What is a 3+3 Law Program? (Fast Track Your Law Career)

Imagine being able to fast-track your law career, saving time and money, and gaining a competitive edge in the job market. This is the reality for students enrolled in what is a 3+3 Law Program, a unique educational pathway that allows students to complete an undergraduate degree and a law degree within six years.

Key Takeaways

  • The 3+3 Law Program allows students to complete an undergraduate degree and a law degree (J.D.) in six years instead of the traditional seven, accelerating their path into a legal career while saving on tuition costs.

  • Eligibility for the 3+3 Law Program requires a minimum cumulative GPA, completion of specific courses and electives related to law, and satisfactory LSAT scores. Applications necessitate a personal statement and are completed with guidance from academic advisors.

  • Post-program career benefits for 3+3 Law Program graduates include earlier job market entry, practical legal experience through internships, and networking opportunities, potentially leading to competitive salaries commensurate with the prestige of the law school attended.

Exploring the 3+3 Law Program

Law graduates networking at an event

The 3+3 Law Program is an accelerated academic program designed to enable students to obtain both an undergraduate degree and a law degree within a six-year timeframe. This program integrates the educational requirements of both levels, shortening the total time required to complete both degrees from seven years to six, thus expediting the educational process for students in an accelerated program.

Upon successful completion of the first year of law school, which is equivalent to the senior year of undergraduate study, students are awarded their bachelor’s degree and continue their path towards earning a juris doctor, effectively integrating their undergraduate studies with their legal education.

The Core Structure

In the 3+3 law program, students are required to complete foundational undergraduate courses, similar to other undergraduates. They must also complete 33 credit hours that will be counted for the first year of law school, hence becoming first-year law students. The foundational curriculum in the 3+3 law program generally consists of 30 hours of core classes, 12 hours of law-related electives, and 12 hours of interdisciplinary studies, all of which are completed during undergraduate study.

The usual timeframe for completing the foundational courses in the 3+3 law program is approximately three years, which means students typically apply for the program during their junior year.

Advantages for Aspiring Lawyers

The 3+3 law program offers numerous advantages for students aspiring to pursue a legal career. These include:

  • The opportunity to start their legal careers a year earlier and begin gaining practical experience

  • Considerable financial benefits by trimming the total duration in school, which results in tuition savings

  • Gaining a financial edge by commencing their legal careers earlier and starting to earn income sooner.

By completing a law degree in a shorter time frame, students can:

  • Enter the job market earlier than their peers

  • Enhance their competitiveness

  • Secure early career opportunities

  • Advance professionally

This early entry can significantly impact their ability to secure early career opportunities and advance professionally.

The Pathway to Enrollment

Student preparing for admission exams

The journey to enrollment in a 3+3 law program begins in January of your third year in college. This is when the deadline for submitting the law school application occurs, meaning students will begin their law school studies in their fourth year.

Note that students should complete the application independently and should consult with their academic advisor for guidance on completing their application.

Academic Requirements

In order to be eligible for the 3+3 Law Program, students are required to uphold a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or above and achieve a grade of C or higher in first-year law courses. A robust undergraduate grade point average holds significant importance as an admission requirement for the program, as it reflects the student’s academic performance during their undergraduate studies.

Moreover, enrolling in the program requires the successful completion of:

  • Core classes

  • Law-related electives

  • Interdisciplinary studies

  • Other course credits to satisfy the program’s prerequisites.

Admission Exams and Personal Statement

The LSAT, a standardized test overseen by the Law School Admission Council, plays a significant role in admissions decisions for the 3+3 Law Program. Typically, students are required to have an LSAT score of 158 or higher for admission into the program. In addition to the LSAT, applicants must also submit a personal statement. This document should express the individual’s identity and motivation for pursuing legal education, emphasizing the rationale behind seeking a JD degree and presenting distinctive qualities and experiences.

