UMass Law and Bridgewater State University have announced the signing of an agreement for a 3+3 joint degree program that will give Bridgewater students the opportunity to earn their undergraduate degree and a law degree in six years.
In this accelerated degree program, students earn credits for their first year of law school during their final year of college, saving a year of tuition and associated expenses on the traditional seven-year pathway to a Juris Doctorate.
"Imagine being able to earn your bachelor's degree and complete your law degree in six years," said BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr., who went on to earn his law degree after graduating from BSU in 1983. "In addition to the associated savings of an entire year of tuition and fees, our students will have the support of faculty advisors at BSU and meet with UMass Law faculty. Also, because these students are setting their career goals early, they have additional time to determine the career paths they can follow with their Juris Doctorate."
"As a Massachusetts public university with a similarly strong public service mission, Bridgewater State is a natural partner for UMass Law," said Eric Mitnick, Dean of UMass Law. "This 3+3 program will enable students to complete their undergraduate and legal education with less debt, providing graduates greater freedom to pursue public service within our communities and expanding access to justice throughout Southeastern Massachusetts."
BSU is the fifteenth institution to collaborate on a 3+3 program with UMass Law. Other partners include Anna Maria College, Assumption University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Johnson & Wales University, Regis College, Salem State University, Springfield College, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, Westfield State University, and Worcester State University. Enrollment at UMass Law, the Commonwealth's only public law school, has increased for six consecutive years, more than doubling since the law school received full ABA approval in 2016.
In 2018, UMass Law and Bridgewater State established a joint Law/Master of Social Work program that allows students to earn both degrees in four years rather than five. The program integrated the two disciplines through field experience, and students collaborate to offer legal and social services across Southeastern Massachusetts.
The two institutions also partner on accelerated Master of Science programs in Physics and Electrical Engineering programs to create advanced STEM learning and research experience for students. Undergraduate students in the Physics, Photonics and Optical Engineering program in the Bartlett College of Science & Mathematics at BSU seamlessly earn a master's degree in Physics or Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering at UMass Dartmouth.