I. Admission Requirements and Rules Applicable to All Graduate or Certificate Programs
A. Scope and Applicability of Rules (rules revised by faculty 5/29/14; 2/4/16)
- Programs Offered. The UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law (UNH Law) offers graduate degrees in Commerce and Technology, Intellectual Property, and International Criminal Law and Justice. These rules apply to all students who are enrolled as graduate degree or graduate certificate candidates at the law school.
- Applicable Rules. Unless otherwise stated herein, the Academic Rules I through XVIII of UNH Law Juris Doctor program apply to graduate and graduate certificate students.
B. General Admission Requirements
- General Standards. Admission will be based on clear evidence that an applicant can complete the required coursework. The Graduate Programs Admissions Office will notify applicants admitted to UNH Law Graduate Programs, in writing.
- Degree Required for Admission.
All Master’s Degree applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
All LL.M. applicants must have completed a:
- LL.B., or
- recognized "equivalent law degree" or credentials that demonstrate "equivalent qualification" through relevant professional experience outside the United States as determined by the Graduate Program Admissions Committee. As a general rule, the Committee only reviews "equivalent qualification" where the applicant has earned a baccalaureate degree, and five years experience in international intellectual property law experience as a practitioner or academic. Candidates admitted without a law degree under this provision must complete thirty (30) credits from a selection of required and elective curriculum. (amended by faculty 12/15/2016; 6/1/2018)
- Applicants seeking admission based on “equivalent qualification” are reviewed holistically and on a case-by-case basis.
- Proof of English Language Ability. All international applicants shall submit current proof of English language ability that meets one of the requirements of (a) – (e) below.
- UNH Law accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC). Other tests may be accepted upon review and approval of the Admissions Committee.
- UNH Law requires TOEFL scores of 213 (computer), 550 (paper), 80 (iBT) or IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEIC score of 605. Required scores on other tests accepted upon review and approval of the Admissions Committee will be set by the Admissions Committee.
- UNH Law will not accept scores from examinations taken more than three (3) years prior to application to the program.
- Applicants from English-speaking countries are exempt from this requirement.
- International applicants, who have received their undergraduate degree from a school where the language of instruction was English may have the proof of English language requirement waived with permission of the Director of Graduate Programs if:
- The applicant’s transcripts clearly indicate that the language of instruction was English; or
- The applicant submits a letter from an official school administrator certifying that the instruction language of the school was English at the time the applicant attended the school.
- The Admissions Committee or the Admissions Staff, along with faculty participation to assess for English language proficiency required for the classroom environment, may waive the proof of language ability requirement under compelling circumstances. If an applicant does not meet the minimum English language proficiency requirement as set forth in (a) – (e) above, the Committee may request an online or telephone interview to assess English language capability. If the applicant demonstrates sufficient spoken and listening language skills then the committee may admit the applicant.
- Admitted international students may be eligible for extra time on examinations. Students who seek such accommodations must comply with UNH Law Juris Doctor Academic Rules and Regulations rule III F (9).
- Deferred Admission. If after an applicant has been accepted to a graduate program and has made the nonrefundable deposit the student must request deferred admission due to unforeseen circumstances, the Admissions Staff will consider a student’s request to defer admission to the following semester or to the same term (spring/fall) the following year subject to the following conditions:
- The request must be made in writing. If approved, the applicant will be required to submit a nonrefundable deferment deposit within thirty (30) days. The deferment deposit, along with the seat deposit, will be credited toward the applicant’s tuition.
- An admitted student may defer admission no more than three (3) times.
- The tuition noted on the applicant’s original Letter of Admission is valid only for the term in which the applicant has been admitted. Any deferred applicant who later matriculates is charged the tuition of the academic year in which the matriculant enrolls. Likewise, any financial assistance awarded is offered for the term accepted. Deferred applicants must apply for new financial assistance prior to the semester in which the applicant will matriculate. Deferred applicants may be required to submit an updated CV or any other relevant materials, as requested by the Admissions staff. Financial assistance requests must be requested by deadlines established by the Admissions Staff and Financial Aid Office.
