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Pass/Fail

  1. General Guidelines
    A. Conversion of a letter grade to a "Pass" (applies to students who matriculated in May 2009 or thereafter)
  2. Transfer Students
  3. LLM Students
  4. Non-Law Course (applies to all J.D. students regardless of matriculation date)
  5. Minimum Grade Needed to Receive "P" on Transcript
  6. Honors
  7. Questions

I. General Guidelines

A. Conversion of a letter grade to a "Pass" (applies to students who matriculated in May 2009 or thereafter)

During a specified three-week period that begins approximately six weeks after the conclusion of each term, J.D. students who matriculated in May 2009 or thereafter may elect to convert a "C" or better letter grade to a "Pass" in an eligible course or seminar ONLINE at the Law School's Office of Student Records' Web site.

An announcement will be placed on M Law Live when a term's three-week Letter Grade Conversion to "Pass" election period is in effect and the election deadline will be announced at that time.

Each term, the Law School's online pass/fail system is unavailable for grade conversion elections until after ALL grades have been posted for the term. The deadline to convert a letter grade to a pass will vary term-to-term depending on when grade posting is finalized. Grade posting is typically finished 2 weeks after the grade submission deadline for a term.

Ordinarily, grade conversions to "Pass" on transcripts are processed within a few days after the three-week grade conversion election period ends. If you are sure that your decision to elect Pass/Fail is final and you would like to expedite the grade conversion process for a particular course, click the "Expedite" button for that course AFTER you have set your election to Pass/Fail. An expedited grade conversion to "Pass" request will be processed within two business days after the election.

To make an election during the three-week Letter Grade Conversion to "Pass" election period, please go to:

You will see a list of the classes that you took during the most recent term. On the left side you will see the Pass/Fail column which indicates the current grading basis election for each class. Click on the Graded or Pass/Fail link to change the election for each class. By clicking "Graded," the link will change to "Pass/Fail." If you want to change back to "Graded," click the "Pass/Fail" link. Each click will generate an automated e-mail message to you indicating your current elections for the term; please check your e-mail to confirm the accuracy of your elections. Also, make sure to log-off the system when you are finished!

***You can change your election online anytime during the three-week election period until the established deadline passes, unless you choose the "Expedite" option which finalizes before the deadline your grade conversion to "Pass" election. An expedited election for grade conversion to "Pass" cannot be changed, even if the three-week election period has not yet ended. Once the deadline has passed, all conversions of a letter grade to a "P" become final and may not be reversed, revoked, or transferred.***

A student may NOT convert a letter grade in any required first-year course.

Courses and seminars that are INELIGIBLE for grade conversion to "Pass" election are indicated on the Class Schedule by footnote 1 (Mandatory Pass/Fail) or footnote 2 (Mandatory Graded).

A student may only convert a letter grade to a "P" in two courses or seminars during the student's entire law school career.

For complete rules regarding conversion of a letter grade to a "Pass," please refer to Part One, Section VI B of the Law School's J.D. Academic Regulations.

Students interested in electing to convert letter grades to "Pass" in two eligible classes that are connected to each other (e.g., a Seminar and its associated Seminar Supplement or Corporate Finance and its associated Tutorial) and have them count as one election should contact lawrecords@umich.edu for assistance. Students are not obligated to convert a letter grade to a "P" in both related classes. Rather, students may exercise the conversion option for neither, one, or both related, eligible classes.

Formula to determine the impact on GPA prior to making an election: GPA is MHP (Michigan Honor Points) divided by MSH (Michigan Semester Hours). When you convert a letter grade to "P" the MHP & MSH values for that class become zero. Remove the MHP & MSH values for the class that you are considering for grade conversion and then divide MHP by MSH to determine what the new GPA would be.

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II. Transfer Students

Transfer students may elect a first-year course on a "Pass/Fail" basis.

