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Hours Required, Time Limits, Required GPA

Hours for Graduation

UNC School of Law requires 86 hours for graduation.

Maximum and Minimum Times for Graduation

The ABA prohibits completion of the Juris Doctor degree in less than 24 months (ABA Standard 304(c)). Law School policy requires students to complete the J.D. within 60 months after the student has commenced the study of law.

Required Grade Point Average

To continue in law school, a cumulative GPA of 2.2 is required after the first year. Students must maintain a 2.25 GPA to continue after the second year and to graduate.

Graduation Participation

Students are expected to complete and pass all course work toward the J.D. degree in order to participate in spring commencement exercises. Dual-degree students must complete the requirements for both degrees in order to participate. A student who lacks only three to six hours of law credits who is registered for summer school and has applied for and is eligible to take a July bar examination may be allowed to participate in commencement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A student who completes his or her law degree requirements in December may participate in either the campus-wide December commencement or the following May commencement.


The law school awards honors designations to students who graduate with high grade point averages. Honors designations are not made until all of the spring grades have been turned in, so students who graduate with honors receive a diploma so noted near the end of the summer.

  • Highest Honors = any student achieving a 4.0 or higher.
  • High Honors = the top 10 percent of the class.
  • Honors = the top one-third of the class.

An August or December graduate will be awarded honors, high honors or highest honors if the graduate's GPA was equal to or higher than that of the lowest students awarded honors, high honors or highest honors who graduated the previous May.

Order of the Coif

The top 10 percent of the graduating class is eligible for election by the faculty into the Order of the Coif, the national legal honorary scholastic society. Only students who have completed at least 75 percent of their law studies in graded courses are eligible for consideration. The Order of the Coif defines "graded courses" as those for which academic accomplishment is recorded on the basis of educational measurement involving four or more discriminators. Because UNC accepts transfer credits but not grades, it is unlikely a transfer student can meet the 75 percent rule and qualify for Order of the Coif.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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