University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Switch to Face-to-Face Programs

Academic Standards and Policies

  • Academic Credits

    Students must successfully complete 30 credit hours to be eligible for graduation

    Students are expected to devote 42.5 hours of effort for each credit earned in the online program. The hours of effort may include instruction time, participation in discussion boards, reading and other assignments, quizzes, research and writing of papers, preparation and taking of exams, and other course-related activities. Students should expect to spend approximately 127 hours of effort for a three credit course.

    MSL students take either 7 or 8 credits each semester in accordance with the structure of the required curriculum.

    A student may not elect to take courses on a credit/no credit basis. All required courses and electives will be graded on the A-F scale.

  • Academic Freedom

    The University of Maryland School of Law regards academic freedom as essential to our mission and core values. Our commitment to academic freedom extends to all members of the law school community. We recognize the need for academic freedom for students and teachers, in their, at times overlapping, roles as scholars, educators, clinicians, administrators and librarians. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. Academic freedom in the classroom is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the teacher in teaching and of the student to freedom of learning. We also endorse the "Statement of the Association of American Law Schools in Support of Academic Freedom for Clinical Faculty," which affirms that "academic freedom is critical to achieving the objectives of clinical legal education and that the principle of academic freedom applies equally to clinical law faculty." We also believe that academic freedom is central to our core commitment to the pursuit of diversity as a source of richness within our faculty, student body and the legal profession as a whole. Finally, we endorse the 1995 declaration of the American Association for University Professors, which declares, "Academic freedom is indispensable to librarians, because they are trustees of knowledge with the responsibility of ensuring the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn."

  • Attendance Policy

    The University of Maryland Carey School of Law requires regular and timely attendance and participation by students. A student who fails to comply with the attendance requirement may be subject to withdrawal from the course, denied permission to sit for the final examination, or other reasonable penalty for non-compliance, which includes the lowering of the course grade.

    A faculty member may adopt a more specific or stricter attendance policy provided that the policy and the penalty for a violation are announced in writing (Blackboard posting is acceptable) at the beginning of the course (and no later than the first week of classes). In any event, the Director of Registration and Enrollment shall initiate enforcement action against a student once the faculty member provides the Director with documentation of the student’s absences, a copy of the faculty member’s written notice informing the student of his or her attendance policy violation as well as the imposed penalty, and if applicable, a copy of the faculty member’s announcement of a more specific or stricter attendance policy.

    A student may appeal the enforcement action to the Administrative Committee only on the grounds of actual compliance, inadequacy of notice, and unreasonableness of the penalty. The student may be allowed to continue attending classes pending the Committee’s decision unless the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Communications concludes that doing so would be disruptive to the class. No further penalties may be imposed based solely on additional student absences arising from the appeal process.

  • Auditing Classes

    Students may not audit a required course.

    After completion of the first semester, students may request permission to take one course on an audit basis. Courses taken for audit do not count for credit for graduation requirements; tuition for audited courses is the same as for credit courses. Faculty approval is required to audit any course or seminar. As with students registered for credit, Audit requires students’ regular and timely attendance according to the expectations of the course instructor. Students receiving permission to audit should clarify with the instructor expectations about preparation and participation.

    Requests to audit a course are lowest in enrollment priority. Requests will be considered only after all timely registration requests. The deadline to add or drop an audited course is the same as the Add/Drop deadline for any semester.

    Students may not audit a course previously taken for credit; students may not take for credit a course previously audited.

  • Changing Programs

    Students may not change the area of specialization after the first semester.

    Students must take all courses in the degree program in which they were admitted. Online MSL students may not take courses in the MSL in-residence program. In-residence MSL students may not take courses in the online MSL program, except as may be required for ADA accommodations.

  • Confidentiality and Disclosure of Student Records

    It is the policy of the University of Maryland to adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment). As such, it is the policy of the university (1) to permit students to inspect their education records; (2) to limit disclosure to others of personally identifiable information from education records without students’ prior written consent; and (3) to provide students the opportunity to seek correction of their education records where appropriate. It is the policy of the University of Maryland to adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (Buckley Amendment). As such, it is the policy of the university (1) to permit students to inspect their education records; (2) to limit disclosure to others of personally identifiable information from education records without students’ prior written consent; and (3) to provide students the opportunity to seek correction of their education records where appropriate. For a complete description of the campus policy, students should check the Policies section of the Student Answer Book which is available on line.

