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    May 25, 2024  
Draft 2024-2025 Law School Student Handbook 
Draft 2024-2025 Law School Student Handbook

Master of Law Studies

Unless otherwise indicated, the administrative policies and procedures described in other sections of this handbook apply to all students in the School of Law, including Master of Law Studies (MLS) students. Students also should note that the policies, rules and procedures in the Student Handbook are subject to change. Wherever there is a note referring MLS students to differing policies, students can find them stated in this section.

The MLS Program follows the university’s Academic Calendar and the published deadlines apply to these students.

All MLS students have access to all student services, including the law library, online research, computer support, counseling and advising, student organizations, and career services.

Admission Requirements

All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible during the admission cycle. Applicants must register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and submit applications via the LSAC website. Applicants are advised to read the application form thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully. To receive consideration by the Admissions Committee, applicants must submit their applications by the posted deadline. Applications may be accepted after the posted deadline and are reviewed on a space-available basis. Foreign-educated students must submit their official transcripts to LSAC for evaluation. LSAC does not accept evaluations from other credential review services.

A complete MLS program application consists of the following:

  • Completed and signed application form (application fee is not required).
  • Official transcript(s), including the transcript from the applicant’s bachelor’s degree granting institution.
  • Current resume.
  • Statement of purpose.
  • Letter(s) of recommendation (optional).
  • Proof of English-language proficiency (for non-native English speakers).

Note: GRE/LSAT score is not required.

Subject to Documentation

Applicants may be admitted with “subject to documentation” status under the following circumstances: 

  • They have submitted only unofficial transcripts, or they have not submitted official transcripts from their bachelor’s degree-granting institutions.
  • Their U.S. bachelor’s degrees are in-progress and have not yet been conferred.

Students who are admitted with this status are subject to the following:

  • They may enroll in courses for only one academic period under this status.
  • They must submit their official transcripts to the Registrars’ Office by the end of the first academic period in which they enroll in courses. They will not be permitted to register for subsequent academic periods until their official transcripts have been received and their records have been updated accordingly. Note: Graduate students are required to submit official transcripts from their bachelor’s degree-granting institutions only.
  • They are ineligible for Federal Student Aid (i.e., loans) in accordance with federal regulations. See  Financial Planning  for more information.

Registration Policies and Procedures

Course Schedule

The course schedule for each academic period is typically published about one month before the registration period begins to allow for schedule planning. Because the MLS course sections are cross-listed with undergraduate course sections, they are published together on the university’s course schedule page.

Pre-Registration Academic Advising

The following students are required to have their schedules approved by their academic advisor prior to registering:

  • Students who intend to make the credit/no credit grade election.
  • Students who are on academic probation.
  • In addition, students who are planning to graduate at the end of the term for which they are registering should consult with their academic advisor prior to registering.

Registration Process

Students must submit all registration requests via email at

The following kinds of requests are insufficient, and will not be acted upon:

  • Oral/spoken/texted requests.
  • Requests submitted to instructors, deans or academic department chairs or staff members.
  • Requests submitted by anyone other than the student, including family members.

Students are not officially enrolled until tuition and fees have been paid for all registered courses or other acceptable payment arrangements have been made, such as enrolling in a deferred payment plan. Students must pay in full or make other arrangements by the payment due date for the term, as published in the Academic Calendar, or their registrations may be canceled. A student whose registration is canceled due to failure to pay who requests to be reinstated will be assessed a $100 Late Registration fee. Payment in full or other satisfactory payment arrangements must be made before a student’s registration will be reinstated.

Additional rules governing SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) registration and tracking of students attending GGU on F-1 student visas may be found in the International Students section of this handbook.

Adding After the Add Deadline (Late Registration Process)

Students seeking to register for course sections after the “Last Day to Register/Add Course” as specified in the Academic Calendar may be allowed to do so by completing the Late Registration process. To initiate the process, students must submit all the following with their registration requests:

  • Written or emailed approval from the course’s instructor.
  • Written or emailed approval from your academic advisor.
  • A $100 late registration fee. This fee will be charged only once per academic period (fall, spring, or summer), regardless of whether students have already registered for courses in a timely manner within the same academic period. Each academic period includes the trimester “A” term and the two sub-trimester “B” and “C” terms. This fee will be waived only if students present written evidence of extenuating circumstances beyond their control that prevented them from registering before the end of the applicable Add Period. A school’s senior administrator can authorize a fee waiver, but courses instructors may not.

