List of law school GPA curves

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Many, or perhaps most, law schools in the United States grade on a curve. The process generally works within each class, where the instructor grades each exam, and then ranks the exams against each other, adding to and subtracting from the initial grades so that the overall grade distribution matches the school's specified curve (usually a bell curve). "The curve" is the permitted range of each letter grade that can be awarded, for example, 0-3% A+, 3-7% A, etc. Curves vary between different law schools, as do the rules for when the curve is mandatory versus suggestive. It is common for the curve to be mandatory for first year ("1L") courses, and for classes above a certain size.

Grading on a curve contributes to the notoriously competitive atmosphere within law schools. "The main source of this competition is the mandatory curve you will likely encounter once you enter law school. The curve affects the class rank, affects the chances of making law review, affects the chances of scoring that big job/externship."[1] Some law schools set their curve lower to retain scholarship funding; others set their curve higher to make their students more competitive in the job market.

The following list shows where law schools set the 50% mark for an individual class subject to the curve. Because not all classes are curved and because professors still have discretion within the curve's ranges, where a law school sets its curve is not necessarily revealing of that school's average student GPA (whether after 1L or upon graduation).

The list[edit]

Law SchoolGPA Curve
Mississippi College School of Law2.50–2.79(1L)
University of Akron School of Law2.78[2]
University of Alabama School of Law3.20[3]
Albany Law School3.07[4]
American University Washington College of LawNo official curve. Median GPA of 3.48[5]
Appalachian School of Law2.50–2.67[6]
University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law3.29[7]
Arizona State University, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law3.30[8]
University of Arkansas School of Law2.67[9]
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law3.0[10]
Ave Maria School of Law3.08[11]
University of Baltimore School of Law2.86[12]
Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law2.75[13]
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law3.16[14]
Boston College Law School3.32[15]
Boston University School of LawNot Reported (Top-third: 3.51)[16]
Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School3.30[17]
Brooklyn Law School3.25[18]
Case Western Reserve University School of Law3.0 (3.1 Median)[19] for 1Ls, varies from (3.2–3.67) for 2L/3Ls
UCLA School of Law3.0 in First Year Courses; 3.2 Median in Most Upper Division Courses [20]
Chapman University School of Law2.80[citation needed]
Charleston School of Law2.67–3.00[citation needed]
University of Cincinnati College of Law3.0 in First Year Courses; 3.3 Median in Most Upper Division Courses[21]
Columbus School of Law2.80–3.00[22]
University of Connecticut School of Law3.0 Median
Cornell Law School3.35[23]
University of Dayton School of Law2.80 (1L); 3.00 (2L/3L)[24]
University of Denver Sturm College of Law3.00 (median); 2.85–3.15 (mean)[25]
Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law2.8–3.0 [26]
Duke University School of Law3.30[27]
Duquesne University School of LawFor each first-year course and all upper-level courses of 15 or more students, the faculty suggests that 20–25% of the grades be A- or above, 50–60% of the grades be B- to B+, and 20–25% of the grades be C+ or below.[28]
Elon University School of Law3.39 (based on a scale where 2.8 was equivalent to C and 4.3 was highest A)[29]
Emory University School of Law3.3[citation needed]
Florida Coastal School of Law2.50 (1L mean); 2.70 (2L/3L mean)[30]
