Dean of Students FAQ

General Questions

We provide students with academic assistance, including curriculum planning and advising, assistance with class registration, joint degree matters, exam issues, class recordings, tutoring programs, and issues arising under the Academic Integrity Policy.  Our office is responsible for new student orientation programs, the annual Academic Awards ceremony, as well as other recognitions of student contributions to our community.  In addition, we oversee wellness programming and outreach, are available to consult and assist students with issues that may arise due to family or other emergencies, and can offer counseling referrals. Our office works in conjunction with the University's Disability Support Services Office to provide and coordinate support services for law students with a wide variety of ongoing disabilities, as well as those temporarily disabled by illness or injury.

The last day you may change the grading status of an elective course from letter-graded to credit/no credit is the Monday of the fourth week of a semester (or the third week of a summer session).  No conversions may occur after a letter grade has been lodged.  Once you convert a letter-graded course to credit/no credit, that decision cannot be reversed.

You may voluntarily add or drop a class during the first week of classes, until midnight on the Sunday before the second week of classes begins.  During this period, you are not required to get the permission of the professor or a dean to drop or add a course.  A class that has been dropped will not appear on your schedule or your transcript.

After the first week of classes, you may add or drop a class only with the written approval of the instructor and the Dean or Assistant Dean of Students.  You may not add a class (or add credits to a course) after the Friday of the eleventh week of classes or the fifth week of the summer session.  You may not drop a class or credits after the Friday of the eleventh week of classes or the fifth week of the summer session unless the Dean or Assistant Dean of Students certifies that extraordinary events warrant doing so.

You may request that the Dean of Students Office arrange for recordings in one of seven situations "pre-approved" by the faculty, as listed below:

  1. Death in the family or family emergency.  The term “family” is interpreted to include close family members and others with a close, family-like relationship to the student.
  2. Observance of religious holidays (as determined annually and published by The George Washington University), including reasonable travel as may be necessary).
  3. Class conflicts caused by makeup classes necessitated by the instructor’s absence, or cancellation of classes due to inclement weather or other emergency.
  4. Jury duty or other required court appearance.
  5. Military obligations.
  6. When recording is determined by the Dean of Students Office to be an advisable means of accommodating a student’s ongoing medical condition or disability.
  7. Any medical emergency, illness or medical issue that would prevent the student from attending class, as long as the student can provide medical documentation specifying the nature of the issue and the necessity of their absence.

Individual instructors retain the discretion to grant recording access for situations not falling within the pre-approved reasons (for example: work conflicts, non-emergency family obligations, temporary illnesses for which you do not have documentation).  If you wish to arrange recordings in these situations, you must contact the instructor and, if permission is granted, arrange for recording through the law school’s Office of Instructional Technology.  If you ask your professor to record your class for a situation not falling within the pre-approved reasons, we recommend copying the Office of Instructional Technology on the email to your professor to simplify the request process.

Finally, please note that an instructor may not allow any of his or her classes to be recorded. 

You may request a one-semester leave of absence from our office for sufficiently compelling reasons. Any leaves greater than one semester must be requested through a written petition process and approved by the Academic Scholarship Committee.

Leaves of absence for JD students are typically not granted until after completion of the 1L year, however they may be granted if there are sufficiently compelling circumstances, such as a medical disability or long-term hospitalization requiring absence from the law school.

Please note that if you have been granted a leave of absence, you will receive a bill to maintain registration/continuous enrollment during your absence.  You should also ensure that the proper paperwork is in place before your return.  Please contact our office for more information about this process.

Applications for withdrawal from the law school must be made in person or in writing to the Dean of Students Office. Under no circumstances may you withdraw from school after the last day of classes in the semester. 

Any change to your enrollment status is likely to affect your financial aid award.  For instance, JD students must be enrolled in at least six credits to receive federal loans.  Every student’s needs and circumstances are different; please contact your financial aid counselor for more information on how part-time status may affect your financial aid award.  You may contact the Financial Aid Office at 202. 994.6592 or finaid@law.gwu.edu to schedule an appointment.

Please come to our office and one of our staff members will provide you an easy form to complete and submit.

Sometimes, a student wants or needs to reduce his or her law school work load.  Please contact our office and a member of the staff will gladly provide guidance on options to mitigate the impact of a situational switch on your academic performance and record.

