BSU Partners with UMass Law for 3+3 Program

Bridgewater State has entered a new partnership with UMass Law that will allow students with law school ambitions to start their path right here at BSU. The 3+3 program, which allows students to complete their undergraduate and law degrees in six years instead of seven, was signed into effect on October 21. 

Dr. Arnaa Alcon (she/her), dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with Associate Dean Dr. Michael McClintock (he/him), sat down with The Comment to discuss the program.  

McClintock explained that 3+3 is aimed at students who know that they want to get a law degree early on in their path at BSU. Five majors are currently participating: criminal justice, English, history, philosophy, and political science. Participants will complete their major and core classes during their first three years, then matriculate to UMass Law for their fourth year, completing their first year of law school and earning their undergraduate degree at BSU. “This saves you a year time-wise and tuition-wise,” said McClintock.  

According to Alcon, UMass Law is one of the fastest growing law schools and has excellent bar exam pass rates. “We’re not interested in creating pathways to programs that aren’t exemplary,” she said. 

Both McClintock and Alcon assert that UMass Law is a great fit for BSU students. “Partly, it’s the cost,” McClintock explained. “As a public law school, it’s a lot cheaper than going to the privates. But there’s also the overlap in the mission. We’re both dedicated to public service— and what UMass law specializes in is producing lawyers who do public service law.” Alcon added that public service law entails “looking at social justice and equity issues in communities and the legal aspects of that, and that is totally in keeping with Bridgewater’s mission.” 

Alcon says the program will help students figure out what they want and how to get there, even if it doesn’t end up being law school. “I would emphasize the opportunity [for students] to identify their interest early and to have deep conversations with a specified advisor on our campus about what that would mean for the student. That’s what I’m really excited about.” McClintock pointed out that humanities majors sometimes feel pressured by family and friends to pick a more “practical” major, but that law school presents a clear career path. “It gives us something very tangible we can point to… we can talk about all the skills a humanities degree gives you, and all the careers it opens up. If someone says ‘such as?’ we can say ‘this.”’ 

Because the program is so new, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is just starting to get the word out. The Dean said the college will be speaking to the Academic Achievement Center soon about advising first year students about the program and plans to hold some informational events this spring. A website is also in the works. 

Interested students can email chss@bridgew.edu with general questions about the program or to participate. 

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