LL.M. Academic Policies
Unless otherwise stated here and where relevant to the academic program of the LL.M. degree, LL.M. students are generally subject to the rules outlined in the J.D. Student Academic Handbook.
Academic 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.
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 assignment, 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 Director of International Programs and Graduate Education 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 Dickinson Law.
Code of Conduct
The Penn State University Code of Conduct outlines the standard procedures and practices of the University conduct process. The Code describes behaviors that are inconsistent with the essential values of the University community (integrity, respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence and community) and that are inconsistent with Penn State’s Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. All students should be fully aware of their individual and organizational rights and responsibilities, as they will be held accountable for all aspects of the Code of Conduct and associated guidance. Dickinson Law students are subject to the behavioral provisions in the Penn State University Code of Conduct and, as a complement, the provisions contained in the Dickinson Law Honor Code.
Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the Dickinson Law’s Honor Code exists to safeguard and promote the ideals of honor and integrity by prohibiting lying, cheating, stealing, and other dishonorable conduct of an academic nature. View the Honor Code.
For any number of reasons, LL.M. students may need to defer admission for a semester. In such cases, a student may submit a formal request, explaining the reasons for the deferral, to defer admission to the immediate next semester following the initial targeted semester intake. Only those students who have submitted a one-time, non-refundable seat deposit will be approved. The seat deposit will be forfeited if a deferral request is not approved. (S.J.D. applications may not be deferred.)
Prompt and regular course attendance is required of all students. Individual faculty members establish, announce, and implement a policy designed to ensure regular and prompt attendance for each course. With notice to students, faculty members may modify their methods for monitoring promptness and attendance during the semester. Viewing a class recording is not a substitute for class attendance and preparation, which is required for all class sessions (unless excused by the professor on an exceptional basis for good reason) and in order to remain in good academic standing with the law school.
Dickinson Law’s academic calendar is maintained on the Dickinson Law website and sometimes differs from the University calendar. See the Academic Calendar.
English Language Accommodations
As part of the application process, all LL.M. students submit information demonstrating their English language proficiency. As such, all admitted students should be sufficiently prepared for study in English at Dickinson Law. However, LL.M. students may request the accommodations listed below.
Additional Time Accommodation. Students enrolled in the LL.M. programs for whom English is not a first language may request additional time on timed, in-person assessments. In such cases, no student will be approved to receive more than 1.5 times the amount of time allotted to J.D. students for the timed, in-person assessment. Students are generally not given additional time for papers or take-home assessments.
Translation Dictionary Accommodation. Students enrolled in the LL.M. programs for whom English is not a first language may request the use of a hard-copy English language and/or translation dictionaries during time, in-person assessments. In circumstances where a hard-copy translation dictionary is not available, the student may request the use of a foreign language translating dictionary in electronic form, provided it has no memory capacity, contains no other functions besides language translation, and does not connect to the Internet. Legal dictionaries are not permitted for use during timed, in-class assessments.
LL.M. Grading 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|
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 and Class Rank
Grade point averages will be calculated and noted on the student transcript. LL.M. students will not be ranked.
Third Semester Option
LL.M. students may opt to stay for a third semester of legal study with the intent of completing an experiential learning program or preparing for a U.S. bar exam. International LL.M. students may have immigration restrictions. Scholarship support is subject to availability and is not guaranteed.
Transfer to the J.D. Program
Candidates for the LL.M. degree may seek to transfer to the J.D. program. Criteria for transferring to the J.D. program are set by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Each applicant must have a clear and compelling rationale for the transfer request, including a well-defined career plan that demonstrates the importance of earning a J.D. degree in realization of those plans. An applicant’s entire file is carefully evaluated with attention given to grades received during the LL.M. year and overall academic performance. Only applicants who appear capable of satisfactorily completing the J.D. program and being admitted to the bar will be permitted to transfer. Admissible applicants may be required to interview. Only a limited number of LL.M. students are permitted to transfer each year.
Applicants must submit the following items to the Dickinson Law 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 do so.
Applicants are not required to take the LSAT. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis after spring semester grades are received. Transfer applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships at the time of admission. Those students not permitted to transfer may officially apply for a three-year J.D. program via LSAC.
There is no application fee.
Effect on Award of Degrees
Transfer students who are accepted to the J.D. program will retain the LL.M. degree. Those not accepted to transfer will receive the LL.M. degree provided all degree requirements are met.
Required J.D. coursework that was successfully completed by the applicant while an LL.M. student will be applied to the J.D. degree. To obtain the J.D. degree, transfer students must complete at least 4 semesters in residence at Dickinson Law and complete all upper-level requirements for the J.D. degree.
LL.M. students accepted for transfer into the J.D. program will be treated similar to J.D. transfer students. Accordingly,
- Grades earned while enrolled as a LL.M. student will not be calculated into the student’s GPA as a J.D. student.
- 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.