Frequently Asked Questions

The following information is compiled in response to questions received in the Law Records/Registrar's Office. Please feel free to contact our office if you need further help. Click on any question below to go to the answer within this document.

Question categories:

Academic Requirements and Regulations | Exams | Grades, Honors and Other Student Records | Graduation | Registration & Class Schedules | Transcripts | Tuition | Bar Exams/Certifications | Miscellaneous

Academic Requirements and Regulations

Exams

Grades, Honors, and Other Student Records

Graduation

Registration & Class Schedules

Transcripts

Tuition

Bar Exams/Certifications

Miscellaneous

Answers

Academic Requirements and Regulations

What is the residence requirement?

In order to earn the Juris Doctor degree, a student must have been in residence for a minimum of six semesters.  A student is in residence for a semester during which the student earns (with a passing grade) at least 10 hours of academic credit.  Credits earned during the summer session are not counted toward meeting the residence requirement.  Transfer credits earned at another law school may substitute for a maximum of two semesters of residence.  See AR 3-5 for more information.  Students matriculating prior to Fall 2006 may satisfy either this residence requirement or the residence requirement that was in effect at the time they matriculated.

What are the requirements for taking classes abroad or at another law school?

Whether you would like to visit at another U.S. law school or participate in a semester abroad sponsored by a U.S. law school approved by the ABA, you must provide the Law Records office with a detailed description of the program including semester dates and class meeting times, the school sponsoring the program, and descriptions with credit values for the courses you would like to take.  This information will be reviewed and you will be notified when your request has been either approved or denied.

What is considered part-time? full-time?

Full-time students normally take between 12-16 credit hours per semester and are restricted to no more than 20 hours per week of paid employment.  Full-time students pay tuition at a flat rate which is based on 14 credits, regardless of enrolled credits.

Part-time students normally take between 8-12 credit hours per semester and pay tuition on a per-credit basis.  There are no employment restrictions on part-time students.

What is the school policy on privacy for students?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that affords students certain rights with respect to their educational records.  George Mason University strives to fully comply with this law by protecting the privacy of student records and judiciously evaluating requests for release of information from those records.  FERPA authorizes the release of "Directory Information" without the student,s prior consent under certain conditions, which are set forth in the Act.  A complete description of the Act, the rights afforded to students by this Act, and a description of categories of "Directory Information" is posted on the bulletin board outside the Law Records Office.  Students seeking to limit the disclosure of "Directory Information" should consult with the Law Records Office staff.

Exams

Should I contact my professor if I will miss an exam?

In order to protect your anonymity, you should never contact the professor if you must miss an exam.  The Law Records Office will assist you in seeking to reschedule an exam.

How do I request a make-up exam?

Students are required to take all of their exams at the times scheduled.  If an emergency situation arises that prevents exam attendance or a student finds that he/she must be elsewhere during a scheduled exam, the student should immediately notify the Law Records Office and must refrain from contacting the instructors so as not to compromise anonymity.  In all cases, students must seek approval for the rescheduling of exams and need to submit a petition to the Law Records Office with appropriate documentation.  Students enrolled in courses having the same scheduled exam date/time or those with more than one scheduled exam in less than 24 hours must notify the Law Records Office of the conflict.  One of the conflicting exams will be moved to the exam make-up period.  Though students do not have the option of choosing the exam to be rescheduled, an effort will be made to accommodate preferences.  Exam conflict petitions should be submitted at least 3 weeks prior to the start of exams so that the Law Records Office can coordinate the exam make-up schedule and notify students which exam will occur during the exam make-up period.

Do I have to purchase bluebooks?

No.  Students will have access to a supply of bluebooks in each exam room.

Do I have to purchase Scantron answer sheets?

No. When required, Scantron answer sheets are provided by the Law Records Office at the time of exam distribution.  Students must bring their own No. 2 pencils and a good quality eraser.

What does "anonymous grading" mean?

