clinical Credit Hours
No more than 18 clinical credit hours may be applied toward the credit hours required for the J.D. degree. Of those 18 hours, no more than 15 externship credit hours may be applied towards those needed to earn the J.D. degree.  

Clinical credit hours are ungraded (S/U) and do not apply to the graded credit hours required for the J.D. degree. 

A student may enroll in only one clinical program in any one semester or term.

A student may not apply more than 15 externship credit hours toward the J.D. degree.

C.    Last Semester Credit Hour Limitation
Students may not enroll in a 12- credit hour externship during their last semester unless a waiver is granted by the Curriculum Committee. Students may only enroll in a 9- credit hour externship during their last semester if either (A) they are enrolled in at least one other course on the law school campus or (B) they have received a waiver from the Curriculum Committee.  Waivers of these limitations will only be granted in the most extraordinary and compelling circumstances.  

D.    12-Credit Hour Rule
A student enrolled in a 12-credit hour externship may not enroll for any additional course work during that semester, except that, with the prior approval of the externship director, a Tallahassee extern may be allowed to receive law journal credit.

E.    Transient Students
A transient student visiting at FSU may not enroll in a 9- or 12-credit hour externship, but a full-time transient student may be permitted to enroll in an externship for up to 6-credit hours if space and resources are available. 

10.    Co-Curricular Programs

A.    General Policies
Academic credit may be awarded to students for their participation in approved co-curricular programs at the College of Law as provided in this section.

i.    Faculty Approval
The faculty of the College of Law must approve each co-curricular program for which students may be awarded academic credit. Approval may be revoked by the faculty if the faculty determines that participation in the program does not warrant the award of academic credit.

ii.    Curriculum Committee Oversight
The Curriculum Committee has general oversight responsibilities to ensure that all approved co-curricular programs continue to conduct their programs in a manner consistent with the faculty’s policies and these rules. At least annually, the Committee should review the bylaws and practices of each approved program and consult with the program’s faculty advisor(s) to assure continued compliance.

iii.    Fair Access
Student access to membership in a co-curricular program for which members may earn academic credit must be open to all law students on a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory basis. There should be meaningful participation in the program’s membership selection process by faculty members, alumni and/or other outside professionals. The program faculty advisor shall have ultimate authority to determine the proportionate composition of students, faculty members, alumni and/or other outside professionals voting in the selection process, and the weight to be given to individual votes for each of these groups of participants. Each student program must inform the Curriculum Committee and the program’s advisor in writing of any proposed change in its membership selection process before any change is implemented. Any policy or procedure promulgated by the program’s advisor shall take precedence over and supersede any policy or procedure in use by or proposed by the program’s members or their designees. 

iv.    Ungraded
All academic credit awarded for participation in co-curricular programs will be ungraded (S/U).

v.    Faculty Control
All credit awarded for a student’s participation in a co-curricular program must (a) be individually approved by the program’s faculty advisor and (b) be evaluated for educational achievement by a member of the faculty. The Curriculum Committee has approved and will monitor standard forms on which faculty review of student educational achievement for all co-curricular credits will be recorded and maintained by the Registrar's Office. A grade of unsatisfactory (U) may be awarded for a student’s unsatisfactory performance of the agreed co-curricular responsibilities for which the student sought academic credit.  Late disenrollment of erroneously sought cocurricular credits may be permitted at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

B.    Approved Programs
The following co-curricular programs have been approved by the faculty so that students are eligible to receive academic credit for their participation in the program: 

  • Florida State University Law Review
  • FSU Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law
  • FSU Journal of Transnational Law & Policy
  • FSU Business Review
  • FSU Moot Court Team
  • FSU Mock Trial Team

C.    Law Journal Credit
Academic credit may be awarded for participation on the Florida State University Law Review, the FSU Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, the FSU Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, or the FSU Business Review as follows:

i.    Writing Credit
A law journal member may receive academic credit for writing a note, comment or other work as provided in this section.

Faculty supervision:
A journal note, comment or other work must be written under an individual faculty member’s supervision to receive academic credit. A journal note, comment or other work written solely under the supervision of a student editor is not eligible for academic credit. 

Publication credit: 
Any student whose note, comment or other work is published by an approved FSU law journal or that of another ABA-accredited law school may receive one hour of academic credit for fulfilling the publication process. Registration for this credit shall be in the semester after the piece is published, and the faculty advisor of the FSU journal, or the Associate Dean for other journals, must certify that the piece has completed the publication process. This credit is available regardless of any other academic credit received by the student.

ii.    Editing Credit
A law journal member may receive academic credit for service in an editorial capacity as provided in this section.

Annual certification:
The academic credit that may be awarded to a journal’s members for service in an editorial capacity must be approved annually by the Curriculum Committee.

Procedure: 
A journal may request that its members be eligible to receive academic credit for service in an editorial capacity by submitting to the Curriculum Committee a memo, approved by the journal’s faculty advisor, setting forth the following information:

  • A list of the editorial positions to be eligible for academic credit;
  • A description of each position’s responsibilities;
  • The amount of credit sought for the position; and
  • The academic term that members are to register for the credit.

Faculty advisor’s approval:
The journal’s faculty advisor, after certification by the journal’s editor-in-chief that all participation requirements have been met, must approve the final award of all academic credit for service as a journal editor. A grade of unsatisfactory (U) may be awarded if an editor who has registered to receive academic credit does not satisfactorily fulfill all the requirements for academic credit, unless the faculty advisor finds justifiable cause for the editor’s failure to do so.

iii.    Journal Credit Limitations
A student may not receive more than two hours of academic credit in any semester or term for journal editorial service.  

If a student receives academic credit for work done on one journal during a semester, the student may not receive credit for work done on any other journals that semester.

A student must elect to take journal credits the same semester that they have performed the relevant journal work.  This limitation, however, may be waived by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for good cause, as long as no credits are granted before work is completed.

A student may not receive nor count towards the J.D. degree more than an aggregate total of nine hours of academic credit for participation on one or more of the law journals.

D.    Appellate Advocacy Credit
Academic credit may be awarded for participation on the FSU Moot Court Team as provided in this section.

i.    Competition Credit
A Moot Court Team member may earn two hours of academic credit for satisfactory participation in an intercollegiate moot court competition. A competition team is ordinarily composed of two students, but sometimes the team may have three students.

ii.    Participation
For academic credit, a member’s participation must include:

  • Co-author of the competition brief, to be submitted to the team’s editorial chair at least 10 days in advance of competition filing deadline;
  • Satisfactory participation in at least eight practice oral argument panels; and
  • Satisfactory participation in a regional, national, or international competition.

iii.    Faculty Advisor’s Approval
The Moot Court Team faculty advisor, in consultation with the team coach for the competition and after certification from the team’s editorial chair that all participation requirements have been met, must approve the final award of all academic credit for a member’s participation in an appellate advocacy competition. A grade of unsatisfactory (U) will typically be awarded if a member who has registered for a competition does not satisfactorily fulfill all the requirements for academic credit, unless the faculty advisor finds justifiable cause for the member’s failure to do so.

iv.    Registration
A member will generally register for academic credit in the semester in which the competition is scheduled to occur. When a competition extends over two semesters, a member may register for one hour of credit in the semester in which the brief is written and the other hour of credit in the semester in which the competition (oral argument) occurs. Exceptions to this policy will be granted only in exceptional circumstances and must be authorized in advance by a faculty advisor and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

v.    Aggregate Credit Limit 
A student may not receive or count towards the J.D. degree more than an aggregate total of six hours of academic credit for participation in trial or appellate advocacy competitions. 

vi.    Competition Selection
The Moot Court Team faculty advisor shall have ultimate authority in selecting Team members for all competitions. In addition, students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.25 to try out for the Team and must maintain a minimum 2.25 grade point average, as calculated at the end of each academic year (prior to any summer session), to remain on the Team.  

