UCSC, UC Hastings Law offer accelerated law degree program

Students will receive a BA and JD in six years compared with the usual seven

uc hastings law
UC Hastings College of the Law, founded in San Francisco in 1878, was the first UC law school and the first law school in California.

A new joint program, the first of its kind in the University of California system, will enable UC Santa Cruz students to earn a bachelor's degree and law degree in six years instead of the usual seven.

The “3+3 BA/JD” Program between UCSC and UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is set to accept its first applicants in the fall. UCSC students who declare their intent in their freshman or early sophomore year will complete three years at UCSC and then move on to UC Hastings to begin the three-year law curriculum.

Credits from the first year of law school will count toward a student's bachelor's degree. Students who successfully complete the first-year law course work will receive their bachelor's degree and be able to graduate with their UCSC class, then continue at UC Hastings for the final two years of law study.

"This is an exciting program that benefits both UCSC and UC Hastings, and provides a pipeline for highly motivated students interested in pursuing a career in law," said Herbie Lee, UCSC Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

Frank H. Wu, Chancellor and Dean of UC Hastings College of the Law said he looks forward to welcoming the first class of “3+3 BA/JD” from UC Santa Cruz in 2015. “We share an important common value of diversity and inclusion with UCSC, and this program will enhance and accelerate opportunities for their top students. UCSC also provides students with incredibly strong STEM skills, which will be well paired with the interdisciplinary strengths of the legal education at UC Hastings.”   

The UCSC-UC Hastings “3+3 Program” will be open to UCSC students from any UCSC major. There are no special undergraduate curricular requirements, and the proposal does not require any new majors, minors, or new UCSC courses.

Students will apply to UC Hastings in the typical manner, although a year earlier than normal, including taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). A letter from UCSC's Legal Studies program coordinator will also be required.

"This is the kind of innovative program we need to be developing: one that provides a clear career path for qualified students while saving them time and money without any sacrifice of academic or professional rigor," said Sheldon Kamieniecki, Dean of UCSC's Division of Social Sciences.

Discussions for the UCSC-UC Hastings “3+3 Program” began last June when Kamieniecki joined UC Hastings Professor Kelly Weisberg and UC Hastings Academic Dean Beth Hillman to host a meeting of UCSC and UC Hastings faculty and administrators to determine whether such a program was desirable and advantageous for both campuses. Weisberg is married to UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal.

UC Hastings faculty unanimously approved the proposal in December. UCSC's Academic Senate committees on Planning and Budget and Educational Policy similarly approved the proposal this month.

UC Hastings was founded in 1878 as the law department of the University of California, making it the first UC law school and the first law school in California.