I. General Duties of Students
A. Presumptive Knowledge of Rules and Announcements
1. An M.S.L. student is presumed to know all the academic rules and all other requirements and rules that apply to the M.S.L. program of the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
2. An M.S.L. student is under an obligation to regularly read the relevant notices posted on the official glassed-in bulletin boards or on the website, placed in student mailboxes, or delivered to students’ UA Little Rock email accounts. Students will be on constructive notice of any matter announced by any of the above methods.
B. Burden to Comply with These Academic Rules
1. The burden is on the student to demonstrate compliance with all requirements.
2. This burden includes the responsibility to follow up on written petitions and to make certain that granted petitions are signed by the appropriate person(s).
3. A student is responsible for keeping track of the student’s own credit hours and completion of required courses for graduation.
4. Any misrepresentation by a student in submitting petitions or any other matters will be deemed a violation of these rules and the Code of Student Conduct.
II. Graduation Requirements
A. Students in the M.S.L. program must complete 30 credits of legal study, including the following:
1. Legal Institutions and Methods, which must be taken in the student’s first semester. This requirement is waived for a student who receives credit for RWA I with a grade of 1.7 or higher.
2. At least two core courses from the JD curriculum. At least one core course must be taken in the student’s first semester. Core courses are listed in Appendix A.
3. A capstone requirement of a rigorous academic writing experience filled by either 1) completion of the Upper Level Writing Requirement (ULWR) through a ULWR course or an independent study thesis project, or 2) completion of a successful appellate brief in Research, Writing, and Analysis II.
B. Students in the M.S.L. program wishing to further concentrate their studies must take 18 credits in courses relevant to their concentration. Curriculum lists for each concentration are listed in Appendix C.
C. Degree with Honors: M.S.L. students graduating with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher will be designated as graduating with honors.
D. Time Limit For Completion Of Degree: Students must complete their degree requirements within five years after first enrolling in either the M.S.L. program or the JD program.
E. An M.S.L. student must earn at least 15 credits of legal study in courses taken as an M.S.L. student at this law school.
III. Curricular Standards
A. Regular and Punctual Attendance
1. Regular and punctual attendance is required in all courses. A student who fails to maintain regular attendance may be dropped from the course, from the M.S.L. program, or both.
2. Prompt and regular attendance and preparation, or lack thereof, and class participation may be considered by the individual instructor for determining grades and by the faculty and the Dean for determining honors, awards, scholarships, recommendations, and similar matters.
3. Specific attendance, preparation, and class participation requirements by an instructor in a particular course shall be announced by the instructor at the beginning of the course and made known to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
B. Maximum and Minimum Number of Hours for Which Students May Register
1. Maximum Number of Hours: An M.S.L. student may not register for more than 16 credit hours in any semester. Overloads will never be allowed under any circumstances.
2. Minimum Number of Hours: An M.S.L. student must take and stay enrolled in no fewer than 5 credits their first semester, but otherwise there is no minimum number of hours per semester.
C. Rule Governing Student Employment: Because the M.S.L. curriculum in the full-time division is designed to occupy substantially all of a student’s working hours, just as it is for full-time JD students, a full-time M.S.L. student is governed by the student employment rules that govern JD students.
D. Rule on Withdrawal From Courses
1. An M.S.L. student may not withdraw from the Legal Institutions and Methods course.
2. An M.S.L. student may withdraw from other courses according to the rules governing the JD program.
E. Rule Regarding Courses Taken for Credit in Other Programs or at Other Institutions
1. Prior approval required: Students wishing to take courses for credit toward the M.S.L. degree at another law school shall apply to the Associate Dean for permission to do so before the student enrolls in such course and provide information on the specific course or courses to be taken. Such prior approval will be required to receive credit toward our degree for such courses.
2. Students wishing to transfer from Bowen’s JD program to the M.S.L. program shall apply to the Associate Dean. Students must be in good standing to apply to transfer. Transfer students will start the M.S.L. program no earlier than the semester following their approval.
3. No M.S.L. student may transfer to the JD program. M.S.L. students who wish to become a JD student must go through the regular JD program admission process. Courses taken by an M.S.L. student may not transfer to satisfy any requirement of the JD program.
4. Standards for Approval of Courses: The Associate Dean may deny approval or grant approval for a reduced number of transfer credit hours only in the following circumstances:
a) Transfer credit shall be denied for courses in subjects not comparable to courses offered at this school and not considered by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to be of substantial value.
b) The number of hours of transfer credit granted for any course taken at another law school may be limited to such number of semester hours as are granted for a comparable course offered at this school, or, in the case of a course not comparable to any course offered at this school, to such number of semester hours as the Associate Dean deems appropriate;
c) The amount of transfer credit granted for any course will not exceed the semester hour credit (or the semester hour equivalent for quarter hour credit) earned at the school where the course was taken.
5. Minimum grade required: Transfer credit will be granted only for courses in which the student earned a grade at or above the grade point average necessary to remain in good standing at the school where the course was offered. Credit will be granted for courses taken on a “credit/no credit” basis, only for courses in which the student earned a “credit.”
6. Grade point average, class rank, honors, and prizes: For purposes of cumulative grade point average, transfer credits will not enter into the computation for purposes of class rank, honors, and prizes; the courses will be treated as pass-fail courses for purposes of cumulative grade point average.