E.    Trial Advocacy Credit
Academic credit may be awarded for participation on the FSU Mock Trial Team as provided in this section.

i.    Competition Credit
A Mock Trial Team member may earn academic credit based on the member’s participation in a trial advocacy competition. The amount of credit awarded depends on whether it is an intramural competition or an intercollegiate competition.

Intramural competition:
A member may earn one hour of academic credit for satisfactory participation in an intramural competition. For academic credit, a member’s participation must include:

  • Attendance at mandatory information meetings and training sessions;
  • Satisfactory participation in twelve practice trials; and
  • Satisfactory participation in the intramural competition.

Intercollegiate competition:
A member may earn two hours of academic credit for satisfactory participation in an intercollegiate competition as an advocate or one hour for participation as a witness. No any additional credit may be awarded for advancing beyond the regional round in a national competition. For academic credit, a member’s participation must include:

  • Satisfactory participation in at least 12 practice trials; and
  • Satisfactory participation in the intercollegiate competition.

ii.    Competition Selection
The Mock Trial Team faculty advisor shall have ultimate authority in selecting Team members for all competitions. In addition, students must have a minimum 2.25 cumulative grade point average to try out for the Team and must maintain a minimum 2.25 grade point average, as calculated at the end of each academic year (prior to any summer session), to remain on the Team. 

iii.    Faculty Advisor’s Approval
A Mock Trial Team faculty advisor, in consultation with the competition coach, must approve the final award of all academic credit for a member’s participation in a trial advocacy competition. A grade of unsatisfactory (U) will typically be awarded if a member who has registered for a competition does not satisfactorily fulfill all the requirements for academic credit, unless the faculty advisor finds justifiable cause for the member’s failure to do so.

iv.    Registration
A member will generally register for academic credit in the semester in which the competition is scheduled to occur. Exceptions to this policy will be granted only in exceptional circumstances, and must be authorized in advance by a faculty advisor and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

v.    Aggregate Credit Limit
A student may not receive or count towards the J.D. degree more than an aggregate total of six hours of academic credit for participation in trial and/or appellate advocacy competitions. 

11.    Study Abroad

A.    The FSU Summer Program in Law at Oxford
All lecture courses taken in the Oxford Program are considered to be taken at FSU for purposes of grading and earning credit hours towards graduation.  

Students may use their Partially Ungraded (PU) election for an Oxford Program course.  In the absence of such an election, students will receive grades on the ordinary letter scale described in Rule 4(A), and grades for such courses will be subject to the normalization requirements described in Rule 4(C). 

Credits earned in this program will count toward a transfer student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation.

B.    Summer Abroad Programs through FSU International Programs
Other summer abroad programs sponsored by FSU International Programs may be taken on the same basis as taking graduate courses within the University (see section 12).

Prior approval of such courses by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee is required in order to receive any credit for such courses.

Credits earned pursuant to such a program will not count toward the student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation as an FSU student.

C.    Summer Abroad Programs through Other Law Schools
FSU College of Law will accept transient credit only for courses taken in ABA-approved summer abroad programs.

Prior approval of the program and the individual courses by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee is required in order to receive any credit for such courses.

To receive transient credit hours at FSU College of Law, the student must earn a C or better or the equivalent in the course.  Credit will be awarded by FSU College of Law on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only.  As in the case of other transient credit, one-half of the credits for graded program courses count toward the total number of graded credits required for graduation.

Credits earned pursuant to such a program will not count toward the student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation as an FSU student.

D.    Semester Study Abroad in Exchange Programs Based on FSU Consortium Agreements
A limited number of students each year may be chosen by the FSU College of Law for a semester abroad in first degree law programs at universities that have concluded consortium agreements with the Florida State University and have agreements between the law programs.

Prior approval of courses by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee is required to receive credit at the FSU College of Law. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee is required to determine grade and credit equivalencies for FSU credit.

Students register for and pay for FSU credit for the courses taken.

To receive transient credit hours at FSU College of Law, the student must earn a C or better or the equivalent in the course.  Credit will be awarded by FSU College of Law on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only.  As in the case of other transient credit, one-half of the credits for graded program courses count toward the total number of graded credits required for graduation.

Credits earned pursuant to such a program will count toward the student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation as an FSU student.

E.    ABA-approved Semester Study Abroad Programs Through Other Law Schools
Students must have prior approval to receive transient credit from an ABA-approved semester study abroad program sponsored by another law school.  Both the program and the individual courses must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee.

Transient credit from such a program will be awarded by FSU College of Law under the same conditions as credit awarded for a semester visit to the sponsoring law school.

Credits earned pursuant to such a program will not count toward the student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation as an FSU student.

F.    Semester Abroad Study at Foreign Universities
Study abroad in a first degree, foreign law program at a university of nationally or internationally recognized reputation may be approved for transfer credit on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee.  Prior approval of both the university and the individual courses must be provided by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee for the student to receive transient credit for courses taken at a foreign law school.

It is the student’s responsibility to gain admission to the foreign law school and to provide to FSU all information necessary to meet ABA requirements to give credit for attendance at a foreign law school.  This includes identifying and securing the agreement of a professor willing to serve as the student’s on-site advisor.

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee is required to determine grade and credit equivalencies for FSU credit.  It is the student’s responsibility to provide information necessary for such calculations.

To receive transient credit hours at FSU College of Law, the student must earn a C or better or the equivalent in the course.  Credit will be awarded by FSU College of Law on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis only.  As in the case of other transient credit, one-half of the credits for graded program courses count toward the total number of graded credits required for graduation.

Credits earned pursuant to such a program will not count toward the student’s 45 credits at FSU necessary for graduation as an FSU student.

The terms for FSU’s approval and acceptance of credit from the foreign law school should be included in a memorandum signed by the student and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee prior to the student’s attending the foreign institution.

12.    Outside Courses

A.    Policy
Credit towards the hours required for the J.D. degree may be earned for graduate-level course work successfully completed in other colleges or departments at The Florida State University or at Florida A. & M. University subject to the following conditions and limitations:

  • The subject matter or coverage of the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and is not otherwise reasonably available to the student within the College of Law’s curriculum.
  • The credit hours granted for outside course work under this policy must be commensurate with the time and effort expended by and the quality of the educational experience of the student. [See ABA Standard 310.]
  • A student may not receive more than six semester hours of outside credit towards the J.D. degree under this policy.
  • To receive credit for an outside course the student must receive a final grade in the course of B (or its equivalent) or better.
  • The grade received for the course will not be used in the computation of the student’s law school grade point average, and the credit hours received for an outside course will be deemed ungraded hours for the purpose of satisfying the graded hours graduation requirement, even if the course is graded.
  • Such graduate-level coursework shall not help satisfy the requirement that a student successfully complete a minimum of 45 semester credit hours at FSU College of Law.

B.    Course Approval
Before enrolling in an outside course, a student must obtain approval of the course pursuant to the following procedures:

The student must complete and submit an application that includes a syllabus or description of the course, with full particulars regarding the nature and extent of the work involved, the method of student evaluation, and an explanation of why the subject matter or coverage of the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study.

A full-time member of the College of Law faculty must review the application and agree to sponsor the student’s request by attesting that the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and that the credit hours to be granted for the course are commensurate with the time and effort to be expended by the student and the quality of the anticipated educational experience.

The application must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee upon a determination that the course is reasonably necessary and material to the student’s curricular program of study and is not otherwise reasonably available within the College of Law’s curriculum and that the credit hours to be granted for the course are commensurate with the time and effort to be expended by the student and the quality of the anticipated educational experience. The Academic Dean may refer to the Curriculum Committee close questions regarding the justification for approval of an outside course.