C. Graduate Program Grading
- Letter Scale. All graduate degree and graduate certificate candidates, except joint degree candidates, will be graded on a “High Honors”, “Honors”, “Pass”, and “Fail” grading scale.
- S/U Option. A student may exercise the option not to receive a letter grade (HH-F scale) in one elective offering, unless the instructor has limited the evaluation to letter grades only. This option is available for a (1-3) credit course. A student may not exercise the S/U option for a course needed to fulfill a degree requirement or for a course needed to fulfill an elective requirement. For this purpose, a course which would qualify as meeting a requirement, which the student has already satisfied is an elective. In the event of successful completion of such offering, the student shall receive a grade of Satisfactory (S). In the event that such offering is not successfully completed, the final grade shall be Unsatisfactory (U). A grade of S is not calculated in the GPA, while a grade of U is equivalent to a failing grade and impacts the GPA. No student under the jurisdiction of the Committee for Academic Standing and Success shall be allowed to opt for S/U grading without permission of the committee. (Adopted by faculty 3/5/2015)
- Rank and Curve. Graduate degree candidates will not be given a class rank nor will their grades be factored into any curve applicable to JD students enrolled in the same course.
- Assessments. In courses in which graduate and JD program students are enrolled, a professor may administer alternative exams or assessments for non-JD students.
- Grade Values. For purposes of converting graduate program grades into a grade point average, the following values will be applied:
- A High Honors equals 4 points;
- A Honors equals 3 points;
- A Pass equals 2 points; each
- A Fail grade equals zero points.
- Numerical Equivalents. A “High Honors average” will include any numerical average of grades on this scale falling at or above 3.5. An “Honors average” will include any numerical average of grades on this scale falling at or above 3.0 and below 3.5. A “Pass average” will include any numerical average of grades on this scale falling at or above 2.0 and below 3.0.
- LL.M. Degree Candidates GPA Requirements
- Degree candidates who hold a JD degree must maintain an “Honors” average to be granted the LL.M. degree.
- Degree candidates who do not hold a JD degree must maintain a “Pass” average to be granted the LL.M. degree.
- Master’s Degree GPA Requirements. Master’s candidates must maintain a “Pass” average or higher to be granted the Master’s degree.
- Graduate Certificate GPA Requirements. Graduate Certificate candidates must maintain a “Pass” average or higher to be granted the certificate.
- Advanced Standing Applicants. Paragraphs (1) through (9) are inapplicable to graduate degree candidates who seek advanced standing admission to the J.D. program. Such candidates must notify the registrar of their intent to apply to the J.D. program no later than 6 weeks after matriculating at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law . Advanced standing applicants will be graded according to J.D. Rule IV, including taking the same assessment as J.D. students except that such applicants shall not be included in the course’s B-mean calculation, if applicable. Degree candidates who do not matriculate into the J.D. program may elect to have their Rule IV grades converted into the graduate program grading scale described above. Professors will assign advanced standing applicants grades on the J.D. and graduate grading scale. Students who are not admitted to the J.D. program may elect to receive their graduate grades. (Adopted by faculty 10/1/2015)
- Joint Degree Candidates GPA Requirements
- To graduate with the LL.M., Joint Degree candidates must complete their 24-credit program of study with an overall GPA of at least 3.0. In order to qualify for the program of study, 18 credits must be taken for a letter grade. The GPA shall be computed based upon 24 credits earned in core courses and approved electives required for the program of study. Joint Degree candidates who do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement will be offered the option of being awarded the Master’s degree if they can meet its requirements.
- All Joint Degree candidates will be graded on a letter grade scale (A, A-, B+, B, B- etc.) for all courses completed for credit. The two exceptions are when a course has a mandatory S/U grading scale or the student has elected S/U grading.
D. Legal Residencies
- Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates with an “Honors” average or better at the end of their first semester may be eligible for a legal residency.
- Online LL.M. and Master’s candidates are not eligible for a legal residency.
- Limited Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates are not eligible for a legal residency.
- Joint degree candidates must refer to the JD Academic Rules and Regulations (Legal Residency Program) to determine legal residency eligibility.
- Graduate certificate candidates are not eligible for a legal residency.