Yes.  You may request a tutor after your first semester at the law school.  First-semester JDs, LLMs and SJDs are ineligible for tutoring services. If eligible, you are allowed a maximum of two tutors per semester.

DO NOT CONTACT YOUR PROFESSOR. In the event an emergency (such as acute illness, hospitalization, or a death in the family) prevents you from taking an exam, please immediately contact our office to request to be excused from the exam. Documentation will be required in order to receive an official excusal. Students who are absent from an exam and are not officially excused may receive a grade of F. You should not attempt to begin an exam if there is any chance you will not be able to finish; an exam cannot be made up once you have seen the exam.

Immediately inform the proctor if an emergency, such as a severe illness, occurs during an exam. The proctor will contact the appropriate law school officials.

Problems during the administration of the exam could include perceived improper timekeeping, Exam4 issues, medical issues during the exam, and errors with the exam itself.  Please report these issues to our office via an Exam Incident Report. A dean will evaluate the situation and communicate as appropriate with your professor in a way that preserves student anonymity, such that blind grading is not compromised.   

The Academic Integrity Policy defines and prohibits academic dishonesty, and is meant to “foster a culture of honesty, integrity, and professional responsibility throughout the community.” “Reckless” conduct can support a finding of academic dishonesty and a sanction under the Academic Integrity Policy; no intent need be present. You may find a copy of the Academic Integrity Policy here.

Plagiarism is one serious example of academic dishonesty covered under the Academic Integrity Policy.  The law school promulgates a handbook on legal citation called Citing Responsibly: A Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism.

If you have questions on any academic integrity issues, please contact our office

The Code of Student Conduct is promulgated by the University and is contained in a document called Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities, available here.

The primary purpose of the Code of Student Conduct is “for the maintenance of discipline in the University setting” and “to establish clear standards for civil interaction among community members.”  The Code discusses matters such as standards of classroom behavior, prohibited conduct, sanctions, and disciplinary and appeals proceedings.  The Code applies to all GW students, including GW Law students. 

If you have questions on the Code of Student Conduct, please contact the office or the University’s Office of Civility & Community Standards / Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (202.994.6757 or rights@gwu.edu).

Yes. The George Washington University and the law school have a bifurcated system to address a law student’s request for accommodation.  If you wish to request accommodation based on the potential impact of a disability, you must first contact the University Disability Support Services (DSS) Office in Rome Hall, Suite 102 (202.994.8250 or dss@gwu.edu), to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations. For additional information, including forms for submission, please refer to their web page.

The deadline to submit your request for accommodation is November 15 in the Fall, April 15 in the Spring, and June 1 during the Summer session.

Your registration with DSS and medical documentation submitted in support of a request for accommodation are strictly confidential and are not a part of your academic record.  

We will assist veterans and active duty service members in meeting their service and law school commitments on an individual basis. 

In addition, the University’s Office of Military and Veteran Student Services can be consulted about benefits, the Yellow Ribbon program, and can also connect students with additional resources. They can be reached at 202.994.9570 or vetserve@gwu.edu.

JD Questions

By the end of either your third or fourth year of law school (for full- and part-time students, respectively), you must have above a 1.67 cumulative GPA, must have completed a minimum of 84 credits and must have obtained at least 6.0 Enrollment Units (EUs).

Beyond these basic requirements and successful completion of the first-year curriculum, there are three upper-level requirements:  six experiential learning credits (applies to JD students beginning in 2016 and beyond), the legal writing requirement, and a professional responsibility and ethics course. Additional detailed information on each of these requirements may be obtained from the Law School Bulletin.

A minimum of 84 credits are required to graduate.  At least 67 of those credits must be taken for a letter grade. 

Students who begin their law school careers at GW Law may therefore take up to 17 credits in credit/no credit (pass/fail) status.  A student who completed his/her first year at GW Law may, within the first 3 weeks of the semester, convert from a grade to credit/no credit up to 6 credits of non-required, or elective, law courses that are regularly graded on a letter-graded basis on a credit/no credit basis.

Transfer students must complete at least 48 letter-graded credits at GW Law and may take up to eight credits in credit/no credit (pass/fail) status.  Given the high number of transfer credits appearing as Credit/No Credit (“CR/NC”) on their GW transcript, transfer students are not permitted to convert any course regularly graded on a letter-graded basis to credit/no credit status.