C.    Credit Approval
After completion of an outside course and receipt of a final grade in the course, the student must obtain approval of the credit to be awarded for the course as follows:

  • The faculty sponsor must review the work actually completed by the student in the course and the student’s final grade in the course and approve the credit hours to be awarded for the course upon a determination that those credit hours are in fact commensurate with the time and effort expended by the student and the quality of the student’s educational experience in the course.
  • The credit hours to be awarded for the course must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee upon a determination that those credit hours are in fact commensurate with the time and effort expended by the student and the quality of the student’s educational experience in the course.

13.    Registration

A.    Full-Time Status

i.    Policy
The FSU College of Law is a full-time J.D.-degree program, and all students are expected to enroll as full-time students and to complete their law studies in three academic years.

ii.    Full-Time Status
Except as otherwise provided in section 13(A)(iii), a student must enroll for 12 or more credit hours of approved course work in each fall and spring semester following the student’s initial matriculation at the College. Summer enrollment is not expected or required.

iii.    Underload
A student may be permitted to enroll for fewer than 12 credit hours in the fall or spring semester only for good cause and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • A student’s health or disability.
  • A student’s participation in the Florida legislative externship program.
  • A third-year student’s not needing the credit hours for graduation.

iv.    Withdrawal
A student who initially enrolls for 12 or more credit hours may for good cause and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs be permitted to withdraw from one or more courses and thereby drop below 12 credit hours for the semester. (See Section 14)

B.    Summer Session
A student who enrolls for a summer session is not required to do so on a full-time basis.

C.    Maximum Simultaneous Credits
A student may not be enrolled for more than 17 credit hours of course work at any time and may enroll in no more than eight credit hours in the FSU seven-week summer term.  

D.    Course Conflicts
A student may not enroll in two courses during the same term if one or more scheduled class meetings for those courses meet at the same time. It is the student’s responsibility to assure that the student’s courses do not conflict.  If a student registers for two courses that conflict, under no circumstances will the student receive credit for both courses, and if each professor determines that the student does not deserve credit for that professor’s course, the student will not receive credit for either course.

E.    Course Withdrawal
Subject to subsection A above, a second- or third-year student may voluntarily withdraw from a course in which the student is enrolled in accordance with the following procedures:

  • Except as otherwise provided below, a student may withdraw from a course at any time during the four day drop/add period at the start of the term. 
  • After the drop/add period has expired, a student may withdraw from a course only for good cause and with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Ordinarily, a student will not be permitted to withdraw from a course if any graded work has been submitted in the course.
  • A student may not withdraw from a limited-enrollment course (see Rule 11(D)) after the first class meeting without the consent of the instructor or the written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs upon a determination of good cause.
  • A student who enrolls for a course and fails properly and timely to withdraw as provided in this section must complete the course, and if the student fails to do so, a final grade of Adminstrative Failure (AF) will be assigned and entered on the student’s transcript.
  • A student who has withdrawn from a course may not re-enroll in the same course, if it is taught by the same instructor, without the consent of the instructor or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

For courses that are not limited-enrollment, this rule does not apply to a student’s right to drop a course during the drop/add period.

14.    Withdrawal From College/University

A.    Withdrawal
A law student may voluntarily withdraw from the College of Law and the University at any time in accordance with the following procedures:

  • To withdraw from the College, a student must notify the Dean or the Dean’s designee of the student’s intention to withdraw and may, if the student so desires, discuss the reasons for the student’s withdrawal.
  • To withdraw from the University, a student must comply with all University requirements for withdrawal.
  • A student who withdraws from the College and the University without complying with all applicable University requirements may receive a final grade of Administrative Failure (AF) or Administrative Unsatisfactory (AU) in all courses for which the student is enrolled at the time.

B.    Readmission
A student who voluntarily withdrew from the College of Law while in good standing may be readmitted as follows:

i.    By Dean
A student applying for readmission for a term within one calendar year from the time of the student’s withdrawal may be readmitted by the Dean or the Dean’s designee. The Dean may, however, refer the readmission application to the Admissions and Recruitment Committee (“Admissions Committee”).    

ii.    By Committee
A student applying for readmission for a term more than one calendar year from the date of the student’s withdrawal may be readmitted only by the Admissions Committee. A student who withdrew in good standing and who has been out of law school for two calendar years or longer is required to seek readmission through the Admissions Committee. An application for readmission under this section is subject to the procedures set forth in Rule 13(C) except as otherwise provided.

15.    Academic Support, Dismissal and Readmission

A.    Academic Support

i.    First-Year Students
A first-year student must meet with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee to discuss the availability of academic support services at the College of Law when, at the conclusion of the first or second semester, the student has: 
(i)    a grade point average below 3.00; or 
(ii)    received one or more grades of D+, D, or D− within one semester; or
(iii)    at the completion of the first year, has one or more “incomplete” grades (grades of “I”).

In addition to the mandatory meeting, first-year students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.80 at the conclusion of their second semester may register for classes for the following term (including summer) only if the Academic Dean approves their course schedules. 

Subject to availability, first-year students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.80 at the conclusion of their second semester will be required to take, in the fall or spring of their second year, an upper-level academic support course designed to enhance analytic, writing, and test-taking skills. The Academic Dean, in their discretion, may determine whether compelling circumstances justify relieving a student from this requirement.

ii.    Upper-Level Students
An upper-level student must meet with the Academic Dean or designee to discuss the availability of academic support services at the College of Law if the student has:
(i)    a cumulative grade point average below 3.00 at the end of any semester; or
(ii)    two or more incompletes at the conclusion of the third, fourth, or fifth semester.

In addition to the mandatory meeting, upper-level students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.8 at the conclusion of any semester may register for classes for the following term (including summer) only if the Academic Dean approves their course schedule. 

Subject to availability, upper-level students entering their final year of law school with a cumulative grade point average below 2.80 will be required to take the “Topics in Florida Practice” and “Topics II: MBE” courses if they plan to take the Florida Bar Examination, or the “Topics II: MBE” course if they plan to take a different bar examination. The credits for successful completion of the “Topics in Florida Practice” and “Topics II: MBE” courses, or any other bar preparation course approved by the Curriculum Committee, will count as “graded hours” for purposes of the College of Law graduation requirements. The Academic Dean, in their discretion, may determine whether compelling circumstances justify relieving a student from this requirement.

iii.    All Students Who Receive a Grade of F
Students who receive any failing grades (grades of “F”) during any semester at the College of Law must meet with the Academic Dean or designee to discuss the availability of academic support services. 

iv.    Students who enrolled before Fall 2020
Students who enrolled in the College of Law prior to the Fall of 2020 are not subject to the mandatory rules provided above.  Nonetheless, any such students who meet categories i, ii, or iii as set forth above are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the academic advising and coaching services, courses, and skill-building activities designed to support learning and bar success.

v.    Procedure
The Academic Dean or designee will send a notice (the “Notice”) to students in category i, ii, or iii above to inform them that their academic performance makes them subject to the Academic Support Policy. The Notice will be sent to students via their FSU email accounts at the earliest feasible time after grades post to transcripts. The Notice will include a copy of this Academic Support Policy.

The Notice will inform students that they must contact the Academic Dean or designee to schedule a mandatory meeting to discuss the availability of academic support services at the law school, and a curricular plan to improve their academic performance. The Notice will specify a deadline by which the student must contact the Academic Dean or designee to schedule the mandatory meeting.

Students who fail to respond to the Notice within the specified reply deadline, or who fail to attend the requisite meeting with the Academic Dean or designee, will have a hold placed on their registration for the following term (including summer). Registration abilities may be reinstated by the Academic Dean or designee.

