MSU College of Law

Examination Policies and Procedures

Final written examinations are required in most courses at the close of each semester. In addition, other examinations may be required during a course. The student's final grade will be based principally upon his/her achievement as reflected in such examinations.

  1. Exam Permits

    The permit is used for all exams and must be printed out prior to the beginning of every final exam period. The Registrar's Office will send an e-mail a few weeks before finals letting students know when exam permits will be available for download. Students can download exam permits when available from:

    IMPORTANT: Students must present the downloaded exam permit along with their MSU Affiliate ID or MSU student ID upon entering the exam room. No other form of identification will be accepted. See Identification section below for more information.

    If you encounter any difficulty in downloading your exam permit, contact the Registrar's Office.

    HOLDS: If a department hold exists on a student's account, the student's exam permit cannot be downloaded until the hold has been released by the department placing the hold.

    Therefore, in order to receive an exam permit for finals the student must not have any holds. Only the department that issued the hold can remove the hold. Students with financial holds will not receive an exam permit until the holds are cleared or a deferment is given.

    If a student wishes to maintain anonymity, the exam permit number should never be given out or displayed to other students. Students should use the exam permit to enter the examination room as required, and place the number on exam materials as directed.

    After the exam period, the student should keep their exam permit number with their records for possible later reference.

  2. Exam Conflicts

    (Adopted May 11, 1971. Rewritten June 18, 1996.) 

    An exam conflict is one in which a student has two exams on the same day, at the same time. When this occurs, the time of one of the exams will be rescheduled, but the day of the exams will remain the same. In addition, the Associate Dean for Student Engagement may for compelling reasons reschedule an exam to occur within 24 hours of the originally scheduled time. Compelling reasons include, but are not limited to: 1. The exam schedule changes after the student has registered, or 2. A student has three consecutive exams (for example, one evening exam and two exams immediately following on the next, or three exams in any one day). There must be compelling reasons to reschedule an exam that does not conflict with another exam and the request must be submitted to and approved by the Associate Dean for Student Engagement.

    Students enrolled in courses with simultaneous exam times are required to take up to two examinations on the same day and must be sequestered from their fellow students until the start of their second examination.

    Please report any exam conflicts to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at least two (2) weeks prior to the start of the examination period by submitting a "Statement of Exam Conflict."

    Every effort is made to accommodate students in their choice of exam times. However, the Law College reserves the right to mandate an exam schedule when it is in the best interests of the student body.

    Once an exam conflict accommodation form is received and approved, it is the student's responsibility to report to the Registrar's Office the day of the exam conflict immediately after their first exam has ended. The student will remain sequestered for the interim period of exams on the day in conflict. If the day in conflict runs through lunchtime, it will be the student's responsibility to bring a brown bag lunch, as you will remain sequestered during this time.

  3. ExamSoft

    ExamSoft is the software used by MSU Law and Guest students to take in-class finals that require laptops. There are specific instructions regarding the use of ExamSoft for an in-class examination versus a take-home examination. Please visit the following website for the most current instruction manuals:

    Students are strongly encouraged to perform a practice final examination using ExamSoft to become familiar with the program and the steps required.

  4. Identification

    All MSU Law and Guest students must present their MSU Law student I.D. card in order to sit for each final exam. Identification cards may be obtained at the MSU ID Office, Room 170 in the MSU International Center, prior to exams.

  5. Make-Up Examinations and Grade of Incomplete

    (Adopted: April 19, 1995. Amended: November 12, 1997; April 17, 2002; March 23, 2011.)

    If a student is unable to take a mid-term or final exam, or turn in a final course paper, such that a grade of "W" will otherwise be the outcome, for reasons beyond his/her control, then the student may petition to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for an opportunity to take a "make up mid-term exam", make-up final exam or receive the grade of "I", or to extend the deadline for the final course paper. Such a petition must be promptly made after the events in question have occurred. The granting or denial of any petition under this policy is within the discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, whose determination is final.

