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Academic Policies & Student Handbook

Academic Policies

Academic Policies Table of Contents

Registration
Maximum & Minimum Loads
Attendance
Computer Requirement
Software Copyright Policy
Drop/Add policies
Refund of Fees
Graduate Course Options
Grades
Honors and Awards
Exams/Exam Numbers/Grades
Exam Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Delays in Taking Exams
Typing Exams
Policy on Religious Holidays
Student Employment
Jury Duty
Repeating Courses
Departure and Re-entry
Academic Probation and Exclusion
Petition for Exception to Academic Policies
Transfer of Credits Policy

NOTE: The information on this site is subject to modification by the College of Law faculty and University of Florida administration. Students are required to acquaint themselves with modifications posted on the Administrative Bulletin Board and in Student Affairs.

Registration

Students register for classes through the University of Florida automated ISIS system during dates listed on the Levin College of Law Academic Calendar (found inside the front cover of the student handbook as well as online). Dates for drop/add are usually different for the law school and main campus. It is the student’s responsibility to use the law school’s academic calendar. A $100-$200 late fee is assessed for registration and/or payment after the specified period in the law school academic calendar.

The Office of Student Affairs registers first- and second- semester students for their classes. Students in the third semester or higher take responsibility for their own registration.
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Maximum and Minimum Loads

The J.D. at UF is a full time program. Students must be enrolled for at least 12 and no more than 16 hours. However, with approval from the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for good cause shown, students may drop to 10 hours (without losing full-time status) or less, or register for 17. Students who drop below the minimum without administrative approval may be suspended.

In keeping with accreditation standards, a petition for a reduced load cannot be granted for the purpose of enabling a student to hold part-time employment. In addition, a student must be enrolled in at least six hours to be eligible for student tickets to athletic events.
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Attendance

ABA Standards require regular and punctual class attendance. Therefore, class attendance is an essential function of legal education and a primary obligation of each student, whose right to continued enrollment in the course and to take the exam is conditioned upon a record of attendance satisfactory to the professor. College of Law policy permits dismissal from the law school of students whose lack of attendance causes their course load to drop below the minimum requirement of 12 credits per semester. Petitions for readmission under an exception to the minimum course load rule will be granted only for good cause shown.
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Computer Requirement

UF policy requires all new students to have access to, and on-going use of, a computer. Click here for the computer policy and hardware/software recommendations.
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Software Copyright Policy
The principles for using and managing software derive from U.S. copyright law, the Florida Computer Crimes Act and legal agreements in the form of licenses and purchase agreements. That foundation makes the basic policy governing software clear:

All faculty, staff and students of the university are required and expected to obey laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against university policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.
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Drop/Add Policies

Between the end of the official drop/add period and the date designated by the registrar’s office as the last day for withdrawing without receiving failing grades in all courses, each student is allowed to drop two courses, other than required first-year courses, as follows: no more than one per semester, providing a student’s course load does not fall below twelve semester hours in the semester in which a course is dropped.

Exceptions to the above policy must be approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. As to any exception, the burden is upon the student to demonstrate that a serious problem has arisen for which documentation is provided and over which the student has no control. Approval to drop a course in excess of the two permitted by this policy will not be granted if the course is to be dropped because: a) the student registered for too many hours; b) the student wishes to drop the course simply to avoid a low grade which would lower the average; c) the student has determined that the course is no longer needed.

Students become liable for fees the last day of drop/add. To drop a class after the drop/add period, students may petition for the drop. If granted, a “W” will appear on the student’s transcript. Failure to attend a class does not constitute a drop. Fees will be refunded only in exceptional circumstances (see “Refund of Fees”). Also in exceptional circumstances, a student may petition to add a class after drop/add. For late registration, a $100 late fee will be assessed by University Financial Affairs. Students must be properly registered to receive course credit.
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Refund of Fees

Tuition fees will be refunded if:

  • notice of withdrawal from the university is approved prior to the end of the drop/add period and written documentation is received from the student;
  • credit hours are dropped during the drop/add period;
  • courses are canceled by the university;
  • the student is involuntarily called to active military duty;
  • the student or member of the immediate family (parent, spouse, child, sibling) dies;
  • the student’s illness, as confirmed in writing by a physician, prevents completion of the semester; or
  • other exceptional circumstances occur, and the student obtains approval from the university president or designee(s).

