3+3 Degree Program
UMass Dartmouth offers undergraduate students a 3+3 degree program as an accelerated pathway to earn both a bachelor’s and law degree. Offered since 1997, the program enables matriculated, qualifying students to substitute the first year of law school for the final year of their undergraduate program, thereby earning both a bachelor's degree from their UMass Dartmouth college program major of study and a Juris Doctor from UMass Law in six rather than seven years.
This policy is formed to better serve the students, facilitate accessibility to higher education resources for the Commonwealth, and to strengthen cooperation between undergraduate programs and the law school.
Advantages of the 3+3 Program
- Provides a fast track to a law degree and legal career.
- Saves one year of tuition costs and time.
- Provides a smooth transition from undergraduate to law curriculum.
- Program students enjoy library privileges at both institutions throughout their residence at either institution.
Qualified UMass Dartmouth undergraduates are permitted to substitute the first year of law school for their undergraduate senior year, thus earning a bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor degree in six years instead of the normal seven. The program is aimed primarily at students who enter UMass Dartmouth with a strong interest in law already formed or who develop an interest in law early in their studies, and whose career goals and legal education needs can be well served by the law school.
The physical proximity to UMass Law makes this program both desirable and feasible. The program offers qualified students an accelerated program of study while maintaining academic standards and saving the student time and money. This also allows UMass Dartmouth to better serve the citizens of the Commonwealth and improves the productivity of the undergraduate colleges and law school.
The responsibility of the program rests with the pre-law advisor and 3+3 advisor designee(s) as appointed by the UMass Dartmouth Provost’s office. The advisors shall actively engage with UMass Law’s admissions staff and academic faculty from relevant undergraduate majors. The advisors shall provide an annual report of 3+3 activities to the Provost by June 30 annually.
Eligibility for Admission to Law School
UMass Dartmouth juniors in qualifying programs who meet the following requirements are eligible for admission to UMass Law via the 3+3 program under the following terms:
- In compliance with American Bar Association Standard 502(a) successful completion of the work acceptable for a bachelor's degree including all major, university studies, and college requirements at UMass Dartmouth by the end of the junior year (i.e., no less than 90 credits).
- At least 30 credits must be earned in the undergraduate major at UMass Dartmouth (effective for students matriculated as of May 15, 2023).
- Successful completion of all university studies, college, and major requirements for the bachelor's degree, other than free electives and requirements for which a first-year law school course may serve as an acceptable substitute.
- Fulfillment of all admissions requirements normally imposed by the law school, including an acceptable performance on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Exam).
- A cumulative grade point average of a 3.0 or better.
- At least two semesters of pre-law advisement.
- Submission of a letter of acknowledgement of good standing from your pre-law advisor.
- All majors in the College of Arts and Sciences*
- All majors in the Charlton College of Business*
*Students should consult with their academic advisors on recommendations to pursue these options, these options are subject to change.
The application deadline for UMass Law is no later than June 30. Prospective students are encouraged to apply no later than January 1 preceding their desired fall entrance date. Students planning to enroll in the 3+3 program must complete their eligibility requirements, take the LSAT, submit all required materials and apply. Participation in the 3+3 program is not a guarantee of admission to law school.
GPA (Grade Point Average)
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 successfully complete the first year of law school, or who elect for other reasons to withdraw, may return to their UMass Dartmouth college as a bachelor's degree candidate the next semester without applying for readmission. Any completed course work at the law school will be treated by the university as transfer credits.
Participation & Advisement
Students interested in the program are encouraged to make their interest known to a pre-law advisor as early as possible to ensure adequate advisement in meeting the eligibility requirements for accelerated admission to UMass Law. Students who do not want to participate in the 3+3 program are also eligible for pre-law advisement.
Students selecting the 3+3 track must submit this declaration form to the 3+3 advisor and are encouraged to submit the form no later than the end of the first semester of the sophomore year to ensure successful progress in the track. Students will need to have at least two full semesters of pre-law academic advising to participate in the 3+3 fast-track program.
Pre-law and 3+3 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
3+3 students are admitted as full-time students at UMass Law and will follow the usual course of study for full-time, first-year law students. Upon successful completion of the first year of law school, the credits earned will be transferred to your undergraduate degree as free electives or appropriate credit towards your undergraduate program/university graduation requirements. Students will thereby graduate with a bachelor's degree from UMass Dartmouth and can walk at commencement.
Students must complete the Transfer Request and Student Status forms with the pre-law advisor prior to matriculation at UMass Law.
Stipulations for the combined Undergraduate 4th year and Law 1L Year
Below are terms that students must meet in their senior year. This is not an exhaustive list; students are required to meet the terms of the UMass Dartmouth catalog year for their major and matriculation date.
- Students will be admitted only as full-time students in the University of Massachusetts Law School and will follow the usual course of study for full-time, first-year law students (30 credits). The program is not intended to apply to part-time law students.
- Students must complete all undergraduate major, university studies, and college requirements by the end of the third year, leaving only free elective credits or requirements for which a first-year law school course is an acceptable substitute. Substitutes must be approved by the student’s undergraduate degree chairperson in writing to the Dean’s office prior to matriculation at UMass Law.
- After successful completion of the first year at UMass Law, the 30 credits earned will be transferred to UMass Dartmouth as free elective credits or appropriate credit towards requirements and will be sufficient to complete the UMass Dartmouth requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The student will graduate from UMass Dartmouth with their undergraduate degree in the spring semester of that year.
- First year law school grades will not be included with the student’s UMass Dartmouth grades in calculating the graduating grade point average.
- Students who do not successfully complete the first year of law school or who choose to withdraw, may return to UMass Dartmouth the next semester by completing a readmission form. The readmission fee will be waived. Any completed coursework at the law school will be treated by the university in the same way as other transfer credits.
- UMass Dartmouth seniors in their first year at the law school will be required to pay the same tuition and fees to the law school as other first-year law students, but will not be required to pay the tuition or fees to UMass Dartmouth undergraduate program.
- Students in the program can access library privileges at both institutions throughout their residence.
- Participation in the 3+3 program is not a guarantee of admission to UMass Law. It is the student’s responsibility to meet the program’s academic and eligibility requirements, to prepare for the Law School Admission Test or Graduate Record Exam, and to comply with all admissions procedures required by the law school including application deadlines, GPA, recommendation letters and personal statements.
- The program is intended for students who make a conscientious choice to attend UMass Law and complete their Juris Doctor Degree at the law school. Students can apply for early admission to another law school or transfer later from UMass Law to another law school provided this option is available to them through said law school.
Students shall have library privileges at both institutions throughout their residence at either institution.
Students may be eligible to continue their participation in UMass Dartmouth Athletics during their shared year at UMass Law and should consult with the Director of Athletics or designee.
About UMass Law
- Located 10 minutes north of UMass Dartmouth's main campus.
- The only public law school in Massachusetts.
- Among the smallest class sizes of any law school in New England.
- The lowest tuition of any ABA-accredited law school in Massachusetts.
- 100% clinic or internship placement.
- Public interest and other scholarships available.
UMass Law 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.
UMass Law is fully accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association. The Section of Legal Education may be contacted at 321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610, by fax to (312) 988-5681, by phone at (312) 988-6738, or by email.
The law school is part of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, which is fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).