Academic Policies

Avoiding Academic Offences

Scholarship at the Faculty is based on honourable conduct, and deliberate plagiarism and other academic offences are taken very seriously. However, it is possible to commit an academic offense inadvertently as a result of a lack of understanding of, or familiarity with, the rules. Unfortunately, even an unintentional academic offence can result in serious sanctions, up to and including expulsion.

In order to ensure that you understand the University’s expectations regarding academic conduct, we strongly encourage you to read about the University’s approach to academic integrity, which includes the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (the Code). You can read about ways to maintain academic integrity at the University of Toronto here.

The GPLLM program expects all students to complete their written assignments individually, unless expressly advised to do otherwise. 

Attendance Policy

Class attendance is an essential element of the educational experience offered by the GPLLM program and is mandatory. Students are responsible for signing in to classes and will be counted as absent if they fail to do so. Unexcused absences may result in a failed or incomplete course. If a student misses two out of six GPLLM classes, or one day of an intensive course class, they will be deemed to fail the course.

Students who will be absent from class for a religious observance must advise the GPLLM Program Coordinator (ann.vuletin@utoronto.ca) at least two weeks in advance. Students who must be absent due to injury, illness, or for other unavoidable reasons must also notify Ann.

Commencing in the 2020-2021 academic year, the National Committee of Accreditation (NCA) expects the GPLLM to verify in-person student attendance for students in the Canadian Law concentration who are required to complete in-person studies. The GPLLM will  therefore be taking attendance, in a manner to be decided.

Class participation

Class participation is distinguished from attendance and reflects the quality (and to some degree) the quantity of the student’s contribution and engagement in the class. Faculty are encouraged to provide students with a sense of expectations around participation, and participation grades may not exceed 20 percent of the final grade. If a faculty member does not indicate expectations around the participation grade, then it is presumed to be comprised of the following: reading the assigned readings for each class; contributing to meaningful classroom discussion; and asking thoughtful questions.  

If you have questions about the way in which class participation will be assessed, you are encouraged to speak to the faculty member directly.

Grading Scale

Students in the GPLLM are graded according the School of Graduate Studies’ graduate grading scale. As set out below, it ranges from A+ to B-. B- is the minimum grade required to pass a course. There is no curve in the graduate program. Please note that although the scale below provides a numeric counterpoint to the letter grades, students will not receive a final numeric grade.

In courses with a Final Exam, students must receive a grade of B- on the exam in order to pass the course. 

Graduate Grading Scale
Refined Letter Grade ScaleNumerical Scale
A+90-100%
A85-89%
A-80-84%
B+77-79%
B73-76%
B-70-72%
FZ0-69%

You can read more about U of T’s grading policies here.

Students who fail to complete the required ten (10) courses will not be able to fulfill the degree requirements and will be required to complete an additional course before graduating. Given the GPLLM course schedule, students are unlikely to be able to take an additional course in the same academic year, and will therefore need to return the following school year and pay additional fees for the term in which they register. 

Mid-term Exams

Mid-term exams are often provided in Canadian Law concentration courses as a means of assisting students in their preparation for the final exams. Where a mid-term exam is required in a course, there will be no downside to the student. If the student does better on the mid-term exam than the final exam, the mid-term exam will be counted towards the student's grade. If the student’s grade on the final exam exceeds that of the mid-term exam, the mid-term exam will not be counted towards the student’s final grade.

Assignment Extensions

Students who are unable to submit their written work by the deadline date must request an extension in advance of the deadline by submitting a written request to the GPLLM Program Coordinator at ann.vuletin@utoronto.ca at least one business day before the date on which the assignment is due. 

All requests for an extension will be submitted to, and decided, by the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs in consultation, where needed, with the Associate Dean, Graduate Programs.  Requests for modest extensions of time are normally granted without penalty in cases of unpredictable or unavoidable work commitments, or serious health challenges supported by contemporaneous documentation (e.g. a doctor's note). Please note that requests for extensions should not be directed to instructors.

Students should continue to work on their assignment while waiting to hear about their extension request, and submit the assignment as soon as possible. Should an extension request not be granted, late penalties will accrue.

In the event of a chronic or recurring issue that requires repeated extensions (or for which extensions are not an appropriate remedy), students are advised to consult with the Assistant Director of the GPLLM, Tali Golombek. In many cases, students in this situation will be advised to contact Accessibility Services, which can provide students with various supports and will work with the Faculty of Law to provide more extensive accommodations, where appropriate.

Late Penalties

If a student has not obtained an extension prior to the deadline (see below) and submits an assignment late, late penalties will normally apply as follows:

1. For late papers and other written assignments, a deduction of one grade level every four days (96 hours), beginning immediately after the deadline (e.g. a paper handed in one minute past the deadline time receives a one grade deduction, and the second deduction is applied 96 hours later, the third deduction 96 hours after that, and so on).

2. For late take-home exams and time-constrained assignments, a deduction of one grade level every two days (48 hours), beginning immediately after the deadline (e.g. a take-home exam or timed assignment is handed in one minute past the deadline time receives one grade deduction, and the second deduction is applied 48 hours later, the third deduction 48 hours after that, and so on). 

For purposes of clarification, a one grade level deduction means a deduction from an A+ to an A, an A to an A-, an A- to a B+, a B+ to a B, and a B to a B-.

Once the application of the late penalty moves the assignment below a B-, the undergraduate grading scale is referenced to aid in determining the assignment grade.