- Legal Residency Credits.
- Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates may elect a six (6) week legal residency at an approved law firm, corporate or government office, as part of their regular academic program. The legal residency is four (4) credits. Candidates electing a legal residency must accept the administrative policies set up by the Graduate Programs Office. Candidates will be awarded a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade based on the supervisor evaluation and the candidate’s submission of weekly journal entries.
- Joint degree candidates may count four (4) credits of their JD legal residency towards their LL.M. or Master’s degree.
E. Independent Study
- Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates may elect to enroll in Independent Study credits.
- Online LL.M. and Master’s candidates may be eligible for Independent Study credits with the Program Director's approval.
- Limited Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates are not eligible for Independent Study credits.
- Joint degree candidates must comply with the requirements in the JD Academic Rules and Regulations (Independent Study) to determine applying Independent Study credits towards their program.
- Graduate certificate candidates are not eligible for Independent Study credits.
- Grading and Supervision.
- Independent Study courses for Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates will be graded on the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (O/S/U) basis.
- A candidate is responsible for coordinating with a full-time IP or CT faculty member to complete the required forms to register for an Independent Study course. The candidate must have the approval and supervision of a full-time faculty member.
- The Associate Dean may approve a part-time faculty member to supervise an Independent Study course.
F. Transfer Credits
- Transfer Credits Process ¹ (revised by faculty 12/2019)
- Per New England Commission Higher Education (NECHE) Standards for Accreditation 4.41, credits from other institutions toward the awarding of a graduate degree at this institution are permitted on a strictly limited basis to ensure the integrity of the degree awarded.
- Up to 9 of the elective credits required for a graduate degree may be credits earned at another accredited institution’s graduate program if those credits at the other institution did not lead to the granting of a degree from that institution. These credits will be awarded at this institution toward a graduate degree only upon approval of the chair of the applicable graduate program. The standards to apply in considering allowing the transferred credits are as follows:
- the course must be substantially the equivalent of the corresponding course in UNH Law’s curriculum;
- the hours of credit for such courses must be not less than one (1) hour less than the credit hours granted for UNH Law’s corresponding course (Revised by faculty 6/1/2018);
- To obtain credit, a grade of C or better must be earned, as determined under subdivision 4 of this rule; and,
- The grade earned in the other institution will not be included in the student’s GPA.
- The allowable transfer credit shall be the credit granted by the school at which the credit is earned, irrespective of whether UNH Law allows more or less credit for a substantially similar course.
- Any student or prospective student with an application on file may apply for transfer credits in accordance with this rule by providing the following to the Chair of the respective graduate program via e-mail to the Chair no later than 10 days prior to matriculation:
- Official Transcript
- Course Descriptions: The course description should provide sufficient information for the program director to assess whether the contents of the offering would be approved for inclusion in UNH Law’s curriculum.
- Syllabi (if available)
- Any other pertinent information (that the Chair of the respective graduate program determines is necessary)
- All transferred in credits are counted against the student’s quota of pass/fall classes.
- Joint Degree Credit Transfer. Joint Degree credits are governed by IV, below.
- Required Course Wavier. Upon petition by a residential graduate degree candidate, the Associate Dean may waive a graduate course requirement if the candidate has achieved a grade with a value of 2.0 or greater in a course, offered by an ABA-approved law school, that is substantially the same as the UNH Law required course. Such a waiver does not transfer credits in but does permit the student to substitute another UNH Law course for the waived required course.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, there is no cap on credit transfers for schools with which we have a subject matter relevant memorandum of understanding in force.
G. Program Plan
- All Residential LL.M., Master’s and Graduate Certificate candidates will consult with their faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Programs to complete a Program Plan. (Since all courses do not run every semester, once a Program Plan has been established, the candidate should be cautious in changing it.) A completed Program Plan signed by the faculty advisor and candidate must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Programs prior to registration for the first semester.
- All Online LL.M and Master’s candidates should consult with their faculty advisor each semester, prior to the selection of their courses.