Drop “W” Grade Policy

After the “Last Day to Drop Without Tuition Charge or ‘W’ Grade,” courses that are dropped are automatically assigned “W” grades by the registrar; the only exceptions are for courses that are canceled by the university or when students change from one section to another section of the same course, and both of them are offered in the same academic term. Students are liable for the tuition for all courses dropped after the “Last Day to Drop Without Tuition Charge or ‘W’ Grade.” For specific dates, students should consult the Academic Calendar. Course sections that are dropped after the “Last Day to Drop Without Tuition Charge or ‘W’ Grade” are included in students’ attempted units for evaluating Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid recipients.

Dropping and Withdrawing from Course Sections

Students may withdraw from trimester (“A”) term course sections prior to their second to last week, sub-trimester (“B” and “C”) term course sections prior to their last week, in accordance with the deadlines published in the Academic Calendar. Different deadlines apply to course sections that do not conform to the standard academic terms published in the Academic Calendar. See the “Non-Standard Course Sections” documents published with the Academic Calendar for the deadlines applicable to these course sections. Students who have been conditionally admitted or placed on academic probation must consult with their academic advisors before dropping or withdrawing from courses or before withdrawing from the university completely.

Course sections that are dropped before the “Last Day to Drop Course Without Tuition Charge or ‘W’ Grade,” as published in the Academic Calendar, which is approximately the end of the third week of the course section, will not be recorded on students’ transcripts and the tuition charges will be credited in-full to their accounts. Course sections from which students withdraw after this deadline will be recorded on their transcripts with “W” grades and they will be financially liable for the tuition charges.

To officially withdraw from courses, students must drop (or withdraw) from them online via the myGGU Self-Service web application or submit drop (or withdrawal) requests in writing by email or in-person to the Office of the Registrar. Making oral/spoken requests or submitting written requests to their instructors or any other university office is insufficient. Requests for withdrawal or change-to-audit status will not be approved after the “Last Day to Withdraw from Course, Change to Audit Status, or Elect CR/NC (pass/fail) Grading” as published in the Academic Calendar. Students will receive grades for all courses in which they remain enrolled after this deadline.

Last Date of Attendance (LDA)

When students withdraw from courses after the “Last Day to Drop Course without Tuition Charge or ‘W’ Grade,” as published in the Academic Calendar, their withdrawal dates will be recorded as their last dates of attendance (LDA) for these courses. When students cease to attend class meetings or participate in online courses without officially withdrawing from them, their instructors will assign them “F” grades, and will submit their last dates of attendance (LDA) to the Registrar’s Office. When applicable, the university will report students’ LDAs to 3rd parties that have provided funding for their education, such as the U.S. Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

When determining students’ LDAs for submission in association with “F” grades, instructors will select the latest of either: 1. Students’ last dates of physical presence in the classroom; or 2. Students’ last dates of participation in academically related activities.

Academically related activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • submitting an academic assignment;
  • taking an exam, completing an interactive tutorial, or participating in computer-assisted instruction;
  • attending a study group that is assigned by the school;
  • participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
  • initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.

Academically related activities do not include activities where students may be present but not academically engaged, such as:

  • logging into an online course without active participation,
  • participating in academic counseling or advisement.

See the Attendance Requirements policy for more information regarding the potential consequences of “Last Dates of Attendance” for Federal Student Aid and VA Education Benefits recipients.

Financial Aid Recipients Who Withdraw Completely From All Courses

Financial aid recipients who withdraw from all courses during a financial aid award period (fall, spring, summer) must notify the Financial Aid Office by email at after submitting the proper withdrawal request to the registrar. Complete withdrawal may be accomplished by dropping or withdrawing from all enrolled courses.

Auditing Courses

Students who are enrolled in an MLS program are not allowed to audit courses.  

Credit/No Credit Grade Election

With the approval of their Program Director, MLS students may take up to six units of elective courses on a credit/no credit grade basis. The deadlines for submitting the Election for Credit/No-Credit Grade form is published in the Academic Calendar.

Enrollment Status Classifications and Reporting

The university classifies students’ enrollment statuses based on their academic levels and the number of units in which they are enrolled during an academic period. Academic periods include the fifteen-week (trimester) “A” terms and the corresponding seven and a half-week “B” and “C” sub-terms.

Enrollment Status Classification: Less Than Half Time Half Time Three-quarter Time Full Time Overload*
Number of Enrolled Units for Academic Period: 2 or fewer units 3 units 4-5 units 6 or more units 15 or more units

For the purposes of awarding Federal Student Aid, these classifications do not apply to students who are registered in only one seven and a half-week term (e.g., Fall B). Students must also register for another term in the same academic period, which can be either the other seven and a half-week term or the fifteen-week trimester term, to be awarded financial aid. Otherwise, the student will be classified as “less than half time,” regardless of the number of registered units.