The School of Law uses an anonymous grading system for exams which requires students to use individually assigned exam numbers in lieu of names on exam materials.  Each semester students are issued a new 6-digit exam number which is to be used on all exam materials.  Since this number is confidential, it must be picked up in person at the Law Records Office either in advance of or at the time of the student's first exam.  Numbers are issued on a 3X5 card for ease of use.  Numbers are not given out over the phone or to a third party.

What is the procedure for picking up/turning in my exam?

Exam Distribution: Students may pick up an Examination Card showing their assigned room and color-coded seating options beginning two hours before the start of the exam. Students should take their Examination Card and proceed to their designated exam room and choose an available color-coded seat. A proctor will distribute exams in each exam room shortly before the scheduled start of the exam. Students with an examination card will be issued an exam at that time. Exams should remain face-down on your desk until told to begin the exam. Examination Cards should be prominently displayed by each student for the duration of the exam.

When you finish the exam, make certain that your exam number is written on the exam booklet and any other materials you used (i.e. bluebooks/answer sheet or Scantron sheet). Return all examination materials and your Examination Card to the Law Records Office. Students using laptops to record their exam answers must still return the exam questions. Your exam may not be graded if we do not have an examination booklet with your exam number on it. When you turn in your exam and your Examination Card to the Law Records Office, the proctor will check off your name on the class roster to indicate that you have returned your exam.

Can I use my laptop for exams?

Students enrolled in specific courses will be given the option of taking their final exam on their personal laptop using an exam software product for PCs called ExamSoft SofTest , which is downloaded onto the student,s personal laptop.  This software allows students to type their exam answers for closed-computer exams while preventing access to the computer hard drive or outside sources.  For open-computer exams, the software allows access to other files and programs outside SofTest but still automatically saves the typed answers in an encrypted format.  Also, open exams do not allow the user to copy-and-paste text from another program into SofTest.

At the completion of the examination, students save their exam answer files to their laptop's hard drive and SofTest will then automatically upload the exam answer file to a secure server using the Internet. Students must have a working network card.  Laptop users must return their exam question booklets to the Records Office at the end of each exam.

 

Specific information is available each semester prior to the start of exams regarding the use of ExamSoft, including the deadlines for downloading the software and exam files.  MacIntosh computers are only compatible with ExamSoft under specific circumstances.  Please read the laptop registration materials carefully to determine whether your equipment can be used to take your exams.

When exams are over, what is the process for viewing my exams?

Students are given an opportunity to view their exams, but only after the grading process is completed and all grades have been recorded.  Exam viewing is handled by the Office of Faculty Services and is usually conducted over a two-week period with scheduled hours in the day and evening.  When dates have been set for exam viewing sessions, notices will be prominently posted.

Grades, Honors and Other Student Records

When are the class rankings prepared?

Students are numerically ranked, based upon cumulative GPAs at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters after grades for all classes have been reported and recorded.  Once semester ranks have been published, they are not changed due to late submission of coursework, conversion of an incomplete to a letter grade or grade changes.  Rankings are done only in combined class groups as follows:  1D/1E;  2D/2E/3E; and 3D/4E.  Rank information is posted for each group and includes a listing of numerical  ranks, as well as a summary of GPA ranges and rank percentages.  Class rank is added to a student's transcript only if requested and is shown both numerically and by percentile.  Final class rankings for the graduating class -- which includes December, May and July graduates for the academic year -- are done after Summer term grades have been recorded.  Each graduate is then mailed an individual rank statement and summary.  Final ranks are not posted at the Law School.

When can I expect to receive my grades?

Faculty are expected to submit grades within 30 days of the exam date or 30 days from the end of the semester if there was no exam.  Upon receipt, grades are reviewed for compliance with the mandatory grade curves (see AR 4-4.8) and processed.  Grades are generally posted to individual student records within 48 hours of receipt.  Students can view their grades and print an unofficial transcript by accessing their Patriot Web account.

Grade distribution summaries are posted outside the Law Records Office.  The highest grade in the class is noted (when provided by the instructor) as are any class participation awards.  These notations are made using the student's exam number.

Can I access my grades and transcript records via the web?

Yes, you can view your transcript and grades via PatriotWeb.

How do I change my name on the school records?

