Academic Policies for Graduate Students

Emory Law has established these academic policies for its Graduate Student programs, including JM, LLM, and SJD.


Class Attendance

Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend classes regularly and prepare for classes conscientiously. Each professor may impose sanctions for poor attendance.

Full Time Enrollment

Full-Time Enrollment

According to University policy, full-time students are those enrolled for at least 12 semester hours.

Grading and Examinations

Grading and Examinations

Emory University School of Law uses a letter grading system, with grades ranging from A+ to F.  In the SJD, LLM, and JM programs, a student must earn a grade of at least D- to receive credit for a course.  A student must repeat a required course in which that student has received a grade below D-. Once a student has received an exam, he or she must complete the exam. If a student does not submit any answers, the student will receive an automatic grade of F.  Partial credit may be given if a student begins the exam but does not complete it.   SJD, LLM, and JM students who were required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS with their application will get 25% additional time to take their exams.

When a student, without permission or a valid excuse, fails to appear for an examination, or appears for an examination and fails to turn in the examination, they will receive a course grade of F. Before the time indicated on the Academic Calendar for final examinations, a schedule of examinations will be published. Special scheduling or deferral of a final examination is permitted only when the cause is beyond the control of the student and only with approval of the Dean or Dean's designate. A grade of I (incomplete) is given to indicate an authorized deferral of examination or required course work. Required course work or a deferred examination must be completed by the close of the term in which the course is next offered or the grade of I (incomplete) will automatically be converted to a final grade of F.

Examination papers are identified solely by randomly selected student examination numbers and not by student names. New numbers are issued each semester.

All students are reminded that it is faculty policy that examinations are to be taken on the day and at the time scheduled, unless an individual is excused by emergency, illness, or involuntarily assumed obligations on the day of the examination. Students in joint programs who find that they have a conflict with another school AT THE TIME OF THE EXAMINATION in the Law School should advise the office of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in advance of the examination period, so that the conflict can be resolved. Every effort must be made to eliminate the conflict in the other school, as law school exams are rescheduled only as a last resort.

If the exam conflict occurs during the first week of exams, the make-up will be on the first make-up day. Likewise, exams which conflict during the second week are to be made up on the second make-up day. Any student with three 9 a.m. exams on three consecutive days is permitted to move the third 9 a.m. exam to the first make-up day AFTER the exam. When a student has two examinations within a 24-hour period, such as at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the same day, or at 2 p.m. and 9 a.m. the next day, he/she may postpone one exam to the next make-up day. While it is often the 2 p.m. exam that is rescheduled, these conflicts are all evaluated by the Office of Student Affairs and rescheduling is done to create the most efficient make-up exam schedule. All exam conflicts should be raised with, and must be resolved with the consent of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Exams scheduled for the same time slot pose a conflict that will be resolved by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Make-up exams are never scheduled before the exam is administered on the scheduled date.  Take-home exams are not considered to pose a conflict.

In the event of illness or emergency on the day of an examination, the student must contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs to request deferral.   Emergency exam deferrals are dealt with by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and the faculty concerned on a case-by-case basis. A STUDENT REQUESTING DEFERRAL ON THE BASIS OF ILLNESS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A CERTIFICATE FROM A PHYSICIAN TO SUBSTANTIATE THE REQUEST FOR DEFERRAL, WHICH IS NORMALLY JUSTIFIED ONLY IF THE STUDENT IS ACTUALLY SEEKING AND GETTING MEDICAL CARE AT THE TIME OF THE EXAM. Make-up examinations for students ill on the day of the examination will be administered on the make-up day(s) as outlined above. 


Any Graduate Programs student who was required to submit a TOEFL score for purposes of admission consideration will receive additional time on their examinations.  If the TOEFL requirement was not required or was waived for a student Ė even if English is not their first language Ė that student will not receive additional time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please see Jessica Dworkin.

Continuation Standards

Continuation Standards by Graduate Program

LL.M. and J.M. Programs:

In order to remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative 2.25 GPA minimum. 

S.J.D. Program:

Any grades earned by S.J.D. students will be evaluated by the studentís faculty supervisor/dissertation committee on an ongoing basis.  The S.J.D. studentís faculty supervisor/dissertation committee will determine whether the studentís performance meets the necessary standard for the award of the S.J.D. degree.

Grade Point Average and Class Rank

Grade Point Average and Class Rank

Grade point average (GPA) will be determined for graduate students, although class rank is not calculated.  Because graduate students are graded separately from J.D. students, they do not impact the J.D. grading curve or class rank.

