Section III: Academic Standards
- Except as provided in paragraph (2) below, student work in each course shall be evaluated and recorded in numerical terms, according to the following scale:
- For all classes:
- No more than 5% of the grades, rounding excepted, may exceed 4.0.
- It is expected that the distribution of grades in all classes will be mindful of the distribution set out in Rule 3-1(1)(b).
- b. For large classes (50 or more students) and all first-year classes:
- The following distribution is required.
Percentage of Class
- The median shall be 3.3.
- The following distribution is required.
- For smaller-sized classes (10-49 students) other than first-year classes (see 3-1(1)(b)), the median for the class shall not exceed 3.5. In special circumstances, the faculty member grading the course may exceed this median with the approval of the Dean's Office. It is expected that for classes in which the grading is based upon an exam, the median would ordinarily approach the typical median defined above for larger classes.
- Rules 3-1(1)(b) and (c) do not apply to classes in which students are selected for admission through application or other evaluative method (see 3-9).
- A failing grade in any course shall be recorded as 1.5.
- Compliance: Grades that do not comply with Rule 3-1(1)(a), (b), or (c) will not be recorded or released by the Law School. The Dean's Office will return the grades to the faculty member for recalculation until those grades comply with the applicable portions of the rules. Grades that do not conform are deemed not to have been reported by the faculty member for the purposes of Rule 3-19 (Reporting and Announcing Grades) and Policy 3-2 (administrative policy on Reporting and Announcing Grades).
- For all classes:
- Student work in the following courses shall be ungraded and shall be evaluated and recorded in credit/no credit terms:
- courses so designated by Faculty action,
- retaken courses previously audited for not fewer than seven calendar weeks of a thirteen-week course or more than half of a shorter course [See Rule 3-11(3)],
- courses retaken pursuant to Rule 3-15(2).
- courses in which the student was previously enrolled for not fewer than seven calendar weeks of a thirteen-week course or more than half of a shorter course [see Rule 3-15(3)],
- courses in which the student has taken a special final examination or submitted a special paper pursuant to Rule 3-16(3), and
- courses in which the instructor elects to grade the student's final examination in such terms because it was not taken at the regularly scheduled time and could not be read together with the examinations of other students in the same course [see Rule 3-16(3)].
- At the supervising faculty member’s discretion, student work in the following courses or programs shall be either graded according to the Law School’s numerical grading scale or evaluated and recorded in credit/no credit terms:
- When a student has properly enrolled in a course in another division of the University pursuant to Rule 3-13(1) or in another law school pursuant to Rule 3-14, the actual grade earned in the course shall be included on the student's transcript. However, the grade earned in such course shall not be included in the calculation of the student's grade point average, regardless of whether the student receives credit for the course. [See Rule 2-1(2) with respect to denial of credit for courses in which a grade lower than 2.1 (equivalent to "C" in a letter-based grading system) has been earned.]
- Grade point averages shall be computed by multiplying the numerical grade received in each course by the number of semester-hours in that course and dividing the sum of such products for the courses for which the grade-point average is sought by the sum of the semester-hours in those courses. For this purpose, ungraded courses shall be excluded, except where a failure grade has been received, in which case the course shall be included and assigned the numerical grade of 1.5.
Revised Dec 2012
The Dean shall inform each student who is not in good standing of his or her status, the requirements that he or she must satisfy to be eligible to continue the study of law at this Law School [see Rule 3-4], and the requirements that he or she must satisfy to be eligible for graduation.
- Any first-year student who has attained a grade-point average of less than 1.9 after the first year of study or who has received failing grades in courses totaling more than eight credits shall be ineligible to continue the study of law [see Rule 3-22(3)].
- Any student (i) who has received failing grades in Law School courses totaling more than ten credits during the second and third years or (ii) who has received failing grades in Law School courses totaling more than 12 credits during the first, second and third years or (iii) whose grade-point average for the second year is less than 2.0 shall be ineligible to continue the study of law [see Rule 3-22(3)].
- Any student who has been placed on academic probation and who has failed to comply with the conditions of probation [see Rule 3-5] or who at the end of the specified probationary period has not attained or maintained a grade-point average of at least 2.1 or higher, if specified by the Dean in the terms of probation, shall be ineligible to continue the study of law [see Rule Rule 3-22(3)].
- Permission to continue the study of law for a seventh semester is discretionary with the faculty acting through the Administrative Committee in the first instance, and if allowed, will ordinarily be undertaken under conditions of probation.
- Any student who receives a failing grade (1.5 or lower) when re-taking a required first-year course after initially receiving a failing grade in that same course shall be ineligible to continue the study of law
Revised Aug 2007
Any LL.M. student in the LL.M. program defined in Rule 2-3 who at the end of the second semester of study in that degree program at Duke has attained a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.3 shall be ineligible to continue the study of law at Duke.
Approved December 1992
- Any first-year student who has attained a cumulative grade-point average of less than 2.3 but not less than 1.9 after the first year of study shall be placed on academic probation for the next two semesters.
- Any second-year student who has attained a grade-point average of less than 2.3 in either semester of that year or who has received failing grades in courses totaling between six and ten credits (inclusive) during that year shall be placed on academic probation for the next two semesters.
- Any third-year student who has attained a grade-point average of less than 2.3 in the fifth semester shall be placed on academic probation for the sixth semester.
- A student who has been placed on academic probation shall be subject to the special supervision of the Dean for the specified probationary period, during which the student shall be required to comply with such conditions as the Dean may, in his or her discretion, impose. [See Rule 3-4(4).]
Revised May 2004
No first-year student other than a dual degree student shall take courses other than those of the required first-year program. First-year dual degree students who wish to take law courses other than their required first-year courses must obtain prior permission from the Dean. No student shall take for credit courses totaling more than sixteen credits per semester nor audit and take for credit courses totaling more than seventeen credits per semester, except with the permission of the Dean.
