Grading Policy

Authorized Grades
All course work at Northwestern University School of Law is graded on a 4.33 grading scale. The authorized letter grades and their assigned numerical values are:

A+ 4.33
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
D 1.00
F 0.00

Authorized grade entries also include:

  • W - Withdrawal
  • CR - Credit
  • NC - No credit
  • I - Incomplete (Exam not yet taken or research paper not yet submitted)
  • IP - In progress (Grade not yet received. Delay approved by faculty and Dean of Students)

Mandatory Curve Policy
A mandatory curve is applied to all courses with more than 40 students enrolled. A professor in such a course must distribute the grades as follows:

Grade
Maximum %
Minimum %
A+
7
3
A
15
12
A-
15
10
B+
30
15
B
35
20
B-
15
10
C+
7.5
0
C
7.5
0
D/F
7
0

Note that compliance includes both the high and low range.

Good Academic Standing/Rules on Academic Disqualification
To maintain good academic standing, a student's grade point average must meet or exceed 2.25. Complete details regarding our policies on maintaining good academic standing and rules on academic disqualification may be found in sections 2.08 and 3.02 of our Rules and Regulations (pdf).

Reporting of Class Rank
Class rank is not computed, nor is any entry concerning class rank recorded on the official record of any student.

Honors - Classes of 2001 and 2002
Honors are conferred under a transition rule during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 academic years as follows:

Summa cum laude
(at the discretion of the faculty)

Magna cum laude
4.00 GPA but at least the top 3%

Cum laude
3.63 GPA but at least the top 30%

Honors - Class of 2003 and subsequent

Summa cum laude
4.20 GPA

Magna cum laude
3.97 GPA

Cum laude
3.65 GPA

LLM Honors
An LLM student who earns a 3.5 GPA or higher will be awarded the degree of Master of Laws with Honors.

Order of the Coif
The Northwestern University School of Law Order of the Coif dates from 1907 and consists of those faculty members elected to the Order.

Consistent with National rules, the Northwestern Chapter may elect to membership any graduating senior who has completed at least 75% of his or her law studies in graded courses and whose grade record ranks in the top 10% of all graduating seniors of the school.

The Northwestern Chapter need not select the maximum eligible and elects only those eligible who, in the opinion of the voting members of the Chapter, are deemed truly worthy of the honor. The Chapter takes into consideration law school activities contributing to the total legal education of the candidate.

Dean's List
Fall/Spring Semesters: A full-time law school student may be placed on the Dean's List for a particular semester if his or her grade point average for that semester is 3.50 after rounding off to the nearest hundredth of a point.
Summer Term:  Dean’s List is exclusively awarded to new AJD students starting their program in the Summer Term.  A full-time AJD student may be placed on the Dean’s List for Summer term if his or her grade point average for the term is 3.50 after rounding off to the nearest hundredth of a point.  
Intersession:  Dean's List will not be awarded for Intersession.