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Voluntary Withdrawal

Any UNC School of Law student who wishes to withdraw must file a request for voluntary withdrawal with the Assistant Dean for Student Development. Approval will be granted or denied by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs only after an investigation of the circumstances and consultation with the Assistant Dean for Student Development. Notification in the manner described in this rule and the deans' approval are prerequisites to honorable dismissal from the institution or readmission to the institution, as described below.

A student may appeal to the dean following any adverse decision on a request for voluntary withdrawal. The dean's decision is final.

The University permits a student who withdraws within the first nine weeks of a term to receive a pro rata refund of tuition paid.

Students who withdraw voluntarily from the law school before successfully completing a minimum of one full-time semester may not seek readmission to the law school in the manner specified in 4.a. below, but must submit a new application for admission.

Leaves of Absence

The Assistant Dean for Student Development or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve a student's leave of absence from the law school. Leaves of absence typically are for one semester or one full year, and return to the school is set for a time certain when the leave of absence is granted. No readmission application is required for students who give notice of their intent to return to the school on the date specified.


Any student who fails to maintain the required scholastic average for any academic year is automatically excluded from the school of law at the close of the spring semester in the year in which such failure occurs. An annual cumulative grade point average of 2.2 is required to continue in law school at the end of the first year, and a cumulative GPA of 2.25 is required to continue after the second year and for graduation.

Visiting at Other U.S. Law Schools

Permission to visit at another ABA approved law school for a semester or year may be granted for reasons of personal or family hardship and medical conditions. Examples of such situations include a student’s spouse being indefinitely transferred to another state and a student needing medical treatment away from Chapel Hill. Seeking employment opportunities in another location is not a recognized justification. A student who visits at another law school takes courses at that school, pays tuition and fees to the visited institution at the visited institution's rate, but graduates from Carolina Law.

Requests to visit at another law school should be made as early as possible. Ordinarily, such requests must be made in writing and absent exceptional circumstances must be made no later than March 31 for a proposed visit during the Fall Semester and no later than October 31 for a visit during the Spring Semester. A student who wants to visit at another school must receive from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs:

  • permission to pursue the visit,
  • approval of the specific law school to be visited, and
  • approval of courses taken there.

Students may receive no more than sixteen transfer credits in any semester and no more than thirty transfer credits in an academic year visiting at another law school.

Before a visit will be approved, a student must have completed all required courses, including professional responsibility, skills, and RWE and WE credits.

A student approved to visit at another law school must be accepted at the approved school. Visiting students are not eligible for scholarships and grants from Carolina Law during semesters in which they visit at another school. Because of the time period required for receiving final grades from the visiting institution, graduating students may participate in UNC's graduation but may not receive an actual diploma at the May commencement ceremony.

Transferring from UNC

Any student who seeks to transfer to another law school must make an appointment with the Assistant Dean for Student Development to discuss his or her transfer request.

The law registrar will not process transfer application requests until the student has met with the Assistant Dean for Student Development. UNC will prepare two transfer applications without consultation with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, but because of the amount of work required to process transfer applications, each additional application requires 60-day notice and approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

See the Enrollment section for information about transferring to UNC.


Readmission After Voluntary Withdrawal

Students who have withdrawn voluntarily, are in good standing and in compliance with the procedures for voluntary withdrawal as outlined above, may be readmitted, provided they can complete the requirements for graduation within a five-year period from their original matriculation. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Student Development and upon a student's application may extend the time period for completion of study to the maximum time period allowed by the American Bar Association's Standard on Course of Study in extraordinary circumstances, including financial-, family-, health-, military service-related circumstances, and other similar circumstances. In considering such an application, the Associate Dean shall consider the extent to which the student's absence has created excessively lengthy gaps in the continuity of the student's education.

A student who has withdrawn without complying with the procedures for voluntary withdrawal in above is presumptively not entitled to presume his or her law study via readmission. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, after investigation and in consultation with the Assistant Dean for Student Development, may consider a request for readmission from such a student if he or she finds that extraordinary circumstances prevented the student from complying with the procedures for voluntary withdrawal.

Readmission After Exclusion for Academic Failure

Students who have been excluded for academic failure may seek readmission. ABA Standards permit readmission after exclusion for academic reasons "upon an affirmative showing that the student possesses the requisite ability and that the prior disqualification does not indicate a lack of capacity to complete the course of study at the admitting school." See ABA Standard 505.

The following are the sole criteria for readmission following any exclusion for academic failure. Each student admitted to the law school is presumed to be able, through diligent effort, to complete the study of law without academic failure. No student who is excluded will be readmitted unless she or he persuades the Faculty Readmission Committee that there is a substantial likelihood that she or he will successfully complete the study of law if readmitted. The committee will give due consideration to all factors positively indicating such likelihood.

At the committee's discretion, such factors may include, without limitation:

  • The degree and type of diligence exhibited by the student while previously enrolled as a law student.
  • The existence, while the student was enrolled, of extraordinary circumstances beyond the student's control (serious illness, unusual hardship or qualitatively similar circumstances) that adversely affected the student's diligence or otherwise contributed to his or her failure.
  • The extent of any improvement in grade point average attained by the student from earlier to later semesters.
  • The nature and extent of the student's experiences since exclusion.
  • The extent of the student's understanding of the reasons for his or her failure.
  • The extent to which the reasons for failure have been alleviated.
  • Any other individual factors positively indicating that there is a substantial likelihood that the student will successfully complete the prescribed study of law.
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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