You must provide a copy of the legal document authorizing the name change (i.e. marriage license, court order) to the Law Records Office.  When the change is made, it will be effective University-wide.

Do I need to notify the school of an employment change?

Yes.  Please complete a new Employment Form and submit it to the Law Records Office whenever you change employment.

How do I obtain a Third Year Practice Certificate?

Students interested in obtaining a Third Year Certificate in Virginia should obtain an application form from the Law Records Office.  The certificate requires that the student receive a passing grade in the following courses:  Civil or Criminal Procedure; Criminal Law; Evidence; and Professional Responsibility.  Additionally, a student must have completed approximately 2/3 of his/her legal education (59 crs for those graduating with 89 crs).  Having met all of these requirements, the students may submit an application.  It generally takes 1-3 weeks for the Certificate to be issued by the State Bar Association in Richmond.

How do I obtain a verification of my enrollment?

Students should fill out a request form, providing all relevant information and submit it to the Law Records Office.  The letter will be prepared and placed in your student mailbox when ready.

Graduation

What are the requirements for graduation?

Academic work presented for the Juris Doctor degree must satisfy:

  • a total of 89 credit hours of passing coursework (with a grade of D- or better).
  • fulfillment of  the residence requirement (see AR 3-5)
  • a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.33 for all work taken for which a grade of A through F was awarded.

Prior to the start of the final academic year, prospective graduates are provided with a graduation audit sheet showing their advancement toward graduation.  This summary should be used to plan course selections for the final year of study.

How do I apply to graduate?

Early in the final semester, prospective graduates will be provided with an application to graduate.  This application must be completed in its entirety and submitted by the stated deadline.

Do I have to fill out the graduation employment survey?

Yes.  This is part of the graduation application and must be completed.  Information collected is used in an aggregate form for various reporting requirements.

When can I expect information regarding the graduation ceremony?

A flyer regarding graduation procedures will be made available to prospective graduates in the February prior to graduation in May.  Caps and gowns are ordered through the GMUSL Bookstore.

 

Registration and Class Schedules

Can I register for classes on the web?

Yes, you can register for classes, view your student account and check your financial aid status via PatriotWeb.

I forgot my PIN. How do I find out what it is?

You can have your PIN reset by the Law Records Office.  You must make your request in person and show your student ID card.

Can I take day classes if I am a night student?

Except for first year students who must stay within their division, students may register for classes outside their division when space is available.

When can I register for classes?

Each semester you are assigned a time ticket that will allow you to register using Patriot Web.  Priority registration is given to students in their final year of study.

What classes will be offered each semester?

The Schedule of Classes and detailed registration information are posted to the Law School's website as information becomes available.  Changes/updates are made to the online schedule as they occur.  Students can also look for specific course offerings on Patriot Web.

When can I add/drop classes?

Schedule adjustments can be made with no penalties during the first week of each term.  Beyond the first week, please check the registration materials for add/drop deadlines and penalties.

Transcripts

What is the procedure for obtaining a transcript?

A blue request form (located both in the Law Records Office and in the rack just outside the office) or a written request with the student's signature must be submitted when requesting a transcript.  Requests are usually processed the same day they are requested.  If the Law Records Office is closed, requests can be put in the after-hours drop slot and it will be processed as soon as possible the next work day.

Requests may also be faxed to the Law Records Office at 703-993-8019.  Please provide the following information:

  • name and student ID number with SIGNATURE
  • Years of attendance (or graduation)
  • Indicate type of transcript requested (official or unofficial)
  • Indicate whether transcript should contain statement of class rank
  • Address where transcript is to be sent
  • A copy of a photo ID is required for requests that are not made in person
We cannot fax or electronically send transcripts or other educational records.

Is there a fee for a transcript?

No, there is no fee for this service.

Can you fax a copy of my transcript?

In order to protect your privacy, we cannot fax transcripts or any other educational record.

 

Tuition

Is there a financial aid office at the Arlington Campus?

