J. Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals
When a student’s course of study is interrupted, the interruption is categorized as either a leave of absence or a withdrawal. In general, a leave of absence is intended for a student who is in good standing, who needs to suspend their enrollment for a short period of time (for example, due to a medical condition), and who intends to return to the Law School immediately following the leave of absence. By contrast, a program withdrawal (as opposed to a course withdrawal addressed by section VI.D.) is generally intended for other situations, such as when a student needs to suspend their enrollment for a longer period of time or does not intend to return to the Law School. The process for readmission following a leave of absence is less demanding than following a withdrawal.
1) LEAVES OF ABSENCE FROM DEGREE PROGRAM
a) Description and Conditions
The assistant dean for student affairs has the authority to grant or deny a request for a leave of absence. A student who is in good standing and has completed one semester of law school (including completion of all examinations) may submit a written petition requesting a leave of absence to the assistant dean for student affairs. The petition should be submitted prior to the start of classes for the semester during which leave is desired or, if the semester has already begun, the petition must be submitted on or before the last day of classes for that semester. The petition for a leave of absence should provide an explanation for the reasons for the requested leave and the expected length of the leave. If the leave of absence is not granted, the student may instead withdraw from the Law School pursuant to section J.2.
A student may be granted only one leave of absence, and any further absence shall be considered to be a withdrawal pursuant to section J.2. A leave of absence is normally granted for no more than one year; under no circumstances will a leave of absence be granted for more than two years.
A student granted a leave of absence after the add/drop period has ended for a given semester will receive W grades in all of their courses. NOTE: Any grades already posted for the semester will be converted to W grades.
Any student seeking a leave of absence must meet with the director of financial aid as a condition of approval from the assistant dean for student affairs. The meeting may be held in person, by telephone, or by video conference. A leave of absence shall not be granted until all amounts due to the Law School are paid in full. Any student on a leave of absence must continue to abide by the Law School’s and the University’s student conduct requirements. The assistant dean for student affairs may impose additional conditions upon which the leave is granted.
A student who has satisfied all of the conditions of their leave of absence may request readmission to the Law School by submitting a written request for readmission to the assistant dean for student affairs by April 1 for fall admission or October 1 for spring admission. The assistant dean for student affairs will provide the student with the relevant form and may request additional information or documentation in support of the readmission request. The student must meet any additional conditions that are deemed warranted by the assistant dean of student affairs upon return to the Law School.
A student who has failed to comply with one or more conditions of their leave of absence or who does not return to the Law School following a leave of absence will be deemed to have voluntarily withdrawn, and any readmission will be governed by the provisions of section J.2, not section J.1.
2) WITHDRAWALS FROM DEGREE PROGRAM
There are four types of withdrawal — (a) voluntary withdrawal, (b) administrative withdrawal, (c) withdrawal (exclusion) due to academic deficiency, and (d) required withdrawal — each of which is described below. The process for readmission after withdrawal is described in section (e).
a) Voluntary Withdrawal
A student who wishes to withdraw voluntarily from the Law School must submit a written notification to the assistant dean for student affairs. A student who withdraws after a semester has begun must do so on or before the last day of classes for that semester. A student who withdraws after the add/drop period has ended will receive W grades in all courses. NOTE: Any grades already posted for the semester will be converted to W grades.
b) Administrative Withdrawal
A student who ceases attending the Law School without an approved leave of absence or voluntary withdrawal, or ceases carrying at least nine credits during a semester, or fails to meet Law School administrative obligations will be administratively withdrawn and assigned “W” grades in all courses for that semester. Administrative obligations whose breach triggers administrative withdrawal include, but are not limited to, when a student fails to timely meet Student Financial Services obligations; when a determination is made by the Admissions Office that a material duty to disclose or amend has not been satisfied; or when a first-year student does not satisfy the final, official transcript requirement by October 15 (which is a condition of admission to the Law School).
1) They must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.7.
2) They must accumulate fewer than three exclusion points. D grades earn one exclusion point; F, NC and U grades earn two exclusion points. The number of credit hours for a particular course will not be considered in calculating exclusion points because the relevant consideration is the number of independent faculty judgments about a student’s performance and not the number of hours per week that a course meets.
Students are evaluated for withdrawal (exclusion) as follows:
- Students who fail to earn a minimum GPA of 2.7 during an academic year will be withdrawn (excluded).
- Students who accumulate three or more exclusion points during a semester will be withdrawn (excluded) at the end of that semester. Students who accumulate three or more exclusion points during an academic year will be withdrawn (excluded) at the conclusion of that academic year.
- Students who accumulate three or more exclusion points or a GPA of less than 2.7 during their final academic year will not be awarded a degree and will be withdrawn (excluded).
Readmission after withdrawal (exclusion) due to academic deficiency is granted only in exceptional cases.
d) Required Withdrawal
The Law School reserves the right to require the withdrawal of any student who, in the opinion of the faculty, is not profiting or is not likely to profit by the instruction offered or whose conduct fails to comply with the Law School’s academic and non-academic student conduct requirements. The faculty has delegated the authority to make such determinations to the Academic and Professional Standards Committee under the procedures outlined in section VII. Readmission after required withdrawal is not permitted.
e) Readmission After Withdrawal
A student may petition for readmission after withdrawal as long as such readmission is consistent with the Law School’s degree requirements, in particular the requirement regarding the length of the course of study described in section I.E. Readmission after withdrawal (exclusion) due to academic deficiency is granted only in exceptional cases. Readmission after required withdrawal is not permitted.
A student who withdraws from the Law School prior to the completion of at least one semester (including completion of all examinations) and who wishes to resume their studies must reapply for admission through the Admissions Office in accordance with the deadlines and procedures set by that office.
A student who withdraws from the Law School after the completion of one semester (including completion of all examinations) and who wishes to resume their studies must petition the Academic Review Committee for readmission by April 1 for fall admission and by October 1 for spring admission. Any petition for readmission shall be prepared in the form required by the Academic Review Committee. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a student must wait at least three months from the time of the withdrawal before submitting a petition for readmission.
The Law School reserves the right to impose additional conditions upon any student seeking readmission after withdrawal.
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, including transfers into the J.D. program from the Law School's LL.M. program, are responsible for complying with the Law School’s 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. Credit will not be awarded for work taken in a summer study abroad program or for work experience at their prior schools. 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.
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 their options with the assistant dean for academic services.