If the Academic Dean declines to reinstate a student’s ability to register for failure to comply with this Academic Support Policy, the student may appeal to the Academic Waiver Committee. The Academic Waiver Committee will process such appeals on an expedited basis.

The fact that a student is or has been subject to this Academic Support Policy will not be noted on a student’s official transcript. 

Students subject to this Academic Support Policy are not on academic probation and are considered in good standing.

Compliance with this Academic Support Policy does not exempt a student from the College of Law rules governing good standing, dismissal, and readmission.

B.    Academic Dismissal

i.    Criteria
A student will be administratively dismissed from the College of Law automatically and without further notice if:

  • the student fails, at any point after the completion of the student’s second semester in the College, to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or better; 
  • the student receives a total of eight or more credit hours of F or AF grades during the student’s first two semesters, provided that all such grades are not received from the same instructor;
  • the student receives a total of four or more credit hours of administrative failure (AF) or administrative unsatisfactory (AU) grades, provided that all such grades are not received from the same instructor or supervisor; or
  • the student receives a total of 11 or more credit hours of F, AF, U, and AU grades, provided that  
    • all such grades are not received from the same instructor; and
    • none of the grades are awarded in the student’s final term of law school in a course that is not needed for the student’s graduation; or
  • 84 months have elapsed since the student commenced law study at FSU College of Law or a law school from which FSU College of Law has accepted transfer credit, unless the student previously has petitioned for and received a waiver from the Admissions Committee (see paragraph viii below).

ii.    Transfer Students
In the case of a student who transfers to the FSU College of Law from another law school or from one of the College of Law’s LL.M. programs:

  • Only the grades received by the student at FSU after transfer will be considered for the purpose of applying the criteria for dismissal under section 15(B)(i).
  • A transfer student who fails, at any time after the completion of the student’s first semester at FSU, to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 will be academically dismissed.  

iii.    Notification
An academically dismissed student will be sent notification of the student’s dismissal by the Dean or the Dean’s designee promptly upon determination, but the failure promptly to notify the student or the student’s failure to receive the notification will not affect the dismissal.

iv.    Effective Date
The College has no probationary period for academically dismissed students, and a student’s academic dismissal is effective immediately upon the student’s notification of the dismissal. An academic dismissal relates back to the end of the semester in which the student was academically dismissed, and an academically dismissed student has no right to complete a semester or term in which the student is enrolled at the time of the student’s notification of the dismissal.

v.    No Right to Return
An academically dismissed student has no right to return to the College and must apply for readmission if the student wishes to return to the College.

C.    Readmission
A student (i) who has been academically dismissed from the College; (ii) who voluntarily withdrew in good standing from the College and University; or (iii) who while in good standing failed for two or more consecutive terms (including the summer term) to enroll in the College, or to visit another law school as a transient student, must apply for readmission to the College as follows:

i.    Readmission is Not a Matter of Right
Readmission of an academically dismissed student is not a matter of right. The discretionary authority to readmit or not to readmit is delegated by the faculty of the College of Law to the Admissions and Recruitment Committee (“Admissions Committee”).

ii.    Procedure
An academically dismissed student should seek readmission through the Admissions Committee. The Committee's decision shall be made on the petition and the petitioner's law school record. There is no right of personal appearance before the Committee, although the Committee, in its discretion, may permit a personal appearance or require additional information in writing from the petitioner or others. The decision of the Admissions Committee as to factual determinations is final.

iii.    Consideration of Petition and Layout
The Admissions Committee may consider a petition for readmission at any time after academic dismissal. It is left to the discretion of the Admissions Committee to decide whether a “layout period” of non-enrollment, as a condition precedent to readmission, is appropriate to readmission. Normally, any layout period shall comply with the following norms:

  • Two or three semesters for students academically dismissed in their first year of law school.
  • One or two semesters for students academically dismissed in their second year of law school.
  • One semester for students academically dismissed in their third year of law school. 

For the purpose of determining the length of a layout period, only the regular Fall and Spring terms shall be counted as “semesters.”

iv.    Certification of Cases or Issues to the Full Faculty
The Admissions Committee may certify particular issues or the entire readmissions decision in any case to the faculty. The faculty may then make the decision or provide guidelines to be applied by the Admissions Committee for that case.

v.    Conditions Imposed on Readmission
The Admissions Committee (or the full faculty in appropriate cases) may impose reasonable conditions on the readmission of academically dismissed students or students who had medical withdrawals. Without limitation, these conditions may: alter the conditions of academic dismissal as they apply to the readmitted student; specify whether or not the student will be permitted to enroll in pass/fail courses and, if so, under what circumstances; identify any required remedial work (including the retaking of previous courses) that might be warranted; and specify the grade-point average that the student must maintain and the schedule on which the student must reach grade-point average milestones.

vi.    Statement of Reasons 
Where an academically dismissed student is denied readmission, the justifications for the denial shall be made in writing and communicated to the petitioner.

vii.    Only One Readmission
A second academic dismissal of a student is final. 

viii.    Time for Completion of Degree
The Admissions Committee may, in extraordinary circumstances, extend the 84-month limitation on enrollment either for currently enrolled students or as part of a student’s readmission.  Extraordinary circumstances may include, without limitation, illness, family exigency, or military service.  If the Admissions Committee approves such an extension, the chair of the committee must issue a signed statement explaining the extraordinary circumstances that justify the extension, which will be included in the student’s official record.

ix.    Grading Conversions
If students are readmitted to the law school who received numeric grades under the system that was in place prior to the fall of 2020, any numeric grades on their transcripts will be converted to letter grades according to the following translation table:

Numeric Grade

Grade Points

98-100

A+

93-97

A

90-92

A−

86-89

B+

80-85

B

77-79

B−

74-76

C+

69-73

C

65-68

C−

62-64

D

60-61

F

16.    Certificate Programs

A.    Certificate Program in Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law
The College of Law will award an Environmental Law Certificate as a supplemental certification to graduates who fulfill the following program requirements.

i.    Credit Hours and Courses
A candidate must successfully complete a total of 91 credit hours for graduation with an Environmental Law Certificate; 21 credit hours must be in courses and activities designated within the program (Program Courses) by the Environmental Programs Committee (Committee).

ii.    Required Program Courses
The candidate must successfully complete the following required Program Courses at the college of law:

  • Environmental Law (LAW 6470)
  • Administrative Law (LAW 6520)
  • Land Use Regulation (Law 6460) or Natural Resources Law & Policy Seminar (LAW 7930) or Natural Resources Law (LAW 6480) 

iii.    Elective Program Courses
At least nine of the required 21 credit hours must be fulfilled by selection from elective Program Courses designated by the Committee. The list of approved courses will generally be maintained on the Program’s webpage.  The credits a student earns in completing the paper requirement (see below) count towards these nine credits. Service on the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law counts towards the nine-credit electives requirement as well.

iv.    Experiential/Practical Skills Requirement
The candidate also must successfully complete an Experiential/Practical Skills course or qualifying activity.  

Paid Work Excluded: 
A student may not use paid work to satisfy this requirement.

Pro Bono Work:
A student must complete at least 40 hours of pro bono work and document their employment and number of hours. The pro bono work must emphasize environmental, land use, natural resources, or energy law work but may do so in any capacity.

Moot Court: 
Participants in the Pace Law School Environmental Moot Court Competition or the Stetson University International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition automatically meet this requirement. Participants in other moot court competitions may petition the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs if that year’s competition focuses on an environmental, land use, natural resource, or energy law issue. Up to three (3) credits earned for participating in moot court may count toward the overall 21-credit requirement but NOT toward the minimum nine (9) credits of elective courses.

