Academic Policies

Maximum Credit Hours Permitted

Ordinarily, no student is permitted to carry more than the regular number of credit hours scheduled for the first-year class, nor more than 16 credit hours in any fall or spring semester as an upper-class student. Students may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for special permission to enroll in excess hours. Permission may be granted for a maximum of 18 hours during a fall or spring semester.

Students may not take more than 6 credits in any six-week summer session. A student taking a course that spans both summer sessions may take up to 13 credits during that time. (For example, a student may take 6 credits in one session, 5 credits in the other, and a 2-credit summer-long externship.) Intersession courses, such as Intensive Trial Advocacy, are not subject to those caps.

Students with a grade point average under 2.6 may not enroll in more than 16 credit hours.

See also Request to Enroll in Excess Hours (35 KB PDF).

Revised: April 1, 2014; effective immediately for students who start law school in Fall 2013 or later.

Class Attendance

Regular and punctual class attendance is required in accordance with the American Bar Association's Standards for Approval of Law Schools. In compliance with this rule, faculty members adopt and enforce their own regular attendance policies for each course and announce those policies at the beginning of each semester. Students may be barred from taking the final exam or otherwise completing a course for excessive absences. Absences exceeding twice the number of credit hours of the course are presumptively excessive. A class that meets for 85 minutes is the equivalent of 1.5 classes. Before a faculty member may impose this sanction the faculty member must send written notice to the student of the consequences that will flow from further absences. Students who have been barred from completing a course for excessive absences may withdraw from the course no later than noon on the business day before the final exam, or if the course has no final exam, noon on the business day before the final paper or other class-related activity must be completed. Failure to withdraw in a timely fashion will result in imposition of a grade of F (or NC in non-graded courses).

See also sample Faculty Written Notice to Student (restricted to faculty and staff).

Revised: December 19, 2012

Examinations

Examinations will be given at the end of each term. Students who fail to take an examination or turn in a paper at the regularly appointed time will receive a grade of F, except where the absence is unavoidable, in which case upon advance consent of the professor a grade of I (incomplete) will be granted. Incompletes must be completed when the professor reschedules the examination or the due date of the paper, which may be no later than at the next regular examination of the course or within one year, whichever comes first. Grades of I not completed when rescheduled become grades of F. Students who fail to complete the requirements in a credit, no-credit course may, at the discretion of the professor, be given a grade of I (incomplete). Grades of I in these courses will become grades of NCR (no credit) if the I is not removed prior to the last day of final examinations of the semester the course is next offered.

Retaking a Class

Students will not be permitted to retake any course, except a course previously failed, unless they first receive special permission from the faculty to do so. When a student is permitted to retake a course, both grades will be counted in determining the student's cumulative average, but credit hours will be counted only once toward the hours that are required for graduation.

Auditing Classes

Enrolled law students or law graduates who do not wish to receive credit may audit classes, if there is space available in the class. Audit students must pay the same tuition as credit students, are not assigned grades, and are not required or permitted to turn in class assignments or write examinations. Law students who enroll in a class as an audit may not convert to credit status after the first week of classes.

Law students who enroll in a class for credit may convert to audit status no later than the last day the class meets and must have prior written approval of the professor. Schedule Change Approval forms are available in the Dean's Office and in the Guidelines, Checklists and Forms section on the law school website.

Law graduates who wish to audit must provide verification of their law degree.

Added: August 15, 2008

Guidelines for Entering Students Who Need to Take a Reduced Load

Every student must complete at least 9 credit hours in each semester (fall and spring). Every first year student must complete an assigned small section course and Legal Analysis, Research & Writing I and II. Fall entering students must complete Contracts I and II, unless special permission is obtained to waive this requirement for good cause. Contracts II may not be taken by students who have not completed Contracts I.

Other than the above requirements, the faculty has not adopted a recommended reduced schedule of classes. Students who need to enroll in fewer courses or who decide to withdraw from a course should seek advice from a faculty member or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The considerations in choosing a reduced course load will vary with each student's needs.

Revised: August 25, 2011

Withdrawal From Courses

Students may not withdraw from any course later than noon on the business day before the final exam, or if the course has no final exam, noon on the business day before the final paper or other class-related activity must be completed. First-year students may not withdraw from Legal Analysis, Research & Writing unless they withdraw from all courses in the semester. Furthermore, students may not withdraw from a course if that withdrawal would leave the student with fewer than 9 credit hours for the semester. For information about the availability of tuition refunds, see "Tuition Refunds."