F. Duty To Take Examinations And Complete Other Coursework As Scheduled: M.S.L. students shall be governed by the same examination and coursework rules as JD students.
IV. Academic Standards
A. Instructors shall assess the scholastic achievements of their students.
B. The law school gives each instructor the option to allow students to type their exams. If an instructor allows typing, students must use a software program approved for this use by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This policy does not apply to courses with take-home exams or papers.
1. It is recognized that anonymous grading may not be possible within the M.S.L. program.
2. When practicable, work should be graded with a rubric or other equivalent written guidance setting forth for students the instructor’s substantive expectations for the work.
3. Class participation alone must not make up more than 10% of a student’s final grade in a course. However, in seminar courses an instructor may increase the allocation of class participation to as much as 30% of a student’s final grade if that instructor provides written guidance to students on how both the quality and quantity of class participation is scored.
4. Mandatory grade scale: M.S.L. students are graded with letter grades.
A (4.0) — superior work
B (3.0) — average work
C (2.0) — unacceptable work
D (1.0) — failing work
F ——— failing work
Other grading symbols: Credit (CR) or No Credit (NC) may be given in certain courses instead of the usual letter grades.
5. An instructor shall not change a student’s grade after submitting his or her final grades to the registrar except for a computational error or for a clerical error in recording the grade or to change a grade of Incomplete to a final letter grade.
6. Minimum Required GPA to Remain in Good Standing. To remain in good standing, a student must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0.
7. Failing Grades: If a student receives a failing grade, the student will not receive credit for the course.
D. M.S.L. students who fail to maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA are put on academic probation at the end of the semester. Students who fail to raise their GPA above a 3.0 after the next 12 hours of enrollment, or who mathematically cannot raise their GPA above this level within 12 credit hours, are academically dismissed from the law school.
E. The mandatory and recommended means and their associated rules do not apply to M.S.L. students.
V. Rules for Deferral, Leave of Absence, or Withdrawal from the Program
1. Deferral of Admission means a delay in enrollment as a first-year student until the following academic year.
2. Leave of Absence means a temporary absence from the Law School upon specific conditions and for a specific duration as established by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
3. Withdrawal means an indefinite or permanent voluntary departure from the Law School without completing requirements for graduation.
B. Deferral of Admission. A student who has not completed one semester’s work may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to defer admission until the following fall semester, subject to the following conditions.
1. The student must show good cause for deferral of admission.
2. Upon a finding of good cause, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall grant the petition.
C. Leave of Absence. Any student in good standing who has completed one semester’s work or more may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a leave of absence, subject to the following conditions.
1. A former student who has withdrawn from the Law School may not later petition for a leave of absence.
2. The student must show good cause for a leave of absence.
3. Upon a finding of good cause, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall grant the student a leave of absence for a specific duration, subject to specific conditions as stipulated by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
4. Any leave of absence granted in accordance with these rules does not alter or affect the rule that a candidate for the M.S.L. must complete all course requirements for graduation within five years of the student’s initial enrollment.
5. A student who has completed one semester’s work or more and either (i) overstays a leave of absence, or (ii) stops attending classes without being granted a leave of absence, will be academically dismissed from the M.S.L. program.
1. To withdraw from the M.S.L. program, a student must complete and submit a Withdrawal Form to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for approval.
2. A former student who has withdrawn from the M.S.L. program and who seeks to be admitted again must file a new application. The Admissions Committee will consider the new application under the admission policy in effect at the time of filing. In determining whether the applicant qualifies for admission, the Admissions Committee will consider the applicant’s previous academic record.
3. A student who withdraws from the M.S.L. program before completing one semester’s work may not later petition for deferral of admission.
E. Credit for Work Previously Completed. A former student who withdraws from the M.S.L. program after completing one semester or more, and who is later admitted to the M.S.L. program, may apply to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to receive credit for work previously completed in a course for which a final grade was given.
1. The Associate Dean will base the decision to award credit upon the quality of the work completed and the length of time elapsed since its completion.
2. The Associate Dean will not award credit for courses in which the student earned a grade below the grade-point average necessary to remain in good standing at the law school where the course was offered, or for any course work completed more than two academic years before the year of admission to the M.S.L. program.
VI. Miscellaneous Provisions
A. Waiver Of Rules
1. Any provision of these Academic Rules can be waived or modified by the Dean or the Dean’s designee (who may be an individual or a standing or ad hoc committee of the faculty) if the Dean or the Dean’s designee determines that failure to waive or modify such provision would place the Law School in violation of law.
2. Before waiving or modifying any provision pursuant to section (a) of this Rule, the Dean or the Dean’s designee should consult with any appropriate committee of the faculty (not including the student members of such committee), or with any appropriate ad hoc committee, to the extent such consultation is practicable and would not place the Law School in violation of law.
3. After waiving or modifying any provision of the Academic Rules pursuant to section A 1 of this Rule, the Dean or the Dean’s designee should notify the faculty of any such waiver or modification, to the degree such notification can be given without placing the Law School in violation of law. For example, the faculty might be advised that a particular Academic Rule had been waived or modified without naming the student on whose behalf such waiver or modification was granted.
B. Effective Date
1. These rules shall go into effect on February 14, 2022.
2. Revisions to these rules will go into effect on the date of their approval by the faculty or on some other date as specified by the faculty.