Undergraduate Grading Scale
Refined Letter Grade ScaleGrade Point ValueNumerical Scale
A+4.090-100%
A4.085-89%
A-3.780-84%
B+3.377-79%
B3.073-76%
B-2.770-72%
C+2.367-69%
C2.063-66%
C-1.760-62%
D+1.357-59%
D1.053-56%
D-0.750-52%
Fail0.00-49%

Accessibility Services

The University of Toronto has a commitment to providing effective accommodations for students with disabilities. See the Statement of Commitment Regarding Persons with Disabilities.

Students with chronic illness and disabilities that require ongoing accommodation are strongly encourage to register with Accessibility Services. When appropriate, students will be assigned a counsellor who will work closely with them in developing a set of standard accommodations. Students who are unsure of whether they would qualify for an accommodation should nevertheless consult with Accessibility Services, which is done in total confidence.

The services provided by Accessibility Services are confidential, and staff will assess needs and identify resources that are available to the student. Possible accommodations include being provided with additional time for assignments, writing exams at Accommodated Testing Services, note-taking assistance, and more, including access to several technological supports. Accessibility Services has registration deadlines for each semester and their services are often in high demand. Students who think they may require accommodations should reach out to them as soon as possible. More information about registration is available here.

Students who are registered with Accessibility Services for exam-related accommodations must submit their exam schedule to Accessibility Services well in advance of the final exam period.

Supplemental Exams and Appeals

It is within the discretion of the Associate Dean to decide on whether a student who fails an exam is offered an opportunity to write a supplemental exam. A supplemental exam is a new exam that has been specifically prepared for this purpose. In order to ensure that students do not receive an unfair advantage by having the benefit of having already written a final exam in the course, supplemental final exams will be capped at a B-.

Students who fail a mid-term exam will not be offered the opportunity to write a supplemental mid-term exam.

If the supplemental exam is not passed, a student is awarded a final grade of FZ in the course, which appears on the transcript permanently. Should this happen, the student will be required to pick up a course during the year, if possible, or return to the law school to complete the degree requirements the following year. Students will not be permitted to write more than one supplemental exam in a given course.

Supplemental exams are intended to provide students with a limited opportunity to demonstrate competence in a course in which their exam performance falls slightly below what was required to earn the credit. The expectation at the Faculty of Law is that students will succeed in their courses on the first attempt.

Students are permitted to write a maximum of two supplemental exams over the course of their studies. Supplemental exams are not intended as a mechanism to enable students who are unable to demonstrate competence in multiple courses to complete the program.

If a student is awarded a grade lower than a B- on a paper in which the paper forms the majority of the grade for the course (50% or higher), the Associate Dean has discretion to provide the student with an opportunity to submit a supplemental paper in a manner to be decided between the student, faculty member, and Assistant Director and/or Assistant Dean.

Should a student not accept the final grade awarded on the supplemental exam, they may choose to appeal the grade to the Faulty of Law’s Graduate Department Academic Appeal Committee (“GDAAC”). The process for submitting an appeal to the GDAAC is provided here. The first step in any appeal is a discussion with the instructor (in person or via email). A helpful flow chart outlining the process can be found here. Any student contemplating an appeal process should speak with the Assistant Director of the GPLLM or the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs.

Exam Deferral

Students who require an exam deferral should alert the GPLLM team promptly. In all cases, with the exception of religious observances, accommodations require supporting documentation. Students may only receive accommodations from the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs, and should not direct their request to the course instructor.

Exams in the GPLLM may be deferred for:

  • illness and significant emergencies;
  • unexpected and unavoidable work-related commitments;
  • religious observances.

Deferral on the grounds of illness, significant emergencies or unexpected or unavoidable work-related commitments require supporting documentation.  

Students who are unable to attend an exam due to illness or other extraordinary circumstances must make all reasonable efforts to notify the Assistant Director, GPLLM, or the Assistant Dean, Graduate Programs before the exam is scheduled to begin. 

Students who fall ill during an exam and believe that the illness has compromised their performance on the exam must be in touch with the Assistant Dean immediately following the exam (i.e. on the same day as the exam was written).

Medical documentation must be written by a physician, surgeon, nurse practitioner, registered psychologist, dentist or other medical practitioner. The University of Toronto Verification of Student Illness or Injury Form. must be completed and must establish that the student was examined and diagnosed at the time of illness (not after the fact).  Where there is a death in the family, the required documentation is a death certificate, obituary, or funeral program.

Examples of reasons for which exam deferrals will not normally be granted include vacation or social plans, common computer problems, and common commuting issues, among other situations.  

If an exam falls on a religious holiday, a student may request an exam deferral.  A student will not receive a deferral where a religious holiday falls before a scheduled exam or during the exam period without directly conflicting with the scheduled exam.

If the exam deferral request is approved by the Assistant Dean, the student is expected to write the exam on a date that will be set by the GPLLM. All deferred and supplemental exams will be written on that day, which will take place shortly after the regular exam period for that term. Requests to write exams on earlier times/dates will not be considered.

Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals

GPLLM students who are considering a leave of absence are encouraged to speak with the Assistant Director of the GPLLM. Students who miss more than three weeks of class should be in touch with the GPLLM program to discuss whether a leave of absence is appropriate.  Leaves of absence may be granted to students in exceptional circumstances and must typically be taken at the start of the winter semester. More information on Leaves of Absence can be found here.

Students who are considering withdrawing from the program on either a temporary or permanent basis are strongly advised to make an appointment to meet with the Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies, to discuss their circumstances. A student who withdraws and who wishes to enroll again must re-apply for admission.

Other Policies

Other policies are available on the School of Graduate Studies website.