Grades & Ranks

Class Rankings

Updated Sept. 5, 2012

View Current Class Rankings Here

At the end of each semester, students are included in the first year, second year or third year class lists and are given a class rank based on their position in their class list.  Classes are ranked by expected date of graduation.

When calculating the class rankings for the first year and second year classes, summer grades are included in the rankings for the following Fall semester.

The graduating class ranking is determined as of the end of the summer semester and includes all students graduating within the academic year (preceding fall and spring semesters and current summer session).

For comparison purposes, the table below provides important benchmarks for the most recently completed academic year.


Class Rankings Benchmarks Based on
Cumulative GPAs at the End of the Summer 2013





Top 10 %




Top 25%




Top 33%








Top 66%




Top 75%




Rules for Determining Class Levels

In order to register for courses students are assigned a class level.  Those class levels are determined as follows:

  1. First Year Students: A first year student is one who has received lesson more  than 24 hours of law school grades;
  2. Second Year Students: A student who has between 25 and 56 (inclusive) of law school grades;
  3. Third Year Students: A third year student is one who has received more than 56 hours of law school grades;
  4. Law School Grades: As used herein, "law school grades" means grades counting towards credit at the School of Law. Failing grades do not count as "law school grades;"
  5. Effect of Summer School. The determination of class level is made ONLY at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters. A student's class level will NOT, therefore change at the end of summer school;
  6. Exceptional Circumstances: In cases of students in unusual situations, including, for example part-time or unusually heavy or light-load semesters, a determination will be made on the basis of dividing the student's law school career into relatively equal periods for the first, second and third years;

Computation of Grade Point Average (GPA)

Grade point averages are based only on law school courses taken at this school and only upon "graded courses." For the purpose of computing grade point averages a "graded course" is one which is graded on the 65-100 scale.
A grade point average is obtained as follows:

  1. The "grade points" for a graded course are obtained by multiplying the numerical grade for the course by the credit hours for the course.
  2. The "grade point average" is obtained by dividing the total grade points for all graded courses by the total number of hours for all graded courses.

In computing grade point averages, all graded courses are included. When a course is repeated, the grade and hours for both takings are included in computing cumulative grade point averages subject to the following exception:
A student who is required to repeat a course will have his or her cumulative grade point average computed as follows: If the grade on the repeated course is 81 or higher, neither the hours nor the grade for the previous taking of the course will thereafter be used in the computation of the student's cumulative grade point average. The earlier grade will, however, remain on the transcript.
The School of Law's Standards and Readmissions committee has adopted the following course repeat policy:

  1. Students who petition the Standards Committee for readmission may be required to repeat any or all courses previously completed;
  2. Students who achieve a grade in a course above the graduating average are not eligible to repeat that course;
  3. Students who achieve a passing grade in a course that is below the graduating average are eligible to petition the Standards Committee for permission to repeat the course. The Standards Committee may grant such petition based on exceptional circumstances;
  4. Students who fail a non-required course are eligible to petition the Standards Committee for permission to repeat the course. The Standards Committee may grant such petition based on exceptional circumstances.
  5. Students who fail a required course are required to repeat that course, unless, in exceptional circumstances, repeating the course is waived.

Note: When a course is repeated only the hours for one taking may be credited toward meeting the graduation requirement of having passed 89 hours, without regard to how the course is treated for computing grade point averages.
Grade point averages are computed for each student by semester, year, and cumulatively. The fall semester grade point average includes the courses taken in the fall semester and courses taken in the preceding summer session. The yearly grade point average is based upon courses taken during a student's first, second and third years.

Dean's List

A student qualifies for inclusion on the Dean's List with a semester average greater than 85.999.

Good Standing

After the first semester of the first year, a student is in "good standing" at the School of Law if the student’s cumulative GPA is greater than 76.399.  Thereafter, a student is in "good standing" at the School of law when both the student's current semester and overall GPA are greater than 77.499.

Grades and Grading

General Information
The grades recorded in the School of Law are the official grades and the determination of grade point averages and satisfaction of law school requirements is based on the grades recorded in the School of Law.

Grading Scale
Grades are recorded in the School of Law as numerical grades ranging from 65 through 100 or, where authorized, by the letters "S" (Satisfactory) and "U" (Unsatisfactory). The grades of S and of 70 through 100 are passing grades and carry course credit. The grades of U and of 65 through 69 are failing grades and carry no course credit. A 70 is the lowest passing grade and a cumulative grade point average greater than 77.499 is the minimum required for graduation.

The numerical grades do not correspond to percentages and do not necessarily correspond to traditional letter grades (i.e., 80 to 90 does not necessarily correspond to a “B”).  It is perhaps more helpful to think of numerical grades in terms of benchmarks. 

For first-year courses the following benchmarks are relevant:

  • Top 10%                93 and above
  • Mean                     83 to 84
  • Median                   83 to 84
  • Bottom 10%          78 and below

Similar benchmarks are regularly followed on upper-level required courses (e.g., Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility).  There are no benchmarks for non-required courses.

Anonymous Grading
With the exception of Independent Research, and any of the activities that satisfy the writing requirement, if grading is to be done other than anonymously, the syllabus shall so state. Professors do not know the names of students until after grades are turned in to the Dean's Office. Professors may not obtain the names of students prior to assigning a class rank order for grades. The rank order may not be changed after the names are known.

Grades from myZou

Students may obtain their grades from myZou. In addition to the student’s  PawPrint, when checking grades for only one course, students must know the course number of the course. This information is available on the  Course Descriptions page.

Student Honors

J.D. Degree Cum Laude

Any student with a graduating grade point average greater  than 96.999 is eligible for the designation of Juris Doctor Summa Cum Laude upon graduation.

Any student with a graduating grade point average within the top 7% of the graduating class is eligible for the designation of Juris Doctor Magna Cum Laude.

Any student with a graduating grade point average within the top 12% of the graduating class is eligible for the designation of Juris Doctor Cum Laude.

Order of the Coif

The Order of the Coif is a national law school honor society, founded for the purpose of encouraging legal scholarship and of advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession. It has established chapters in the leading law schools of the country. Its members are selected by the faculty from the top ten percent of the graduating class and rank highest in scholarship and whose achievements as students make them worthy of this distinction. Selections are made after sixth semester grades and rankings have been determined.  To be eligible for membership in the Order of Coif students must complete 75% of their law studies in graded courses.   Starting in 2014, transfer students will be considered as having completed their first year of law studies in graded courses for purposes of calculating the 75% of coursework in graded courses requirement.

Order of Barristers

The Order of Barristers is a national law school honor society founded for the purpose of promoting legal advocacy and of advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession. Members are selected based upon participation and excellence in the advocacy programs of the School of Law.