    1. Make-Up Examinations
      1. Mid-Term Exam
        1. After the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs determines that there are reasons beyond the student’s control that prevented the student from taking a mid-term exam, it is within the discretion of the faculty member teaching the course to permit a student to take a make-up mid-term exam, the conditions upon which the make-up exam is to be taken and graded, and the deadline to take the exam.
        2. Given the time constraints associated with mid-term exams, if a faculty member does not permit a student to take a make-up mid-term exam, the student’s grade in the course will be solely based on the grade earned on the final exam and other assignments for the course.
      2. Final Exam
        1. After the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs has granted the student approval to take a make-up final exam, the faculty member teaching the course in which the examination was missed may administer the same exam as that administered to the student’s class or a different exam. If the faculty member elects to utilize the same exam as that given to the class, the student electing to take the make-up exam must execute an affidavit affirming that he/she has not discussed the contents of the exam with anyone.
        2. Students electing to take a make-up final exam will be evaluated on a pass-fail basis. No letter grade will be awarded. The exercise of this pass/fail option will not count towards the maximum 5 credits of credit/no credit election otherwise available to students.
        3. Any make-up final exam must be taken within 30 days of the original exam.
        4. To allow for the implementation of the make-up exam process, ALL examinations MUST be turned in to the proctor at the time of their taking. Thereafter, neither the registrar nor a faculty member will make exams available to any student until after the make-up final exam has been taken.
    2. Extension of Time to Complete Final Course Paper:

      If the events in question precluded the submission of a final course paper in a timely manner, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may, in his/her discretion, extend the deadline for submission thereof by no more than 30 days.

    3. Incomplete for Final Examinations

      An incomplete shall be permitted for a missed final examination pursuant to the following:

      1. A student electing to receive an incomplete must complete the course and earn credit by taking the next regularly scheduled examination in the same course, regardless of the faculty member teaching the course.
      2. A student who receives an incomplete is not required to attend classes, but is encouraged to do so.
      3. Once the examination has been taken, the grade of "I" is replaced with the letter grade earned.
      4. No additional tuition will be charged to a student who completes a course while holding the grade of "I".
      5. A failure to complete the course by taking the exam at the appropriate time will result in the grade being changed to a "W". See infra, Withdrawal Policy.
  6. Non-Laptop Exam Preference

    Students who wish to take their final examination using a bluebook when laptops are permitted may do so. Non-laptop students are encouraged to bring earplugs if there is any concern regarding distractions. Earplugs also can be obtained from exam room proctors.

  7. Paper, Directed Study, or Project Courses

    (Adopted: April 19, 1995. Amended November 12, 1997; April 17, 2002.)

    Some courses, particularly seminars, often require a paper or project in lieu of an examination, or in addition to the examination. In courses where a paper or project is required, the due date shall be the date specified by the faculty member teaching the course or, if no date is specified, the last day of the examination period.

    For good cause, a due date later than the date set for faculty submission of grades may be permitted, but only with the concurrence of the faculty member and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The failure to turn in a written work on or before the due date constitutes a withdrawal from the course unless the student has been granted a grade of "I" (incomplete).

    If the events beyond the student's control preclude the submission of a final course paper in a timely manner, the Associate Dean may extend the deadline for submission thereof by no more than thirty (30) days.

  8. Religious Observance

    If an examination falls on a religious holiday the student is required to observe, the student must notify the Associate Dean for Student Engagement to arrange for a make-up date and time.

  9. Examination Policies

    (Amended: November 17, 2015.)

    1. Examination Security Policy

      The following devices or items are not permitted in the exam testing area, which includes restrooms and exam floor hallways:

      1. Hats, hoods or other headgear (except items of religious apparel)
      2. Electronic devices such as cell phones, calculators, pagers, cameras, radios, recording devices, hand-held computers, any type of personal digital assistant, wireless email devices, etc.
        1. All cell phones must be turned OFF and stored away from the testing area.
      3. IPods or similar devices
      4. Headphones
      5. Earplugs connected to electronic or non-electronic devices. (Complimentary earplugs are available from proctors.)
      6. Any type of wireless communication device
      7. Watches or timepieces of any kind
      8. Any other item not specifically allowed

      Possession of prohibited devices or items during the examination or in the restrooms and exam floor hallways will be deemed an exam irregularity pursuant to the MSU Law Code of Student Discipline.

      Any faculty, staff (including examination proctors), or student of the Law College has standing to assert a violation of the Code.

    2. Examination Conduct Policy

      Anonymity, equality, and security are seen as imperatives in the examination process. Policies and procedures have been established to promote these goals and provide for the best possible conditions under which all students can take examinations. All exams are administered by proctors under the supervision of the Registrar. Students are expected to respond appropriately to proctors’ requests and to guard against even the perception or appearance of inappropriate exam behavior.