University of Florida Levin College of Law3.15[citation needed]
Fordham University School of Law3.19[31]
George Mason University School of Law2.70–3.10 [32]
The George Washington University Law School3.15–3.25[33]
Georgetown University Law Center3.322[34]
University of Georgia School of Law2.90[35]
Georgia State University College of Law2.9-3.1[36]
Gonzaga University School of Law2.60–2.90[37]
Thomas Jefferson School of Law2.7[38]
University of Houston Law Center2.9–3.1 (1L mean)[39]
University of Idaho College of Law2.70[40]
University of Illinois College of Law3.20 (1L mean)[41]
University of Kansas School of Law2.80–3.00 (1L mean)[42]
University of Kentucky College of Law2.9–3.1[43]
Lewis & Clark Law School3.0 (1L and classes with more than 20 students); 3.3 expected maximum (all other courses) [44]
Louisiana State University, Paul M. Hebert Law Center2.60 (1L); 2.80 (2L/3L)[45]
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law3.017[46]
University of Massachusetts School of Law1.9–2.3[47]
Massachusetts School of Law2.0[48]
University of MemphisCecil C. Humphreys School of Law2.67[49]
University of Michigan Law School3.13–3.25[50]
University of Minnesota Law School3.00–3.33[51]
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law2.942 (median grade – grading guidelines vary by year in school and type of course)[52]
North Carolina Central University School of Law1.67–2.33[53]
Northwestern University School of Law3.26[54]
Ohio Northern University, Pettit College of Law2.33 (L1) – 2.66 (L2/L3)[55]
Ohio State University Moritz College of Law2.70[56]
Oklahoma City University School of Law2.17–2.60[57]
University of Oregon School of Law2.67–2.75[58]
Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson School of Law2.90–3.10[59]
Quinnipiac University School of Law3.02[60]
Roger Williams University School of Law2.65–2.85 1L; 2.80–3.1 2L[61]
Rutgers School of Law–Newark3.00[62]
St. John's University School of Law3.30 (median); 2.95–3.05 (mean)[63]
Saint Louis University School of Law2.80[64][65][66]
University of San Diego School of Law2.95–3.05[67]
University of San Francisco School of Law2.73–2.99[citation needed]
Seattle University School of Law3.1–3.2[68]
Seton Hall University School of Law3.0[69]
University of Southern California School of Law3.30[70]
South Texas College of Law2.85–3.15[71]
Southern Illinois University School of Law2.55–2.80[72]
Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law3.093 1L/2E; 3.090 2L/3E; 3.198 3L/4E (graduating)[73]
Southwestern Law School2.90 (1L mean); 3.00 (2L/3L mean)[74]
Suffolk University Law School3.02 (1L); 3.16 (2L/3L)[75]
Syracuse University College of Law2.90–3.10[76]
Temple University Beasley School of Law3.05[77]
University of Tennessee College of Law3.0(1L); 3.1 (2L); 3.2–3.3 (3L)[78]
University of Texas School of Law3.30[79]
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law3.00[80]
Thomas M. Cooley Law School2.00–2.40[81]
Tulane University Law School3.20–3.30[citation needed]
University of Tulsa College of Law2.50–2.67[82]
University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law3.38[83]
Valparaiso University School of Law2.50–2.70[citation needed]
Vanderbilt University Law School3.17[citation needed]
Vermont Law School3.00[citation needed]
Villanova University School of Law3.25[84]
Washington and Lee University School of Law3.34[85]
University of Washington School of Law3.40[86]
Whittier Law School2.50–2.75 (1L); 2.50–2.88 (2L/3L)[87]
University of Nevada, Las Vegas: William S. Boyd School of Law3.0[88]
Widener University School of Law2.30–2.75 (1L), 2.50–2.85 (Upper Level Required), 2.50–3.10 (Upper Level Elective, >20 students), 2.50–3.40 (Upper Level Elective, ≤20 students)
William Mitchell College of Law3.00[89]
University of Wisconsin Law School2.85–3.10[90]
University of Wyoming College of Law2.60–3.00[citation needed]