Honors at Graduation

Honors at Graduation

One LL.M. Leadership Award and one J.M. Leadership Award will be presented each year.  These leadership awards will be given to an LL.M. and J.M. student who engages with the Law School community, exhibits leadership and concern for the well-being of students, and has done well academically.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Option

Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory (S/U) Option

Graduate students are not permitted to select the Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory option for any of their coursework, unless they are taking a non-law class (see below) or that is the predetermined grading scheme for all students in a particular course.

Law Credit for Non-Law Courses

Law Credit for Non-Law Courses

LL.M and J.M. Law students may credit one course taken elsewhere in the University toward their graduation requirements.  The proposed course must have a direct connection to the studentís course of study.  Students should obtain permission from the non-law course professor, and submit (a) confirmation of the professorís permission, (b) a letter of petition, (c) non-law course syllabus, and (d) current transcript to the Graduate Programs Office no later than July 15 for the fall semester, and November 15 for the spring semester.  Non-law courses will be graded on a pass / fail basis.  Contact the Graduate Programs Office for questions about registration procedures for these courses.

Auditing a Course

Auditing a Course (AU)

Students wishing to audit a course must obtain the permission of the instructor. Audited courses do not count toward hours required for graduation, as no grade is assigned to students participating in a course under audit status.  Students auditing a course are expected to attend all class sessions, and may be required by the faculty to do some level of preparation for class, as a condition of their agreement to permit auditing of their course.  Auditing students do not sit for course examinations.

Withdrawal from a Course

Withdrawal from a Course (W / WF)

After the period designated in the Academic Calendar for approved course changes, a graduate student may withdraw from a course only with the permission of the instructor and approval of the Graduate Programs Office or the Dean's designate.  Such permission will be granted only for cause, and the rules governing requirements for full-time residency credit will be applied. When withdrawal from a course is approved, a grade of W is recorded for the course or courses in which the student is registered. Failure to obtain permission shall result in a grade of WF in the course.

Withdrawal from School

Withdrawal from School

Students who withdraw from or fail to return to school during the regular academic year must notify the Graduate Programs Office in advance, to be eligible to return.  To withdraw from school, a student must receive permission from the Graduate Programs Office.  When withdrawal is approved, a grade of W is recorded in all courses for which the student is registered.  Failure to obtain such permission will result in a grade of WF in all courses for which the student registered.

Medical Withdrawal

Medical Withdrawal

Readmission of students following withdrawal for medical reasons requires medical clearance by designated university health officials.

If, in the opinion of the Dean ('Dean' as used in this statement always refers to the Dean or Dean's designate), a student demonstrates evidence of an emotional disorder and has engaged in, or threatened to engage in, conduct that poses a threat to the mental, emotional, or physical well-being of self or others, or to property, and/or impedes the lawful activity of others, the student may be referred to the University Student Health Service for psychiatric evaluation.  Refusal to obtain a psychiatric evaluation when properly requested to do so, or determination by the University Health Service that withdrawal would be in the best interest of the student and the university, shall be cause for involuntary withdrawal of the student by the Dean.  Withdrawal in such cases shall normally incur no academic penalty for the term in which the student is enrolled, and tuition refund, if any, shall be based on the schedule established for voluntary withdrawal.  The Dean shall inform the student in writing of the effective date of the involuntary withdrawal, and shall explain, in writing, the procedure for application for readmission to Emory University.  Application for readmission after withdrawal for psychiatric reasons will require evaluation by the university psychiatrist.  Persons seeking readmission may choose to submit a written report from their own psychiatrists at their own expense.  In no case shall readmission be granted after psychiatric withdrawal without the approval of the University Student Health Service.

Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence/Program Completion

Students in good standing may elect to withdraw between semesters after notifying the Graduate Programs Office and the Emory Law Registrar.  Upon deciding to return to the law school, students must notify the Graduate Programs Office and the Emory Law School Registrar.

Students in the J.M. program must complete all degree requirements within four years of the date of first matriculation into the program.

Students in the LL.M. program must complete all degree requirements within four years of the date of first matriculation into the program.  (Students in the LL.M. program interested in sitting for a U.S. bar examination should consult the program completion and bar examination requirements for the state(s) in which they desire to sit for the bar examination.   For example, as of 2013, LL.M. students desiring to sit for the New York Bar examination must complete all LL.M. degree requirements within two years of the first date of matriculation into the program.)

Students in the S.J.D. program must complete all degree requirements within five years of the date of first matriculation in the program, unless an extension has been granted by the studentís dissertation committee and the Graduate Legal Studies Committee.

Outside Employment

Outside Employment

Full-time LL.M and full-time J.M. students engaged in outside employment exceeding 12 hours per week (Monday - Friday) must file a statement of such employment using the form available outside the Emory Law Registrarís office.