      1. Any examination irregularity, or any act of plagiarism in the submission of a written assignment is subject to discipline under the Code of Student Discipline. Such a finding may be based upon any probative evidence of, but not limited to, the following:
        1. Any conversation with another student during an examination, irrespective of the subject matter of that conversation
        2. During an examination, the possession in the exam testing area of any prohibited material, irrespective of its use
        3. During an examination, any perusal of another student’s examination answer, irrespective of the use of such perusal
        4. Disseminating any examination materials or information to another person who has not yet taken the examination
        5. Use of another person’s writings without proper attribution
      2. Students must enter/exit the fourth floor examination rooms using the side doors of the classroom.
      3. Students must sign in while presenting both their exam permit and school picture ID. Lost IDs must be replaced at the MSU ID Office, Room 170 in the MSU International Center, prior to exams.
      4. Students may not leave the exam room after signing in until after the exam begins. Students should be sure they have all examination materials they are allowed to bring (example: outlines, laptop) prior to entering the exam room.
      5. Late arrivals may enter and sit for the exam, but no extra time will be given.
      6. Students must be seated every other seat unless directed otherwise.
      7. No materials other than pens and those provided by the proctors are permitted unless specified by the professor. All materials not permitted must be placed on the outer perimeter of the room. All materials on the desks are subject to inspection upon request. Purses are to be placed on the floor.
      8. Once distribution of exams begins, no communication between students is permitted.
      9. Students may not read any portion of the exam until told to do so, despite the fact that they are asked to place exam permit numbers on the exam and exam materials.
      10. Students should NOT place their student number (PID) or name on exam materials, only exam permit number.
      11. Exams may not be unstapled, torn, or taken apart in any manner. No pages may be torn out of exams or blue books and no questions may be copied in any manner. If something is torn or comes apart, notify the proctor. No exams or portions thereof may be kept at any time.
      12. If using scantrons as part of an exam, students are instructed to turn them over when completed so as to protect anonymity and answers.
      13. Students should be quiet in the hallway when taking a restroom break during the exam.
      14. Students are prohibited from reviewing outlines/notes or sending/receiving electronic communications during the restroom break. Cell phone use by an examinee in the hallways or restrooms on the 3rd or 4th floors is prohibited while exams are taking place.
      15. When told to stop because the examination time has ended, students must stop writing immediately.
      16. Exams and materials are turned in individually to the proctors. Materials must be checked and students may not leave until the proctors have checked them out. If there is a line for check out, no communication is permitted until all students have checked out.
      17. If a student completes the exam before others he or she may leave the examination room unless directed otherwise. Students are to be quiet when leaving the examination room and exam floor.
      18. Any questions or concerns with regard to exam policy and administration should be directed to the Registrar's Office or the Office of Student Engagement.
    3. Emergency Evacuation Policy

      In the event you must vacate the examination testing area while an exam is still in progress, for reasons such as a fire alarm, the Examination Security and Conduct Policies noted above continue to apply.

  10. Testing Accommodations under the ADA

    (Adopted: April 12, 2000.)

    Pursuant to the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), students with a documented disability may receive exam accommodations as authorized by the Associate Dean for Student Engagement. The student must provide documentation from a licensed medical professional that includes a medical and/or psychological evaluation, diagnosis, and accommodation recommendations. Testing must have been conducted within the last two (2) years in order to be considered for special accommodation.

    A student who has received approval from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for testing accommodations must submit a "Special Accommodation Request" form (PDF) to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the beginning of every semester. The form is available outside the Registrar's Office (309).

  11. Testing Accommodations for ESL Students

    (Adopted: April 12, 2000.)

    Students for whom English is a Second Language (ESL) may receive exam accommodations under some circumstances. The Associate Dean for Student Engagement in his or her discretion may grant the following accommodations under the following circumstances:

    1. Accommodations are limited to additional time, up to 20 minutes per hour, on written examinations and/or the use of a translation (non-legal) dictionary.
    2. No accommodations are available for take-home exams, papers, or oral presentations.
    3. Students must not have attended a college or university for two or more years wherein instruction was primarily or exclusively English.
    4. Accommodations are available only for the 24-month period following a student's first day of class.
  12. Withdrawal

    (Adopted: April 10, 1996-Supersedes Policy Adopted Decembber 1, 1981. Amended August 19, 1998; April 17, 2002.)

    "W" signifies that the student has withdrawn from the course. A student may withdraw, without permission, at any time prior to entering the examination room. Once the student enters the examination room, he/she is committed to receiving a grade.

    Withdrawal from any course during a semester may affect eligibility for scholarships, Law Review and financial aid.

    Excessive withdrawal from courses may result in the inability to complete the J.D. degree curriculum within the required number of years.

    A student may not withdraw from Research, Writing & Analysis or Advocacy unless the student withdraws from all courses in that semester.

    NOTE: Employers notice withdrawals on transcripts. Seeing multiple withdrawals ("W") on a student's transcript may dissuade an employer from making an offer of employment to a student. Why? Because it indicates an inability on the student's part to meet deadlines and lack of commitment in completing tasks