Starting in the fall of 2014, the University of Arizona will be the first major research university to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Law.
The new degree is the product of a partnership between the James E. Rogers College of Law and the School of Government and Public Policy in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
“A Juris Doctor is a highly valuable degree and there are roles that only lawyers can serve. But training a broader range of students will serve society, open careers in areas of substantial regulation, respond to changes in technology and the forces of globalization, and invite opportunities for the delivery of new and more accessible legal services” says James E. Rogers College of Law Dean Marc Miller.
After completing core courses at the UA School of Government and Public Policy, students in the interdisciplinary program will be required to take core law courses. These courses will provide an understanding of subjects such as property, contracts and torts, constitutional law, administrative law, and civil and criminal procedure. These courses will be taught by full-time faculty at the law school and will be designed to train students to “think like a lawyer.”
Beyond the required core law courses, students will complete an additional 15 units of law courses and will have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as international law, family law, environmental law, immigration law and business law, among others.
According to John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the new B.A. in Law will also present an opportunity for unique double majors.
“A degree in law can be combined with degrees in fields focusing on the environment, health, technology, social justice, business, science, culture and economic development, to name just a few,” said Jones. “In addition to adding value to existing degrees, undergraduates interested in the legal professions will be well served by augmenting their law degrees with study in other fields. The long term success for students will be found in the overlaps between areas of study.”
A 3+3 program will also be offered and allow academically talented students to complete their Bachelor of Arts in Law, and a Juris Doctor, in as little as six years of study. The 3+3 program will be open to UA law majors with a minimum 3.8 GPA. Students will apply for the program their junior year and, if accepted, take 30 graduate law credits their senior year, as first year law students. They will spend their fifth and six years completing the remaining 58 J.D. units.
"The new undergraduate law degree, and the expedited path to the J.D. provided by the 3+3, are examples of how law schools can collaborate with other departments to deliver a rich liberal arts education and make legal education accessible to a broader array of individuals," says College of Law Associate Dean Brent White.
“The B.A. in Law will prepare undergraduates for numerous law-related careers for which legal education is beneficial, but for which a J.D. is not required,” added White. “It also responds to structural changes we are seeing in the legal profession where some legal work is now being performed by non-lawyers.”
Possible careers open to graduates of the program include corporate compliance, city planning, water resources management, tax advising, business management, trade, banking and finance, conflict resolution, healthcare administration, contracts, government, human resources, policy analysis, and legal technology consulting.
“The B.A. in Law fits squarely within the new public affairs education model of the School of Government and Public Policy in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences,” adds Chad Westerland, associate director of the School of Government and Public Policy. “By combining a rigorous social science education with legal training, graduates from the program will have a unique skill set that will allow them to be highly competent professionals and fully engaged citizens.”
Further information on the B.A. in Law is available at: http://sgpp.arizona.edu/bachelor-law