The Office of the Registrar reports the enrollment statuses for all students who are enrolled in each enrollment period to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) on a monthly basis. The report includes the beginning and ending dates of each student’s actual enrollment period and the student’s enrollment status (e.g., half time, full time, less-than full time, graduated, withdrawn). The NSC makes this information available to the U.S. Department of Education (NSLDS), lending institutions, prospective employers, verification agencies, and others seeking to verify a student’s enrollment.

The information reported to NSC includes directory information as defined under Student Rights Under FERPA  policy. Students who do not want their directory information released by the NSC to inquirers (except to lenders), must submit a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form to the Office of the Registrar. The form is available on GGU4YOU or from the Office of the Registrar.

*Students must receive permission from their advisors or program director to enroll in overload units (i.e., 14 or more units).

Grading Policies and Procedures

Grading System

The MLS program uses the university’s grading system, which consists of a four-point scale, including plus (+) and minus (-) grades. Grade point values are assigned as follows:

A+ Outstanding 4.0
A Outstanding 4.0
A- Outstanding 3.7
B+ Good 3.3
B Good 3.0
B- Good 2.7
C+ Fair 2.3
C Fair 2.0
C- Fair 1.7
D+ Poor 1.3
D Poor 1.0
D- Poor 0.7
F Failure 0.0
IF Incomplete Failure 0.0

The following symbols have no grade point value and are not used in the calculation of students’ grade point average: AU (Audit), I (Incomplete), CR (Credit), NC (No Credit), W (Withdrawal), UW (Unofficial Withdrawal).

Grade Point Average Calculation

Students’ grade point averages (GPAs) are calculated by dividing the total grade points they have earned by the total letter-graded units they have completed. Only Golden Gate University courses are used in the calculation of students’ GPAs. Courses completed at other institutions that are transferred into GGU are recorded with “CR” grades on students’ GGU transcripts and are therefore excluded from their GGU GPA calculations. In addition, courses that are graded on a CR/NC (pass/fail) basis are not included in students’ GPA calculations.

The table below illustrates how a student’s GPA would be calculated in accordance with these policies and the grading system above:

Course 1 A- 3.0 11.1  
Course 2 B+ 3.0 9.9  
Course 3 A 1.0 4.0  
TOTAL   7.0 25.0 GPA = 3.57

Graduate students’ GPAs are calculated by academic level and academic program, and they may have more than one graduate-level GPA if they pursue more than one graduate-level program. Graduate students’ program GPAs are used for evaluating them for academic standing and for degree conferral purposes on a program-by-program basis, but they are not recorded on students’ transcripts.

Students’ GPA calculations are frozen at the point in time when their degrees are awarded. Courses taken after their degrees are awarded are not included in their degree program GPAs, even if they are associated with the same academic level for which their degrees were conferred.

Grade Curves and Anonymous Grading

Since the MLS courses will not be graded using mandatory curves (i.e., grade distributions), the courses will not be graded anonymously using exam ID numbers.

Retaking A Course

MLS students who have received a “D” or lower grade in a specific course, or who are on academic probation, may retake a course with permission of, or may be required to retake a course by the Program Director. The grade from the second attempt is the grade that will be calculated in the student’s GPA, whether or not it is higher than the first grade earned. The first grade will not be calculated in the student’s GPA, but the course and grade will appear on the student’s transcript as having been repeated. All tuition charges and fees associated with the second attempt must be paid by the student.

Academic Standing

Students are required to achieve and maintain “good” academic standing as they progress toward completion of their degrees. Students are evaluated for academic standing following each 15-week academic period. Students who are not in good academic standing will be placed on academic probation, and may eventually be academically disqualified from the university, under the standards described below.

Good Academic Standing

To maintain “good” academic standing and to be conferred a degree, MLS students are required to achieve a minimum 2.50 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) in their academic programs. Students’ program GPAs are calculated using all courses taken at GGU that are applicable to their academic program requirements, including: prerequisite courses, proficiency courses, foundation courses, undergraduate courses taken to satisfy graduate program foundation requirements, required courses, and elective courses. Coursework that is completed at other institutions or at GGU prior to completing an undergraduate degree may be used to satisfy graduate program requirements, but this coursework will not be used in calculating students’ program GPAs.

In addition to achieving an overall minimum 2.50 GPA, MLS students must earn a grade of “D” or better grade for courses to be used to satisfy their program requirements. Students may repeat required courses or repeat/replace elective courses with other elective courses to raise their program GPAs to meet the minimum GPA requirement. However, prior to completion of the repeat or replacement courses, the original course grades will continue to be included in their program GPA calculations. Consequently, students may be placed on academic probation until they raise their program GPAs, as described below. Regardless of whether students repeat courses or replace them with different courses in their program GPA calculations, their original courses and grades will continue to appear on their academic transcripts.

