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Class Ranking


When is Class Rank Calculated?

The ranking procedure is run fall and spring semesters after final grading is completed. Credits earned at Penn State Law over the summer are included in the fall procedure; there is no separate summer ranking procedure.

The general time frame for the ranking procedure is:

  • Fall Semester
    • Late January
       
  • Spring Semester
    • Late May for graduating students
    • Late June for all others


Full-Time Student Ranking

Each student enrolling in the law school's full-time J.D. program as a first year and beyond, shall receive a semester rank and cumulative rank relative to his or her classmates at the end of each semester (fall and spring) in which the student completes at least one offering from the law school's curriculum. Students enrolled in an approved joint degree program must complete at least one course offering from the JD curriculum in the semester in which ranking taking place.

The class with which each student is ranked shall be determined by the total cumulative number of law credits (900 level) the student has earned at the time semester ranks are calculated, employing the following rules:

  • 10 — 32 total credits earned ranked with the first-year class
  • 33 — 56 total credits earned ranked with the second-year class
  • 57+ total credits earned ranked with the third-year class

The student can determine total cumulative credits earned by reviewing his or her advising transcript and current semester schedule on eLion. By combining the cumulative law credits on the transcript with the current semester law credits where grades will be received, the student can determine which class he or she will be included in for ranking.

Semester and cumulative ranks, as they are earned, will appear on the semester grade report and on the student transcript. Ranking information is considered part of the student's permanent academic record and therefore will not be removed from the semester grade report or transcript.


Transfer Student Ranking

Students who enroll in the law school's full-time J.D. program as transfer students can determine their percentage rank among their classmates by using a percentile chart. An official percentile chart will be published each semester (fall and spring) on the law school's website after the final semester ranking procedure runs. The chart will identify the cumulative GPA cut-offs associated with percentage ranks in the class for the semester based on the cumulative rankings of full-time students in each class for that semester. For example, it might show that a 3.68 or better is associated with a rank in the top 5% of the second-year class, that a 3.57 or better is associated with a rank in the top 10% of the class, etc.

Each student enrolling in the law school's full-time J.D. program as a transfer student shall also receive a semester rank relative to his or her classmates at the end of each semester (fall and spring) in which the student completes at least one offering from the law school's curriculum.

At the time ranks are calculated, the class with which each student is ranked shall be determined by the total cumulative number of law credits (900 level) the student has earned at Penn State Law plus the advanced standing credits accepted by Penn State when the student transferred. The following are the credit ranges defining each class for ranking:

  • 10 - 32 total credits earned ranked with the first-year class
  • 33 - 56 total credits earned ranked with the second-year class
  • 57+ total credits earned ranked with the third-year class

The student can determine total cumulative credits earned by reviewing his or her advising transcript and current semester schedule on eLion. By combining the cumulative credits on the transcript with the current semester credits where grades will be received, the student can determine which class he or she will be included in for ranking.

Semester ranks will appear on the semester grade report and on the student transcript. Ranking information is considered part of the student's permanent academic record and therefore will not be removed from the semester grade report or transcript.


LL.M. and Visitor Ranking

LL.M. students and students visiting Penn State Law do not have a semester or cumulative ranking assigned.


Non-Law School Credits Earned and Class Ranking

Semester and cumulative GPAs account only for grades received by students in courses offered in the law school's curriculum (900 level). However, credits received in courses that are not offered in the law school's curriculum, may, in some cases, be applied to the total number of credits needed for graduation from the law school.