Revised May 2004
To receive credit for a semester in-residence, a student shall take for credit courses totaling at least twelve credits counting towards that student's law degree requirements, except with the permission of the Dean. In no event shall permission be given to a student to take for credit courses totaling fewer than ten credits counting towards that student's law degree requirements per semester or whatever may be prescribed by the American Bar Association as the minimum number credits for a semester in-residence. The above restrictions shall not apply to candidates for the international LL.M. degree.
Revised May 2004
Students must regularly attend and prepare for all courses. In the discretion of the instructor, a student who fails to meet this standard may be (i) denied the right to take a final examination or to submit other required course work, in which case a grade of 1.5 will be entered for the course, or (ii) dropped from the course with a mark of withdraw/pass or withdraw/fail entered on his or her record pursuant to Rule 3-10(3). If the student is auditing the course, the instructor may drop him or her from the course.
Revised April 2014
Registration shall be carried out according to such fair and reasonable procedures as the Dean may from time to time prescribe. Selection of students for overenrolled courses may be accomplished by lottery or by any other neutral criteria prescribed by the Dean, including students' expressed priorities. The instructor may select students for independent study and research tutorials, and for any other course where instructor selection has been approved by the Curriculum Committee prior to student registration.
- A first-year student may alter his or her registration by adding or dropping a course only with the permission of the instructor and the Dean.
- Upperclass students may drop or add any course with permission of the Dean and the course instructor. Unless notice to the contrary is posted with respect to particular courses, this requirement is waived for:
- courses dropped before the end of the seventh class day of the semester; and,
- courses added before the end of the seventh class day of the semester or, for classes that meet only one day a week, before the second class meeting.
- If a student drops a course after the seventh week of a semester, then his or her permanent record shall be marked either withdraw/pass or withdraw/fail, as the instructor shall determine. [See Rule 3-15(3) with respect to retaking such a course.]
Revised December 2007
- A student may audit a course only with the written permission of the instructor. A part-time student may audit a course only if he or she has secured in addition the permission of the University Treasurer. Auditing a course entails adherence by the student to such standards and conditions as the instructor may prescribe, except that the student shall not be required to submit papers or to take a final examination nor shall he or she be entitled to a grade in the course.
- The fact that a student has audited a course shall be indicated in the official records of the Law School.
- A student who has audited a course for not less than seven calendar weeks shall obtain the permission of the instructor if he or she wishes subsequently to enroll in that course for credit. If a student subsequently takes for credit a course that he or she has previously audited for not less than seven calendar weeks, he or she shall be graded in that course on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(2)(b).]
- Independent Study. Students may take no more than three credits of independent study toward their Juris Doctor degrees. A J.D. student also enrolled in the LL.M. program may take for credit not more than four credits of independent study. Based on academic merit and with the affirmative support of the involved faculty member, one additional credit, but no more, may be allowed by the Administrative Committee upon petition by the student, taking into consideration whatever specific recommendation or institutional concerns the Dean's office may wish to present. Students enrolled in the one-year LL.M. program may take for credit not more than three credits of independent study as described under Rule 2-3. All independent study that is taken for credit must be approved by a member of the faculty. The student shall submit as the end product of independent study a paper of the kind generally submitted in seminars, which shall be evaluated by such member of the faculty, at his or her discretion, either according to the Law School’s numerical grading scale or on a credit/no credit basis [see Rule 3-1(3)(a)], and shall be subject to the rules regarding submission of papers and incomplete course work [see Rules 3-17 & 3-18]. Students may not complete any required courses for any of the Law School's degrees through independent research [see Rules 2-1, 2-2, & 2-3]. Any proposals for independent research supervised by faculty other than members of the governing faculty, which, for this purpose, includes full-time visiting faculty and emeritus faculty, must first be approved by the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Ad Hoc Seminars. A group of at least five and not more than ten students may plan, conduct, and take for not more than two credits their own ad hoc research and seminar program. A student may enroll in an ad hoc seminar after completing his or her second semester of law school. Dual-degree students who started in the summer session are eligible to enroll in an ad hoc seminar starting in the spring of their first year, with permission of the Dean's Office. All other students are eligible to enroll in an ad hoc seminar starting in the fall semester of their second year. The students organizing the ad hoc seminar shall submit to the Dean a written prospectus containing a syllabus and a list of required readings for such a program. Students organizing the ad hoc seminar may build on work done by other students in connection with an earlier ad hoc seminar or the same or a similar topic, but they are expected to make a significant, independent contribution to the work previously done. The organizing students shall seek a faculty member to assess the academic merit and the feasibility of the proposal and, if that assessment is favorable, to observe and supervise the conduct of the program and to evaluate student performance. Each participating student must submit a paper of the kind generally produced in seminars. The papers shall be evaluated by the supervising faculty member, at his or her discretion, either according to the Law School's numerical grading scale or on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(3)(b).] Students are permitted to enroll in only one ad hoc seminar per semester, and may enroll in no more than a total of four credits in ad hoc seminars for credit toward the JD degree. Proposals for ad hoc seminars must be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs by June 1 for the upcoming fall semester and December 1 for the upcoming spring semester.
- Research Tutorials. The Curriculum Committee is authorized to approve Research Tutorials on a year-by-year basis. The credit assigned may be as much as four credits. Enrollment may be limited to as few as eight students to be selected by the instructor. Approval of such Research Tutorials will imply an obligation on the instructor and the enrolled students to produce a substantial body of publishable scholarship. The papers shall be evaluated by the supervising faculty, at his or her discretion, either according to the Law School’s numerical grading scale or on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(3)(b); see also Rule 3-25(2) & (4) regarding Externship Tutorials.]
