Students at UMass Dartmouth have the opportunity to take a 3 + 3 program leading to both a bachelor’s and Juris Doctor degrees. This program offers a fast track to a law degree, taking six rather than seven years.
Qualified undergraduates substitute the first year in the Law School for their senior year at the university. The program is aimed primarily at students who enter the university with a strong interest in law (or students who develop such an interest early on) and whose career goals and legal education requirements can be well-served by the Law School.
Eligibility for Admission to the Law School
University juniors who meet the following requirements are eligible for admission to the Law School under the terms of the program:
- In compliance with American Bar Association Standard 502(a), successful completion by the end of the junior year of three-quarters (i.e., no less than 90 credits) of the work acceptable for the bachelor’s degree at the university.
- 60 credits earned in residence at the university.
- Successful completion of all university, college and major requirements for the bachelor’s degree, other than (a) free electives, and (b) requirements for which a first-year Law School course is a substitute acceptable to the student’s major and college.
- A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.
- Submission with the application for admission to the Law School of a joint letter of recommendation from the u members of the Joint Programs Committee.
- Fulfillment of all admissions requirements normally imposed by the Law School, including acceptable performance on the Law School Admission Test.
- At least two semesters of undergraduate pre-law advisement, as described below.
Participation and Advisement
Students interested in the program are encouraged to make their interest known to a pre-law advisor as early as possible, preferably before the end of the third semester, in order to insure adequate advisement in meeting the eligibility requirements for accelerated admission to the Law School.
Participants in the program are essentially a self-selected set of pre-law advisees. Students identify themselves as participants by declaring themselves to the Joint Programs Committee, agreeing to meet a pre-law advisor on a regular basis, and participating in an orientation visit to the Law School prior to application for admission. The purposes of advisement are to provide information about the program and to review the student’s progress in meeting the requirements for admission by the end of the junior year.
Each year the members of the Joint Programs Committee shall make an evaluation of all juniors in the program and prepare a joint letter of recommendation for each student applying to the Law School.
It is understood that pre-law advisement for purposes of the program is supplementary to, and not a substitute for, regular academic advisement by faculty in the student’s major and college.
The Senior Year/Law School First Year
Program students normally will be admitted only as full-time students in the Law School and will follow the usual course of study for full-time, first-year law students (31 credits).
Upon successful completion of the first year at the Law School, the 31 credits earned will be applied to undergraduate transcripts free elective credits or appropriate credit toward requirements. These credits are considered sufficient to complete requirements for the bachelor’s degree.
Students’ first-year law grades will not be included with their undergraduate grades in calculating the graduating GPA.
Students who fail to complete the first year of law school successfully, or who elect for other reasons to withdraw, may return the next semester to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Any completed course work at the Law School will be treated in the same manner as other transfer credit.
Participation in the program is not a guarantee of admission to the Law School; however, the intent of the program is to attract qualified students who make a good match with the Law School’s profile.
The Joint Programs Committee will make every effort to insure that students receive timely and accurate advisement at all stages of the program. However, it is the participating student’s responsibility to meet the program’s academic and eligibility requirements, to prepare adequately for the Law School Admission Test, and to comply with all admission procedures required by the Law School.
There is nothing to prevent a program student from applying for early admission to another law school or from transferring from the School of Law to another law school; however, it is the intent of the program to appeal to students who make a definite choice to attend the School of Law and complete their degree there.
Kenneth L Manning Political Science
UMass Dartmouth, 508 999-8366
Frances Howell Rudko Professor of Law,
Southern New England School of Law
Nancy Fitsimmons Hebert Director of Admissions
Southern New England School of Law