Less stress on grades for NUS law freshmen starting this year: Law dean

Simon Chesterman, Dean of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law. Law freshmen entering the NUS need not fret about getting good grades, at least not for the first semester. -- FILE PHOTO: SIMON CHESTERMAN
Simon Chesterman, Dean of the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law. Law freshmen entering the NUS need not fret about getting good grades, at least not for the first semester. -- FILE PHOTO: SIMON CHESTERMAN

Law freshmen entering the National University of Singapore (NUS) need not fret about getting good grades, at least not for the first semester.

Starting from the new intake in August, grades will not be given for compulsory modules law freshmen take in the first semester, though there will still be tests.

Only in the second semester will they be given grades.

The changes announced on Tuesday come after a review of the curriculum led by NUS law dean Simon Chesterman and vice-dean (academic affairs) Ng-Loy Wee Loon.

The law school's change is in line with the university's broader move over the next few years to remove grades for freshmen, which was announced by NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan last week.

The law school hopes to help students adjust to the demands of law school and reduce the pressure of scoring good grades from the start of their undergraduate years, said Professor Chesterman at a press briefing on Tuesday.

Currently law students have exams and grades across all years.

Prof Chesterman added that students will have more exposure to civil law, an area not as familiar to them as common law, which has its origins in England. They will take two compulsory modules in the first two years, to gain a better understanding of how legal systems in the region work.

There will also be more opportunities for students to gain on-the-job experience though legal clinics and modules that focus on practical training.

This is on top of the mandatory 20 hours of pro bono work that students are required to complete in their second year.

The school will also take on more research initiatives. It will launch two new research centres this year in areas like banking and finance law as well as maritime law.