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Worcester State Partners with UMass Law on Law School Pathway

April 4, 2018
By: Renae Lias Claffey

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson, Worcester State University President Barry M. Maloney, and UMass School of Law Dean Eric Mitnick entered an agreement on Wednesday, April 4 that will reduce the cost of earning a law degree.

Chancellor Johnson, formerly president of Becker College in Worcester, traveled to Worcester State for the signing.

The new “3+3” agreement establishes a framework providing full-time undergraduate students at Worcester State with an expedited pathway for completing undergraduate and law school coursework in six years. Typically, undergraduates need at least four years to complete their bachelor’s degree work and three years to complete their law degree. The new option can save students a full year of tuition.

“We are pleased to welcome Worcester State University as a partner in our mission to provide a private law school experience and a public university value for students who want to pursue justice as a career,” Chancellor Johnson said. “Our law students have provided more than 100,000 hours of pro bono legal services in their communities since UMass Law was established in 2010, and I am excited to see how WSU students engage in this mission.”

“Worcester State University is committed to providing access to high quality educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds,” said President Maloney. “The 3+3 law school program is one of several creative partnerships Worcester State University has established to help reduce the cost of higher education, so more students can afford to pursue their dreams.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the program is open to qualified Worcester State undergraduates who commit early to pursuing a law degree at UMass Law at UMass Dartmouth. Working with a Worcester State faculty adviser, students would plan to complete undergraduate major requirements and the general education program at Worcester State in three years, while meeting entrance requirements at UMass Law. In the fourth year, students would matriculate at UMass Law, where they would be first-year law students.

The credits earned in that first year of law school would fulfill the remaining undergraduate degree requirements, so that upon its successful completion, the student would earn a bachelor’s degree from Worcester State University. Upon completion of all six years of the program, the student would also earn a UMass Law diploma.

The program is designed for students who have a strong desire to pursue a legal career when they begin at Worcester State and whose career goals can be well- served by UMass Law. A recent report by the American Bar Association indicated that UMass Law, less than two years after earning full national accreditation, outperformed four area private law schools and ranks second in the nation in percentage of graduates who enter public service employment.

“As the only public law school in Massachusetts, we have a unique opportunity and obligation to serve the public interest,” said Dean Mitnick. “I welcome Worcester State students and look forward to watching them pursue and attain their goals.”

“Public universities in Massachusetts work together to benefit students and the good of the commonwealth,” said Worcester State University Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Russ Pottle. “The partnership with UMass Law opens any number of possibilities, including public interest law. Students interested in public interest law, like immigration or human rights law, for instance, or law for community economic development, can find compelling educational paths through Worcester State to UMass Law.”

Other cost-saving college partnership options Worcester State offers its students are:

The Commonwealth Commitment, whereby students begin their degree program at a Massachusetts community college full-time, earning an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in four years, with guaranteed transfer of credits, at a price point less than it would cost to enter directly into a state university. Students who persist full time, completing their bachelor’s program in four years, also would receive 10 percent off the total cost. Commonwealth Commitment applies to many majors, but not all.

The 3+1 RN-to-BS Nursing program with Quinsigamond Community College, whereby students complete the first three years of coursework at QCC and finish up the fourth year at Worcester State, earning a WSU bachelor’s degree in mursing.

Fast track bachelor’s to master’s degree programs are offered in biotechnology and chemistry (toward a pharmacy degree, jointly with the MCPHS University), as well as communication (toward an M.S. in Professional Communication at Clark University). These programs allow certain courses taken in the senior year to count toward a master’s degree at Worcester State.

4+1 programs are offered in biotechnology, business administration/management, sociology/nonprofit management, urban studies/nonprofit management, allowing students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WSU in five years.

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