Refunds must be requested by petition in Student Affairs and accompanied by proper documentation. Refunds first will be applied against any university debts and to the appropriate federal Title IV program for students receiving financial aid. Any remaining funds will be returned to the student.
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Graduate Course Option

Students may take courses specified in the Graduate Course Option only if the student, through the exercise of due diligence, cannot take a course containing substantially the same subject matter at the College of Law. With advance approval, students may enroll in up to two courses in the UF Graduate School and/or UF undergraduate foreign language programs for up to six credits toward law school graduation. Although the grade is not computed in a student’s grade point average, a “B” or higher must be earned to receive credit. Students on academic probation are not eligible for the option. Students enrolled in the Joint Degree Program are not eligible for this option. (Transfer or transient students who have received more than 23 credit hours for work at their previous law school may not be eligible for the option and should contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.)
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Grades

Grades are recorded permanently by the Office of the University Registrar. The grade point average (GPA) is determined by computing the ratio of grade points of semester hours of work attempted in courses in which letter grades are assigned. Students receive grade points according to the following scale:

Grade Points
A (Excellent) 4.0
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B (Good) 3.0
B- 2.67
C + 2.33
C (Satisfactory) 2.0
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D (Poor) 1.0
D- 0.67
E (Failure) 0.0

Note: Per faculty policy, the mandatory mean grade for all course sections is 3.15-3.25, inclusive. If the mean GPA for students enrolled in the course section (determined as of the beginning of the semester) is above 3.2, the lower end of the range is 3.15 and the upper end of the range may be .05 higher than the mean GPA of the students enrolled in the course. If the mean GPA of the students enrolled in the course section (determined as of the beginning of the semester) is below 3.2, the lower end of the range may be .05 lower than the mean GPA of the students enrolled in the course and the upper end of the range shall be 3.25.

For courses in which there are 25 or fewer students enrolled in total in all sections of the course being offered in a given semester, the range is recommended rather than mandatory; in no event, however, may the mean grade exceed 3.6 except as follows: If the mean GPA for students enrolled in the course section (determined as of the beginning of the semester) is above 3.55, the mean grade for the course section may exceed 3.6, but may not exceed the mean GPA of the students enrolled in the course section plus .05.

Grades awarded to LL.M. students, exchange students, and graduate students, and grades of E are excluded from calculation of the mean grade.

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Honors and Awards

Academic Honors
In cases of superior scholarship and intellectual attainments, the Juris Doctor degree may be awarded Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. Qualifying GPAs are based on all work attempted in law courses.
Honors requirements are as follows:

  • Cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.30 or higher.
  • Magna Cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.70 or higher.
  • Summa Cum Laude: Grade point average of 3.90 or higher.

Order of the Coif
The Levin College of Law is one of a select group of law schools with a chapter of the Order of the Coif, the national academic honor society for law. The top 10 percent of a blend of all graduating classes—summer, fall, spring—within a fiscal year are chosen for the award, upon faculty approval. Notice is usually provided the fall following the prior year’s graduations.

Dean’s List
To recognize excellent academic performance, students who achieve at least a 3.30 semester grade point average in the spring or fall semester will be named to the Dean’s List. Students must be enrolled in at least 12 semester credits of law courses to be eligible.

Book Awards
Established by individuals and law fi rms, Book Awards provide fi nancial support to the college and recognize outstanding academic performance. Recipients are chosen by their professors based on Commencement by Kristen Hines exam grades and are recognized with an inscribed plaque.
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Exams/Exam Numbers/Grades

Exams generally are given at the end of the semester during the exam period. Student Affairs oversees collection of exams. Re-examinations are not allowed. Grades are posted on ISIS ( www.isis.ufl.edu).

