Academic Policies Guide

Grading System and Academic Standards

To a great degree, a student’s final grade in many of the courses offered at NYU School of Law is dependent upon the grade received on the final examination. As a result, adequate preparation for the examination cannot be recommended too highly. No grade will be recorded for a course or section of a course in which the student is not officially registered and retroactive registration is not permitted.

Grading System

  • The grading system used for JDs beginning Fall 1990 and LLMs beginning Summer 1987 through Summer 2008 was A, 4.0; A-, 3.67; B+, 3.33; B, 3.0; B-, 2.67; C, 2.0; D, 1.0 and F, 0.
  • The grading system used for JDs and LLMs effective Fall 2008 through Summer 2018 is A+, 4.33; A, 4.0; A-, 3.67; B+, 3.33; B, 3.0; B-, 2.67; C, 2.0; D, 1.0 and F, 0.
  • The grading system for JDs and LLMs effective Fall 2018 is A+, 4.333; A, 4.000; A-, 3.667; B+, 3.333; B, 3.000; B-, 2.667; C, 2.000; D, 1.000 and F, 0.000. 

Other symbols used on Law School transcripts are:

CR (Credit)

This symbol is used (1) to show successful completion of participation on student publications or as Teaching Assistants (J.D. students only), (2) in specified courses in which the student has elected the Credit/Fail option, rather than a grade (JD students only), (3) in cases where a student in good standing withdraws for military service, provided he or she does not receive a tuition refund and has continued in attendance through two-thirds of the semester for which credit is sought, and (4) in other cases where a student receives credit for completion of a course but the Executive Committee has decided that it would be impossible or improper to assign a grade to such work  (e.g., a lost examination paper). A grade of Credit cannot be granted for required courses and/or Directed Research. A grade of Credit is awarded for certain zero credit LLM courses and the JD Lawyering course.

EXC (Excused)

This symbol reflects an absence from an examination that has been excused by the Office of the Vice Dean for good cause. Where practical, the absence should be approved before the examination is scheduled to be given. If excused from the scheduled exam, the student may take the exam at the next time regularly scheduled during the student’s tenure at the Law School.  If the course is required, the student must take the exam.

FAB (Fail/Absence)

This symbol denotes an un-excused absence from an examination or an un-excused failure to hand in a take-home examination or paper in the time allowed by the instructor. If an excuse for absence is accepted as satisfactory by the Office of the Vice Dean or the Executive Committee, “FAB” will be replaced by “EXC.” If this absence is not excused, the grade of “FAB” will become final.


This symbol denotes failure due to cheating or plagiarism or violation of other rules governing academic honesty. See the discipline rules beginning at page 46.

INC (Incomplete) / IP (In Progress)

  •  In the following situations, students received an “INC” prior to fall 2009; beginning fall 2009 students receive a grade of “IP.” This symbol is used in seminar courses, directed research, or similar study when the student has made prior arrangements with the instructor to submit work later than the end of the semester in which the course is given. Third-year students who have grades of incomplete in courses from prior semesters must complete and submit all work required for the course no later than May 1 of their sixth semester or at such earlier date as the faculty member requires. Full-time LLM students must submit a final version of incomplete work no later than May 1 of their second semester. The May 1 deadline is necessary to enable faculty sufficient time to evaluate the student’s work and submit a grade and for the School to be able to certify the student for graduation and to sit for the July bar exam. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange a submission schedule with the instructor.  An extension may only be granted by the Office of the Vice Dean in consultation with the faculty member.
  • January graduates must submit all work required for the course by January 5, and September graduates by September 1. Please note that if these dates occur on a weekend, the work is required to be submitted by the preceding Friday.
  • Part-time LLM students must adhere to the work submission deadline of the term in which they are graduating.
  • If the work remains incomplete at the end of this period, students will not be certified to graduate nor certified to sit for the bar UNLESS they have sufficient credits to graduate without the credit for the incomplete course.  If the student has sufficient credits to graduate, the “INC” will be replaced by “WD.”  The course work cannot be completed after the student has been certified to graduate.
  • If the work remains incomplete at the end of this period, and the student does not have sufficient credits to graduate, the “INC” or "IP" will remain on the transcript for two years after which the “INC” or "IP" will be replaced by “FAB.”
  • Because the faculty member who will be grading the student’s work may not be in residence at the School during the student’s final semester, students are advised to ascertain the expected whereabouts of any faculty member for whom they have yet to complete work and make arrangements for timely submission of their work so it can be graded in time for graduation and bar certification. This is the student’s responsibility. Students are advised that faculty members may be absent from the School for many reasons. For example, the faculty member may be on sabbatical or leave; or he or she may have been a visitor to the School or a Global Faculty Member who teaches intermittently and resides in a foreign country.