The personal statement offers a glimpse into the applicant’s character and potential as a contributing member of the academic community, setting them apart from other candidates.

Dedicated Advisement and Support Systems

Throughout the course of the 3+3 Law Program, students engage in regular meetings with advisors from both colleges and can utilize a range of resources to guarantee their success. The advisors are responsible for assisting students in navigating the law school admissions process and offering guidance on adhering to the school’s rules and regulations. These regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with advisors ensure that students receive the necessary guidance towards their academic success.

The program also offers career counseling, providing details about different legal career options, educational prerequisites, employment opportunities, and potential obstacles within the field.

Navigating Dual Degrees

Pursuing a dual degree comes with its own set of challenges, including the requirement for commitment and self-discipline, the elevated cost associated with dual enrollment, and the more intricate and rigorous coursework in comparison to a double major. However, these challenges can be mitigated by initiating planning at an early stage, maintaining regular communication with academic advisors, establishing clear priorities, taking financial aspects into consideration, and cultivating efficient study habits.

Effective study strategies and SMART goals play a crucial role in the success of dual degree programs. They help to:

  • Maintain focus

  • Measure daily progress

  • Keep students organized

  • Aid in the achievement of academic objectives for both degrees

Time management and prioritization are also pivotal as they enable students to effectively balance the intensive workload and guarantee the fulfillment of milestones for each degree without sacrificing mental well-being.

Preparing for Success in Law School

Admission to a 3+3 JD program is quite selective, so extensive preparation is crucial. Prospective students should explore legal internships, shadow current law students, and conduct research on the legal job market to gain insight into the career’s demands. In order to effectively handle the demanding course load of a 3+3 law program, students should focus on developing strong time management skills and be prepared for the rigorous nature of law school.

Successful students in 3+3 law programs commonly embrace the following study habits:

  • Active engagement with the material

  • Consistent note-taking

  • Seeking a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, rather than relying solely on memorization.

Tailored Curriculum for Accelerated Students

The 3+3 Law Program coursework is tailored to cater to the needs of accelerated students by proposing an advanced curriculum that requires students to show readiness for the study of law, enabling them to finish a bachelor’s and J.D. degrees within six years. Institutions offering 3+3 programs in law enable undergraduate students to enroll in the first year of law school, offering them early exposure to legal education.

The coursework adequately equips students for law school by allowing them to commence their legal education right after completing their undergraduate studies, thus ensuring a smooth transition and uninterrupted academic advancement.

Specialized Coursework

The 3+3 law program differs from a traditional law school as it replaces 30 elective credit hours of the Bachelor’s degree with 30 credits from the first year of law school. Elective courses offered in a 3+3 law program may encompass subjects such as:

  • Bankruptcy

  • Trusts and Estates

  • Antitrust

  • Criminal Procedure

The coursework of the 3+3 law program may incorporate practical legal experience through opportunities such as internships and clinics, providing students with hands-on experience in the field. These specialized law courses equip students for legal practice by augmenting their critical thinking skills, presenting career opportunities, and imparting a more comprehensive understanding of specific areas of law.

Transitioning to Law School

Students can effectively manage their time during the transition to law school in a 3+3 program by:

  • Finding a balance and holding themselves accountable

  • Setting realistic goals and prioritizing tasks

  • Making a schedule and adhering to it

  • Taking breaks and attending to their physical and mental well-being

  • Setting priorities and focusing on the most important tasks

  • Learning how to read law

  • Maintaining relationships

  • Taking care of themselves

This transition also requires:

  • Diligent preparation for class

  • Conducting thorough research on the responsibilities of a lawyer

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree

  • Successfully passing the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

  • Exploring opportunities for legal internships or shadowing a current law student

  • Gaining insight into the legal job market and career expectations.