H. Timing of, and Access to, Required Graduate Courses
- Course Offerings. Courses required for, or qualifying for, any Residential LL.M., Master’s or Graduate Certificate programs are offered annually (except as expressly noted in the published course descriptions) as part of the JD degree course of study. UNH Law is not obliged to offer LL.M., Master’s or graduate certificate courses in the summer or in the same semester every year (if not otherwise offered annually), or to give priority or access to any limited-enrollment course in the JD degree course of study, solely for the purpose of enabling a candidate to complete a LL.M. or Master’s degree within a certain time period or within a specific enrollment sequence.
- Online Course Offerings. Courses required or qualifying for any Online LL.M., Master’s degree or graduate certificate are offered annually.
- Limited Residential Offerings. Courses required for, or qualifying for, any Limited Residential LL.M. or Master’s degree are offered annually.
I. Program Time Limits
A candidate must meet the requirements for any UNH Law LL.M. or Master’s degree within five academic years of matriculation or such shorter period as provided in L below for limited residential and non-residential programs.
J. Academic Standing
- Residential Students. A “Fail” grade in any required course, or failure to meet the minimum GPA at the end of any semester, will place a graduate candidate within jurisdiction of the committee charged with academic standing review (“the committee”).
- Online Students. A “Fail” grade in any required course, or failure to meet the minimum GPA at the end of attempting eight credits, will place a graduate candidate within jurisdiction of the committee charged with academic standing review (“the committee”).
- Committee Review. The committee will review the candidate’s academic record and academic statement to determine the probability of academic rehabilitation, will provide written direction on how the candidate may repair their academic standing, and will specify in writing the consequences of continued failure to meet standards.
- Option for Master’s Degree. Residential and Online LL.M. candidates who are unable to meet the minimum GPA requirement will be offered the option of a Master’s degree if they meet that program’s requirement.
- Committee Plan for Remediation; Academic Dismissal.
- The committee may permit residential LL.M. and Master’s degree candidates under its jurisdiction to continue one additional semester beyond their two semester and one summer tuition year if there is reason to believe the candidate may be able to reach minimum standards by the end of his or her third semester of studies. Thus, during the first semester immediately following the student’s tuition year, such candidates may take up to seventeen credits as part of their committee plan to meet the credit and GPA requirements of their degree program. Students electing to earn these additional credits will pay the per credit charge for all credits beyond 30 for the LL.M. degree and 36 for the Master’s degree.
- The committee may permit online LL.M. and Master’s degree candidates under its jurisdiction to continue one additional semester beyond the semester in which they attempted their eighth credit if there is reason to believe the candidate may be able to reach minimum standards by the end of his or her next eight credits of studies.
- If the residential candidate is unable to meet minimum GPA and credit requirements at the end of the additional semester permitted under (a), above, the candidate will be academically dismissed from the LL.M. or Master’s program. If the candidate holds a US JD and cannot meet the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement, but meets the 2.0 GPA requirement, the candidate will be awarded the Master’s degree.
- If the online candidate is unable to meet minimum GPA requirements at the end of the additional eight credits permitted under (b), above, the candidate will be academically dismissed from the LL.M. or Master’s program. If the candidate holds a US JD and cannot meet the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement, but meets the 2.0 GPA requirement, the candidate will be allowed to continue as the Master’s candidate.
- Any graduate candidate subject to the terms of any academic probation must satisfy such terms or be automatically dismissed from the program.
- Recommendation and Timing. A graduate degree or graduate certificate candidate must file an Intent to Graduate form in the time frame and manner prescribed by the Registrar. Diplomas are conferred in May, September, and December.
- Participation in Ceremony. Residential LL.M. and Master’s candidates who enroll in legal residency or other summer programs immediately following their academic program may participate in the May graduation ceremony, but the degree will not be conferred until after completion of their academic coursework. Candidates for graduate degrees who have completed more than half the required credits and residency for a degree may participate in Commencement, receiving a blank diploma. Their names will be foot or end noted in the program. As before, January matriculants for graduate degrees are ineligible to participate in Commencement at the end of their first semester.
L. Residency and Consecutive Enrollment Requirements
- Residential LL.M. candidates must complete two (2) semesters of full-time enrollment (defined in (12) below) at UNH Law, or an approved equivalent enrollment in a part-time UNH Law program.