For full-time students, the minimum and maximum numbers of credits are 12 and 15, respectively. For part-time students, the minimum and maximum numbers of credits are 8 and 11, respectively.  Our office may approve slight deviations from these limits in exceptional circumstances.

After the first year and with the approval of a dean in our office, you may take up to a maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate-level courses in other divisions of the University.  You must receive a grade of B- or better to receive credit for such courses.  These credits will count toward your CR/NC credit limit. Due to ABA regulations, in most cases a three credit course will only count for two credits when transferred to the law school. In our office and on the records page you can find the Request to take a Course in Another Division of GW form. To register for a course, complete the form and return it to our office for a dean’s approval/p>

We can address any questions you may have about pursuing a joint degree.  You must be admitted to both the law school as well as the school that confers the master’s degree for which you are applying.  Each school must separately approve your application to pursue a joint degree program.  The joint degrees must be conferred simultaneously and only after all requirements for both degrees have been met.

Your first year’s study must be devoted exclusively to the prescribed law curriculum.  After the first year, the law school will allow up to 12 credit hours of course work completed in the master’s program to count toward completion of the 84 credit hours required for the law degree.  You must attain at least a B- in these courses to achieve a grade of “Credit.”  These credit hours will be entered on the law school transcript as CR/NC and will count toward your credit/no credit limit.

If you are considering a joint degree program, please schedule an appointment with a staff member in our office so we may assist you with the details and requirements.  Please see more information on the Joint Degree program.

Transfer Student Questions

Once your deposit is paid, you may contact the Dean of Students Office to inform us that you are joining the GW Law community and the Career Center so you may participate in the fall recruiting programs.  During the summer, our office will determine how many credits will transfer to your GW Law transcript.  You will receive information over the course of the summer from us on orientation, academic advising, course selection, the transfer journal competition, transfer credits and other matters to critical to a smooth transition.  

An official, final transcript should be sent to the Admissions Office in order to complete your GW Law Admissions file.  If you opt to take summer law coursework, you should send a copy of your final, completed transcript so that it may be reviewed for any possible transfer credit.  The Admissions Office address is 700 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052.

If your deposit is paid and an official transcript from your previous law school has been submitted on or before July 31, you will receive a Transfer Credit Memorandum (TCM) on or about the Friday before Orientation.  The TCM will indicate the number of credits that the law school will accept for each course successfully completed during your first year and inform you which course of the GW Law first-year curriculum, if any, you must enroll.  If you need to satisfy a course from the GW Law first-year curriculum, you must do so the first time the class is offered after you matriculate.

It depends.  The American Bar Association (ABA) limits the number of credits allowed to transfer from one accredited institution to another institution to one-third of the total credit hours required for graduation.  At GW Law, you may transfer a maximum of twenty-eight (28) credits from another institution.

When determining what credits will transfer, if you have not reached 28 credits resulting from your prior law school’s first year curriculum, the Dean of Students Office will examine summer credits to determine eligibility for transfer.

Once final grades have been posted, you must send the official, final transcript to the Admissions Office in order to complete their GW Law Admissions file and to have the Dean of Students Office determine eligibility for transfer.  

You will register for classes via GWeb.  Information on how to register for courses will be posted to the Orientation Portal.  You will be notified when the GWeb system is available to transfer students for registration.  The Add/Drop Period, during which law students can make changes to their class schedules for registration, runs the first week of upper level classes.  

It depends.  There are a number of factors to consider when deciding to take summer coursework.  If you believe you want to take summer coursework at GW Law, please contact us to see if this is possible.  Early decision students may want to consider participating in the Field Placement Program or taking a summer class.  If you reach the maximum 28-credit limit for transfer credits, credits earned for summer coursework at another ABA-accredited institution, even if taken at your home institution, will not be eligible for transfer.

Juris Doctor candidates transferring into the GW Law Program must complete 84 credit hours, 48 of which must be for a letter grade; fulfill the 6.0 Enrollment Unit Requirement; complete each course in the required curriculum with a passing grade (all first-year courses); Professional Responsibility and Ethics (Law 6218); the Legal Writing Requirement; the Professional Skills Requirement (for students entering law school in 2016 or earlier) and the Experiential Learning Requirement (for students entering law school beginning Fall 2017); and maintain a grade-point average of 1.67.