To manage the rigorous demands of law school during their initial year in a 3+3 Law program, students can employ the following strategies:

  • Narrowing their focus

  • Annotating readings

  • Using study aids

  • Attending office hours

  • Participating in extracurricular activities

Career Trajectories Post-Program Completion

The 3+3 law program equips students for the job market by providing them the opportunity to commence their legal careers at an earlier stage. With a shortened duration for completing their law degree, students are able to enter the job market earlier, thereby acquiring significant work experience. The average salary for graduates of 3+3 law programs is contingent on the specific law school and the duration of time post-graduation.

For instance, Columbia Law School alumni have a median starting salary exceeding $193,000, whereas Duke University School of Law graduates typically earn an average salary of $202,254 four years after completing their program. Graduates from the top-20 law schools have an average salary of $166,155 three years after graduation.

Networking and Internship Opportunities

Networking is particularly significant for students in the 3+3 law program as it contributes significantly to their success in the legal profession. Some benefits of networking include:

  • Interacting with legal professionals

  • Connecting with fellow students

  • Building relationships with faculty members

  • Meeting representatives from various law programs

Networking events and summer programs offer students interested in enhancing their professional network the opportunity to engage in these activities, while also developing their communication skills.

Internships offer several advantages to students enrolled in the 3+3 law program, including:

  • Acquiring practical knowledge

  • Gaining work experience

  • Developing leadership skills

  • Accessing networking opportunities

  • The potential to be recognized as high-caliber talent by employers.

Financial Considerations and Scholarships

The average total cost of law school amounts to $220,335. Specifically, the average total tuition cost for law school is $146,484, equating to $48,828 annually. Scholarships for the UM School of Law are accessible to all applicants and encompass the expense of resident or nonresident tuition. There are also specific financial aid programs and scholarships like the ABA LGBT Public Interest Scholarship Program and the Mike Eidson Law Student Scholarship, targeted for 3+3 law students.

The eligibility for merit-based aid is primarily determined by academic achievements such as high undergraduate GPAs or LSAT scores for qualifying students.

Merit-Based Aid and Diversity Grants

Merit-based scholarships are offered to students enrolled in the 3+3 law program at various institutions including Arizona State University Law School, Boston University Law School, and others. Furthermore, opportunities such as the Jan Moritz Merit Scholarship provide substantial financial assistance, encompassing full tuition as well as a stipend. In order to qualify for merit-based aid in 3+3 law programs, students generally need to demonstrate exceptional LSAT scores, undergraduate GPA, consistently high grades, strong test scores, and active involvement in extracurricular activities.

Students belonging to underrepresented groups are eligible to apply for diversity scholarships that are specifically created to facilitate access to opportunities in law school.


In summary, the 3+3 Law Program provides a unique opportunity for students to fast-track their law careers by completing both an undergraduate degree and a law degree in six years. With a rigorous curriculum, comprehensive support systems, and numerous financial aid opportunities, the program offers students a competitive edge in the legal profession. The early exposure to legal education and the accelerated timeline enables students to enter the job market sooner, gaining valuable experience and establishing a strong foundation for a successful legal career.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 3 law programs in the USA?

Some law programs in the USA offer a 3+3 option, where students can complete their bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in six years instead of seven. Participating students save a year of tuition and living expenses.

Is the 3 3 law program worth it?

Yes, pursuing a 3+3 law program can save money on undergraduate tuition, which can help offset the cost of law school. It’s worth considering.

Is a 3.3 GPA too low for law school?

A 3.3 GPA may be considered low for law school admission, especially for top-tier schools, where a GPA below 3.6 is generally viewed as low. It’s important to consider the specific requirements and expectations of the schools you’re interested in.

How does 3 3 law program work?

The 3+3 law program allows students to pursue both their bachelor’s and law degrees simultaneously, saving a year of study. This program is also known as the Accelerated Law Program.

What are the benefits of a 3+3 Law Program?

The 3+3 Law Program provides students with the opportunity to enter the job market sooner, gaining practical experience and a competitive edge, while also reducing the total time and cost of schooling.

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