Externships and Internships: 
Externships and internships must be formalized through the law school and receive law school credit. To fulfill this requirement, the externship or internship must emphasize environmental, land use, natural resources, or energy law work but may do so in any capacity. Up to three (3) credits earned for an externship or internship may count toward the overall 21-credit requirement but NOT toward the minimum nine (9) credits of elective courses.

Skills Courses: 
Skills training courses (e.g., Environmental Litigation) used to fulfill this requirement must also fulfill the College of Law’s practical skills requirement and must focus on environmental, land use, natural resources, or energy law. Up to three (3) credits earned for a skills training course may count toward the overall 21-credit requirement but NOT toward the minimum nine (9) credits of elective courses.

v.    Grade Requirements and Honors
All Program Courses must be taken for graded credit if so offered. 

The candidate must have a final cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better for all Program Courses. 

A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with High Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for magna cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Highest Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for summa cum laude graduation.  

vi.    Paper Requirement
The candidate must successfully complete an upper-level writing requirement in a course or seminar or Directed Individual Study (DIS) that includes a substantial research paper on an environmental law, natural resources law or land use law topic.  Alternatively, students may satisfy this requirement by successfully completing a student note or comment on such topics in connection with their participation on a journal, provided that the paper is completed under faculty supervision and the faculty member certifies that the paper is of sufficient quality to satisfy this requirement.  If the paper is submitted for a DIS or a course or seminar other than a Program Course, the topic must be approved in advance by the Program Coordinator.

vii.    Other Practical Experiences
Other practical experiences for the development and application of legal skills in the Program area, such as pro bono, volunteer, or paid legal work, may also afford practical experience, but academic credit will not be awarded for such experiences.

B.    Certificate Program in International Law
The College of Law will award a Certificate in International Law as a supplemental certification to graduates who fulfill the following program requirements:

i.    Credit hours and Courses 
A candidate must successfully complete a total of 91 credit hours for graduation with a Certificate; 21 credit hours must be in courses and activities designated within the program (Program Courses and/or Activities) by the International Programs Committee (Committee).

ii.    Required Program Courses
The candidate must successfully complete three of the following five required Program Courses:

  • Comparative Law (LAW 7250)
  • International Business Transactions (LAW 6261)
  • International Trade and Investment Law (LAW 7262)
  • International Human Rights (LAW 7930)
  • Public International Law (LAW 6260)

iii.    Elective Program Courses and Activities 
At least nine of the required 21 credit hours must be fulfilled by selection from elective Program Courses designated by the Committee. The list of approved courses will generally be maintained on the Program’s webpage.

iv.    Program Activities
When taken for credit, up to a total of three credit hours for the following Program Activities may be applied toward the required credit hours for the Certificate:

  • The Jessup International Law Moot Court course (LAW 7951-03)
  • An International law Moot Court competition approved by the Committee
  • Board membership on the Journal of Transnational Law & Policy
  • An international law externship approved by the Committee

v.    Grade Requirements and Honors
All Program Courses must be taken for graded credit if so offered. Program Activities, however, may be taken on an S/U basis, provided that the candidate otherwise fulfills applicable J.D. degree requirements.

The candidate must have a final cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better for all Program Courses. 

A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with High Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for magna cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Highest Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for summa cum laude graduation.

vi.    Paper Requirement
The candidate must successfully complete a two- or three-credit seminar or course or Directed Individual Study (DIS) that includes a substantial research paper on an international or comparative law topic.  A “substantial research paper” is a paper of a scope that would meet the upper-level writing requirement.

Alternatively, students may satisfy this requirement by successfully completing a student note or comment on such topics in connection with their participation on a journal, provided that the paper is completed under faculty supervision and the faculty member certifies that the paper is of sufficient quality to satisfy this requirement.

If the paper is submitted for a DIS or a course other than a Program Course, the topic must be approved in advance by the Committee.

vii.    Skills Requirement
A candidate must fulfill a skills training requirement, which can be obtained by completing, in an area relevant to international and/or comparative law, any of the following: (i) at least 40 hours of pro bono work; (ii) a moot court competition; (iii) an internship or externship; (iv) a skills training class; or (v) a legal research class.

C.    Certificate Program in Business Law 
The College of Law will award a Certificate in Business Law as a supplemental certification to graduates who fulfill the following program requirements: 

i.    Credit Hours and Courses
A candidate must successfully complete a total of 91 credit hours for graduation with a Certificate in Business Law; 21 credit hours must be in courses and activities designated as part of the Certificate Program by Business Law Committee.

ii.    Required Program Courses
Each of the required core courses must be taken at Florida State University for graded credit. The candidate must successfully complete the following core courses:

  • Corporations (LAW 6060) 
  • Taxation (LAW 6600) 
  • The Corporate Finance & Commercial Law Component (1 course required) 
  • The Law, Economics & International Component (1 course required)
  • The Business Entity, Real Estate & Taxation Component (1 course required)

The courses which satisfy the above Components will be published on the Program’s webpage.

iii.    Elective Program Courses
The remainder of the 21 required credit hours must be fulfilled by taking additional courses within the above Components and/or selections from courses related to business law and tax approved by the Committee.

iv.    Grading Requirements and Honors
All program courses must be taken for graded credit if so offered. 

A candidate must have a final cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better for all program courses.

A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with High Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for magna cum laude graduation.  A candidate will be awarded the Certificate with Highest Honors if the candidate’s cumulative grade point average for all Program courses falls within the range that, if earned for all courses, would qualify the candidate for summa cum laude graduation.

v.    Skills Requirement
A candidate must fulfill a skills training requirement, which can be obtained either through the Business Law Clinic or by completing, in an area relevant to business law and/or tax law, any of the following: (i) at least 40 hours of pro bono work; (ii) a moot court competition; (iii) an internship or externship; (iv) a skills training class; or (v) a legal research class.

17.    Joint Graduate Pathway Programs

A.    Joint Graduate Pathway Programs 
The College of Law has established joint graduate pathway programs with other colleges and departments within The Florida State University. Those programs and the number of credit hours of approved course work that must be completed in the College of Law (what the Graduate School calls “LAW hours”) for each joint degree program are as follows:

  • JD/MS (Department of Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MBA (College of Business) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MSI in Law & Information (School of Information) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MS in Law & Information Technology (School of Information) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MS (Department of International Affairs) 82 LAW hours
  • JD/MPA (Department of Public Administration) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MSW (School of Social Work) 
    • Clinical Social Work Concentration 82 LAW hours
    • Social Work Leadership Concentration 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MS (Department of Sport Management) 79 LAW hours
  • JD/MSP (Department of Urban and Regional Planning) 79 LAW hours

B.    Admission
An applicant for a joint graduate pathway must apply to and be admitted separately by the College of Law and the other college or department. A joint-degree applicant must be admitted to the College of Law as a regular law student through the regular admission procedures. Admission to the College of Law does not assure admission to the other college or department, nor does admission to the other college or department assure admission to the College of Law. Normally, a joint-degree student will apply for admission to the other college or department during the student’s first year in law school. Following admission to both colleges or departments, a joint-degree student is required to submit a form to the Registrar's Office declaring the student’s intention to pursue both degrees, and the form must be endorsed by the faculty advisor of the College of Law and of the other college or department.

The FSU Graduate School coordinates joint-pathway programs and may provide advice on requirements involving coordinating work between the College of Law and the other college or department. 

C.    Enrollment
Normally, a student pursuing a joint graduate pathway must enroll in the College of Law and complete the first year of the J.D. program before enrolling for courses in the other college or department. A joint-degree student who wishes to enroll for any course work in the other college or department before completing the first-year of law school must obtain the prior approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or designee at the College of Law.

