CSUN partners with law school to offer accelerated degree program

File Photo / Daily Sundial
CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison File Photo / Daily Sundial

California State University, Northridge recently signed a partnership agreement with Southwestern Law School that will allow students interested in the program to earn their law degrees in less time.

The 3+3 Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program will begin in Fall 2014 and will enable students to earn the above-mentioned degrees in six years as opposed to the usual seven.

The program will allow students’ fourth year of undergraduate education to count as their first year of law school. CSUN will award the baccalaureate degree to students after successful completion of their first year at Southwestern.

“I am pleased CSUN is partnering with Southwestern to give students who are committed to pursuing a career in law an opportunity to get a head start on achieving their goals,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison in CSUN Today.

CSUN began recruiting students for the program this year. University officials anticipate up to 35 students from every department at CSUN to sign-up during the initial enrollment period and $10,000 scholarships will be awarded to each student admitted into the program.

If a 2.7 GPA is maintained, the scholarships will be renewed in subsequent years according to Southwestern Law School. As specified on the website, program participants must start the program in their first year of undergraduate studies and must be classified as a full-time freshman.

In addition, an application to the program must be submitted to Southwestern Law School at the time of admission to CSUN and students must have a high school GPA of at least 3.0 and either an ACT score of at least 25 or a minimum SAT score of 1140.

Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences,  was instrumental in creating the new program.  She called the partnership “truly a wonderful path for our students who know early on that they wish to pursue graduate education in law,” and went on to say “a CSUN-Southwestern program is a significant extension of both institutions’ commitment to providing our students with a relevant educational experience so that they are competitive members of the region’s workforce and future leaders of California,” as reported by CSUN Today.

Kevin Melchor, a business administration major, was surprised to hear that CSUN has more students serving in the Los Angeles judiciary system than any other undergraduate institution.

“CSUN having a B.A./J.D. program would be great because this would give students who are interested in law a chance to study law compared to going to UCLA or Harvard,” Melchor said

For students interested in judicial internship opportunities, CSUN sponsors an extensive program with the L.A. County Superior Courts. The program began in 1990 and has more than 575 student participants. The internship is designed to provide juniors and seniors with exposure to the inner workings of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.