  • Delaying Courses

    Students are not permitted to delay taking courses, except with permission of the Office of Registration & Enrollment. Absent exceptional circumstances students are expected to follow the structure of the required curriculum.

  • Grade Grievance Procedure
    1. In the grading of coursework by their instructors, the students of the School of Law are entitled to a good faith evaluation of their actual course performance founded on an articulated standard. Grading, however, fundamentally falls within the professional judgment of the individual instructors for courses at the School of Law. As a result, the grade an instructor assigns to a student’s work is normally final. A grade may be changed only (a) by the instructor if a computational or recording error has been made, or (b) pursuant to this Grievance Procedure when it is determined that the grade was arbitrary or capricious.
    2. If a student believes that a grade is arbitrary or capricious, he or she may challenge the grade only by initiating a grade grievance pursuant to the following procedure.

      The student shall first contact the instructor for the course to consult about the instructor’s reasons for the assigned grade and to ensure that no computational or recording error has occurred. If an acceptable solution is not reached by this means, and the student wishes to pursue a grade grievance, the student must file a written or electronic complaint with the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development of the School of Law within 45 days from the date the disputed grade is posted by the University Office of Student Records to the student’s online academic record (SURFS). If the instructor is not available for consultation within this deadline, the Associate Dean may extend the period for filing the grade grievance for an additional reasonable period or may waive the required consultation. The student must expressly request such an extension or waiver from the Associate Dean in writing or by electronic communication before the 45-day deadline expires to be granted an extension.
    3. The complaint shall:
      1. demonstrate that the student has complied with, or the Associate Dean has waived, the consultation requirement;
      2. state facts that, if found to be true, would justify a finding that the grade was arbitrary or capricious; and
      3. propose a remedy that the student believes is appropriate for the claimed injury.
    4. If the grade grievance satisfies the requirements of Part C above and is timely filed as provided in Part B above, the Associate Dean shall undertake an investigation to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the grade was arbitrary or capricious. The Associate Dean shall inform the instructor of the grade grievance and provide a copy of the complaint to the instructor. The instructor may respond if he or she desires. Upon completion of the investigation, the Associate Dean shall prepare a report that includes the reasons for the determination on the issue of probable cause. The determination of the Associate Dean on the issue of probable cause is final. If, therefore, the Associate Dean determines that no such probable cause exists, there shall be no further proceedings on the grade grievance.
    5. If the Associate Dean determines that probable cause exists to believe that the grade was arbitrary or capricious, the Associate Dean shall appoint a three-person ad hoc Committee of members of the Faculty Council to decide the matter. The Committee shall investigate the complaint and is empowered to establish the rules of procedure under which it will make its findings and determination of remedy. If the Committee finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the disputed grade was arbitrary or capricious, the Committee shall have the power to substitute a pass for the grade or take any other action it deems appropriate to remedy the injury to the student, including adjusting the grade for the course. The Committee’s decision on the complaint shall be in writing and shall include supporting reasons for its finding and the action taken. The decision of the Committee is final, subject to the right of appeal set forth in Part F below. The Committee shall complete its investigation and render its decision within 60 calendar days from the date on which the complaint was assigned to the Committee by the Associate Dean. At the request of the Committee, the Associate Dean may, for good reason, extend the time within which the Committee must report its decision. The Associate Dean shall promptly forward a copy of the Committee’s report to the student and the Dean of the School of Law.
    6. Appeals: The student or the involved instructor may appeal a decision by the Committee as provided in Part E above to the Dean of the School of Law in writing within ten working days of receipt of the decision by the Committee. The only basis for such an appeal shall be clear and convincing evidence of an error of substance or procedure by the Committee. The Dean shall render a binding, final decision on the grade grievance appeal, including as appropriate any remedy he or she deems justified, within twenty working days of receipt of the appeal.
    7. Exclusivity of Procedure: These rules state the only grounds and procedures for challenging a grade received in a course at the University of Maryland School of Law. These rules implement and are consistent with University System of Maryland and University of Maryland Baltimore policies concerning grade appeals.
  • Grade Reports

    Students may obtain an unofficial grade report from the Office of Registration and Enrollment by completing, signing and submitting the Student Request Form (http://www.law.umaryland.edu/students/registration/forms/. The form may be submitted in person, by fax (410-706-2103) or by scan attached to an email message to registration@law.umaryland.edu

    Every request requires the student’s signature; thus, email requests can be accepted only if accompanied by a scanned, signed form.

