Academic Policies

See Covid-19 School of Law Policies.

Maximum Credit Hours Permitted

Ordinarily, no student is permitted to carry 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. No student will be permitted to carry more than the regular number of credit hours scheduled for the first-year curriculum.

Students with a grade point average under 2.8 may not enroll in more than 16 credit hours.

Summer Credit Hours

As a general rule, students may not take more than 6 credits in any six-week summer session. Under the following circumstances, students may take up to 7 credits:

  1. a student is taking one 3-credit course and one 4-credit course, or
  2. a student is taking two 3-credit courses and one 1-credit course.

A student may not take one 3-credit course and two 2-credit courses. With these restrictions, a student may take up to 14 credits over the summer. The credits from intersession courses, such as Intensive Trial Advocacy, are not included in the caps

Clinic Students: Students enrolled in summer clinic may also take one 3-credit course or one 4-credit course, as well as one 1-credit course, each 6 week session. Because the summer clinic course spans both sessions, clinic hours (either 4 or 5 credits) are not allocated or divided between the first and second summer sessions.

See also Request to Enroll in Excess Hours (87 KB PDF).

Revised: August, 2023; effective immediately for students who start law school in Fall 2013 or later. Summer credit hours policy revised April 14, 2015.

Minimum Credit Hours Permitted

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. 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: October 7, 2014

Class Attendance

Consistent with American Bar Association accreditation standards, prompt and regular attendance is required for all students in all law school courses. Students should record their attendance accurately by whatever means a professor uses to track attendance (the Attendance application in D2L, paper sign-in sheet, etc.), and failure to record attendance will result in the student being counted as "absent" during that particular class session. Absent extraordinary unforeseen circumstances, a student must attend at least 80% of class sessions in order to be eligible to sit for the final examination or submit work for summative assessment in the course and earn course credit. 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). Individual faculty members may impose an attendance policy for their course that is more stringent than this general policy so students must read the syllabus for each course to determine if the faculty member has adopted an attendance policy for that course. Viewing a class recording for a missed class session is not a substitute for class attendance and will not erase a recorded absence in a course. The recording of class sessions is intended to enhance student learning and is not intended to substitute for regular class attendance.

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

Revised: August 14, 2022


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

Distance Education Policy

As defined by the American Bar Association, distance education is an educational process characterized by the separation, in time or place, between instructor and student. This includes all courses in which more than one third of the course is based upon internet, telephonic, or recorded transmission.

Total class time and substantive coverage for the course shall be comparable to that allocated to classroom course credit. The course shall be offered on a secure site to protect student privacy, and student participation in each class component shall be verified with a secure individual student login and password.

In any course authorized for credit through distance education, there must be ample interaction with the instructor and other students both inside and outside the formal structure of the course throughout its duration. This interaction requirement may be met through synchronous or asynchronous participation of the instructor and students. There must also be a system for monitoring student effort and opportunities for communication about that effort.

No student shall enroll in distance education courses until that student has completed instruction in a minimum of 15 credit hours toward the J.D. degree. Notwithstanding this, a student may not enroll in a distance education course during the fall or spring semester of the first year of law school. A student may use no more than 30 credit hours of distance education coursework towards satisfaction of the J.D. degree requirements.

In-residence limitation for online courses: When in residence, a student may enroll in no more than 9 credits of online education per semester absent permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Such permission shall be based on demonstrated extraordinary circumstances.

Added: May 5, 2014; updated January 24, 2020.

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. Any student with a scholarship who withdraws from a course should be sure to notify the law school admissions office of the withdrawal.

To withdraw from a course, complete the Schedule Change Form (114 KB PDF).

For information about the availability of tuition refunds, see "Tuition Refunds."

Revised: August 2, 2023


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.

Out-of-Class Coursework

For each fifty minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction, students will be expected to engage in a minimum of two hours of time in additional course-related study. An equivalent amount of work will be required for all academic activities including simulation, field placement, clinical, co-curricular, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Added: March 8, 2017. (Faculty/Staff: see also Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework (restricted).)

Credit/No Credit Courses

Washburn Law students must normally complete a minimum of 69 credit hours in courses in which a letter grade is received. Students may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to take fewer credit hours in courses in which a letter grade is received. 

Courses that are credit/no credit are identified as such in their courses descriptions. To receive credit in a credit/no credit course, a student's performance must be the equivalent of a grade of "C" or better.

In no circumstance shall the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs be permitted to allow a student to take less than 64 credits in regularly scheduled classroom or direct faculty instruction.

Updated: January 24, 2020.

