Explanation of Grades

Students' Grades

Grades are not due in the Registrar's Office from professors until close to or after the start of the following academic term. Therefore, they are not available in hardcopy to students until some time after that, as the grades must first be verified, fit to the grading scale, approved by the associate dean and posted to each student's academic record. In the interim, approved grades can usually be viewed by students who have a valid USD email account by going to the Law Student tab of MySanDiego

Grading Policy

The Law School uses the following grading system for first-year students who entered fall 2004 and for all other students effective summer 2005.

Grade Value
A+ 4.33
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1.20
F 1.00
H (Honors) N/A
L (Low Pass) 1.67
P (Pass) N/A

Grading for all first-year courses, except Introduction to the Study of Law, can use any grade from A+ to F on a mandatory curve. The average of the grades for each course must be between 2.95 and 3.05. The grade distribution must be as follows.

  • 20-25% of all grades for the class must be above B+. Within this group of grades, the mean must not exceed 3.85.
  • AND 20-25% of all grades for the class must be below B-. Within this group of grades, 8-12% of all grades for the class must be below C.

Introduction to the Study of Law is graded on the Pass/Fail system, using the above grades Pass (P) and Fail (F).

First-year students who complete the fall semester of their first year of law study and receive two or more grades of C- or a GPA of 2.2 or below will be subject to First Year Academic Supervision pursuant to Academic Rule 1A1g(1).

First-year students who do not maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better at the end of spring semester will be disqualified. Disqualified students who: (1) have a cumulative grade point average of 1.9 or higher; or (2) do not rank in the bottom 3 percent of their respective division (day or evening) may petition for readmission.

Grading for all upper-class courses not on the four-tier system, can use any grade from A+ to F on a mandatory curve. The average of the grades for each course must be between 3.1 and 3.2, i.e., a target of 3.15. The grade distribution must be as follows.

  • 20-25% of all grades for the class must be above B+. Within this group of grades, the mean must not exceed 3.85.
  • AND 25-30% of all grades for the class must be below B. Within this group of grades, not more than 8% of all grades for the class can be below C.

EXCEPTION: The distributions are only recommended, rather than mandatory, for upper-class courses with an enrollment of fewer than 20 students and for graduate tax courses (except Tax I and Tax II). However, the mean for such courses cannot exceed 3.4.

For all students (except those who were first-year students in 2004-2005) the School of Law used the following grading system from summer 1996 through spring 2005:

86-93 = A 
81-85 = B 
75-80 = C 
69-74 = D 
65-68 = F

Generally, the average grade for upper-class courses must be between 79.0 and 81.0, distributed as follows.

89-93 = 5-15% 
83-93 = 30-45% 
65-74 = 0-10%

The grade average and distribution was mandatory for upper-class required courses. (Some exceptions to these average and grade distributions were available for classes with 30 or fewer students where the grade depended on more than a traditional examination and for advanced courses in taxation.)

Contact:

Career and Professional Development
Warren Hall, Room 113
Phone: (619) 260-4529
Fax: (619) 260-6828

Hours

M, T, Th: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
W: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
F: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last advising appointment 1:30 p.m.)

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