D.    Graduation Requirements
A joint-degree student must satisfy all College of Law graduation requirements as set forth above in Section 1, except as otherwise provided in this section.

i.    Credit Hours
The usual 88 credit hours are not required, and in lieu thereof a joint-degree student must successfully complete the number of credit hours of approved College of Law course work specified above for each joint-degree program and must also successfully complete all established requirements in the other college or department for the awarding of the joint degree.

ii.    Grade Point Average (GPA)
No grades received in the other college or department will be used in computing the grade point average required for earning the J.D. degree.

iii.    Graded Credit Hours
A joint-degree student must satisfy the usual requirements regarding the number of graded College of Law credit hours that must be successfully completed. Credit hours of course work successfully completed in the other college or department are not counted in determining a joint-degree student’s satisfaction of the College of Law’s graded hours requirement.

iv.    No Other Outside Courses
A joint-degree student may not count toward the required credit hours for the J.D. degree any course work done outside the law school as otherwise provided in Section 12 of these Rules, Policies and Procedures.

v.    Residence
A joint-degree student’s course of study must extend at least one additional semester beyond the two-year minimum duration requirement for ordinary J.D. students that is specified in Section 1.  In unusual circumstances, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may waive this required additional semester. 

vi.    Full-Time Program
All requirements for both degrees must be completed within five calendar years of a joint-degree student’s date of matriculation to the College of Law.

E.    Receipt of Degree
A joint-degree student must have completed all of the requirements for both degrees before either degree will be awarded, and the student will receive both degrees concurrently. A joint-degree student will not be certified to the bar authorities as a College of Law graduate without having completed all of the requirements for both degrees.

F.    Class Rank
A joint-degree student’s class rank will be based solely on the student’s College of Law grades and grade point average. Grades awarded in the other college or department will be disregarded for the purpose of determining the student’s College of Law class rank.

18.    Special Students

A.    Policy
A graduate student or other eligible person who has not been admitted to the College of Law as a J.D. candidate may be permitted to enroll for course work as a Special Student at the College subject to the following conditions and procedures.

B.    Eligibility
Only the following persons, with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the instructor in whose course the person seeks enrollment, are eligible to enroll for a course as a Special Student:

i.    Graduate students
A graduate student who is currently enrolled in another school or college at The Florida State University or Florida A. & M. University may, with the prior written approval of the student’s major professor, be permitted to enroll in College of Law courses related to the student’s major field of study.

ii.    Foreign law students
A foreign law student who is participating in an approved exchange program between the student’s home institution and the FSU College of Law may be permitted to enroll in courses approved by the student’s home institution.

iii.    Employment related students
A college graduate who is not otherwise enrolled in a graduate program may be permitted to enroll in courses that are related to the student’s employment.

C.    Conditions
All course work undertaken as a Special Student is subject to the following conditions:

i.    Space available 
A Special Student’s request for a course will be considered only if there is space available in the course after according priority to regularly enrolled J.D. students.

ii.    Prerequisites 
A Special Student must have satisfied all prerequisite course work, unless waived by the course instructor, and must be otherwise academically qualified to enroll in the course.

iii.    Ungraded 
Graduate students from Florida State University or Florida A. & M. University who are enrolled in College of Law courses may be graded either on a letter-grade basis (A through F) or on an Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.  The grading basis will be in the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in coordination with the graduate student’s college or department.  Such students shall not be included in the grade normalization process under Rule 4.  Under no circumstances shall such a student receive an A+ grade in a College of Law course; that grade is reserved for College of Law students.

A Special Student (except as provided below) will receive a final grade of Satisfactory (S) if the student's performance is the equivalent of a C or better and will receive a final grade of Unsatisfactory (U) if the student's performance is the equivalent of a C− or below.  No other letter or numeric grades will be awarded, unless approved for good cause by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the instructor in whose course the person seeks enrollment.  Such students shall not be included in the grade normalization process under Rule 6.

If a foreign law student qualifies as an “exchange” student Rule 6(c)(iii) (which applies to students who are currently in good standing and earning a law degree in a foreign law school that has concluded a consortium agreement with Florida State University and the College of Law), they shall be subject to the grade normalization process under Rule 6, except that they may not elect the Partially Ungraded option.

iv.    Excluded courses
No Special Student may enroll in any first-year course or any Skills Training course. 

D.    Procedure
A person who wishes to enroll in a College of Law course as a Special Student must obtain prior approval pursuant to the following procedure:

i.    Request 
The person must submit a written request and justification to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The request should be submitted at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester in which the course is offered.

ii.    Attachment
A graduate student’s request should include as an attachment a letter of approval from the student’s major professor or department chair, and a foreign law student’s request should include the approval of the student’s home institution.

iii.    Approval
The request must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The decision of the Academic Dean is final.  

19.    Student Conduct Code

The College of Law’s Student Conduct Code in this section governs the academic conduct of students at the Florida State University College of Law.  All other conduct of students at the College of Law is governed by the Florida State University’s Student Conduct Code, which is promulgated by the University’s Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards and is available at https://sccs.fsu.edu/conduct-codes/student-conduct-codes.

A.    Definitions and Violations

This Code prohibits:
i.    Securing or Providing an Unfair Advantage
Securing an unfair advantage includes, but is not limited to, failing to follow instructions provided by a professor or the College in relation to enrollment in courses, a class assignment, or an examination. It also includes cheating. Cheating includes, but is not limited to, receiving or giving unauthorized aid or assistance in the completion of an examination or of any other work used in evaluating a student's performance, using unauthorized materials, and exceeding a stated time limit.

ii.    Plagiarism
Plagiarism is representing the work of another as the student's own. Students are expected to know and employ accepted conventions of citations and attribution. Failure to indicate quoted or paraphrased sources constitutes plagiarism. More specific definitions of plagiarism for particular courses or in particular contexts may be supplied by a course instructor, editor, or faculty employer of a student. A student should request clarification in case of doubt. Any student charged under this section may prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the misrepresentation of work resulted from mistake or inadvertence as a complete defense.

iii.    Library Offenses
Library offenses are sequestering, hiding, or mutilating library materials or using library materials in a manner that violates official library rules on manner of length of use.

iv.    Disruption
Disruption is disturbance of or interference with the scholarly pursuit of the College. It includes, but is not limited to, interference with the conduct of an examination, defiance of rulings or instructions issued by an instructor or proctor in the course of an examination, and defacing or destroying class notes, drafts, or any other scholarly or administrative work product of faculty, other students, or other users of College facilities.

v.    Fraud
Fraud is material falsification of documents or any other form of deceit or misrepresentation committed in regard to the administrative or academic processes of the College of Law.

vi.    Other Serious Misconduct 
Other serious misconduct involves intentional and serious offenses involving acts for which criminal or other punitive sanctions are provided by federal, state, or local law, or ordinance, that directly relate to a student’s fitness to continue as a student at the College.

B.    Procedures
i.    Initiation of Code Violation Investigation
Students, faculty, and staff of the College are expected to inform the Dean of any facts constituting cause to believe a code violation has been committed or will be committed. Failure to report such information, however, is not a violation of this code.

Information reported under this section may be communicated in confidence to the Dean as long as the mode of communication is not subject to open-records laws. The Dean will not disclose such reports until the Dean determines that probable cause of a code violation exists, unless required by law to do so.

ii.    Investigation
The Dean shall appoint a faculty member to serve as investigator upon determining that the reported facts constitute probable cause to believe a violation of this code has occurred. The investigator should not be either an accuser or anticipated witness in the matter.

The investigator shall notify the accused of the allegations, the investigation, and the accuser. 

The investigator may interview persons believed to have knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violation, as the investigator deems appropriate, to determine whether to proceed to a hearing on the matter. 

The investigator may review all documents and materials that the investigator deems appropriate to determine whether to proceed to a hearing on the matter. 

