Siena College and Albany Law School have signed an early completion agreement that will offer an accelerated program of study for students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctor degree in five years, rather than the usual seven.
Interested students can apply for the program starting immediately, provided they meet the academic requirements and have a minimum of nine transferable college credits from their high school. They can major in any academic discipline while enrolled at Siena. Obtaining a certificate in pre-law studies is encouraged but not required.
Margaret Madden, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs at Siena, said the program “is an excellent opportunity for highly motivated students who have set a goal early to pursue a career in the legal field.”
Alicia Ouellette, J.D., president and dean of Albany Law School, added, “Albany Law and Siena already have several successful partnerships in place, so it made sense to develop this accelerated program. It will welcome the type of disciplined student who can succeed with a heavier course load and intensive academic focus.”
Siena and Albany Law already maintain the following academic partnerships:
- a dual M.S.A. in accounting/J.D.;
- a 4+3 early admissions program;
- and a dual B.A. in health studies/M.S. in legal studies.
The two schools also proudly maintain a 20-year partnership called Summer Legal Fellows, where Siena undergraduates have the opportunity to work under the direct supervision of an Albany Law School professor, while undertaking original legal research with second- and third-year law students.
Students accepted to the new accelerated program for their freshman year at Siena will receive conditional acceptance from Albany Law. Once they complete the coursework and other requirements for their Siena bachelor’s degree, that acceptance will become official.
To meet the standard 120 credit hours required for a Siena bachelor’s degree, students will need to enroll in additional coursework during the fall and spring semester, as well as the summer sessions.
“In effect, students in this program will be attending classes year-round for at least two years,” explained Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science and director of pre-law advising at Siena.
Connie Mayer, J.D., associate dean for academic affairs at Albany Law said the school currently accepts an average of 17 Siena graduates each year. Since many of those students express their interest in law school early on in their undergraduate studies, the accelerated program will allow them to enter law school – and begin their legal careers – sooner.
Students will have the option to live at Siena during the summer and while studying full time at Albany Law during the latter part of the program.
The only other similar program in the United States is maintained by the University of Vermont and Vermont Law School.