WD (Withdrew)

This symbol denotes a withdrawal in writing from a course. Students who withdraw from a course by the last day of classes in the semester will not have a “WD” noted on their transcript.  Thereafter, the student must take an examination or produce a paper (where the course is graded on the basis of a paper or the instructor agrees to allow a paper in lieu of examination).  Failure to take an examination or produce a paper will result in an “FAB” unless for good cause, on timely application, the Executive Committee is willing to change the grade to a “WD.” A faculty member may require withdrawal with a grade of “WD” for poor attendance or for failure to make satisfactory progress.

Grading Guidelines as of Fall 2008; Further Amended and Effective as of Fall 2020

Grading guidelines for JD and LLM students were adopted by the faculty effective fall 2008.  These guidelines represented the faculty’s collective judgment that ordinarily the distribution of grades in any course will be within the limits suggested.  An A + grade was also added.

Effective fall 2020, the first-year J.D. grading curve has been amended to remove the previous requirement of a mandatory percentage of B minus grades.  B minus grades are now permitted in the J.D. first year at 0-8% but are no longer required. This change in the grading curve was proposed by the SBA and then endorsed by the Executive Committee and adopted by the faculty. Grades for JD and LLM students in upper-level courses continue to be governed by a discretionary curve in which B minus grades are permitted at 4-11% (target 7-8%).

The guidelines for first-year JD courses are mandatory and binding on faculty members; again noting that a mandatory percentage of B minus grades are no longer required. In addition, the guidelines with respect to the A+ grade are mandatory in all courses.  In all other cases, the guidelines are only advisory.

With the exception of the A+ rules, the guidelines do not apply at all to seminar courses, defined for this purpose to mean any course in which there are fewer than 28 students.

In classes in which credit/fail grades are permitted, these percentages should be calculated only using students taking the course for a letter grade.  If there are fewer than 28 students taking the course for a letter grade, the guidelines do not apply.


            First-Year JD (Mandatory)                             All other JD and LLM (Non-Mandatory)

            A+:    0-2% (target = 1%) (see note 1 below)       A+:    0-2% (target = 1%) (see note 1 below)

            A:      7-13% (target = 10%)                                     A:      7-13% (target = 10%)                                

            A-:    16-24% (target = 20%)                                  A-:     16-24% (target = 20%)

           Maximum for A tier = 31%                             Maximum for A tier = 31%

            B+:    22-30% (target = 26%)                                 B+:    22-30% (target = 26%)

          Maximum grades above B = 57%                Maximum grades above B = 57%

            B:      remainder                                                        B:   remainder                                                    

            B-:     0-8%*                                                               B-:   4-11% (target 7-8%)                                       

            C/D/F:  0-5%                                                             C/D/F:  0-5%


Important Notes

  1. The cap on the A+ grade is mandatory for all courses. However, at least one A+ can be awarded in any course. These rules apply even in courses, such as seminars, where fewer than 28 students are enrolled.

  2. The percentages above are based on the number of individual grades given – not a raw percentage of the total number of students in the class.

  3. Normal statistical rounding rules apply for all purposes, so that percentages will be rounded up if they are above .5, and down if they are .5 or below. This means that, for example, in a typical first-year class of 89 students, 2 A+ grades could be awarded.

  4. As of fall 2020, there is no mandatory percentage of B minus grades for first-year classes.   

Submission of Grades by Faculty

Except in unusual circumstances, and with permission from the Office of the Vice Dean, grades  must be submitted to the Office of Records and Registration (FH 400) in accordance with the      following schedule.  Grades are deemed submitted when the Office of Records and Registration receives the final grade roster in the form appropriate for submission to the University Registrar.

A. For Fall Semester

(1) for full semester courses,

(a) upper-level examinations,
All grades are due no later than Monday, January 4, 2021.  Pursuant to the COVID-19 Pandemic 2020, the Winter Interview Program (WIP) will replace the Early Interview Week (EIW).   Therefore, these grades are due earlier than usual.


(b)first-year examinations
Grades will be due no later than January 16 (or if a weekend day or holiday then the first immediately preceding business day); since January 16, 2021 is a weekend, all grades for first-year classes are due Friday, January 15, 2021.