The investigator may interview the accused if considered appropriate and if the accused agrees, provided that the accused may terminate the interview at any time.

iii.    Report of Findings and Recommendations
A recommendation to proceed to a hearing shall be supported by a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the accused engaged in the Code violation alleged. Such recommendation to proceed shall be stated in a complaint. If the investigator concludes by a preponderance of the evidence that no such Code violation occurred, the investigator shall recommend that the matter be terminated. In either case, a recommendation shall be supported by documentation as to the findings.

iv.    Dean's Review of Recommendation
The Dean shall review the investigator's findings and recommendations. The Dean may accept or reject recommendations in whole or in part, and may adopt or revise a proposed complaint. The Dean may also initiate a complaint although the investigator has recommended a termination of proceedings, but the Dean must provide a statement of reasons and documentation explaining the decision to proceed.

v.    Proceedings after Dean's Review
After review, the Dean shall advise the accused in writing of a decision to terminate proceedings or to proceed to a hearing based on a complaint. A decision to terminate is final and concludes the matter. A decision to proceed shall be accompanied by copies of the complaint, the investigator's findings and recommendations, and the documentation supporting them. The accused shall also be provided with a copy of this Code.

Unless the accused admits guilt in writing within fifteen (15) school days after receiving notice of a decision to proceed to a hearing, the Dean shall appoint a panel to hear the case. The accused, upon admission of guilt, may also demand a hearing for the sole purpose of presenting matters in mitigation.

Every hearing panel shall consist of three permanent faculty members and two students, all of the College of Law. Student members shall be appointed after consultation with the Student Bar Association. The chair shall be designated by the Dean from among the three appointed faculty members. 

Notice of appointment shall be given to panel members and to the accused, with the notice designating the chair. The chair shall make arrangements for meetings, the attendance of witnesses, the reproduction of necessary documents, and the recording of proceedings.

Unless the Dean directs otherwise, the investigator shall present the case against the accused. The investigator shall also present evidence of which the investigator is aware tending to exonerate the accused. However, no accuser or potential witness may present the case.

vi.    Hearings
Hearings shall be scheduled at the convenience of all participants, and upon notice to the accused. Unless the accused consents, the first hearing shall not be scheduled within ten (10) school days of the appointment of the panel.

Hearings shall not be governed by formal rules of evidence. An accused is entitled to present evidence in person, or through an attorney, or both. Paid counsel must be supplied by the accused. An accused is entitled to present witnesses and documentary evidence, to cross-examine any witnesses, and to inspect and inquire concerning any evidence. Upon request, the chair shall make every reasonable effort to secure the presence of witnesses or documentary evidence for the accused.

In exercising any of the procedural rights, an accused may address both innocence and matters in mitigation.

vii.    Panel Procedure after Hearings
After a final hearing, the panel shall meet in closed session upon call of the chair to discuss and consider the case, to determine guilt or innocence, and to consider sanctions upon determination or admission of guilt. One or more sessions may be held.

The standard of proof for the panel’s finding is clear and convincing evidence. Findings of fact shall be based exclusively on evidence of record.

A vote determining guilt and a vote as to any sanction requires the concurrence of at least four members.

The panel shall submit to the Dean a written summary of its factual findings, its findings of guilt or innocence, and its recommendations as to sanctions. The panel may also recommend terms for suspension of any sanctions. This summary should be made within five (5) school days of the final hearing. The Dean shall make available to the accused a copy of the panel's factual findings, findings of guilt or innocence, and recommendations as to any sanctions, and shall allow the accused at least ten (10) calendar days in which to submit written exceptions thereto. When a case involves more than one accused student, the panel shall specify its factual findings, its findings of guilt or innocence, and its recommendations as to each accused student.  

viii.    Sanctions
A student convicted of a violation of this code is subject to one or more of these sanctions:

  • expulsion from the College of Law;
  • suspension from the College of Law for a specified period of time;
  • loss of privileges to participate in any non-required course, program, or activity of the College of Law;
  • replacement, repair, or restitution for damaged, destroyed, or stolen property;
  • written reprimand to be included in the student's permanent record;
  • oral reprimand;
  • disclosure by the Dean to the College of Law and Bar agencies; 
  • reduction in course grade;
  • any other sanction deemed appropriate by the Dean or the Dean’s designee.

ix.    Disclosures
Disclosure to the Bar of any proceeding, regardless of the result, by the Dean or the accused student may be required by Bar rules.

x.    Imposition of Sanctions
A panel finding of innocence as to any charge terminates the proceedings, upon delivery of the within report to the Dean. A panel recommendation that no sanctions be imposed upon finding of guilt as to any charge terminates the procedure as to sanctions.

The Dean shall review all findings as to guilt and mitigating matters, and all recommendations to impose sanctions. Rejection by the Dean of a finding of guilt terminates the proceedings.  If the Dean endorses the finding of guilt, the Dean shall consider the panel’s recommendations as to sanctions and determine which, if any, sanctions to impose.

Upon being informed of sanctions proposed by the Dean, the student may request a faculty review provided five faculty members join in the request. If faculty review is requested, the faculty by majority vote may reduce or suspend the proposed sanctions in whole or in part. Faculty review must be requested in writing within five (5) school days after a student is informed of proposed sanctions. The Dean shall impose those sanctions not reduced or suspended as a result of the faculty review.

xi.    Informal Resolution by the Dean
Notwithstanding the above procedures, the Dean may settle any instance of an alleged code violation at any time, with the assent of the accused student. 

xii.    Action Taken by Dean's Designee
Whenever this code specifies that any action is to be taken by the Dean it may be performed by the Dean’s designee, except that only the Dean or an Acting Dean designated by the University may perform the duties related to the imposition of sanctions that are specified above at Section 19(B)(x).

xiii.    Timeliness
All actions prescribed or authorized by this code shall be accomplished as expeditiously as possible, except where the code provides otherwise or where prejudice to an accused or convicted student would result.

20.    Student Complaints Implicating Compliance with ABA Standards 

The College of Law’s website sets forth the policies and procedures regarding student complaints, pursuant to ABA Standard 510. A “complaint” is a communication in writing that seeks to bring to the attention of the law school a significant problem that directly implicates the school’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards. 

21.    Credit Hour Policy

A.    Policy and Procedures for Determining Credit Hours Awarded for Coursework
The College of Law adheres to ABA Standards in determining the number of credit hours awarded for coursework. ABA Standard 310 supplies the following definition:

(b) A "credit hour" is an amount of work that reasonably approximates:
(1) not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two 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. 

The College is also guided by Interpretation 310-1, which provides as follows:
For purposes of this Standard, fifty minutes suffices for one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction. An “hour” for out-of-class student work is sixty minutes. The fifteen-week period may include one week for a final examination.

In accordance with Standard 310, the College of Law awards one unit of credit for an amount of work that reasonably approximates: (1) no less than 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 1,800 minutes of out-of-class student work, or a total time of 42.5 hours per credit; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work for other academic activities, including simulation courses, field placements, clinical courses, moot court, mock trial, law journals, and directed independent studies (as provided by Standard 310(b)(2)). These requirements apply to coursework that extends over any period of time, including semester-long courses and Summer session courses.  They also apply to distance education courses.   

For specific types of classes, the following examples may be helpful:

EXAM COURSE: 42.5 hours per credit of time spent in class, preparing for class (e.g., reading and briefing cases, completing other assigned work or assessments), writing outlines, working with other students in study groups, and preparing for and taking an exam.

PAPER COURSE: 42.5 hours per credit of time spent in class, preparing for class (e.g., reading or completing class assignments or assessments), and researching and writing the required paper(s). This includes the typical law school “seminar.”

FIELD PLACEMENT OR CLINIC: 42.5 hours per credit of time spent in class, performing field placement or clinic work, preparing for class or completing class assignments (e.g., reflective writing assignments), and preparing for and taking an exam, if applicable.