    Students also are able to produce their own informal grade reports from SURFS (Student UseR Friendly System). This system is maintained through the campus Office of the Registrar. http://www.umaryland.edu/surfs/

  • Grading System
    • Letter Grade Scale A letter grading system is used, in which each letter grade is awarded points on a four-point scale for purposes of computing grade point averages:
      Letter GradePoints Awarded for Grade
      A+4.33
      A4.00
      A-3.67
      B+3.33
      B3.00
      B-2.67
      C+2.33
      C2.00
      C-1.67
      D+1.33
      D1.00
      D-0.67
      F (failing)0.00
      I (incomplete)
      W, WA, WD
    • Grade Point Calculation

      Grade point averages (GPA) are computed by multiplying the point equivalent for the letter grade for each course by its weight in semester hours, adding the products for each course, and dividing the sum by the number of semester hours taken. Grades are rounded to two decimal points. Students should not report self-calculated GPA's; use the GPA found on SURFS. When a course is repeated, the new grade, whether higher or lower, and credits replace the old grade and credits in the student's grade point average; however, both grades remain on the student's transcript, with the notation ' R' (the course was repeated) next to the first grade.

      See also Reporting Grade Point Average policies below.

    • Incomplete Grades

      The grade I (incomplete) is given only to students who have a proper excuse for failure to take examinations or to complete any other work that may be required by the instructor in time for the instructor to complete grading by the grading due date. It is not used to signify work of inferior quality. A grade of incomplete may not be carried for more than one semester without the approval of the Director of Registration & Enrollment. An incomplete grade given at the end of the spring semester or summer session must be converted to a letter grade by the end of the subsequent fall semester, and an incomplete grade given at the end of the fall semester must be converted to a letter grade at the end of the subsequent spring semester. An incomplete grade not converted to a letter grade within these time limits, and for which the Director of Registration & Enrollment has not granted an extension, shall be converted to an F (0.00). The grade I (incomplete) will remain on the transcript even after the work has been completed.

      If a student withdraws or is excluded from the law school, these periods of limitation regarding an incomplete shall be suspended while the student is absent from the school. Any grade of incomplete remaining at the time a student is certified for graduation shall be change to an F (0.00). The Director of Registration & Enrollment will approve the extension of an incomplete only in extraordinary circumstances.

    • Withdrawal from Courses

      “W” reflects a student’s withdrawal from a course, either voluntary or required after the add/drop period. “WA” reflects a student having been withdrawn administratively and “WD” indicates a student’s withdrawal from school.

  • Low Academic Performance

    After the first semester, students who earned below a 2.0 grade point average will be placed on academic probation and will be required to meet with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs for academic and other counseling immediately upon receiving first semester grades. Any student who fails a required first semester course and has a grade point average below a 2.0, will be academically excluded from the program.

    At the end of the second semester, students performing in the lowest twenty percent – based on cumulative grade point averages – will be required to meet with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs for academic and other counseling immediately upon receiving first year grades and may be academically excluded from the program (see Probation and Exclusion).

  • Official Transcripts

    Students may obtain an official transcript by clicking on “SURFS” (http://www.umaryland.edu/surfs/) and then selecting the “Request for Official Transcript” option.

  • On-line Grades and Evaluation of Faculty

    To obtain grades online, students must first complete evaluations of their professors. Both faculty evaluations and grade retrieval are located on the School's website through "My UM Law." Students log on using their myUMBID username and password.

  • Prerequisite Course Requirements

    A student must follow the structure of the required curriculum. A student must complete the first semester required coursework before proceeding to the second semester coursework. A student must complete the survey course in his/her specialty area before enrolling in other courses or seminars in the specialty.

  • Probation and Exclusion

    After the first semester, students who earned below a 2.0 grade point average will be placed on academic probation and will be required to meet with the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs s for academic and other counseling immediately upon receiving first semester grades. Any student who fails a required first semester course and has a grade point average below a 2.0, will be academically excluded from the program.

    At the end of each subsequent semester, any student with a cumulative grade point average below 2.0 will be permanently excluded from the school.

    Students permanently excluded from the school may petition the Administrative Committee for readmission.

  • Readmission

    A student who has been excluded may be readmitted only by action of the Administrative Committee, upon petition in writing setting forth reasons for seeking readmission. The Administrative Committee cannot consider the petition for readmission of any student who, at the time of making the petition, is in default (1) with respect to tuition or fees, or (2) with respect to any financial obligations of the student to the University of Maryland other than for tuition and fees that in aggregate exceed $25.00, until the default has been cured. (See also Financial Responsibility.)