Revised Aug 2007
- With the permission of the Dean, a student other than a dual-degree candidate may normally apply toward the requirements for the J.D. degree [see Rule 2‐1] a course or courses of suitable academic rigor offered in other divisions of the University totaling not more than the equivalent of three Law credits. [See Rule 3‐1(4) with respect to grading of such a course.] For purposes of interpretation of the phrase “suitable academic rigor,” courses at the 500 level and above shall presumptively be deemed to be suitably rigorous. Students may obtain permission to enroll in courses below the 500 level, but such courses will not apply toward the requirements for the J.D. degree. Students may petition the Administrative Committee for permission to apply not more than the equivalent of an additional three Law credits toward the J.D. requirements under this rule. Such application must be accompanied by supporting documentation demonstrating that the entire group of courses taken in other divisions contributes substantially to the student’s legal education.
- A candidate for a dual degree in an approved program may apply twelve credits successfully completed in the second discipline toward the requirements for the J.D. degree [see Rule 2-1], provided that the student satisfactorily completes the requirements set out for the joint program by the faculty conferring the second degree.
Revised September 2018
Courses in Other Law Schools: With the permission of the Dean and subject to Rule 2-1, a student may take for credit regular and summer school courses offered by any other law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. For courses taken at schools other than the University of North Carolina School of Law (UNC) or the North Carolina Central University Law School (NCCU), a student may apply no more than six credit hours earned under this Rule toward the J.D. For courses taken at UNC or NCCU, the total credits applicable to the J.D. are not limited, but a student may take and apply to the J.D. no more than two courses at either institution per semester. This Rule does not limit the number of credit hours a student may take and apply to a J.D. degree for courses taken pursuant to a Duke-approved semester abroad (see Rule 3-26) or visits at other law schools (see Rule 3-30). [See Rule 3-1(4) for grading of non-Duke courses.]
Revised Aug 2007
- Subject to paragraph (2) below, no student may retake for credit a course in which the student was previously enrolled and for which the student received a grade.
- Any student receiving a failing grade in a required course shall be required to retake the course, or, with permission of the instructor and the Dean, to submit to a re-examination in the course, until credit is received. [See Rule 3-4(5) (discussing a student's ineligibility to continue the study of law after failing a required course for a second time).] A student receiving a failing grade in an elective course may retake the course for credit only with the permission of the instructor. [See Rule 3-1(2)(c) with respect to credit/no credit grading of the retaken course.] Once a previously failed course is retaken for credit and passed, the grade earned when the student retook the course shall appear on the student's transcript but no additional credit shall be awarded for the course, and such grade shall not be factored into the student's grade-point average. The original failing grade shall also remain on the transcript and shall be factored into the student's grade-point average.
- No student may retake for credit a course in which the student was previously enrolled and from which the student withdrew after the end of the seventh week of a thirteen-week course or after the halfway point of a shorter course unless the student has obtained the permission of the instructor. If a student is permitted to retake for credit a course in which the student was previously enrolled for not fewer than seven calendar weeks of a thirteen-week course or more than half of a shorter course and ultimately withdrew, the student shall be graded in that retaken course on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(2)(d).]
- A student may take for credit a course in which the student was previously enrolled and from which the student withdrew before the end of the seventh calendar week of the semester.
Revised Aug 2007
- A final examination will be required in every regular course, and no final examination will be required in any seminar, unless the instructor announces to the contrary before the end of the second week of the semester.
- No student may take a final examination in a course at a time other than the regularly scheduled time without the permission of the Dean's office. Such permission normally shall be granted only where one of the following circumstances exists:
- The student is ill or can demonstrate that taking the examination at the regular time would cause extreme personal hardship.
- There is a direct conflict in the scheduling of final examinations in two or more courses in which the student is enrolled.
- The student is enrolled in three or more courses, each carrying more than one hour of credit, for which examinations are scheduled within a 36-hour period over 2 calendar days. In such circumstances, the examination to be rescheduled shall be the middle examination in the sequence.
- Exams that qualify for rescheduling under this rule will be rescheduled for the individual student's next available exam slot that does not create a new conflict under this rule. No exams shall be rescheduled at a time prior to the regularly scheduled examination.
- If a student has been excused from taking a final examination in a course at the regularly scheduled time, the instructor may require the student to take a special final examination or submit a special paper. In such a case, the student shall be graded in the course on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(2)(e).] If the student takes the regular examination, but it cannot be read together with the examinations taken by other students in the same course, the instructor may, in his or her discretion, grade the examination numerically or on a credit/no credit basis. [See Rule 3-1(2)(f).]
- If a student has been excused from taking a final examination at the regularly scheduled time, and the examination has not been taken within 28 days after the last regularly scheduled examination for that semester, a mark of incomplete will be entered on the student's record. [See Rule 3-18.]
- Computers and word processors may be used for taking examinations, unless prohibited by the individual instructor(s). If computers are not prohibited, instructors are encouraged to inform students early in the semester of their individual preferences and any conditions respecting the use of computers on examinations. If computers are prohibited, instructors should inform students of the prohibition early in the semester. The use of computers is governed by the regulations set forth in Policy 3-1 and by the Law School's Honor Code.
- All final examination papers shall be preserved for a period of two years by the instructor or the Registrar's Office. All examination papers, including questions, student answers and related materials are the property of the instructor and/or the Law School. Students shall comply with the instructor's requirements concerning retention of exam papers and shall not retain copies, digital or otherwise, of exam questions, answers or related materials unless retention is specifically permitted by the instructor.
Revised Aug 2007
Papers or other course work submitted in partial or complete satisfaction of the requirements of a course, including an independent study, must be completed no later than the last day of the regularly scheduled examination period of the semester in which the course is offered unless the instructor sets an earlier deadline. In individual cases, the instructor may grant an extension.
