UMass Dartmouth and the Southern New England School of Law (located 3 miles from the campus in North Dartmouth) have established a joint program that will offer significant advantages to interested, qualifying students. This program offers a fast track to a law degree in six rather than seven years. The program leads to the award of a bachelor’s degree by UMass Dartmouth and a Juris Doctor degree by the Southern New England School of Law.
This program allows qualified University undergraduates to substitute the first year at the Law School for the senior year at the University, thus earning the Bachelor’s Degree and the Juris Doctor Degree in six years instead of the normal seven. The program is aimed primarily at students who enter the University with a strong interest in law already formed (or students who develop such an interest early on) and whose career goals and legal education needs can be well-served by the Southern New England School of Law.
Responsibility for the program’s operation rests with a Joint Programs Committee representing the two institutions. The University membership shall include at least one faculty member from the College of Business and at least one faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences. All faculty actively engaged in pre-law advisement shall be invited to serve on the Committee.
Program students enjoy library privileges at both institutions throughout their residence at either institution.
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 University 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, by agreeing to meet a pre-law advisor on a regular basis and by 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 University 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 University 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 transferred to the University as free elective credits, or appropriate credit toward requirements, sufficient to complete university requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The student will then graduate from the University with the rest of his or her class.
The student’s first-year law grades will not be included with the student’s University grades in calculating the graduating grade point average.
Students who fail to complete successfully the first year of law school, or who elect for other reasons to withdraw, may return the next semester to the University (without applying for readmission) as bachelor’s degree candidates. Any completed course work at the Law School will be treated by the University in the same manner as other transfer credit.
University seniors in their first year at the Law School will pay the same tuition and fees to the Law School as do other first-year students. Their status at the University will be that of a non-resident degree candidate, as in the case of students studying abroad. The University tuition and fees will be waived, except for the “withdrawn on exchange” fee or other fee required to maintain the status.
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 at a later date from Southern New England School of Law to another law school; however, it is the intent of the program to appeal to students who make a conscientious choice to attend Southern New England School of Law and complete their degree there.
Southern New England School of Law
Southern New England School of Law (SNESL) is located at Faunce Corner Road in North Dartmouth in a modern, state-of-the-art facility. SNESL offers full and part-time programs in its day division and a part-time evening/weekend program. Students in all programs receive a comprehensive legal education that grounds them in knowledge and understanding of the law, legal institutions and the responsibilities of the bar.
SNESL is an independent, non-profit, educational institution approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to award the Juris Doctor degree. Graduates are eligible to sit for the Massachusetts Bar Examination and can then also be eligible to take the Bar Examinations of certain other states depending upon the state’s requirements. SNESL is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
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
333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
508 998-9400 / 800 213-0060