- Limited Residency LL.M. candidates must complete one (1) semester of full-time enrollment (defined in (12) below) at UNH Law during the fall semester and two (2) consecutive semesters of online enrollment.
- Full-time Online LL.M. candidates must complete three (3) consecutive enrollment terms (8 credits per term) including two (2) semesters and one (1) summer term.
- Part-time Online LL.M. candidates must complete their degree requirements within thirty-six (36) months.
- Residential Master’s candidates must complete two (2) semesters of full-time enrollment (defined in (12) below) at UNH Law, or an approved equivalent enrollment in a part-time UNH Law program.
- Limited Residency Master’s candidates must complete one (1) semester of full-time enrollment (defined in (12) below) at UNH Law during the fall semester and two (2) consecutive semesters of online enrollment.
- Full-time Online Master’s candidates must complete three (3) consecutive enrollment terms (minimum 8 credits per term) including two (2) semesters and one (1) summer term.
- Part-time Online Master’s candidates must complete the degree requirements within sixty (60) months.
- Online graduate certificate candidates must complete their certificate requirements in five (5) semesters.
- Joint degree candidates must complete both degree requirements within six (6) consecutive Residential semesters of full-time enrollment. Both degrees will be conferred at the same time after the sixth semester. One degree cannot conferred without the other degree.
- Residential graduate certificate candidates must complete one (1) semester of full-time enrollment (defined as 15 credits) at UNH Law or an approved equivalent enrollment in a part-time UNH Law program.
- For the purposes of §§ (1), (2), (5), and (6) above, at least 10 credits must be completed in a semester to qualify as full-time enrollment.
M. Part-Time Enrollment
- Residential LL.M. or Master’s candidates may enroll on a part-time basis, or change their status from full-time to part-time. Requests for a change in status must be in writing and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Candidates who change their status from full to part-time will no longer be eligible for any Graduate Programs awarded scholarships.
- Full-time Online LL.M. or Master’s candidates may change their status from full-time to part-time. This status change may only be made one time after the completion of the first semester. Requests for a change in status must be in writing and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Part-time Online LL.M. or Master’s candidates may change their status from part-time to full-time. This status change can only be made one time after the completion of the first semester. Requests for a change in status must be in writing and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Full-time Limited Residential LL.M. or Master’s candidates may change their status from full-time to part-time. This status change can only be made one time after the completion of their residential semester. Requests for a change in status must be in writing and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Online graduate certificate candidates may elect to change their status to that of an online LLM or online Master’s candidate.
N. Enrollment in J.D. Courses
Graduate students may enroll in upper level J.D. course only where required by their degree program. Reasonable numerical limits on LL.M enrollment in upper level required courses or “bar courses” may be imposed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Graduate students may not enroll in first-year J.D. required courses.
O. Financial Obligations and Tuition
- Satisfying Financial Obligations. All graduate candidates must satisfy outstanding financial obligations to UNH Law. Any candidate who has not paid outstanding tuition at the end of any given semester may not register for the next semester or enroll in a legal residency. A business office hold will be placed on their record. Any candidate with a business office hold on their account will not be allowed to receive official grades or transcripts and they will not be eligible to graduate.
- Tuition and Completion of Degree. All full time residential graduate candidates, except joint degree candidates, are expected to complete their program within one year of enrollment (one fall, and one spring semester). Any full-time residential candidate who continues their studies beyond one year of enrollment will be charged additional tuition. Courses taken after the first full year of enrollment will be charged at the current per credit rate, with no tuition waiver.
- Joint Degree Tuition
- Juris doctor candidates who enter the joint degree program will be charged additional tuition to cover the extra credits required for the graduate degree.
- JD candidates who apply for admission to the joint degree program will be charged four semesters of joint degree tuition based on the joint degree tuition rate during the candidate’s 2L and 3L years, plus an application fee.
- Joint degree candidates may withdraw from the joint degree program no later than the first day of classes in the JD’s sixth semester but all money paid toward the joint degree up until the time of withdrawal is non-refundable.