SIMULATION COURSES: 42.5 hours per credit time spent in class, preparing for class (e.g., reading, completing class projects and other assignments and assessments, preparing alone or with other students for in-class simulations), and preparing for and taking an exam, if applicable.

B.    Policy and Procedures for Assuring the College of Law Adheres to and Enforces the Credit Hour Policy 
i.    Responsibility for Assuring Adherence to Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy  

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Curriculum Committee are charged with assuring that the College of Law adheres to ABA Standard 310 and this Credit Hour Policy. This responsibility includes assuring that the methods and processes used to determine and assign credits lead to reliable, accurate results and conform to commonly accepted practice in higher education.  

ii.    Determination of Credit Hours for New Courses 
At the time of approving a new course, the Curriculum Committee shall determine and assign the number of credits to be awarded for that course. In doing so, the Curriculum Committee shall adhere to Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy. 

A new course proposal submitted to the Curriculum Committee shall include a proposed syllabus and set forth:

  • a course description;
  • a statement of the expected course requirements, types of assessments, and course prerequisites, if any; and
  • a statement from the faculty member proposing the new course that provides a justification for the number of credits to be awarded that takes into account classroom or direct faculty instruction, as well as the time to be spent on course-related out-of-class work.

In determining and assigning the number of credits, the Curriculum Committee shall take into account: 

  • the type of course (e.g., first year doctrinal course, upper level common law course, upper level code course, seminar, simulation course, clinical course, field placement, and Directed Independent Study); 
  • the amount and difficulty of the assigned readings; 
  • the number and types of assignments students must complete during the semester (e.g., papers and simulation exercises);
  • the number and types of assessments (e.g., final examination, midterm exam, research paper, quizzes, and short papers); 
  • other types of academically-related work (e.g., in the case of law journals, the amount of time spent on the completion of a note or comment, reading and evaluating journal submissions, and editing and cite-checking articles; and in the case of mock trial and moot court, the amount of time spent practicing, judging practice rounds, doing research, and writing briefs, and the time spent in actual competition);   
  • any feedback from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the College of Law Registrar, and experienced faculty members; 
  • commonly accepted practice in higher education; and 
  • any other factors that the Curriculum Committee determines are relevant for determining accuracy and reliability of the credits being awarded.

The Curriculum Committee shall advise the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs regarding the factors and processes that it followed in determining and assigning credits to proposed courses. This includes providing a justification for the number of credits to be awarded that takes into account classroom or direct faculty instruction, as well as the time to be spent on course-related out-of-class work. 

  • In the case of courses “that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction,” the Curriculum Committee shall provide a justification that the amount of work per credit hour reasonably approximates no less than 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 1,800 minutes of out-of-class student work, or a total time of 42.5 hours per credit. See Standard 310(b)(1).  
  • In the case of other academic activities, such as simulation courses, field placements, clinical courses, co-curricular activities, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, the Curriculum Committee shall provide a justification that the amount of work per credit hour reasonably approximates at least an equivalent amount of work as no less than 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 1,800 minutes of out-of-class student work, or a total time of 42.5 hours per credit. See Standard 310(b)(2).

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall review the New Course Approval Form and make a determination whether or not the number of credits that the Curriculum Committee assigned to the new course complies with Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy. If the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines that the number of credits assigned is not in compliance, they shall describe the problems identified and send the new course proposal back to the Curriculum Committee for further consideration.  

C.    Yearly Audit to Assure Ongoing Adherence to Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy
Each academic year, the Curriculum Committee shall audit the College of Law’s current course offerings to ensure ongoing compliance with Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy.  

  • In carrying out this audit, the Curriculum Committee shall, for each audited course, review: 
  • the course description; 
  • the syllabus; 
  • student feedback (e.g., in student evaluations, exit interviews, and self-reports of time spent reading, writing outlines, working in study groups, completing assignments, and studying for exams); and
  • any other materials that the Curriculum Committee determines relevant for determining the accuracy and reliability of the credits being awarded. 

In carrying out this audit, the Curriculum Committee shall, for each audited course, take into account: 

  • the type of course (e.g., first year doctrinal course, upper level common law course, upper level code course, seminar, simulation course, clinical course, field placement, and Directed Independent Study); 
  • the amount and difficulty of the assigned readings; 
  • the number and types of assignments students must complete during the semester; 
  • the number and types of assessments (e.g., final examination, midterm exam, research paper, quizzes, and short papers);
  • other types of academically-related work (e.g., in the case of law journals, the amount of time spent on the completion of a note or comment, reading and evaluating journal submissions, and editing and cite-checking articles; and in the case of mock trial and moot court, the amount of time spent practicing, judging practice rounds, doing research, and writing briefs, and the time spent in actual competition);   
  • any feedback from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the College of Law Registrar, and experienced faculty members; 
  • commonly accepted practice in higher education; and 
  • any other factors that the Curriculum Committee determines are relevant for determining accuracy and reliability of the credits being awarded.

The Curriculum Committee shall advise the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs regarding the factors and processes that it followed in determining the accuracy of the credits being awarded for each audited course. This includes providing a justification for the number of credits to be awarded that takes into account classroom or direct faculty instruction, as well as the time to be spent on course-related out-of-class work.

  • In the case of courses “that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction,” the Curriculum Committee shall provide a justification that the amount of work per credit hour reasonably approximates no less than 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 1,800 minutes of out-of-class student work, or a total time of 42.5 hours per credit. See Standard 310(b)(1).  
  • In the case of other academic activities, such as simulation courses, field placements, clinical courses, co-curricular activities, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, the Curriculum Committee shall provide a justification that the amount of work per credit hour reasonably approximates at least an equivalent amount of work as no less than 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and 1,800 minutes of out-of-class student work, or a total time of 42.5 hours per credit. See Standard 310(b)(2).

Based on the information provided by the Curriculum Committee, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall make a determination as to whether the audited courses are in compliance with Standard 310 and the Credit Hour Policy. If a course is not in compliance, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall communicate the perceived deficit to the faculty member teaching the course, provide instructions for correcting the problem, and assure that the course comes back into compliance with the Standard and the Credit Hour Policy.   

Each academic year, the Curriculum Committee shall review the Credit Hour Policy to determine whether any changes are warranted. 

22.    Curriculum Review and Learning Outcomes

A.    Learning Outcomes
In accordance with ABA Standard 302, Florida State University College of Law has established learning outcomes that include competency in the following:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
  2. Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;
  3. Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system; and
  4. Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession. These will vary depending on each student’s individual educational program but may include one or more of the following: interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency, interdisciplinary analysis of law and policy, knowledge and understanding of the workings of the regulatory state, and self-evaluation.

B.    Review of Learning Outcomes
The Curriculum Committee will conduct an ongoing evaluation of the law school’s program of legal education, learning outcomes, and assessment methods. It will ordinarily make annual reports and recommendations to the Dean and the faculty to improve the curriculum and ensure compliance with American Bar Association Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools. These reports will evaluate the degree to which the academic program promotes student competency in the law school’s learning outcomes; the law school’s use of both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students; and the curriculum’s compliance with the Credit Hour Policy [see Section 21].

In conducting this review, the Curriculum Committee will consider the following methods and sources of information: the syllabi of the law school’s courses; the assessment methods used throughout the law schools; reports from the Dean or the Dean’s designee on enrollment statistics and other relevant matters; student evaluations of courses; exit interviews conducted by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or other appropriate members of the faculty and staff; bar-exam passage rates; and job-placement rates. 

The Curriculum Committee must approve any new course or change in the number of academic credits offered by a course, before students can receive academic credit for completing it. 

23.    Amendment Process

The College of Law faculty may amend these rules by majority vote. The Curriculum Committee may amend these rules (except this section) by unanimous vote and notice to the faculty.

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