Graduation with Honors
Effective Spring 2011, graduates of the School of Law who are judged by the faculty to have completed the Doctor of Jurisprudence with scholarly distinction are awarded degrees with honors. In general, honors are awarded solely on the basis of work done at the University’s School of Law. No more than 35 percent of the graduating class may receive honors, high honors, and highest honors. No more than 5 percent may receive high honors and highest honors. No more than 1 percent may receive highest honors. Consistent with the School of Law’s no-ranking policy, we do not publish the GPA cut-offs that correlate with the graduation honors designations.
Order of the Coif
Order of the Coif is computed once each year and includes the graduates from the August, December, and May graduating classes, e.g., Aug. 2010, Dec. 2010, and May 2011. The three classes are combined and the top 10% are eligible to be invited to join Coif. Computations are done after all grades for the three classes are received, typically in September. The list of names is submitted to the faculty sponsor who will then notify the students. No more than 25 percent of the total hours* being applied to the degree may be graded on the P/F basis. Transfer students are ineligible for Order of the Coif distinction.
*COVID/Coif update for the Class of 2021 and Class of 2022: No more than 18 credit hours being applied to the degree may be graded on the P/F basis (excluding Spring 2020 credit hours).
Since 1912, Chancellors has been the Law School’s most prestigious honor society, recognizing the sixteen law students who have achieved the highest grade point averages in their class through their second year. The society exists only at the University of Texas Law School and is more selective than national programs such as the Order of the Coif. Many of the Law School’s most prominent alumni were Chancellors, including litigators Stephen D. Susman, ’65, and Harry M. Reasoner, ’62; politicians Lloyd Doggett, ’70, and Ralph Yarborough, ’27; Texas Law School Dean W. Page Keeton, ’31, and Stanford Law School Dean Charles Meyers, ’49; and U.S. Courts of Appeal Judge Diane Wood, ’75.
David Anderson, ’72, Fred & Emily Marshall Wulff Centennial Chair in Law and faculty advisor to the Chancellors, said the society is the Law School’s distinctive way of recognizing its finest students. “Through one hundred years, the Chancellors organization has nurtured the Law School’s tradition of excellence,” Anderson said. “Chancellors recognizes the very pinnacle of academic achievement: membership requires a grade point average of very close to 4.0.”
The Chancellors with the four highest grade point averages are officers of the society for their year: Grand Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Clerk, and Keeper of the Peregrinus. The rest are Chancellors-at-Large. In the case of a tie in grade-point average, more than sixteen students can become Chancellors, and more than one student can hold an officer’s title.
During the yearly installation ceremony, new Chancellors sign their names and home towns in the Chancellors book, which has been in use since 1929 and was restored in 1979 and 2006 with the assistance of a group of Chancellors alumni.