BA in Law students from Ocean University of China at the University of Arizona

BA in Law Students from Ocean University of China Start Two-Year Residency in Tucson

Students are the first international dual degree cohort to study full time on UA campus

Alejandra Cardenas Cuestas

This fall the University of Arizona welcomed to campus 14 Bachelor of Arts in Law students from the dual degree program at Ocean University of China in Qingdao, China. The students, all juniors, are the first from Ocean University travel to Tucson to take BA in Law classes here full time. They will study in Arizona for the remaining two years of their program.

Students in the program earn an LLB (the law degree commonly offered outside the United States) from Ocean University and a BA in Law from UA—taking the same U.S. law courses and receiving the same legal training as UA BA in Law students in Tucson.

“We are so honored and excited to have these 14 students complete their legal studies here in Tucson,” says BA in Law program director Keith Swisher. “They will have deep experience studying law in both the United States and China. We hope that they will be the first of many more Ocean University students joining us in the U.S. to complete their studies.”

Launched in fall 2015, the Ocean University dual degree program now has more than 275 students enrolled. All Ocean University students have the option of spending up to two years in Tucson while obtaining their BA. Last year, a small group of students visited the UA campus for two weeks.

Ocean University student Ziyu Shi acknowledges that the transition to taking classes in English comes with challenges, but says there is ample help.

“There are good resources that I can take advantage of, ranging from physical facilities to intellectual support,” Shi says. “Even though the new start is tough, I am making progress and going beyond myself every day. I sincerely appreciate the help and efforts made by the BA in Law program faculty.”

Adds classmate Yimeng Lu, “There are a lot of people trying to help us to integrate into UA and Tucson. The activities, such as visiting the Desert Museum, going to the Arizona Supreme Court to listen to a hearing, and the [BA in Law] movie night were held so that we have more opportunities to make friends with others. We appreciate it extremely.”

The students say they have also felt welcomed by the campus community and even Tucson’s beautiful weather.

“I love the sunshine in Tucson, which makes me full of energy every day, and it is the source of inspiration,” says Xinpeng Mi. “People here are polite and warmhearted, and they are happy to help you when you are met with problems.”

The BA in Law, the only degree of its kind in the United States, has more than 600 UA students in the program, all of whom are eligible to spend up to one year studying law at Ocean University through the partnership.   

The University of Arizona’s BA in Law is offered through a joint partnership between the James E. Rogers College of Law and the School of Government and Public Policy.