Notre Dame Law School’s system judges its students against a high Notre Dame standard rather than against student performance at other institutions. Grades are issued based on the following scale:
Notre Dame Law School does not rank students. The University computes law school means for grade point averages, and those are provided below for your information.
(Fall 2016 semester)
|Average Cumulative GPA
(through Fall 2016
|Class of 2017||3.385||3.356|
|Class of 2018||3.381||3.336|
|Class of 2019||3.317||3.317|
Grades for law students shall comply with the following means and distributions:
The law school implemented a grade normalization policy beginning in 2011-12, with mandatory mean and distribution ranges. Law student grades are based on the following means and distributions:
1L Courses (except for 1L elective, which is graded as an upper‐level course, and Legal Writing (I & II))
Mean: 3.25 to 3.30
Distribution: A 8‐14%; A‐ 15‐25%; B+ 25‐35%; B 25‐35%; B‐ 7‐13%; <C+ 0‐10%
1L Legal Writing (I & II)
Mean: 3.15 to 3.45
*Note: Prior to 2015-16, 1L Legal Writing courses were subject to the same mean and distribution as all other 1L courses.
Large Upper‐Level Courses ( ≥ 25 students)
Mean: 3.25 to 3.35
Distribution: A 8‐18%; A‐ 15‐25%; B+ 20‐35%; B 20‐35%; B‐ 5‐15%; <C+ 0‐10%
Paper-Based* Small Upper-Level Courses (10 to 24 students)
Mean: 3.15 to 3.60
*Note: A “paper-based” course is one in which the primary means of evaluating all students in the course is one or more papers, as opposed to an exam or other means of evaluation. Prior to 2015-16, such courses were subject to the same mean and distribution as all other small upper-level courses.
Other Small Upper‐Level Courses (10 to 24 students)
Mean: 3.15 to 3.45
For upper‐level courses with fewer than 10 students, there is no formal grading policy.
Previous Grading Practices
The policy above has been in place since 2011-12, except for the changes in 2015-16 as noted. Prior to the introduction of the 2011 grading normalization policy, the median grade point average for first-year classes was approximately 3.1 each year. There was no grading curve, and the grading scale listed above was in place.
Beginning in the Fall of 1995, the grade of U was assigned a numeric value of 0.000. This assignment is currently still in place.
Effective in the Fall of 1988, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.000), A- (3.667), B+ (3.333), B (3.000), B- (2.667), C+ (2.333), C (2.000), C- (1.667), D (1.000), and F (0.000). As noted above, this grading scale is the one currently in place.
Effective in the Fall of 1986, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.0), A- (3.67), B+ (3.33), B (3.0), B- (2.67), C+ (2.33), C (2.0), C- (1.67, D (1.0), F (0.0).
Beginning with students admitted for the 1981-1982 academic year, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.0), A- (3.67), B+ (3.25), B (3.0), B- (2.75), C+ (2.25), C (2.0), C- (1.75), D (1.0), F (0.0).
Beginning with students admitted for the 1972-73 academic year, the grading system was changed to the following: A, B, C, D and F with no numeric equivalences.
Beginning with the 1969-70 academic year, the Law School discontinued averages, class ranks, and the comprehensive examination. The grading system for courses was converted to Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P), and Fail (F). Where courses were taken overseas, the appropriate grade legends are explained in the semester data.
Prior to 1969-70 the passing grade in all courses as well as the then existing comprehensive examination was 70%. In computing the course average, the courses were weighted by credit hour. This weighted average and the comprehensive examination grade were then added together and divided by two to determine the semester average. The cumulative average was determined by adding the semester averages and dividing by the number of semesters.