Academic Good Standing Policy

Academic Good Standing: In order to continue enrollment at the law school and, ultimately, graduate, students must maintain good academic standing. To maintain good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average equal to or greater than 2.00 at the end of any spring semester. A student who is eligible to take first session summer classes may have those grades considered in determining academic good standing.

Procedure: As soon as practicable after grades are due each spring semester, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will notify in writing students who fail to meet the minimum standards of academic performance. That notice will inform the student that the student will be dismissed from the law school unless the student can show good cause why the student should not be dismissed. The student may submit to the Law School Admissions Committee a written petition establishing good cause. The student may include as part of the petition a written personal statement and written statements from faculty members or other persons whose views may be relevant to the whether the student should be permitted to continue in law school.

A student who does not submit a written petition within the deadline included in the notice will be automatically dismissed from the law school as of the last date for submission of a petition. A student whose good cause petition is denied by the Admissions Committee may appeal that decision to the full faculty. A student who does not submit a written appeal to the full faculty within the deadline included in the notice of the Admissions Committee’s decision will be automatically dismissed from the law school as of the last date for submission of the appeal. The decision of the full faculty is final and no further appeal may be taken, but a student who believes the decision was based on unlawful discrimination may use the University Student Grievance Procedure set forth in the University Affirmative Action Plan. A student whose appeal is denied by the full faculty will be dismissed from the law school as of the date of the full faculty's decision.

A student 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 for the first six-week summer session or the 12-week summer session if the student's cumulative grade point average is below 2.00 based on all grades through the previous fall semester. A student may not enroll for the second six-week summer session if the students cumulative GPA is below 2.00 based all grades through the spring semester. 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 2.00, the student may enroll in the second summer session.

Good Cause Shown: A student who successfully shows good cause to remain in law school under the procedure described above is required to take Law in Context during the following fall semester or at the first opportunity thereafter. TThe student is also required to take Multistate Legal Analysis in the student's third year and at least one additional Multiple Assessment Course chosen from a list of such courses after consultation with the Director of Academic Support or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Furthermore, the student is required to take advantage of the faculty advising program that is open to all students. The prohibition that a student with a grade point average below 2.8 may not take an overload (over 16 credit hours) applies.

See also Grading Guidelines.

Revised: August 14, 2023.

Students With a Grade Point Average of Under 2.8

Any student whose grade point average falls below a 2.80 after completing their first two semesters of law school is required to take a minimum of two Multiple Assessment Courses as soon as practicable. One of the two Multiple Assessment Courses must be Multistate Legal Analysis, which is a bar preparation course usually taken during the third year of law school. Moreover, such students are highly encouraged to take either Law in Context or Performance Writing as soon as possible. In conjunction with the Multiple Assessment Course requirement, students will be required to participate in an academic enrichment coaching module that can either be completed asynchronously through D2L or through synchronous coaching sessions with a member of the Academic Enrichment program or its delegee. Students with a grade point average below a 2.80 are prohibited from taking an overload (over 16 credit hours).

Revised: May 10, 2023; effective immediately for students who start law school in Fall 2023 or later.

Academic Fresh Start (for Former Washburn Law Students)

Contact the Admissions Office at (785) 670-1185 or 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 as 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: November, 26, 1985

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

Student Complaint Procedure

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 or its compliance with the ABA standards, the student may file a complaint pursuant to ABA Standard 510.

Procedure for Making a Complaint Pursuant to ABA Standard 510:

  1. Submit the complaint in writing via e-mail to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs,, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs,, or the Dean,
  2. The writing should describe in detail the behavior, incident, program, or process that is the basis of the complaint.
  3. The writing must include the student's name and official university e-mail address.
  4. The law school administrator who received the complaint shall determine if the alleged facts implicate a Standard. If so, the law school will abide by the following procedure.

Procedure for Addressing a Complaint Pursuant to ABA Standard 510:

  1. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, or the Dean 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.

  1. 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.

A copy of the complaint and a writing showing the resolution of the complaint shall be kept in the Dean's Office until the next accreditation visit.

Added: June 7, 2012; updated: March 28, 2024.

J.D. Dismissal and M.S.L. Program

Students who are academically dismissed from the J.D. program may apply to the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) program. However, the M.S.L. program is not intended to be an alternative degree for students who have been academically dismissed from Washburn Law or another law school. Thus, while academic dismissal from law school is not an absolute bar to admission, such a dismissal, absent exceptional facts, would be a difficult hurdle to overcome in the M.S.L. admission process.

Added: August 19, 2015.