Revised: August 25, 2011

Grades

The standing of students in each course will be indicated by the letters, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D and F. In designated courses, a grade of outstanding, credit and no-credit may be recorded in place of letter grades.

Grade points will be awarded to each student on the following basis for each credit hour of work:

  • A = 4.00 points;
  • A- = 3.67 points
  • B+ = 3.33 points;
  • B = 3.00 points;
  • B- = 2.67 points
  • C+ = 2.33 points;
  • C = 2.00 points;
  • C- = 1.67
  • D+ = 1.33 points;
  • D = 1.00 point;
  • F = 0 points.

Hours of F grade are included in the computation of the grade point average but not included in the hours credited for graduation. Courses in which a letter grade is not given are not included in the computation.

See also Grading Guidelines for Average Grades, Grade Distribution, and Grade of 'A with distinction.'

Faculty and staff members are reminded that it is crucial to double-check all clerical aspects of determining and entering grades, including all mathematical computations as well as the translation from a student's exam number to the student's name. If a clerical mistake is discovered within 30 days of the posting of a grade, the grade is subject to upward or downward revision.

Grade Review Procedure: To challenge a grade, students must first discuss or attempt to discuss the reasons for the grade received with the faculty member(s) who determined that grade as a condition precedent to the filing of a petition. Should the faculty member refuse to discuss the grade with the student, or the faculty member be unavailable for such a discussion, or the student, having discussed the grade with the faculty member, is still not satisfied with it; then within thirty (30) days after posting of the grade, the student shall file with the dean in writing a petition requesting a review of the grade in question stating briefly and specifically the reasons for the complaint. Copies of the complete grade review procedure are available from the Office of the Dean and on the general grades information page.

Academic Good Standing Policy

Good Standing and Academic Dismissal: Any student whose cumulative grade point average is below 2.00 at the end of any spring semester shall not be permitted to continue in law school unless readmitted upon written petition to the law school Admission Committee. A student denied readmission by the Admission Committee may appeal that decision to the full faculty. The decision of the full faculty is final and no further appeal may be taken, except a student who feels the decision was based upon discrimination may utilize the University Student Grievance Procedure set forth in the University Affirmative Action Plan. Students with a cumulative grade point average below 2.00 may not participate in activities requiring good standing, such as obtaining a Student License to Practice from the Kansas Supreme Court.

Eligibility to Enroll in Summer School: A student may not enroll in summer school if the student's cumulative grade point average is below a 2.00 based on all grades through the previous fall semester for the first six-week summer session or the 12-week summer session. If a student's spring semester grades are posted before the beginning of the second session of summer school, and those grades bring the student's cumulative GPA above a 2.00, the student may enroll in the second summer session.

Readmitted Students: Students who successfully petition for readmission after being academically dismissed are required to take Legal Analysis in Context - Torts during their third semester of law school. They are also required to take at least one additional Multiple Assessment Course chosen from a list of such courses after consultation with the Director of Academic Success or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

See also Grading Guidelines.

Revised: April 1, 2014; effective immediately for students who start law school in Fall 2013 or later.

Students With a Grade Point Average of Under 2.6

Any student whose grade point average falls below a 2.6 after completing his or her first two semesters of law school is required to take a minimum of two Multiple Assessment Courses as soon as practicable, one of which must be Mastering Legal Analysis. Students with a grade point average below a 2.6 are prohibited from taking an overload (over 16 credit hours).

Added: April 1, 2014; effective immediately for students who start law school in Fall 2013 or later.

Academic Fresh Start (for Former Washburn Law Students)

Contact the Admissions Office at (785) 670-1185 or admissions [at] washburnlaw.edu for more information about the process of applying for Academic Fresh Start.

  1. Although generally grades received at Washburn University School of Law are recorded on a student's transcript and are included in the cumulative GPA, there are unusual circumstances in which students may be granted academic fresh start. Academic fresh start includes the following:
    1. All previous academic work at Washburn University School of Law is disregarded with respect to graduation requirements;
    2. The prior academic record remains on the transcript. However, no credits, hours or grade points are carried forward a part of the student's program. The transcript will indicate "Academic Fresh Start" and the date it was granted;
    3. The student will then begin his/her law school study again under the current requirements;
    4. This policy applies only to Washburn University School of Law students enrolling at Washburn. A student transferring from Washburn University School of Law to another institution will have to follow the receiving institution's policy.
    5. A student may receive Academic Fresh Start only once.
  2. There are only two circumstances in which Academic Fresh Start is applicable. They are as follows:
    1. Students in Good Standing:

      Students in good standing (GPA of 2.0 or above) who choose to discontinue their studies may re-enroll at the beginning of any semester, including the summer session, if only two years or less have elapsed since the end of the semester in which they were last in attendance at law school and the beginning of the semester in which they re-enroll. If more than two years have elapsed, such students must apply for readmission.

      Such a student readmitted after a two year or greater absence, as defined above, may or may not be given credit for all previous course work, depending upon the preferences of the student, the length of time the student has been out of law school and the student's law school grade point average.

      Upon receipt of an application for readmission from a student in good standing, the Admissions Committee will determine whether the student should be readmitted and whether the student will be required or permitted to retake any or all courses. If such a student is readmitted and required or permitted to retake all courses, the student is granted Academic Fresh Start.
    2. Students Not in Good Standing

      Students who perform below a 2.0 in their first year or two and then withdraw or are not immediately readmitted are occasionally readmitted at a later date.

      Upon receipt of an application for readmission from a student not in good standing, the Admissions Committee will determine whether the student should be readmitted in accordance with the ABA standards for readmission of academically disqualified students.

      If the student is readmitted and if at least three years have elapsed between the end of the semester in which the student was last in attendance at law school and the beginning of the semester in which he or she is readmitted the student is required to begin law school over and is granted Academic Fresh Start.

Adopted: 11/26/85

Honors at Graduation

Degrees with honors are granted to students as follows:

  • Summa Cum Laude: GPA of 3.9 or above.
  • Magna Cum Laude: The top 5% of the class (with the exception that students in this category with a GPA of 3.9 or above will receive the honor of Summa Cum Laude).
  • Cum Laude: The top 10% of the class, with the exception of those students who receive Magna Cum Laude or Summa Cum Laude honors.
  • Dean's Honors: The top 35% of the class, with the exception of those students who receive Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude honors.

Honor Code

The law school expects conduct of all students which is consistent with the law and with generally accepted principles of academic behavior. Disciplinary action against students will be taken according to the provisions of the law school Honor Code and Procedure. Findings of misconduct and recommendations of disciplinary action are made by a student Honor Code Committee and are referred to the Dean of the law school.

Revised: June 20, 2007

ABA Accreditation Standards

Washburn University School of Law is an ABA-accredited law school. It is therefore subject to the American Bar Association Standards for Approval of Law Schools.

If a student has concerns regarding the Law School's program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA standards, the student may file a complaint pursuant to ABA Standard 512. A "complaint" is a written communication 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 standards."

Procedure for Making a Formal Complaint Pursuant to ABA Standard 512:

  1. Submit the complaint in writing via e-mail to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, aida.alaka@washburn.edu, with a copy to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, jalen.lowry@washburn.edu.
  2. The writing should describe in detail the behavior, incident, program, or process that is the basis of the complaint and explain how it implicates the Law School's compliance with a particular Standard. The number of the Standard at issue should be specified.
  3. The writing must include the student's name, mailing address, phone number, and official university e-mail address.

Procedure for Addressing a Formal Complaint Pursuant to ABA Standard 512:

  1. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs shall acknowledge the complaint within ten business days of receipt of the written complaint or as soon as is reasonably possible under the circumstances. Acknowledgment will be via e-mail to the student's official Washburn address.
  2. Within thirty business days of acknowledgement of the complaint, the Associate Dean or a designee shall either meet with the complaining student or respond to the substance of the complaint via e-mail. The student will receive:
    1. Notification of the resolution of the complaint; or
    2. Notification that no corrective action is planned, with the reason why; or
    3. Information about what steps are being taken to investigate the complaint.

    Once the student has been notified regarding (a) the resolution of the complaint or that (b) no corrective action is planned, the matter is closed.
  3. If the student is advised under (c) of the steps that are being taken to investigate the complaint, then the student will be notified of the resolution of the complaint once the matter is resolved. This will close the matter.
  4. A copy of the complaint and a writing showing the resolution of the complaint shall be kept in the Dean's Office for a period of eight years.

Added: June 7, 2012