Revised May 2004
When a mark of incomplete has been entered on a student's record pursuant to Rule 3-16(4), the required course work or rescheduled exam must be completed by a deadline to be set by the instructor and the Dean. In no event may the deadline be later than the last day of the regularly scheduled examination period for the following semester. The instructor shall report the student's grade for the course by the date grades are due for the semester in which the student completed the course requirements. [See Rule 3-16(3) with respect to credit/no credit grading when an examination has been rescheduled]. If course requirements have not been satisfactorily completed by the extended deadline, a grade of 1.5 will automatically be entered. In any event, the incomplete will be permanently noted on the student's record.
Revised April 2014
- Final grades in all completed courses in the Fall semester shall be reported by instructors to the Registrar's office on or before January 15 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend). Final grades in all completed courses in the Spring semester shall be reported by instructors to the Registrar's Office on or before June 1 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend). Final grades for the residential (i.e., at the Law School) Summer semester shall be reported to the Registrar no later than September 15 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend).
- In addition, within a reasonable time of receipt of the grades from the instructor and after January 15 for the Fall semester and June 1 for the Spring semester, the Registrar will report such grades to the students on the electronic system utilized by the university (e.g. the SISS web-based system currently).
- Neither the Dean's office nor any instructor shall release to anyone other than the student any information concerning the student's academic record except in accordance with the provisions of applicable law. [See also Policy 3-2.]
- Within a reasonable time after all of the grades for a graduating class have been recorded, the following information shall be made available to the graduated students: the GPA cut-off grades to the nearest one hundredth of a point for Cum Lauders and Magna Cum Laude respectively.
- No information concerning the class rank or approximate class rank for any student shall be provided.
Revised April 24, 2014
No final grade that has been entered into a student's record shall be changed thereafter except to correct an arithmetic or clerical error or for a compelling reason with the permission of the Dean.
A student may, upon application in writing and with the permission of the Dean, withdraw from the Law School and preserve his or her eligibility for readmission.
- Dismissal of a student from the Law School may take the form of suspension for a specified period of time or expulsion.
- A student may be dismissed from the Law School for improper conduct pursuant to such standards and procedures as the Faculty may prescribe.
- A student who has been declared ineligible to continue the study of law for academic reasons [see Rule 3-4] shall be dismissed from the Law School and shall not be eligible for readmission except as specifically authorized by the Faculty after the lapse of not less than one year and on such conditions as the Faculty may specify.
The Committee shall have jurisdiction to pass on petitions requesting:
- read mission or similar action relating to a student's academic standing, whether emanating from dismissal for improper conduct or deficient academic performance. In such cases, the Committee shall act in the first instance on behalf of the faculty. When readmission is denied, the Committee shall give notice to the governing faculty. The governing faculty may review and reverse any readmission decision of the Committee. Consideration by the governing faculty, however, can be invoked only by request of the Dean's office or by a member of the governing faculty;
- modification of requirements for graduation;
- waiver of administrative rules affecting an individual student's course of instruction;
- (a) disciplinary matters involving former students and (b) misconduct of current students not covered by the student honor code procedures. In such proceedings, the Committee shall act in the first instance on behalf of the faculty and may hear witnesses and make findings of fact and determine sanctions. Procedures shall comport with fundamental principles of due process, which include the right of the individual to notice, opportunity to appear in person (if requested), and to examine the evidence against the individual. The individual is generally entitled to be assisted at a hearing by a non-lawyer advisor, and, in the discretion of the Committee, may be assisted instead by the individual's attorney in appropriate cases. The Dean's office or its designate shall act in the role of prosecutor and shall bear the burden of persuasion by a standard of clear and convincing evidence. Appeal may be taken to the governing faculty by either the Dean's office or the individual, but no hearing shall be held by the governing faculty unless at least one member of the faculty so requests; and
- any other matter which the Dean refers to the Committee after determining that it is not within the jurisdiction of any other Law School decision-making body or that an individual exception to a rule appears arguably appropriate and preferable to revision of that rule.
Revised May 2004
Courses in the Law School will earn the number of credit-hours approved for them by the Curriculum Committee in advance of the beginning of the term.
Revised January 1987
The Law School permits several types of externships: (1) Individual Externships; (2) Faculty-Mentored Externships; and (3) Integrated Externships. Each type of externship is detailed below.
- The Externship Program is designed to allow a student to receive academic credit for gaining legal experience beyond that available in the classroom setting by working under the supervision of a licensed attorney or judge in a governmental or non-profit entity. Where government and non-profit entities are not able to fulfill a student’s learning goals, the Externship Director may approve a placement with a for-profit entity; provided, however, that Curriculum Committee approval shall also be required for any placement at a for-profit law firm.
- A student who has completed the first year of law school may participate in an externship during any semester in which the student is enrolled as a full-time law student. If the student will be advising or representing clients in the externship placement, the student must have completed three semesters of law school, in accordance with North Carolina State Bar Rules, Chapter 1, Subchapter C, Section .0200 et seq.
- The amount of credit awarded for the field placement component of the externship will be based on the number of hours that the student works during the semester in the externship placement, with 1 credit awarded for every 50 hours of work; of which at least 45 hours will consist of work in the externship placement and the remainder will consist of supervision, reflection, and assessment activities as determined by the Externship Director. Externships are expected to last at least 12 weeks unless the Externship Director gives prior approval for a condensed schedule. Credit for work in the externship placement and the associated reflection papers will be awarded on a Credit/No Credit basis.
- The Externship Director is responsible for assisting in the location of suitable field placements where appropriate, working with field supervisors to explain and implement the Law School's expectations for field placements, developing appropriate policies regarding site visits, assisting students in understanding the rules governing placements, developing policies to implement the provisions of this rule, and generally providing guidance to the externship program to achieve the goal of providing students with a sound educational experience.
- A student participating in an externship must be supervised by a Duke Law School faculty member.
- A student participating in an externship must have completed or be currently enrolled in a course designated as satisfying the ethics rules component of the Ethics and Professionalism Requirement for graduation. This requirement may be waived by the Externship Director.