    Readmission will be granted after academic exclusion only when the Committee is satisfied that there is good reason to believe the student will be able to do satisfactory work in the future. A student who is excluded for academic reasons will not be readmitted unless the Administrative Committee, by at least one vote more than needed to have a majority vote of the Committee, determines that the student has satisfied the readmission standards. The Committee’s decision on readmission will be final. A student who is readmitted to the school after having been academically excluded is in good standing and is not on academic probation. Readmitted students are subject to academic exclusion again if cumulative or academic year grade point averages fall below the required standard.

  • Repeating Courses

    A student who fails a course must repeat the course no later than the next time the course is offered in the online program.

    A student may receive credit for a course only once, the last time the course was taken. The student must pay tuition and fees for the repeated course as if not repeated. When a course is repeated, the new grade, whether higher or lower, replaces the old grade in the student's grade point average. However, both grades remain on the student's transcript, with a notation that the course was repeated.

  • Reporting Grade Point Average

    A student may report his or her grade point average as a letter grade in accord with the following chart:

    If, on the four-point scale, a student’s cumulative G.P.A. is fromThe student may report on his or her resume a letter grade of
    4.17–4.33A+
    3.84–4.16A
    3.50–3.83A-
    3.17–3.49B+
    2.84–3.16B
    2.50–2.83B-
    2.17–2.49C+
    1.84–2.16C
    1.50–1.83C-
    1.17–1.49D+
    0.84–1.16D
    0.50–0.83D-
    Below 0.50F

    On your résumé, you can represent your GPA numerically or as a letter grade, or both. (GPA: 3.84 or GPA: A) If you represent your GPA numerically, you must use the exact information reflected on your official transcript, carried out to the one-hundredths place (see the example above).

    You are not required to indicate the 4.33 grading scale with your numeric GPA but if you do choose to report the grading scale, you must use the 4.33 scale reflected on your transcript. (GPA: 3.84/4.33) It is extremely important that you represent your GPA accurately on your résumé and other documents you may submit to employers. Any error in reporting your grades will be perceived negatively by employers. Moreover, any inaccuracy regarding your grades may be construed as a misrepresentation of your credentials, which may result in an Honor Code violation.

  • Transfer of Credit

    Students may not receive credit for coursework taken prior to matriculation or for coursework completed at other law schools or graduate schools.

  • Voluntary Withdrawals and Leaves of Absence

    A student in good standing may request a leave of absence or request to withdraw from the law school. For purposes of this policy, leaves of absence and voluntary withdrawals are treated in an equivalent manner.

    Voluntary withdrawal must be in writing and requires the approval of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Communications. A student who stops attending classes without this approval after registering or being registered will be deemed to remain enrolled in his or her courses. Failure to take an examination or otherwise complete a course satisfactorily will result in a grade of F (0.00) in the course.

    A student who withdraws in good standing and is granted a leave of absence may return if the amount of time the student will have been absent from the school since the student’s last matriculation does not exceed two years.

    The school reserves the right to raise questions as to character that have arisen during the interim and to refuse readmission on these grounds, subject to the right of the student to petition the Administrative Committee for readmission.

    A student who withdraws in good standing, but who has been absent longer than three years is not entitled to be readmitted but may petition the Administrative Committee for an exception to the rule on the basis of extraordinary circumstances.

    In all circumstances, as indicated in the section on Completion Timeframe, students must complete degree requirements within 48 months from initial enrollment in law school, including any leaves of absence.

    A student who withdraws must return her/his student identification card. Blackboard, Bloomberg Law, Lexis, and Westlaw accounts are cancelled for all students who withdraw.

    If the student receives financial aid, s/he should contact the Financial Aid Office (410-706-7347) to inquire about financial obligations which may result from withdrawal. Questions concerning student accounts (for example, if you have a balance due or if you may be due a refund) should be directed to the Student Accounts Office (410-706-2930). International students should contact the Campus Office of Records & Registration (410-706-7480) regarding their visa status.

  • Written Work Submitted for Multiple Courses

    A student may not obtain credit in satisfaction of the requirements of two seminars, courses, or other offerings (including the Capstone Project) for a single piece of written work, unless this is approved by the Curriculum Committee.


Back To Top

500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714
Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793
Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved.

Hotline Hotline



UM | About This Site | Site Map | Contact Us


500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved