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Class Rank and Grading

To foster the collegial and communal atmosphere for which USC Gould is known, we do not assign individual class rankings to our students. We do, however, publish the grade point average cutoff for the top 10 percent of each class. Students graduating in the top 10 percent of their class — who complete at least 66 units of law studies in graded courses — become members in the national honorary legal scholastic society Order of the Coif.

We use an alphanumeric grading system that allows more nuance than a standard letter-grade system. Numerical grades range from 4.4 (highest) to 1.9 (lowest). A student receiving an A+ might earn a numerical grade of 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 or 4.4, for instance.

Because our admissions process is so rigorous and our student body so strong academically, USC Gould has adopted a curve that is flexible and that encourages you to take a wide variety of courses based on your interests rather than incentivizing you to try to earn an "easy" grade. The mean grade for first-year classes is set at 3.3 (B+), and you will remain in good academic standing so long as your grade point average remains at a 2.70 or higher. The mean first-year grade is set considerably higher than the good-standing requirement. This results in our students competing with themselves to achieve their personal best rather than competing with classmates to remain in the program.