UVM and Vermont Law School Exploring a Five-Year Joint Degree
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
Citing the desire to reduce the cost of higher education, the University of Vermont and Vermont Law School today announced plans to explore a joint degree program that would allow students to receive an undergraduate degree in three years and a law school degree in two years. The “Vermont 3-2” program would enable students to earn these degrees in less time and at less cost. The program, if implemented, would be in the vanguard of such programs in the United States. Ultimately, both the faculty of UVM and Vermont Law will need to approve this joint degree.
UVM President Tom Sullivan and Vermont Law President and Dean Marc Mihaly said that the “3-2” program is one of several initiatives being explored to take advantage of academic synergies between UVM and Vermont Law to make higher education more affordable for Vermonters and attract additional students from across the nation and the world to study in Vermont. “Both institutions share a commitment to environmentalism, sustainability, and innovation and both play vital roles in Vermont’s economy. We think a strengthened relationship can bring many benefits to our students, our faculties, and to the people of Vermont,” said President Sullivan.
“The 3-2 program would reduce significantly both the time and the cost of receiving a post-graduate degree,” explained Dean Mihaly. “Vermont Law already has one of the most progressive JD programs in the nation, and we look forward to working with UVM to help their students reach their educational goals with minimal student debt. We want to ensure we continue to attract and retain the talent we need to support a prosperous future for Vermont,” said Mihaly.
This initiative builds upon an already successful relationship between the two institutions. More UVM alumni obtain Vermont Law School degrees than graduates of any other institution. The two schools have jointly sponsored conferences and currently offer a joint degree that allows students interested in environmental science and policy to receive a dual Master’s Degree from Vermont Law and UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.
Most recently, UVM graduate psychology students and Vermont Law students at the South Royalton Legal Clinic began working together to understand how best to serve international survivors of torture who are now part of the Vermont community, and whose requests for asylum are difficult to process because of memory loss and other post-traumatic issues. “This kind of partnership allows our students and faculty to work together to make a difference in our community and enrich their education while reducing costs,” Sullivan noted.