The College of Law graduates students at the end of the fall and spring semesters, and at the end of the summer session. A commencement ceremony is held in May. Any student who has graduated during that academic year can participate in the May graduation ceremony. The Law School's academic year begins on the first day of the summer session and ends on the last day of the spring semester.
Students must notify the Assistant Dean of Students if they plan to participate in the graduation ceremony. Announcements about ceremony deadlines and requirements are made throughout the fall and spring semesters.
Time Limits for Graduation
Day division students must complete the J.D. within three years, unless they receive a leave of absence, and evening division students must graduate within four years, unless they receive either a leave of absence or an extension. Leaves of absences and extensions are granted by the Assistant Dean of Students. Under no circumstances are students allowed more than five years to complete the J.D. degree. Evening students must either attend summer sessions regularly or earn a total of 12 credit hours in some semesters in order to complete their degrees in four years. Evening students may take up to 12 credit hours per semester only after completing their first three semesters of law school.
Some students may elect to complete their law studies in less than the normally allotted time. The College of Law permits day division students to enroll in five semesters and two summer session (as opposed to six semesters), as long as all degree requirements are fulfilled. Likewise, evening division students can enroll in seven semesters and as few as two summer sessions (as opposed to eight semesters), as long as all degree requirements are fulfilled.
Regardless of whether they have earned 86 credit hours, day students cannot graduate in fewer than 2-1/2 calendar years and evening students cannot graduate in fewer than 3-1/2 calendar years.
Juris Doctor Honor
Juris Doctor honors designations are awarded in the summer after the spring semester ends. The awards are given to the pool of Juris Doctor graduates who completed the degree in the previous July, December or May, full-time and part-time combined. The degree of Juris Doctor Summa Cum Laude is awarded to the top 5% of the pool of J.D. graduates. The degree of Juris Doctor Magna Cum Laude is awarded to the next 5% (top 10%) of the graduates. The degree of Juris Doctor Cum Laude is awarded to the next 10% (top 20%) of the graduates. The honors notations appear on diplomas and official University transcripts after the recipients are identified at the end of the academic year, normally in July.
Order of the Coif is the national legal honor society, not affiliated with the University. Under its rules, the Order of the Coif may be awarded to the top 10% of the pool of Juris Doctor graduates in a given academic year after the spring semester ends. Recipients are mailed a Coif certificate the following fall. Order of the Coif appears on official University transcripts.
The College of Law mails diplomas in March for February graduates and in July for May graduates. If a graduate plans to move after graduate, he or she should fill-out a change of address form in room 931 two months before commencement, as well as register their change of address with the University through the University Campus Connect System.