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Grading System

Overview

The Law School grading system uses both numerical grades and letter grade equivalents. Numerical grades range from 1.9 to 4.4 with letter-grade equivalents ranging from F to A+. The system differs from a typical letter-grade system (in which A=4.0, A-=3.7, and B+=3.3, etc.) in that faculty can assign intermediate numbers, such as 3.4. For example, although both 3.3 and 3.4 are grades of "B+", the 3.4 carries a slightly higher numerical value, and therefore contributes to a higher GPA. This combination of letters and numbers was selected because the letters can be easily understood by all potential employers, while the intermediate numbers allow more gradations and therefore more nuance than a simple system of letters only.

Grade Scale

The chart linked below shows the current numerical and letter grades as well as the equivalent grades on the old 65-90 grading system used for students entering before the Fall 2001 semester. These equivalents are provided for informal guidance only. Grades may be reported only in the manner in which they are recorded and displayed officially on the transcript or Record of Academic Performance (RAP). Grades may not be converted from one system to the other for reporting purposes:

Click Here for the Grade Scale

A grade above 1.9 (F) or a grade of CR must be earned to receive credit toward the 88 units required for the Juris Doctor degree. Courses will not be counted towards the J.D. degree when a grade of 1.9 (F) is entered.

Sometimes students may notice markings other than "CR" or a numerical grade on their records. Other markings which may appear on the transcript or RAP are:

  • IP - "In Progress"--No grade is yet reported; IP represents the first half of a two-semester course; grade reported at the end of the second semester.
  • MG - Missing Grade; faculty member did not submit a grade for the student for the course; or faculty member submitted a numerical grade when a non-numerical grade is required, or vice versa.
  • W - Withdrawal, approved by academic petition to the Registrar, no grade entered.
  • IN - Incomplete; assigned when work is not completed because of documented illness or other "emergency" occurring after the twelfth week of the semester.
  • IX- If a mark of IN is not removed within one calendar year it becomes a grade of IX, and is calculated into the GPA as a failing grade.

Normalization

In order to achieve fairness and consistency across classes and courses, the average and the distribution of grades in Law School courses are controlled following USC Law's historic grading patterns.

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