- As explained below regarding the various types of externships, a research paper may be done in conjunction with an externship. The amount of credit to be awarded for the paper component of the externship will be determined by the length of the paper. In advance of commencing the externship, the student is responsible for obtaining the faculty supervisor's approval of the research paper. The faculty supervisor will be responsible for evaluating the quality of the paper and determining a grade for the paper. Credits earned for completion of a paper undertaken in conjunction with an externship will not count toward the limit imposed for Independent Study credits that a student may earn.
- With the exception of credits allocated to the classroom component of the Individual Externship and the Integrated Externships described below, no credit associated with an externship will count toward the 64.5 credits of regularly-scheduled law school classes required for graduation.
- A student participating in an externship may not earn a salary or receive other compensation for the work performed in the placement except for reimbursement for travel and other work-related expenses required by the placement entity.
- A student who has earned 6 credits in externships and wishes to enroll in additional externship credits must obtain the prior approval of the Externship Director.
- There are four types of externships available under this rule: the Individual Externship, the Faculty-Mentored Externship, the Integrated Externship, and the Advanced Individual Externship. The characteristics of each of these are set out below. All of the above requirements apply to all four types of externships.
- Individual Externships
- A student may earn from 2 to 4 credits for placement work in an Individual Externship. The number of credits permitted for any particular placement will be determined in advance by the Externship Director.
- Students taking an Individual Externship for the first time are required to take the one-credit, graded, Externship Seminar component to complement the field placement and provide students opportunities to engage in ongoing, contemporaneous reflection.
- With the prior approval of the Externship Director and a faculty supervisor, the student may earn up to an additional 2 credits beyond those awarded for work in the externship placement by completing a substantial research paper that is related to the substance of the externship experience.
- Individual Externships are expected to occur in the local area, with placements in close enough proximity to the Law School to permit the student to fulfill the remaining credit requirements for the semester by attending regularly scheduled law school classes.
- Advanced Individual Externships
- A student who has completed an Individual Externship may, in a subsequent semester, enroll in an Advanced Individual Externship. A student may earn from 2 to 4 credits for field placement work, as determined in advance by the Externship Director. The Externship Director can, in compelling circumstances, approve a 1-credit Advanced Externship.
- Students taking an Advanced Externship for the first time are not required to take the one-credit, graded, Externship Seminar; however, in conformance with ABA standards, such externships will entail opportunities for ongoing, contemporaneous reflection, as determined and supervised by the Externship Director.
- Faculty-Mentored Externships
- A student wishing to undertake an externship for more credits than permitted for an Individual Externship, or that would involve an externship placement that is not local to Durham, NC, may seek approval for a Faculty-Mentored Externship. This type of externship assumes a particularly high level of engagement by a faculty supervisor, the field placement supervisor, and the Externship Director, in order to ensure a high-quality educational experience for the student. To that end, the applicable faculty supervisor is expected to participate in the selection and approval of the externship placement. In addition, it is expected that there will be regular contact throughout the semester between the student and the faculty supervisor, field placement supervisor, and Externship Director.
- Partial semester Faculty-Mentored Externships are not permitted.
- A student may receive up to 9 credits for work at the externship placement in a Faculty-Mentored Externship. Credit for work in the externship will be awarded on a Credit/No Credit basis. In addition, the student may receive 2 to 4 credits for work on a related research paper, which may be awarded on a Graded or a Credit/No Credit basis. A student also may receive up to 2 or, in extraordinary circumstances, 3 credits for completion of a set of readings or a tutorial under the direction of the participating faculty supervisor, which will be awarded on a Credit/No Credit basis. In no event may a student receive more than 14 credits for a Faculty-Mentored Externship.
- Any student enrolled in the JD/LLM Program in International and Comparative Law may undertake a Faculty-Mentored Externship abroad. Any JD student wishing to pursue a Faculty-Mentored Externship abroad must first complete both a course in comparative law and a course in international law, as well as obtain the approval of the Office of International Studies.
- A student wishing to undertake a Faculty-Mentored Externship must obtain the approval of the Externship Director, a participating faculty supervisor, and the Curriculum Committee. Approval should be sought through submission of a written proposal that fully describes the proposed externship and outlines the student's goals in undertaking the externship and the means by which the externship will help achieve those goals.
- Integrated Externships
- An Integrated Externship is a curricular offering in which multiple students participate during the same semester in similar externship placements and in a classroom component for which a Duke Law School faculty member serves as instructor. In such an externship, the placements share a theme, such as federal criminal prosecution or policy-making placements in federal entities, which allows for classroom discussions on issues common to the several placements.
- As with Faculty-Mentored Externships, this type of externship assumes a high level of engagement by the participating faculty member, the field placement supervisor, and the Externship Director.
- An Integrated Externship must be approved by the Curriculum Committee under its normal procedures for course approval, based upon a proposal jointly submitted by Externship Director and the faculty member who will teach the course.
- Credit to be awarded for an Integrated Externship will be based on a combination of credits for the externship placement, the associated course, and any substantial research paper required as a part of the course offering. Up to 9 hours of placement credit is permitted where the placements are part of a comprehensive proposal for a semester-away program or a highly structured local externship. The course component of the externship will carry 2 or, in exceptional cases, 3 credits. The participating faculty member has the option of requiring a major research paper as part of the offering, which may carry up to an additional 4 credits, which may be awarded on a Graded or a Credit/No Credit basis. In no event may the credits awarded for an Integrated Externship exceed 14.
- The Externship Director and participating faculty member are responsible for helping to identify entities willing to host student externs participating in the Integrated Externship, and providing assistance to students in their applications to host entities, but students remain responsible for obtaining approval to work as an extern with a particular entity. No student may participate in an Integrated Externship unless the student has successfully obtained an externship position with an entity approved by the faculty member.
Updated April 2017
- A student may obtain up to 14 hours of credit for one semester of individual study at a foreign law school approved by the Law School. An approved study-abroad semester will count toward the four semesters in-residence and fifty-four-credits in-residence required by Rule 2-1(1).
