Academic Policies



A request for a leave of absence is routinely granted to a student in good standing who has completed one semester of law school. The student must submit a written petition to the assistant dean for student affairs requesting a leave of absence. A student is usually granted only one leave of absence.

A student may request and receive a leave of absence for a period of no more than two years under the following conditions:

1) The student must submit a written request for readmission, preferably by April 1 for fall semester or October 1 for spring semester.

2) The student must remain in good standing while on leave; for example, the student must not become academically deficient at another school attended, be dishonorably discharged from military service or be convicted of a felony.

3) A student granted a leave of absence after the add/drop period has ended for a given semester will receive W grades in all his or her courses and a notation on his or her permanent academic transcript.  NOTE: Any grades already posted for the semester will be converted to W grades.

4) A student who does not return from a leave of absence within two years will be administratively withdrawn and must petition the faculty/student Academic Review Committee for readmission to the Law School.


Students may enroll in law courses during the summer at ABA-approved law schools subject to the following:

1) The assistant dean for academic services must approve in advance the school attended and the courses taken. Approval will be granted only when extenuating circumstances prevail, such as personal or academic hardship. Examples of acceptable hardship are: insufficient credits earned during the academic year due to illness, poor academic performance or financial hardship requiring the student to work part-time.

2) Courses taken must be comparable to offerings in the curriculum at the University of Virginia School of Law (Virginia) in both depth and substance, although the actual subject matter may differ from offerings available at Virginia.

3) Students are expected to attend a law school of comparable quality. If that is not possible in the area where the student is located, the student must attend the best available institution in that area, although that fact alone will not ensure its approval; all requests will be considered on an individual basis.

4) Students may not enroll in courses at the school visited that duplicate courses completed at Virginia.

5) Students who have received an F grade in a course at Virginia will not be allowed to transfer credit for that course from another law school.

6) No summer abroad program will be approved, including those sponsored by ABA-approved law schools.

7) A maximum of six semester credits may be undertaken in summer school.

8) The number of credits undertaken may not exceed the number of weeks in the summer school session (e.g., not more than three credits may be completed in three weeks).

9) Only grades of C (or its equivalent) or better earned at the school attended will be credited toward the Virginia degree. Pass/fail grades will be accepted for courses graded only on a pass/fail basis.

10) Summer school grades are not included in the calculation of Virginia grade point averages or in the consideration of Virginia honors.

11) Students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester during the regular academic year, regardless of the number of credits completed in summer school.

12) Regardless of the number of credits completed in summer school, students must complete six residency semesters to earn the J.D. degree. Summer course work may not be used to accelerate a student’s graduation date.

13) Special limitations apply to summer school students holding outside employment as follows:

a. Students enrolled in courses at the rate of one credit per week of summer school (i.e., three credits in three weeks, six credits in six weeks) may work 10 hours per week.

b. Students enrolled in courses at the rate of one credit per two weeks of summer school (i.e., three credits in six weeks, six credits in 12 weeks) may work 20 hours per week.

c. Students enrolled in courses at the rate of one credit per three weeks of summer school (i.e., three credits in nine weeks) may work 40 hours per week.


All transfer students are responsible for complying with Virginia policies and procedures, including degree requirements (see section I.E). Transfer students can be awarded a maximum of 32 semester credits and two residency semesters at entrance. While transfer students are eligible for Order of the Coif membership, their grades at their prior schools will not be used in considering their eligibility. Questions about transfer credits, degree requirements or other academic issues should be addressed to the assistant dean for academic services.

Because transfer students must be enrolled at Virginia for a minimum of four residency semesters, students awarded two residency semesters at entrance may not participate in full-time externships, exchange programs or other semester/yearlong study abroad programs and may not visit away at another law school. Transfer students interested in dual-degree programs should discuss the possibilities with the assistant dean for academic services.


Academic Policies (continued)