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April 4, 2018

Worcester State signs agreement with UMass Law

Photo/Edd Cote Worcester State University President Barry Maloney and UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson shake hands after signing an agreement at Worcester State Wednesday. Worcester State School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Russ Pottle at left and UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick look on.

A new agreement between Worcester State University and the UMass School of Law will allow students to get their bachelor's and law degree in six years.

The program shortens a process that normally takes seven years. UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson and Worcester State University President Barry M. Maloney announced the agreement Wednesday.

"Both public institutions provide opportunity and affordability," Maloney said.

Worcester State is the latest Massachusetts college to join UMass Law in the program. The law school has previously signed such agreements with Becker College, Fitchburg State University, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell.

UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick said the school also has agreements in the works with Framingham State and Westfield State, and hopes to also add Bridgewater State, Salem State and UMass Amherst. Students in the program are typically among UMass Law's best students, he said.

Mitnick said he was glad to add Worcester State to the program.

"Worcester is hugely important to us," he said.

The program is called "3+3" in reference to the number of years students spend at each undergraduate program before moving on to UMass Law, which is in Dartmouth a few miles from the UMass Dartmouth campus.

At a school like Worcester State, which will start the program for the fall 2018 semester, a student can enter the program at the start of his or her freshman year and finish with a law degree in six years. The program is meant for ambitious students who know from the outset they want to study law, said Russ Pottle, the dean of Worcester State's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"We're really excited about the possibility of what this can do," said Johnson, a former Becker College president who left Becker after seven years last year to join UMass Dartmouth in time for the fall 2017 semester.

UMass Law graduated its first class in 2011 as the state's only public law school. It received national American Bar Association accreditation in 2016.

One Worcester State student, sophomore Manasseh Konadu of Worcester, said he hopes to study at UMass Law and enter a career in public service law. He found the timing of the new program fortunate.

"It just fell into my lap," Konadu said.

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