Approximately one week before the end of classes each term, students must go online to obtain a confidential exam ID number for use on final exams. The same number is used for all exams taken in that specific term. There is a link to the exam number page from the Student Affairs web site or go to www.isis.ufl.edu/cgi-bin/nirvana?MDASTRAN=rsi-lwex.

Faculty initially evaluate exams without knowing the identity of the test-taker. Later, they may match exam numbers with student names and adjust final grades to reflect class participation and other relevant factors. Students have an opportunity to review, within a reasonable time, written work upon which a grade is based. Approximately two weeks after the beginning of each term, students may request in writing from Student Affairs their final exam grades for the previous term to determine whether any adjustments were made in assigning final course grades.
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Exam Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Reasonable exam accommodations are available to students with permanent or temporary disabilities. To receive accommodations, students should contact the Disability Resources Center ( www.dso.ufl.edu/drp/), located in 0020 Reid Hall. You may reach Disability Resources at 392-8565 or accessuf@dso.ufl.edu. Once the appropriate documentation is evaluated by Disability Resources, a recommendation is then made and forwarded to the College of Law Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
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Delay in Taking Exams

There are four acceptable reasons for which students may request delaying their exams. Please read the descriptions below and select the form appropriate to your circumstances. Also note that students are not permitted to take exams before the scheduled exam time.

Multiple Examinations

A student may reschedule an examination if a student has in class examinations that meet the following criteria:

  • 2 exams beginning less than 20 hours apart. Note: Examinations that BEGIN more than 20 hours apart (for example, at 8:30 a.m. on one day and 8:30 a.m. on the following calendar day), DO NOT constitute a conflict under this rule.
  • 3 exams within 3 consecutive days
  • 4 exams which must be completed within 5 days

Please note that application of this policy to take home exams will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Students are responsible for submitting the request(s) for an exam delay. All requests to reschedule an exam due to a conflict must be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs, and delayed examinations should be rescheduled to be taken as soon as reasonably possible with the sound discretion of the administration.

Emergency Delay (accident/illness/death)

In case of illness, contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. If permission is granted, a written statement from the treating physician stating the student was too ill to take the exam at the scheduled time must be presented before the exam may be taken late. For serious reasons other than illness, a student should contact the Office of Student in advance and speak with the Assistant Dean for Students. Only after the student is notified the request has been granted may the student miss a scheduled exam. Arrangements must be made with Student Affairs for taking the exam late. The Assistant Dean for Students shall specify the date and time when a student with an excused absence may sit for the examination.

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Typing Exams

Rooms are provided to allow students to type final exams. Typing final exams with machines having memory capacity (computers or memory-bank typewriters) is prohibited.
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Policy on Religious Holidays

The College of Law respects students’ observance of major religious holidays. If an instructor has an attendance policy limiting the number of absences, reasonable alternative means shall be established by the instructor to satisfy the attendance policy and accommodate the religious obligations of the student.
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Student Employment

As a full-time law school, the College of Law adheres to American Bar Association policy requiring students to devote substantially all of their working hours to the study of law. Academic schedules and minimum load requirements are designed to reflect this policy. First-year students are prohibited from employment. Requests for exceptions to the prohibition on first-year employment should be sought through the Office of Student Affairs. No student may be employed more than 20 hours per week under any circumstances.
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Jury Duty

Students have a duty to appear when notified of selection for service as a juror on Trial Practice or clinic trials. Periodic notices of selection are posted on the official Student Affairs bulletin boards. Unexcused failure to serve will result in loss of registration priority for all courses upon which enrollment limitations are placed, including seminars and clinical programs. A student who wishes to regain registration priority must perform jury service as arranged through the Trial Practice or Clinic office.
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Repeating Courses