Transfer students who started in Fall 2010 or thereafter: To elect pass/fail in a first-year course, use the Law School's online pass/fail system OR file a "Pass/Fail" form in the Law School's Office of Student Records (300 HH) during the term's three-week election period for conversion of a letter grade to a "Pass"; an announcement will be made on M Law Live when the three-week election period begins each term and the deadline will be announced at that time.

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III. LLM Students

LLM students are required to take ALL of their courses on a graded basis. Therefore, you may not elect pass/fail.

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IV. Non-Law Course

Regarding Non-Law Courses, the following applies to all J.D. students regardless of matriculation date:

A student MUST have course approval (course approval requests are placed ONLINE using the External Enrollment link under "Registration" on the Law School's Office of Student Records' Web site). Those who receive a grade of "B-" or higher and want the mandatory limited grade of "S" vs. the letter grade to show on the transcript MUST file a "Pass/Fail" Form in the Law School's Office of Student Records (300 HH) by the beginning of the exam period of the department, school or college offering the course. Note that the examination periods of most non-law departments, schools or colleges begin earlier than the Law School's examination period in the fall and winter semesters. The online "Pass/Fail" election system is not available for non-law courses!

If a student earns a grade below B-, the student will NOT receive credit toward the law degree. The grade, however, will be posted on the transcript to show that the course was attempted and cannot be converted to the mandatory limited grade of "S."

Grades for non-law courses are NOT factored into the grade point average of law students.

Non-law courses do NOT count toward the 62 graded credit hours required for honors eligibility for J.D. students, as described in Part One, Section III, Paragraph 2 of the Law School's J.D. Academic Regulations.

Electing to have the mandatory limited grade of "S" replace the non-law course grade shall not alter the number of credit hours that a J.D. student who matriculated prior to May 2009 may take in Law School courses under the Limited Grade Option OR the number of Law School course grades that a J.D. student who matriculated in May 2009 or thereafter may convert to a "P," as described in Part One, Section VI of the Law School's J.D. Academic Regulations.

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V. Minimum Grade Needed to Receive "P" on Transcript

LAW COURSES:  If a student elects to take a law course "pass/fail" and gets a C or better grade, a "P" will appear on the transcript. However, if a student gets a C- or lower grade, THAT grade will appear on the transcript. (There are ways to raise the grade to a C. In the unlikely event that you receive a C- or below, please make an appointment to see Dean David Baum or Director Darren Nealy. Grades that are successfully raised to a C are ineligible for pass/fail election.) Be advised, a student who elects to take a class on a limited grade option basis and gets a C- or lower grade will NOT receive the "P" grade and STILL have used up those pass/fail credits. You will receive credit for the class for any grade above an "E."

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VI. Honors

To be eligible for a J.D. degree with honors and election to Order of the Coif, a student must earn a minimum of 62 credit hours in courses at the Law School which are fully graded and factored into his or her honor point average. Mandatory limited grade credit for courses at this law school (e.g., Legal Practice, Clinics, and Externships) and from courses taken elsewhere, either in other schools and colleges of the University or at other law schools after enrollment at this law school, do NOT count toward the 62 graded credit hours. For provisional advanced standing students (generally transfer students), limited grade credit hours for fully graded courses taken at other law schools before admission to this law school DO count toward the 62 graded credit hours. Likewise, for students who spend one or two terms at another law school for a compelling and unusual personal reason pursuant to the Law School's J.D. Academic Regulations, limited grade credit hours for fully graded courses taken at other law schools DO count toward the 62 graded credit hours. The G.P.A. cutoff for cum laude is 3.400. If a student does NOT qualify for degree honors, there is no limit on mandatory limited grade credits.

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VII. Questions

If you have questions about how to elect pass/fail or pass/fail deadlines, please contact Jane Ozanich by phone at 734.763.3419 or by e-mail at jozanich@umich.edu.

If you have questions about pass/fail related to degree requirements or honors, please contact Jack Atkinson, Registrar, by phone at 734.763.6499 or by e-mail at magnette@umich.edu.

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