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College of Law Welcomes First Cohort of BA/JD 3+3 Students

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​​​​​At the beginning of the academic year, DePaul's College of Law welcomed the first cohort of BA/JD 3+3 students. As the program's inaugural cohort of 12 students move on to law school, the multidisciplinary program allows Blue Demons to complete their undergraduate and law degrees in just six years rather than the traditional seven.

Conceived in 2014, the 3+3 Program was officially launched in 2017 between Law and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The College of Communication joined the following year. The program not only enables students to enter the workforce a year early, but also saves them a full year of undergraduate tuition.

“This program enables me to get a substantial and high-quality undergraduate education in political science, as well as a law degree, at a faster and more cost-effective pace while learning law like a law student does," says Dylan Barnick, a member of the first cohort.

Both undergraduate colleges offer a broad range of majors that qualify for the 3+3 Program. Students completing the program receive their BA upon completion of their first year of law school.

“Before students begin their first year of undergraduate studies, we make law seem like an actual pathway for them by exposing them to the field and making the content accessible," says Max Helveston, a professor and former associate dean at the College of Law.

Undergraduate academic advisors work with each student to develop a tailored schedule that both satisfies their undergraduate requirements and prepares them for law school. The requirements of the program are rigorous. Students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.35 by the end of their sophomore year, maintain that GPA in their junior year and take the LSAT prior to matriculation at the College of Law. College of Law faculty and staff work actively with undergraduate advisors to make sure that students are on track.

Among the most unique features of the program are the specially designed undergraduate courses taught by DePaul law faculty that introduce 3+3 students to the legal profession: The Practice of Law (first year), Recent Controversies in the Law (second year) and Thinking About the Law (third year).

“Each course builds on the other," says Allison Tirres, associate dean for academic affairs and strategic initiatives in the College of Law. “The first introduces students to the kinds of problems lawyers solve. The second surveys different areas of legal practice, and the third develops their skills in legal analysis and writing. All three are designed not only to teach students about the law, but also to build community among the cohort and between faculty and students."

Overall, the 3+3 Program provides benefits to both DePaul and students.

 “Students who have a legal career on their minds are more motivated to matriculate at DePaul knowing they have a direct path to law school," says Ginny Nightingale, director of advising for the College of Communication.

The program has grown significantly over the past three years. Between LAS and the College of Communication, the number of enrollees has increased from the initial cohort of 12 in 2017 to 72 incoming students in 2020. This popularity reflects another valuable benefit of the 3+3 Program – community.

“Our hope is to build a strong joint degree program that takes care of students on all fronts - academically, economically, financially and socially," notes Amanda Noascono, assistant dean and director of Law Admissions.