The exact number of credits needed to graduate from GW Law will vary from student to student based on the number of credits that were eligible for transfer.   Twenty-eight (28) is the maximum number of credits transfer students are allowed to transfer to the GW Law transcript.  No exceptions.

Candidates for the GW Law Degree must earn 6 Enrollment Units (EU) in order to graduate.  A student enrolled full time (12 or more credits in a semester) will earn 6 EUs over the course of the program.  A student enrolled part time during the entire course of his or her program of study and who has paid the equivalent of 84 or more credit hours (including transfer credits) will be deemed to have satisfied the EU requirement for graduation.  As a transfer student the number of EUs you are credited will depend on the number of credits eligible for transfer.  This information will be provided on your TCM. If you have questions, please contact our office—particularly if you switch between the full and part time programs.

During orientation, we will provide multiple opportunities for advising.   Orientation programming includes a review of GW Law’s academic regulations, tips for course selection, and an academic advising fair when many offices (e.g., Field Placement Program and Skills Competition), faculty, and directors of specific program (e.g., Intellectual Property, Government Contracts, Environmental and Energy Law) are represented.

Journal selection at another institution will not transfer to GW Law.  Please see below.

Participation on a journal at GW Law is a four-semester commitment. You must have four semesters remaining after you are selected for a journal in order to fulfill this obligation.

Journal members receive one credit for each semester of journal, for a total of four credits.  The four credits post retroactively to the semester in which it was earned at the end of the fourth semester.  These credits will count against the eight Credit/No Credits that are available to transfer students.

Every GW Law student has only one opportunity to compete in GW’s journal competition.  If you have competed in the journal competition and are not selected for a journal at that time, then you are not eligible to participate in future journal competitions.

If you are interested in serving on a journal, you should participate in the journal competition at the first opportunity after enrolling.  For transfers entering in the fall semester, the journal competition is usually scheduled the week/weekend of orientation.  For transfers entering in the spring semester, the journal competition is held over spring break.  Successful participation on a GW Law journal will satisfy the Legal Writing graduation requirement.

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) is GW Law’s version of Pass/Fail.  Most courses offered on a CR/NC basis are skills/experiential learning courses (e.g., Clinics, Field Placement, Journal, etc.). You may take up to eight credits on a CR/NC basis.  Most categories of CR/NC are available to all transfer students with the exception of Converting an Elective Course (a course beyond the first-year curriculum) from evaluation on a letter grade basis to CR/NC.  You may be eligible to bring in summer credits from another ABA-accredited law if you have not reached the maximum 28-credit limit.

You are limited to 8 CR/NC because although the law school wants and encourages students transferring into the law program to avail themselves of experiential-based coursework, the fact remains that you have as many as 28 credits on your GW Law transcript from your prior institution.  The coursework is recorded as (up to) 28 credits, well over the 17 CR/NC permitted to students who matriculated into the law school as 1Ls.  An additional consideration is that potential employers have provided feedback that they want to see how transfer students have performed at GW Law vis a vis their grades. 

This information is included in all materials provided by the Admissions Office to prospective transfer students.  Our Office includes this information in all academic advising materials and reviews this academic regulation at orientation.

Professional Responsibility and Ethics (LAW 6218) is one of the graduation requirements for the GW Law Juris Doctor.  The law school will accept a professional responsibility course from another institution provided the grade qualifies for transfer.  If the coursework is allowed to transfer, the Professional Responsibility and Ethics (LAW 6218) graduation requirement will be deemed satisfied.

LLM Questions

Twenty-four credits are required, including the required curriculum for the specialized programs, plus a writing requirement.  Details are in the law school Bulletin, pages 24 to 41.  Please note that different rules apply to U.S. and non-U.S. educated LLM students.  If you are unsure about any of them, please seek the advice of your program director.

LLM students need permission from the Dean of Students Office to take more than 15 credits per semester.  There is no minimum, but keep in mind it will be difficult to make progress toward your degree, even on a part-time basis, if taking only one or two classes per semester.

No.  LLM students may not elect to take graded courses on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.  However, if the course is offered as CR/NC, it is permissible.

Your degree will be awarded “With Highest Honors” if your GPA is 3.67 or above at the time of graduation. LLMs are not ranked in any other way.

LLM students may request a one-semester leave of absence from our office for sufficiently compelling reasons. Any leaves greater than one semester must be requested through a written petition process and approved by the law school’s Academic Scholarship Committee.