George Mason University's Office of Student Financial Aid is located on the Fairfax Campus and provides many services to assist students in financing their education.  These services include financial counseling, referral, and financial assistance through loans.  Counselors periodically visit the law school to make presentations and have office hours on Tuesday afternoon from 3pm-7pm in the Law Records Office at the beginning of each regular semester.  You may also call them at 703-993-2353 with questions or write to them at the following address:

Office of Student Financial Aid
George Mason University
MSN 3B5
Fairfax, VA   22030-4444

When is tuition due?

Tuition is always due the first day of classes, regardless of payment method.  Any payment made or received after a due date is subject to a late fee.

How do I pay my tuition?

Payment can be made via PatriotWeb using Mastercard or electronic check or by U.S. Mail to the Cashier's Office, MSN 2E1, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. You should indicate your student ID number on any mailed payments. There is a convenience fee assessed for credit card payments. Payments made in person in the Law Records Office will be forwarded to the Cashier via campus mail.

How do I submit loan deferment forms for processing?

If your lender requires paper verification of your enrollment status, please submit the signed form to the Law Records Office for processing.

What are the current tuition rates?

Please check the registration materials available before the start of each semester to determine the current tuition charges.

Bar Exams/Certifications

 What is required for the Virginia Bar application and certification?

The Virginia Bar requires two separate forms, with separate filing fees:  the Character & Fitness questionnaire and the Bar Application.  The Virginia Board of Bar Examiners encourages early filing of the Character & Fitness Questionnaire and offers a fee reduction if the questionnaire is filed with the first 14 consecutive calendar months of law school enrollment.  The questionnaire is extensive and while early submission is optional, student should not postpone working on it.  A complete questionnaire, if not previously submitted, must accompany the Bar Application, which is due closer to the planned exam date.  Filing deadlines for February is December 15 and the filing deadline for the July exam is May 10.  Students can access the required forms by visiting the Bar website at:  www.vbbe.state.va.us with the exception of the fingerprint card, which can be obtained from the Law Records Office or the Bar directly.

Where can I get my fingerprints taken?

GMU Police, located on B1 of Hazel Hall, will provide fingerprinting for GMUSL students free of charge.

I plan to take the bar in another state. Where do I get their information?

Each state has its own rules for admission to the bar and certain procedures for making application.  Students considering other bars should plan ahead todetermine the particular requirements of those states in which they have an interest.  The Law Records Office prepares law school bar certifications for all jurisdictions but does not distribute application forms for any bars.  Students should contact the appropriate state bar examiners for bar materials and must provide any required law school certification forms to the Law Records Office in sufficient time to meet filing deadlines.  The page on Admission to the Bar on our site provides general information on individual state bar requirements, including addresses and phone numbers.

What is the Virginia Bar School Code?

The GMUSL school code for the Virginia Bar is 166.

Where can I get the MPRE application?

Applications and information on the MPRE can be found on their website:  www.ncbex.org .  Since the requirements for accepting an MPRE score vary from one jurisdiction to another, check with the board(s) of bar examiners in each jurisdiction to which you intend to apply before completing the application materials.  Examination results will be sent to you and to one jurisdiction of your choice and will be kept on file with ACT in Iowa City, Iowa, should you require additional copies to be sent in the future.

 

Miscellaneous

Will I have a mail box at school?

Yes.  Individual student mailboxes are set up in August after classes have begun.  Each student enrolled will have a mailbox on the third floor.  Please check them regularly for communications from student organizations, faculty and the administration.

How do I rent a locker?

The Student Bar Association rents student lockers for a minimal fee.

How do I know if a class is canceled?

For weather delays or closings, students can check the law school's website or call the main law school switchboard at 703-993-8000.

When faculty need to cancel an individual class, attempts will be made to notify students via email in a timely manner.  Notices will also be posted at the classroom entrance and around the building.

When is Spring break?

Spring break generally occurs during the second full week of March.  Please check the current academic calendar for this and other important dates - http://www.law.gmu.edu/academics/calendar

Is there a Notary Public at the Law School?

Yes.  As a service to GMUSL students, faculty and staff, there is a Notary in the Law Records Office.  There is no fee for this service.