Grading Policy FAQ

Grade Cutoff Points (Ranking Chart) – After Spring 2019

Class of 2019 (3Ls)

  • Top 10% = 3.721
  • Top 33.3% = 3.507
  • Top 50% = 3.381

Class of 2020 (2Ls)

  • Top 10% = 3.734
  • Top 33.3% = 3.530
  • Top 50% = 3.386

Class of 2021 (1Ls)

  • Top 10% = 3.780
  • Top 33.3% = 3.487
  • Top 50% = 3.313

Grading Policy FAQ

First-year students are not ranked until after two semesters of grades have been recorded. These rankings are typically not available until mid- to late June.

For second- and third-year students (and graduates starting with the Class of 2009*), only the top 10 students in each class receive an individual class rank. For the rest of the class, grade cutoff points for the top 10 percent, top third and top half of each class are communicated to students, and the most recent cutoffs will appear here on the UNC Law website (see link below).

After the first year, rankings are redone each semester, and the grade cutoffs will vary from semester to semester and from class to class. Therefore, inter-class comparisons are not valid, though intra-class comparisons within the same time frame are. Additional grade cut-off information is made available to third-year students solely for use in judicial clerkship applications.

The grading scale ranges from a high grade of A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), C- (1.7), D+ (1.3), to a low passing grade of D (1.0).

An A+ (4.3) may be awarded in exceptional situations (e.g., an A+ should not be awarded as a matter of course to the top student in each class, but only if the top student’s performance is exceptional compared to the next student in the class). There is no D-; a failing grade is F (0.0).

Faculty members will report letter grades (with pluses and minuses, as appropriate) to the registrar. Some designated courses are graded on a pass-fail basis.


The law school awards honors designations to students who graduate with high grade point averages.

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

Dean’s List

The top 50% of the class in any semester is eligible for the Dean’s List provided he or she has no grades of Incomplete or Absent from Final Exam (AB). Dean’s List for first-year students are also awarded but is not announced for the fall semester until the end of the first year along with the spring semester awards.

Order of the Coif

The top 10% of the graduating class is eligible for election by the faculty into the Order of the Coif. Only students who have completed at least 75 percent of their law studies in graded courses are eligible for consideration.