Please note that if you have been granted a leave of absence, you will need to ensure that you maintain continuous enrollment during your absence.  Otherwise, you will need to seek readmission to the LLM program.

With the approval of your program director and the Dean of Students Office, LLM students may take up to a maximum of 6 credit hours of graduate-level courses in other divisions of the University.  You must receive a grade of B- or better to receive credit for such courses. 

 

GW has a consortium agreement with Georgetown University Law Center.  LLM candidates may take up to 6 credits at Georgetown with the approval of their program director and the Dean of Students Office.  You must receive a grade of at least C- to receive credit for such courses.  You can find a link to the consortium form here.

Visiting Student Questions

Once your deposit is paid, you may contact the Dean of Students Office (deanofstudents@law.gwu.edu) to inform us that you are joining the GW Law community. Visiting students must have a GW Law e-mail account separate from a GW University e-mail account in order to access the portal and teaching materials.  

 

Your official transcript must be sent to the Admissions Office in order to complete your GW Law Admissions file. The Admissions Office address is 700 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052.

You will receive information from the Dean of Students Office about the Transfer/Visiting Student Orientation, academic advising, course selection, and other matters to critical to your visit.  We encourage you to participate as you may find the information helpful to your time at GW Law.

Visiting law students enrolled in GW Law courses are subject to the academic rules and polices stated in The George Washington University Law School Bulletin, particularly those regarding attendance and examinations.  You may obtain a hard copy of the Law Bulletin from the Dean of Students Office (E Building, Suite 107), the Records Office (Stuart 105) or online.

After a visiting student is accepted to visit, he or she will be directed to the Records Office for an initial registration.  Once registered, visiting students can use GWeb to make changes to their class schedules.  The Add/Drop Period runs the first week of upper level classes. 

During Orientation, our office provides multiple opportunities for advising. Orientation programming includes a review of GW Law’s academic regulations, tips for course selection, and an academic advising fair when many offices (e.g., Field Placement Program and Skills Competitions), faculty, and directors of specific program (e.g., Intellectual Property, Government Contracts, Environmental and Energy Law) are represented.  You are welcome to attend these advising programs.  Information on advising can be found on the Dean of Students Office and the Records Office home pages.

We can provide guidance on course selection during your visit. NOTE: The Law School does not have a flexible exam policy.  Exams are scheduled a year in advance to provide notice to students.  Please be certain to take note of this information when planning your schedule.

If you have an urgent need to have your coursework completed and grades posted (for instance, if you are graduating) you should contact the Records Office with your request.

Visiting students have access to many of the same Career Center resources as GW Law Students.  You may schedule counseling appointments with career counselors, participate in Career Center workshops, attend networking programs, and access GW Law’s job board.  However, visiting students are ineligible to participate in GW Law sponsored recruitment programs, secure funding/stipends for unpaid internships, and receive support for clerkship applications.  Please contact the Career Center at 202.994.7340 to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

No. Participation on a journal at GW Law is a four-semester commitment.  Visiting students are limited to a maximum of two semesters at GW Law and therefore are unable to participate on a journal. 

You can participate in a clinic if you have completed your first year of law school and have fulfilled any required prerequisites (which varies by clinic), subject to availability.  If there are openings for a clinic in the semester during which you visit, notices will be posted on the student portal prior to the start of classes.  You are welcome to contact the clinics at clinicadmin@law.gwu.edu to inquire about availability.

Visiting students can participate in GW Law’s Field Placement Program.  We encourage you to contact the Field Placement Office at fieldplacement@law.gwu.edu for more information. Note: Students are required to take a co-requisite course, evaluated on a letter-grade basis, along with their externship, evaluated on a Credit/No Credit basis, in order to receive Field Placement credit.  You are advised to check with their home institution (e.g., their academic affairs or registrar’s office) as to whether coursework taken on a Credit/No Credit basis will transfer back to their home school.  

If you are interested in participating in Pro Bono activities and skills competitions during your visit, please contact Dean David Johnson at djohnson@law.gwu.edu.

Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) is GW Law’s version of Pass/Fail.  Most courses offered on a CR/NC basis are skills/experiential learning courses (e.g., Field Placement, Skills Competitions, etc.). You will need to check with you home institution as to whether coursework taken on a CR/NC basis will transfer back to your law school.