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Student Handbook: Other Academic Policies


Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law strives to provide an environment for the personal and intellectual growth of all its students, and also complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In order to meet these commitments, Villanova offers educational opportunities and reasonable academic accommodations for the needs of qualified students with disabilities. The standards for academic credit should not be modified for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities have fulfilled the same entrance requirements, have the same range of backgrounds and experiences as other students at Villanova, and should be fully capable of meeting Villanova's standards. The Law School’s goal is to provide access and reasonable accommodations in helping the students achieve those expectations.

Students seeking academic accommodations must submit current documentation, including supporting reports of tests and other measurements and assessments provided by a qualified treating professional, and transmitted directly from that professional with an original cover letter signed by the treating professional, to the Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success. The request and supporting documentation will be considered by the Assistant Dean, in consultation with the Office of Learning Support Services and/or the Office of Disability Services, as applicable. The Assistant Dean, in consultation with the Office of Learning Support Services and/or the Office of Disability Services, as applicable, may request additional information if necessary, as the process contemplates collaboration among the treating professionals, the Law School, and the student. The student may be asked to sign releases to allow the free exchange of information among all those involved with meeting their needs. The Assistant Dean in consultation with the Office of Learning Support Services and/or the Office of Disability Services, as applicable will make a determination of what accommodations will be offered. If a student is dissatisfied with the academic accommodation, concerns may be addressed to the Dean and the Office of Academic Affairs. The process contemplates an ongoing assessment of needs and the reasonable means of meeting those needs. The current policy and forms are accessible on the Academic Success Programs webpage.

The granting of academic accommodations is strictly confidential; faculty members are not notified unless the particular accommodation requires cooperation of the faculty member, and then disclosure is limited to only what is necessary.

Students with physical disabilities that require accommodations unrelated to the academic program are coordinated through the Assistant Dean of Students and Academic Success or the Office of Disability Services.

All requests for exam accommodations should be submitted no later than one month prior to the last day of classes for the semester.

Addresses and Emergency Contact

Students must have current local and permanent addresses, email addresses and mobile phone numbers on file with the Registrar’s Office at all times including summer and vacation. Students can update their information using the Emergency Contact Form on the Registrar’s webpage.

Distance Education Courses

Second and third-year students may take one Distance Education Course (“DEC”) per semester. In extraordinary circumstances and for good cause shown, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs may permit a student to take a second DEC in the same semester. This limit applies only to J.D. courses, and does not apply to M.B.A., M.P.A., or grad tax courses. Students are responsible for knowing state bar admission requirements, including any distance learning limitations, which can be found here: Students must attend the synchronous portion of a DEC in a manner to facilitate full engagement; students may not participate in other activities, such as driving or exercising. All policies of the Law School, including but not limited to the Academic Code of Honor, apply in all distance education courses

Good Standing and Letters of Good Standing

A student is in academic good standing if the student is enrolled and has maintained an annual and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater. Letters of good standing that are to be sent to other educational institutions are issued by the Office of the Registrar. Requests must be submitted in writing to that office and must include the exact name(s) and addresses of the party to whom the letter must be sent. A letter of good standing issued by the Law School will state that the student is actively enrolled in the Law School and will be sent directly to the school. If a disciplinary matter (academic or non-academic) is pending or an investigation is underway, the matter may be disclosed. If a Disposition Report has been placed in the student’s file, the Disposition Report may also be disclosed.

Students requesting letters of good standing for transfer must follow the Transfer Procedure. Students considering transfer are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Academic Affairs to discuss the process and consequences of transfer.

Enrollment certifications for attendance (for insurance or loan deferral purposes) can be downloaded through your NOVASIS account via a link through the National Student Clearinghouse.


See Academic Rule 5 for the letter grade array. Please note that the Law School does not have an “Incomplete” grade. All course work must be finished in the semester during which the student is registered for the course.

Grades in examination courses are entered anonymously. Law School policy permits Professors to raise or to lower an anonymously entered grade one step (i.e., from a C to a C+, from a C to a C–) based on class performance and attendance. The policy also allows for in-class performance, exercises, midterm or other methods of evaluation to be considered in assigning a grade. The time, place and manner for the distribution and availability of grades will be announced by the Registrar. Grades will be posted to your Novasis account.

Grades for clinic courses, as well as the Philadelphia Defender Association externship and the Troutman Pepper Law & Entrepreneurship externship, follow the regular grading scale. Other externships have four grading options: High Pass, Pass, Low Pass, and Fail.

In the spring semester, the grade reports for third year students are distributed on or before Commencement Day. First and second-year grade reports are posted, generally during the second or third week of June.

After final grades have been submitted, a student’s grade can be changed only if there is a clear clerical or arithmetic error, and only with the approval of the Academic Dean.

The University reserves the right to refuse to release grade reports, transcripts, bar certifications, and diplomas for a student with delinquent financial obligations to the University.


Name Changes

Name changes must be reported to the Registrar’s Office immediately. You must provide supporting documentation which consists of the original purpose of the name change (i.e., marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court ordered) AND another source of identification in which the name has already been changed officially (i.e., driver license, passport, Student Visa, or work ID (not Wildcard). For information on use of a preferred name, please view the University’s Preferred Name Policy.

Religious Holiday Policy

Villanova University’s Mission Statement, embraced by the Law School, calls on us “to reflect the spirit of St. Augustine…by respect for individual differences, and by adherence to the principle that mutual love and respect should animate every aspect of University life.” As a Catholic and Augustinian Law School, Villanova seeks to support and respect the diverse religious beliefs and traditions of all members of our community.

As part of this commitment, the Law School makes every reasonable effort to allow members of the community to observe their religious holidays and days of observance, consistent with the Law School’s obligations, responsibilities, and policies. Students who expect to miss a class due to the observance of a religious holiday should discuss the matter with their professors as soon as possible. Absence from classes for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the absence. Faculty, if possible, will try to accommodate students with make-up work, with reasonable alternative opportunities to complete their academic assignments, and by recording the class when possible. Deadlines typically will not be extended for long term assignments.

If a required religious observance conflicts with a regularly scheduled exam, including fasting, the student should contact the Registrar as soon as possible. The Registrar will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the student’s needs.


Part-time employment during the school term should be undertaken with great care since the study of law requires a full-time commitment. This is particularly important for first-year students, who are strongly discouraged from working during their first year, even in a part-time capacity.

During the second and third year, absent special circumstances, Villanova law students are discouraged from engaging in employment for more than 20 hours per week in any week in which the student is enrolled for more than twelve credits.

Employment does not constitute an excusable absence from class attendance.