- No more than two students may attend the same foreign university in the same semester, and student participation under this Rule is limited ordinarily by the number of students attending the Law School from that foreign university. Selection among qualified law students for credit under this Rule shall be made by the Dean under criteria the Dean shall establish.
- To obtain credit for individual study under this Rule, the student must:
- file notice of intention to obtain credit under this Rule at least 2 months before enrollment in the foreign law school;
- obtain prior approval of the student's curriculum from the Dean;
- obtain a faculty sponsor from Duke Law School, who must agree to monitor the student's course of study;
- submit a "pre-visit" notification for the American Bar Association (A.B.A.) accreditation committee at least 45 days before the student's enrollment in the foreign law school for the ABA committee's approval;
- earn no lower than a 2.1 or "C" grade or the equivalent in all courses taken at the foreign law school [see Rule 2-1(2)].
- Students studying abroad must provide to the Registrar's Office certification of grades earned at the foreign law school no later than the date Duke Law School grades must be reported by the faculty [see Rule 3-19(1)], unless the study abroad occurs in the final semester of the student's study of law, in which case the Registrar's Office must receive, no later than the Tuesday before graduation, written certification from the foreign law school that the student has earned no lower than a 2.1 or "C" grade or the equivalent in all courses to be applied towards the student's Duke Law School degree requirements.
- Except with special permission from the Dean, a student may not obtain credit under this Rule during his or her final law school semester.
Revised May 2004
The Dean shall have the discretion to allow an international student, or a J.D. student working abroad, in special circumstances, to obtain up to one credit for work performed in a summer legal internship under the supervision of a practicing attorney. No credit obtained under this provision can be counted toward the student's graduation requirements.
Revised September 1995
During any semester or summer term during which he or she is enrolled as a full-time student, no upperclass student shall engage in employment for more than twenty hours per week. During any semester or summer term during which he or she is enrolled as a full-time student, no first-year student shall engage in employment without permission of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, and in no case shall engage in employment for more than twenty hours per week.
Adopted October 1999
The Curriculum Committee is charged with approving all new course and seminar offerings at the Law School. Recommended procedures for this approval process are set out in Policy 3-4.
Revised May 2004
At the discretion of the Dean, and upon a showing of compelling personal reasons, a student may be granted a partial waiver of the final four semesters-in-residence requirement set forth in Rule 2-1 to study law at another ABA-accredited law school. For the purposes of this rule, "compelling personal reasons" will generally be defined as situations involving (i) the health of a student or a student's immediate family member or (ii) a student's spouse, domestic partner or similarly-situated person living in another city or state. Any waiver under this policy is subject to the following conditions:
- The law school visited must be, in the judgment of the Dean, an institution of suitable quality.
- The courses to be taken by the student in another institution must be approved in advance by the Dean and comply with Law School rules concerning maximum and minimum credit loads. (See Rules 3-6 & 3-7.)
- The student must earn no lower than a 2.1 or "C" grade (or its equivalent) to count credits from another law school towards the student's Law School degree requirements. [See Rule 2-1(2).]
- The student must pay the in absentia fee approved by the Dean, with full or partial waivers of such fee to be granted by the Dean only in cases of extreme and substantiated financial hardship.
- The student must provide to the Registrar's Office certification of grades earned at another law school no later than the date Law School grades must be reported by the faculty [see Rule 3-19(1)], unless the visit occurs in the final semester of the student's study of law, in which case the Registrar's Office must receive no later than the Tuesday before graduation written certification from the visited school that the student has earned no lower than a 2.1 or "C" grade or the equivalent in all courses to be applied towards the student's Law School degree requirements.
- The substantial research and writing project can be satisfied by the student's completing an original analytic paper of substantial length (ordinarily at least 30 pages). This paper is in addition to writing that is required as part of the first-year Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing course. Papers satisfying this requirement may be seminar papers, independent study projects, or any other paper that possesses the necessary rigor.
- Papers under this rule are to involve significant and thorough independent research, and they are to be well written and properly documented, with appropriate attention to opposing arguments and perspectives. The papers are to be prepared under the supervision of a faculty member. The student is to take the initiative to establish the supervisory relationship with the faculty member in advance of beginning a project under this rule. As part of the supervision, the faculty member will review one or more drafts and subsequent revisions by the student. The supervising faculty member may augment the requirements of this rule with additional stated expectations for the project. Where the writing is done in connection with a course, the faculty member's agreement to serve as supervisor must be obtained before the end of the add/drop period for the semester in which the course is offered.
- When the student's paper is completed, the faculty member must certify that the paper meets the requirements of this rule, that any additional requirements of the supervising faculty member have been satisfied, and that the paper is of satisfactory quality.
- A faculty member may certify that a series of papers or some combination of shorter papers satisfies the expected length requirement, as long as the faculty member concludes that, in the aggregate, the papers satisfy the intended purpose of the substantial research and writing project.
- Dual-degree students may satisfy the substantial research and writing project requirement through a substantial research paper on a law-related topic in a course taken in the school or department of the second degree, provided that the student obtains the necessary certification by a Law School governing faculty member.
- The student's engagement in a project under this rule must be registered with the Registrar no later than the end of the add/drop period for the student's fifth semester, excluding summer study. The Registrar's Office will advise students of the proper procedures for complying with the requirements of this rule.
Revised April 2018
- The Capstone Project Program is designed to allow a third-year law student to receive academic credit for designing and completing an advanced project that allows the student to pursue, with in-depth exploration and broad-ranging consultation, a subject area in which the student has developed a special interest. The intent of the Program is to enable a student to develop foundational skills, including complex problem-solving skills, to aid the transition between law school and the beginning of the student's professional career. Although the precise goals and structure of each Capstone Project will vary, it is anticipated that most Projects will result in a substantial final written work product that reflects the process of planning, analyzing, implementing, and evaluating the Project's goals.