Academic Probation

Graduate students whose GPAs fall below the minimum GPA requirement stated above will be placed on academic probation. However, students whose GPAs fall below 1.00 in either of their first two terms will be automatically academically disqualified and will not have the option of a probationary period. The probation period will be the lesser of nine units, or the units remaining for completion of their academic programs, during which time students must achieve the minimum required GPA. Alternatively, students may create probation plans that reasonably ensure they will achieve the minimum required GPA. Student-created plans must be approved by the Program Director within 30 days of being placed on academic probation. Students who are on academic probation must consult with their academic advisors and receive approval of their courses prior to registering each academic period. Students will be officially removed from probation status after the completion of the trimester term in which they achieve the minimum required GPA.

Academic Disqualification

Graduate students on academic probation who fail to meet the Good Academic Standing standards by the end of their probation periods (measured in units) and conditionally admitted students who fail to meet the conditions of their admission within their conditional periods (measured in units) and students who are automatically disqualified without a probation period will be academically disqualified. Students may appeal the decision to the Academic Standards Committee. See Academic Disqualification Appeal Process below for more information.

Disqualified students are restricted from enrolling in any courses at Golden Gate University unless their appeals are approved or they are readmitted to the university. Disqualified graduate students may not enroll in courses as auditors, certificate-seeking, or as open enrollment status students. Disqualified graduate students may apply for admission to undergraduate programs and, if admitted, enroll in undergraduate-level courses.

To be considered for readmission, disqualified students must apply for admission after a period of time in which significant achievement and/or resolution of difficulties indicate a change in the conditions that contributed to their initial disqualification. One year is the minimum time period usually required for such a change in conditions. Students will be notified at the time of their disqualification of their minimum required waiting periods before they may apply for readmission.

Academic Disqualification Appeal Process

Graduate students who wish to appeal their disqualification to the Academic Standards Committee must submit a Disqualification Appeal form via GGU4YOU, within 45 working days after the end of the specific term that resulted in their disqualification. The Academic Standards Committee (ASC) will review the disqualification appeal and render a decision within 10 working days of receiving the appeal. Students whose disqualification appeals are granted may enroll in courses for the trimester term that begins immediately after the date their appeals are granted.

Fast-track Disqualification Appeal: Graduate students who wish to appeal their disqualification immediately after notification must submit a Disqualification Appeal form via GGU4YOU to the ASC, within 10 working days after receiving the notice of the disqualification. The ASC and the program director will review fast-track disqualification appeals and render decisions within 5 working days of receiving appeals. Students whose fast-track disqualification appeals are granted may enroll in courses for the trimester term that begins when their appeals are granted. Students should be aware that their preferred courses, particularly those with waitlists, may no longer be available for enrollment at the time their appeals are approved. Students whose fast-track disqualification appeals are denied may still elect to appeal through the normal disqualification appeal process.


Applying for Graduation

MLS students should review their anticipated completion dates, displayed on their progress reports via the myGGU Self-Service web application, and notify the Registrar’s Office if they need to be adjusted. 

To be considered a candidate for graduation, students must apply for graduation online via the myGGU Self-Service web application. For students wanting to participate in the annual commencement ceremony, graduation applications must be submitted by December 1 of the year prior to the commencement ceremony. Students seeking to graduate and have their degrees conferred must apply online regardless of whether they intend to attend the commencement ceremony. Only students who are in good academic standing and good financial standing will be eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony.

The graduation application deadline is dependent upon a student’s final academic period (i.e., trimester term) of enrollment:

Fall 2024 December 1, 2024
Spring 2025 April 1, 2025
Summer 2025 August 1, 2025

Failure to apply by these deadlines may result in a delay in the conferral of candidates’ degrees and the conferral of their degrees may be deferred beyond their final terms of enrollment at GGU.

If students do not complete their academic program requirements within two academic periods following those for which they have applied, their graduation applications will expire, and they will be required to reapply for graduation in the future to have their degrees conferred.

Note: completing the graduation application allows the Registrar’s Office to order students’ diplomas with their preferred names and ensures that students will receive communications regarding the commencement ceremony. Completing the application form does not include ordering regalia, which is a separate process.

Graduation Honors

Honors are awarded to master’s degree graduates who earned program cumulative grade point averages (GPAs) in their academic programs as follows:

With highest honors 4.000 GPA
With high honors 3.900-3.999 GPA
With honors 3.800-3.899 GPA

Honors are awarded as of the date graduates’ degrees are conferred. Honors appear on both graduates’ diplomas and official transcripts. 

Academic Program Requirements