Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD, and Stonehill College in Easton, MA, have agreed to participate in the Columbus School of Law’s “3/3” program, which permits qualified students to obtain both an undergraduate degree and a J.D. in only six years, saving the cost of a full year of college.
Also available to undergraduates at The Catholic University of America, the 3/3 joint B.A./J.D. program allows students to double-count first-year law courses toward the completion of a B.A. degree and the start of a law degree.
The agreements signal a growing desire on some undergraduate campuses in building a strong professional career bridge for their students who are interested in obtaining a law degree. Students may apply to CUA Law’s condensed dual-degree program if their undergraduate G.P.A. and LSAT score meet certain thresholds.
“For the colleges, the advantage is being able to offer their top undergraduate students a clear path to a highly desirable professional degree at an institution where they are highly likely to perform well,” said Daniel F. Attridge, Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law.
“For students, of course, the prospect of saving a year of college tuition and moving more quickly toward obtaining a law degree is particularly attractive. For us, it is an opportunity to further our goal of attracting the best and brightest applicants available to our Law School,” the dean said.
Law schools are generally allowed to admit students after three years of college, and in many states law school graduates may obtain bar admission and practice law without obtaining a bachelor’s degree. But for a variety of reasons, many law school graduates still choose to obtain a bachelor’s degree before moving to the next level.
Under CUA Law’s 3/3 program, students can achieve this with the cooperation of their undergraduate institution, which will permit credit to be given towards a bachelor’s degree for law school courses. Typically, such course credits would apply toward meeting elective or distributive requirements. Less often, law school course credit might be allowed to fulfill major requirements.
“3/3 programs are not for every student. But for a select few, who carefully plan out their undergraduate experience in order to meet the relevant requirements as needed, and who are fully prepared to move on to law school after only three years of college, 3/3 programs represent a great opportunity,” said Dean Attridge.
It's anticipated that more colleges will announce their intention to allow students to take advantage of CUA Law’s 3/3 program later this fall.