Class rank and GPA not reported[edit]

Irregular grading systems[edit]

The following law schools have adopted a grading system which does not allow for the calculation of a comparable median GPA on a 4.0 scale, if any GPA is recorded at all:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Competition and the Mandatory Curve in Law School," Apr. 18, 2006, CALI's Pre-Law Blog ("The main source of this competition is the mandatory curve you will likely encounter once you enter law school. The curve affects the class rank, affects the chances of making law review, affects the chances of scoring that big job/externship.") See also, Barbara Glesner Fines, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, "Competition and the Curve
  2. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=33601&yr=2010
  3. ^ http://www.law.ua.edu/academics/curriculum/grading/
  4. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=23301&yr=2010
  5. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp
  6. ^ http://www.asl.edu/documents/standards.pdf
  7. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=80301&yr=2010
  8. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=80302&yr=2010
  9. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=70401&yr=2010
  10. ^ http://ualr.edu/law/files/2010/11/Grade-Scale-and-Mandatory-CurveforWebsite.doc.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=32306&yr=2010
  12. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=52101&yr=2010
  13. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=51008&yr=2010
  14. ^ http://law.hofstra.edu/pdf/adjfr_grade_curve.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=12201&yr=2010
  16. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=12202&yr=2010
  17. ^ BYU Policies and Procedures
  18. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=23302&yr=2010
  19. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp
  20. ^ http://cdn.law.ucla.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/records%202/summary%20of%20academic%20standards%20as%20of%2008-31-09.pdf
  21. ^ http://law.uc.edu/current-students/resources/college-law-rules#sec8
  22. ^ CUA/CSL
  23. ^ Cornell OCS
  24. ^ http://law.udayton.edu/NR/exeres/6106124D-A155-454A-92A9-1160E03172DF.htm
  25. ^ DU Law Student Handbook
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ Duke OCS
  28. ^ Duquesne University School of Law Academic Bulletin
  29. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=53407&yr=2010
  30. ^ FCSL Student Handbook
  31. ^ http://law.fordham.edu/career-planning/1416.htm
  32. ^ George Mason Academic Regulations
  33. ^ http://www.gwsba.com/wp-content/uploads/WHITEPAPERS_Final.pdf
  34. ^ http://abovethelaw.com/2009/12/harvard-law-and-georgetown-law-make-grading-easier/2/
  35. ^ [law.uga.edu]
  36. ^ http://law.gsu.edu/resources/registrar/College_of_Law_Bulletin_2011-2012.pdf
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ [3]
  39. ^ UHLC Policy Handbook
  40. ^ No Grade Inflation at Idaho
  41. ^ Illinois Academic Policy Handbook
  42. ^ http://www.law.ku.edu/academics/regulations.shtml
  43. ^ http://www.law.uky.edu/index.php?pid=272
  44. ^ http://law.lclark.edu/academics/whats_what/grading_system_probation_and_dismissal/
  45. ^ http://www.law.lsu.edu/globals/sitelibraries/currentstudents/lsulawcatalog/LSULawCatalog_20092010.pdf
  46. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=71902&yr=2010
  47. ^ "University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth Student Handbook". Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  48. ^ http://www.mslaw.edu/Directory_Reg_Standing.htm
  49. ^ http://memphis.edu/law/currentstudents/calendars/academic_regs2013.pdf
  50. ^ http://www.law.umich.edu/currentstudents/registration/Pages/gradingguidelines.aspx
  51. ^ http://www.law.umn.edu/careers/grades.html
  52. ^ http://law.umkc.edu/pdfs/grading.pdf
  53. ^ NCCU
  54. ^ [4]
  55. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=33607&yr=2010
  56. ^ Moritz Law 2006 rankings Moritz Law Registrar
  57. ^ http://www.okcu.edu/law/
  58. ^ http://www.law.uoregon.edu/career/empgrading/
  59. ^ Penn State Dickinson School of Law – www.dsl.psu.edu
  60. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=10701&yr=2010
  61. ^ http://law.rwu.edu/academics/curriculum
  62. ^ http://law.newark.rutgers.edu/career-development/about-our-law-school
  63. ^ St. John's Student Handbook
  64. ^ SLU First Year Rankings
  65. ^ SLU Second Year Rankings
  66. ^ SLU Third Year Rankings
  67. ^ Grading
  68. ^ http://www.law.seattleu.edu/Academics/Curriculum/Grading.xml
  69. ^ http://law.shu.edu/Students/academics/examinations/Grading-Curves.cfm
  70. ^ USC Handbook
  71. ^ [5]
  72. ^ Southern Illinois University School of Law Rules
  73. ^ SMU OCS Current through Spring 2013
  74. ^ http://www.howtochoosealawschool.com/how_to_pick_a_law_school_updated_010.htm
  75. ^ NALP SULS GPA
  76. ^ Syracuse University College of Law Academic Rules
  77. ^ Temple University Class Rank Report
  78. ^ http://www.law.utk.edu/administration/records
  79. ^ "UT Law – Student Affairs Office – Grading Policy". Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  80. ^ Texas Wesleyan University – Home
  81. ^ Wise, Carolyn C (2007-02-15). The Law School Buzz Book. ISBN 9781581314243. 
  82. ^ The University of Tulsa College of Law
  83. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=84502&yr=2010
  84. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=23906&yr=2010
  85. ^ W&L Admissions
  86. ^ http://www.law.washington.edu/Students/Academics/Grading.aspx
  87. ^ http://www.law.whittier.edu/pdfs/cstudents/Whittier-Law-School-Policies-2009-2010.pdf
  88. ^ [6] §8.06
  89. ^ http://web.wmitchell.edu/students/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/2011-2012-Handbook-2.pdf
  90. ^ Wisconsin Students
  91. ^ Columbia Law School: Grading, accessed March 22, 2007
  92. ^ http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2008/12/nyus-new-grading-curve.html
  93. ^ New York University School of Law | Grades & Academic Standards (J.D. & LL.M.), accessed August 19, 2007
  94. ^ Rutgers University School of Law – Camden Grading System, accessed June 12, 2009
  95. ^ http://www.nalplawschoolsonline.org/ndlsdir_search_results.asp?lscd=23102&yr=2011 NALP Directory of Law Schools – Rutgers School of Law-Newark
  96. ^ [7], accessed March 16, 2009
  97. ^ Notre Dame Law School Grading Policy, accessed November 26, 2012
  98. ^ Penn Law Information on Law School Grades
  99. ^ Grading Policy, law.berkeley.edu, accessed June 9, 2011
  100. ^ http://law.campbell.edu/employers/class-rank-percentages.pdf
  101. ^ Harvard Law School Handbook of Academic Policies 2009–2010
  102. ^ http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/careers/ocs/employers/about-our-students/grading.html
  103. ^ Student Handbook, law.howard.edu, accessed July 5, 2013
  104. ^ Stanford Law School Grading System, accessed December 7, 2010
  105. ^ top-law-schools.com
  106. ^ Washington University School of Law | Grades, accessed Nov. 14, 2010
  107. ^ Yale Law School | Grades, accessed March 22, 2007