With the need for a Catholic approach to law, Franciscan University has recently reached an agreement with several other Catholic universities to bring about an opportunity to foster such an approach.
The Catholic University of America School of Law in Washington, D.C., Ave Maria Law School in Naples, Florida and The University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota are partnering with Franciscan University in what they have named the 3+3 Dual Degree Law Program. This program allows Franciscan undergraduates to gain a foundation in faith and reason in the Catholic learning community during their three years at Franciscan and then finish their advanced legal education at Catholic University of America, Ave Maria or St. Thomas.
“This program is something that is increasingly developing with law schools,” said Stephen Krason, who holds a juris doctor degree and doctorate from the State University of New York, Buffalo. “Students can spend three years here at Franciscan and then, if they have a certain GPA and LSAT score, can apply and be accepted into a law program at one of these schools. After the first year at that law school, they will get their Franciscan degree, and after six years they get both their bachelor’s degree from Franciscan and law degree, saving one year of tuition.”
The 3+3 Law Program requires students to complete a minimum of 75 credits at Franciscan and maintain an overall 3.7 cumulative grade point average. Students must also take the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, in their third year and meet the minimum LSAT scores. “It is mostly pertinent to people coming in as freshmen because you have to plan for this and sustain a 3.7 GPA,” Krason said.
Students in the program will major in political science, history, philosophy, theology, mathematics, anthropology, modern languages or English (British and American literature concentration) while at Franciscan University because each major includes 10 electives that will be used for the first year of law school. Other majors may be eligible for the 3+3 Law program, but they will not be optimal because certain courses have to be taken along with the core curriculum.
Krason wanted to emphasize the need for good Catholic lawyers in the United States. “There needs to be more people in the legal profession who are committed to the true understanding of natural law and the Catholic tradition,” he said.“A Catholic approach to law would be something rooted deep in social teaching. Many of these things can be brought to the law to shape it for the better in a time where America law needs it for the better.” Krason stated that this was a significant reason why Franciscan University reached an agreement with these certain schools. “They are serious about being Catholic law schools. We would not be setting up these programs with any university,” Krason said.
The advantages to the 3+3 Law Dual Degree Program is that students will save a year in tuition, and students will get an education rooted in Catholic teachings that they will carry over to law school. With the reduced year, students will also start careers sooner.
With this new opportunity, Catholic students have the ability to use their voices in the court sooner than ever before. Franciscan University continues to foster an education in excellence that will make waves in the political world.