- The final written work product for a Capstone Project may take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to, a scholarly article of publishable quality, a seminar-type paper, a model bill and the supporting memorandum, a draft complaint or petition and supporting memorandum, the formal documents and supporting memorandum for a transactional project, or an appellate brief.
- A Capstone Project may be undertaken by an individual student or by a group of up to four students working together.
- A Capstone Project may be undertaken during either or both semesters of a student's third year of law school. No student may undertake more than one Capstone Project.
- A student seeking to undertake a Capstone Project must be supervised by a member of the Duke Law School faculty, preferably one who teaches or writes in the substantive area of the Project. The faculty supervisor will be responsible for assisting the student in the creation of the written proposal for the Project; for monitoring the Project throughout all phases, including reviewing status reports and participating in face-to-face meetings with the student; and for grading the Project. If the Project is undertaken by a group of students, one faculty supervisor should work with all students in the group.
- When the faculty member's expertise does not extend to the subject matter of the Project, the student may seek the assistance of one or more mentors from outside the Law School who are experts in the Project's substantive area to work with the faculty supervisor. The Curriculum Committee must approve outside mentors.
- The Capstone Project Program will be administered by the Capstone Project Administrator, who will be responsible for assisting students in designing Capstone Projects and monitoring student progress toward the completion of the Projects. The Capstone Project Administrator will also be responsible for recommending to the Curriculum Committee whether a particular Project should be approved and for devising procedures to be used in conjunction with the Projects. Responsibility for determining whether a Capstone Project should be approved rests with the Curriculum Committee.
- A student wishing to undertake a Capstone Project must submit a written proposal to the Capstone Project Administrator. If the Project will be undertaken by a group of students, one proposal should be submitted on behalf of the group. The proposal must set forth the substantive issues involved, the names of all students involved, the courses that each student has taken or will take related to the Project, the nature of the Project and the anticipated final written work product, the names of the faculty supervisor and other experts expected to assist with the Project, the allocation of work among the students, the number of credits sought by each student, and the justification for the credits sought.
- A student may earn up to 4 credits during each semester of the third year for a Capstone Project, with no more than 8 credits total permitted for any student. The amount of credit to be awarded will be based upon the nature and complexity of the Project, the estimated time frame for the Project, the number of hours devoted to the Project, and the number of students undertaking the Project. Credits will be allocated between the final written work product for the Project and all other work relating to the Project based on an assessment by the student, faculty supervisor, and Capstone Project Administrator of the amount of time and effort that will be required for each component of the Project. The presumption will be that the credits assigned to the final written work product for the Capstone Project will receive numerical grades and the remaining credits will be graded on a Credit/No Credit basis, but this grading methodology may be altered with the permission of the faculty supervisor and the Capstone Project Administrator.
- At the completion of the Capstone Project, the student will be required to defend the Project orally, by presenting the Project and the final written work product to a review committee consisting of Law School faculty and other appropriate individuals assembled by the faculty supervisor and the Capstone Project Administrator. This review committee will critique of Project, noting accomplishments and areas for improvement.
- Credits earned for completion of written work undertaken in conjunction with a Capstone Project will not count toward the limit imposed for Independent Study credits that a student may earn.
- Credits awarded for a Capstone Project will not count toward the 64.5 credits of regularly-scheduled law school classes required for graduation.
Adopted April 2008
- As set forth in Rule 3-19, final grades from Fall semester courses shall be reported to the Registrar no later than January 15 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend). Final grades from Spring semester courses shall be reported to the Registrar no later than June 1 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend). Final grades for the residential (i.e., at the Law School) Summer semester shall be reported to the Registrar no later than September 15 (or the following Monday should that date fall on a weekend). The Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will immediately report to the Dean any faculty who did not complete their grading in a timely fashion. Absent good cause shown, the Dean shall consider a faculty member's failure to submit grades in a timely manner as a serious violation of professional responsibility. Such a violation may be taken into account in connection with a faculty member's annual review or other evaluations respecting that faculty member's performance.
- When grades are not submitted by the applicable due date, $100 per weekday will be withheld from funds that would otherwise be added to the faculty member's discretionary account (up to the total added yearly for non-chaired professors) and from other funds generally made available for faculty support, such as travel and research funds. The Dean may grant relief from this provision for good cause shown. This policy shall apply to all courses, whether first-year or upperclass and regardless when taught, except that for courses where a written product is required, the date when penalties shall begin to accrue is the later of either the final scheduled examination of the period or the final exercise in the course.
Revised April 24, 2014
This policy applies to all classes, clinics, and externships offered by the School of Law, regardless of degree program.
GENERAL POLICY ON CREDIT HOURS.
Duke Law School’s academic calendar is based on a semester consisting of 13 weeks of classroom instruction, followed by time scheduled for final examinations and completion of papers and other course assignments.
For each full-semester class assessed primarily by a final examination: A “credit hour” is the amount of work that reasonably approximates:
- 55 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction per week for 13 weeks, with an additional 45 minutes of time allotted to the final examination, plus
- 120 minutes (2 hours) of out-of-class student work per week for 13 weeks, with an additional 240 minutes (4 hours) allotted to the final examination period.
For each full-semester class in which there is no final examination: A “credit hour” is the amount of work that reasonably approximates:
- 55 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction per week for 13 weeks, plus an additional 55 minutes of direct faculty instruction at any point during the semester, plus
- The equivalent of 1800 minutes (30 hours) of out-of-class student work during the semester
Out-of-class direct faculty instruction may include writing conferences or other planning meetings; supplemental lectures, workshops, or practicums; discussion groups; presentations, simulations, or advocacy exercises; or any other mandatory academic exercise or meeting that is led, directly supervised, or assessed by a faculty member. The additional 55 minutes of direct faculty instruction may be replaced with an equivalent amount of additional out-of-class student work.