(2) for courses that end four or more weeks before the last day of classes

Grades are due no later than the last day of final examinations


B. For Spring Semester

(1) For full-semester courses, no later than May 31 (or if a weekend day or holiday then the first immediately preceding business day) (i.e., Monday, May 31, 2021, is Memorial Day, therefore grades are due on Friday, May 28, 2021.);

(2) For courses that end four or more weeks before the last day of classes, no later than the last day of final examinations.            

C.For Summer Semester,

For Summer Semester, all grades are due by Friday, August 27, 2021.


Changing Grades

After a professor has submitted a grade to the Office of Records and Registration, the professor may not change the grade unless he or she certifies in writing that it was incorrect as a result of a mechanical computation or transcription error. If a grade is changed as a result of mechanical computation or transcription error the professor must send a memo to the student explaining the reason for the grade change with a copy to the Office of Records and Registration. A grade may  not be changed as a result of a reevaluation of a student’s work.

Under University rule grades may not be changed for any reason after the student has graduated. 

Reporting of Grades

Grades may be obtained by logging onto Albert through NYUHome after the exam period is over and once grades have been entered. Grade distribution information will be posted online on our website as soon as possible after it is received by the Records Office. Students who are in financial arrears will not be able to obtain official transcripts.

Classroom Performance

For non-seminar courses (other than those with 28 or fewer students, including students taking the course on a credit/fail basis, and for which the instructor elects seminar treatment as described below), classroom performance may be a factor in determining the final grade of a student, in the discretion of the faculty member, provided that (a) oral or written notice is given   to the class in the first week of class and (b) the student’s grade shall not, on the basis of such performance, be raised or lowered more than one step (except that a grade may be raised from  an “F” to a “D”), and in no event lowered to an “F.”

Any faculty member wishing to exercise this discretion shall (after his/her final examination papers have been blind graded and tentative grades submitted) receive a list of identifying student information from the Records Office. The faculty member shall then provide to the Records Office a list of such students whose grades may have been raised or lowered. It shall be the faculty member’s responsibility to prepare and transmit to the Records Office a list of his/her final grades.

For seminar courses, classroom performance may be used as a basis for the final grade without limitation on the weight accorded to the participation and without notice to students.

For lecture courses of 28 or fewer students (counting those who take the course on a credit/fail basis), the instructor may elect to grade the class as if it were a seminar and thus may use classroom performance as a basis of the final grade without limitation on the weight accorded, provided that the instructor provides oral or written notice of this election during the first week of class.

In all cases, if an examination is given it must be administered and graded anonymously according to standard practice.

Multiple Submissions and Plagiarism

Regardless of the type of project involved students are, of course, expected to submit original non-duplicative work for each and every course. Moreover, plagiarism or reuse of the student’s work done for another course or academic credit without permission are serious offenses that may merit severe discipline. (See Procedures for Offenses Requiring Formal Discipline, page 46. When in doubt about multiple submissions or the proper use of a citation or quotation, discuss the issue with the instructor.

Dismissal and Suspension

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with and to comply with the rules of conduct and academic regulations of the University and of the NYU School of Law. If, in conformance with these rules and regulations, the withdrawal of a student is required before the end of the term for which tuition has been paid, a refund will be made according to the standard schedule for refunds. Dismissal from the School may be honorable, as in the case of a student dropped solely for poor scholarship, or dishonorable, as in the case of expulsion for violation of the examination rules or   other serious breaches of discipline. Lesser infractions of the rules of the Law School will render the student liable to suspension from classes and cancellation of examinations, with consequent loss of credit or other sanction, including a record notation of “FX.”

Students in the Law School shall not, without the consent of the Dean of the Law School, either as individuals or as a group, use the name of New York University or the Law School in any kind of activity outside the regular work of the School. Violation of this rule is regarded as sufficient cause for dismissal.


The Vice Dean is the ombudsperson of the Law School and entertains queries and complaints in writing dealing with the ABA’s accreditation standards, the University or Law School policy, classes or personnel. The Vice Dean may enlist the assistance of another office of the Law School or University in addressing the particular inquiry. When the Vice Dean is unable to address an issue, he or she may designate a Faculty member. If the Vice Dean has a conflict, the Dean will designate a Faculty member. Students may submit complaints in writing to the Office of Academic Services in-person in Furman Hall, Suite 400 or via email to Complaints will be forwarded to the Vice Dean for review and resolution. The Law School maintains a record of student complaints submitted during the most recent accreditation period, which includes the resolution of the complaint. Such records will be maintained by the Office of Academic Services.