Academic Standing and Grading Policies

Emily Morris in classroom with LL.M. students

LL.M. Academic Standing Rules

Unless otherwise stated here and where relevant to the academic program of the LL.M. degree, LL.M. students are subject to the rules outlined in the J.D. Student Academic Handbook.

Good Standing
LL.M. students must maintain good academic standing, which requires regular course attendance and participation, as well as maintaining a grade average of at least C.

Evaluation of Academic Standing
Academic standing for LL.M. students is evaluated throughout the student’s program of study. If a student fails to achieve a grade average of at least 'C' in the first semester, excessively fails to attend class or fails to submit assigned work without excuse, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing that he or she is no longer in good academic standing and afford the student an opportunity to be heard as to whether he or she is able or willing to undertake the study necessary to complete the LL.M. program. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the faculty member responsible for directing the LL.M. program, will determine whether the student may continue in the LL.M. program or whether probation or dismissal from the program is appropriate. The student may appeal an adverse decision to the Dean of the Law School.

LL.M. Examination Regulations

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, LL.M. students for whom English is a second language may receive 1.5 times the time allotted to J.D. students to complete scheduled in-class examinations.

LL.M. students generally are not entitled to extra time for papers or take-home exams; however, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may approve requests for extra time for papers and take-home exams in extraordinary circumstances.

LL.M. students for whom English is a second language may use paper English language and/or translation dictionaries during in-class examinations. Students may use a foreign language translating dictionary in an electronic form, provided it has no memory capacity, contains no other functions besides language translation, and does not connect to the internet. Students are responsible for making sure that any electronic devices they use comply with these guidelines. Students who intend to use an electronic foreign language translating dictionary device during an exam must obtain approval to use the device in advance from the IT Department. Legal dictionaries are not permitted in the exam room. Cell phones are not permitted in the exam room.

LL.M. Grading Standards and Scale

LL.M. students shall not be calculated into the J.D. grading curve. LL.M. students shall be evaluated separately from J.D. students according to the following grading standards and scale:

Grade Quality of Performance
A Excellent
A- Superior
B+ Very Good
B Good
B- Satisfactory
C+ Passing
C Poor
D Conditional Failure
F Failure



LL.M. students may not take required classes on a pass/fail basis. LL.M. students may, however, take non-required courses on a pass/fail basis with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and subject to the same credit limits as J.D. students.

Grade Point Average

LL.M. students will not have a grade point average calculated by the Registrar. LL.M. students will not be ranked.


The transfer policies described below are designed for students currently pursuing the Dickinson Law LL.M. degree who wish to apply to transfer to the Dickinson Law J.D. degree program.

The admissions process is extremely selective. An applicant’s entire file is carefully evaluated with attention given to grades received during the LL.M. year, and academic performance during the LL.M. year is an important criterion. Only applicants who appear capable of satisfactorily completing the Dickinson Law J.D. program and being admitted to the bar will be permitted to transfer to the J.D. program. Consequently, only applicants who have distinguished grades in the LL.M. program will be successful.

LL.M. students interested in this path should work closely with the LL.M. director to choose courses and build their academic program accordingly.

Due Date

Transfer applicants must submit all materials to the Registrar via email by July 1. Transfer applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as soon as spring semester grades are received.

Application and Supporting Documents

Transfer applicants are not required to take the LSAT. An applicant must submit the following items to the Registrar by July 1 in order to apply for transfer to the J.D. Program:

  • official transcript of grades and credits earned during the two semesters in the Dickinson Law LL.M. program,
  • letter of good standing sent from the Registrar’s Office,
  • one or more letters of reference from Dickinson Law professors,
  • résumé or CV, and
  • a statement setting forth the reasons for wanting to transfer, including whether the applicant plans to take the bar exam and if so, the jurisdiction where the applicant plans to take the bar exam.


There is no fee for applying to J.D. program as a Dickinson Law LL.M. transfer applicant.

Effect on Award of Degrees

Transfer applicants who are accepted to the J.D. program will retain the LL.M. degree. J.D. coursework that is part of the J.D. curriculum completed by the transfer applicant as an LL.M. student will be applied to the J.D. degree.

To obtain the J.D. degree, transfer applicants who are accepted to the J.D. program must complete at least 4 semesters in residence at Dickinson Law to obtain the J.D. degree, and complete all upper-level requirements for the J.D. degree. Transfer applicants who are not accepted to the J.D. program will receive the LL.M. degree, assuming they fulfill all requirements for that degree. Transfer applicants who are not accepted may apply as a traditional J.D. applicant to the three-year J.D. program.

Effect of Transfer on GPA, Class Rank and Academic Honors

LL.M. students accepted for transfer into the J.D. program will be treated similar to J.D. transfer students. Accordingly:

  • the grades earned while enrolled as a LL.M. student will not be calculated into the student’s GPA as a J.D. student.
  • the grades earned while enrolled as a LL.M. student will not be calculated into the student’s class rank as a J.D. student.

LL.M. transfer students who have a cumulative GPA that would generate a rank equivalent to the ranks outlined for Academic Honors will be awarded honors according to their rank equivalency. The award of honors to a LL.M. transfer student shall not displace a non-transfer student who qualifies for honors recognition when transfer students are removed from the class rank calculation.