For each class that meets for less than a full semester: A “credit hour” is the amount of work that reasonably approximates the total amount of work set forth above for a full-semester class, distributed according to the number of days or weeks that the particular class meets.
For each clinic: A “credit hour” is equal to at least 42.5 hours (2550 minutes) of clinical practice and instruction consisting of a combination of supervised services provided by the student to the clinic’s clients, partner organizations, or other stakeholder entities (i.e. “clinical practice”); classroom instruction; direct, individual faculty instruction, including assessment and feedback; structured self-reflection; and administrative, technological, and case management instruction. The allocation among the various practice and instructional components shall be determined by the Clinic faculty teaching each clinical course, except that in all cases, a “credit hour” for a clinic shall include at least 25 hours (1500 minutes) of supervised clinical practice.
For each externship: A“credit hour” is equal to 50 hours (3000 minutes) of externship work, including at least 45 hours (2700 minutes) of supervised activity at an approved externship placement site, plus meaningful opportunities for self-reflection and self-assessment, as assigned by the Externship Director at her/his discretion. Each externship must comply with the provisions of Law School Rule 3-25.
For each independent study, ad hoc seminar, or research tutorial: A “credit hour” is determined in accordance with the provisions of Law School Rule 3-12, which are understood to be consistent with the requirements of this Policy. Each independent study, ad hoc seminar, or research tutorial must comply with all provisions of that Rule.
For each Capstone Project: A “credit hour” is determined in accordance with the provisions of Law School Rule 3-32, which are understood to be consistent with the requirements of this Policy. Each Capstone Project must comply with all provisions of that Rule.
NEW COURSE APPROVALS.
All proposals for new courses must include a justification for the number of credits to be awarded that conforms with this Policy and includes details about in-class, out-of-class, and exam time. If a course proposal seeks credit beyond that which would be justified based on the amount of in-class time, the proposal must set forth reasons for the additional credit, such as an increased writing or other out-of-class work requirement. The Curriculum Committee, as part of the curricular approval process, will review proposals for compliance with this Policy.
To ensure existing courses comply with this Policy, the following will be done:
- The Law School administration will schedule courses and exams to ensure they satisfy the minutes and other requirements set out in this Policy.
- The Law School administration will remind the faculty of this Policy regarding credit hours before each new semester.
- The Law School will adopt a mechanism of collecting data from students, for each course, on the number of out-of-class hours they estimate they spent on course-related work. For example, the course evaluation forms completed by students at the end of each semester could include a question to gather that data, or students could be required to log the time spent more regularly, using software developed for that purpose. Academic Affairs will review the collected data to help assess whether courses have been awarded the appropriate number of credit hours.
Revised May 2017
Faculty members proposing to teach a new course or seminar should submit the following information, which includes information in the four basic categories set out below. Clearly, no list of this type will fit all courses, and as a result rigid adherence to the scheme described below is not required. However, the specific categories of information and the examples provided below should serve as indicators of the type of information required by the Curriculum Committee. In addition, the Deans' Office requests that faculty members submit a course description of suitable length to be included in course registration materials along with the submission to the Curriculum Committee.
TIMING: When possible, proposals for the entire academic year should be submitted by February 15 of the preceding academic year. If the February 15 date cannot be met, the "deadlines" for submission are March 15 for fall semester courses and September 15 for spring semester courses. These cutoff dates are necessary to allow time for consideration of proposals before the circulation of pre-registration materials, which occurs shortly thereafter.
Title, Description, and Justification
Along with the title of the course, give an overall description of the course, including its general subject matter, the major issues to be examined or themes explored, and its intellectual objectives. Also, provide a justification for including this course in the curriculum. For example, how does it relate to other courses offered at the law school, to developments in the legal profession, to fields of intellectual inquiry in the academy, or to courses offered at other law schools? If there is apparent overlap with other courses presently offered, please explain why this course should also be offered or what course it will replace.
Provide materials that detail the subject matter to be covered in the course. The format of this section of the submission will differ from course to course. Where an established textbook will be used, a photocopied table of contents with indications of the parts to be covered will generally be sufficient. Where new materials are being assembled from a number of sources, such as law review articles, or where a text is being created by the professor, a thematic description of the materials should be provided along with a representative sample of the materials.
The committee recognizes that most faculty members will not invest the time to develop fully new course materials unless they have assurance that they may offer the course. Also, we recognize that the specificity of the materials may differ depending on how close the proposal is being submitted to the time the course will be offered. The Committee does not expect the unreasonable. What we want is at least a representative sample of the materials to be used and a listing of the other areas where similar materials will be developed. We assume that the faculty member was stimulated to propose the course by some set of readings and want to be shown those core materials.
The goal of the Curriculum Committee under this heading is to receive some minimal guarantee of intellectual content and academic rigor of the course materials.
Conduct of the Classes
Describe the method of instruction and grading. If it is available, include a syllabus of the course. Otherwise, describe generally the way the classes will be conducted. For example, will the course involve principally lectures with grading done on the basis of an exam? Will the class be conducted as a seminar with a combination of lectures and student presentations regarding their research projects? Instead of an exam, will multiple projects be required or will the graded product of the class be a research paper?
Provide information regarding the following or analogous issues:
Number of class meetings and credit hours. (If the credit hours differ from the number of class hours per week, provide a justification.)
Any prerequisites. (Please note that few law school courses impose prerequisites, and although not prohibited, they have not been encouraged.)
Any restrictions on enrollment either in terms of the number of students to be admitted or selection criteria the instructor will apply beyond random selection under our lottery system. If the class is to be limited enrollment, please provide justification. Please note that Rule 3-9 permits faculty to select students for enrollment in standard courses and seminars only with prior approval of the Curriculum Committee.
Special elements of the course. If, for example, the proposed course is a "clinical course," its fieldwork component should be described in some detail. Similarly, courses that involve substantial simulations or team projects should describe these aspects of the course.
Adopted July 2004