Except as provided herein, a student who has passed a course cannot repeat it. A student who has failed a course may repeat it only in exceptional circumstances as permitted by the associate dean for Student Affairs. This rule does not apply to students who do not receive a passing grade the first time they are enrolled in Civil Procedure (LAW 5301), Constitutional Law (LAW 5501), Contracts (LAW 5000), Criminal Law (LAW 5100), Property (LAW 5400), or Torts (LAW 5700), Legal Research and Writing (LAW 5792), Appellate Advocacy (LAW 5793), Professional Responsibility (LAW 6750), or Legal Drafting (LAW 6955). These courses must be completed with a passing grade in order to graduate. If such students remain in good standing, they must retake such course(s) the next time they are offered. This rule also does not apply to Journal of Law and Public Policy (LAW 6526), Journal of Technology Law & Policy (LAW 6930), Moot Court (LAW 6951), Law Review (LAW 6950), Trial Team (LAW 6366), and International Law Journal (LAW 6949), which may be repeated for up to three credits each.
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Departure and Re-entry

A student who has been evaluated on at least one full semester of work (or one semester and the required first summer term for spring entrants) may withdraw or depart, retaining the right to re-enter within five years of the ending date of the last term in which the student earned credit. Students who wish to re-enter must obtain a re-application form from the Office of the University Registrar, 222 Criser Hall. After five years, unless the Dean grants an exception for special circumstances, a student who desires to return and is otherwise entitled to continue in the college must apply for admission as a beginning student or with advanced standing as appropriate.

A student who registers as a beginning student but withdraws prior to completion of a full semester’s work must submit a new application for admission and compete for a seat in a subsequent class. A student who withdraws from the college during two successive terms in which the student has begun attendance shall be precluded from further enrollment unless, for good cause shown, the Dean approves further enrollment.
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Academic Probation and Exclusion

Students who fall below a 2.0 GPA at the end of the fall or spring semesters will be put on academic probation. If they remain below a 2.0 at the end of the summer term, or if they are below 2.0 at the end of the spring term and do not enroll in the summer term, they will be excluded from the college at the end of the summer or spring term, respectively. Students who are academically excluded may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission by the date designated by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The Academic Standards Committee will not entertain a petition from a student who has received a grade of “I*” in one-fourth or more of the credit hours for which the student was enrolled in the term prior to exclusion. The decision of the Academic Standards Committee is final and may incorporate appropriate terms and conditions.

On occasion, when a student has a GPA below 2.0 at the end of the first semester, the Dean, after consultation with the student, may require the student to repeat courses during the following term. The Dean also may require that a student on probation take less than a prescribed course load and less than the minimum hours required of full-time students under ABA accrediting standards, in order for the student to meet the terms of probation.
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Petition for Exception to Academic Policies

Reasonable requests for exceptions to academic policies which are consistent with the college’s goals and obligations will be granted upon a showing of good cause. Students must submit a Student Petition Form to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. The student is urged to discuss the particulars of the situation with the Assistant Dean, who will render a decision. Any appeals must be filed with the Academic Standards Committee within five class days of the Assistant Dean’s decision. The decision of the Academic Standards Committee may be reviewed by the full faculty at the request of a committee member. Action by the faculty represents final disposition of the matter.
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Transfer of Credits Policy

Transfer of credits will be permitted based on the following criteria:

A student may request to transfer up to 29 hours of classes taken at another ABA accredited institution. The credits you earn will be accepted towards your J.D. degree at the Levin College of Law, provided that you adhere to the following rules:

  • A student will not receive credit for any Levin College of Law required courses taken at another law school without prior written permission.
  • A student will not receive credit for a course taken at the Levin College of Law if the same course was taken at another law school and those credits were transferred.
  • A student will receive credit for elective courses only if the student earns a grade of 2.0, “C”, or its equivalent or higher in the course. The grades will appear as “S” grades on the UF transcript and will not be calculated in the grade point average.
  • A student will receive credit for fulfilling the Advanced Writing Requirement only if a UF Law faculty member certifies the final paper as meeting the Levin College of Law writing requirement.

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