St. Mary’s University will offer an early School of Law admission program starting in fall 2012 that will allow qualified undergraduate students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and law degree in just six years. The program is named in honor of Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who graduated in 1966 from St. Mary’s with both bachelors and law degrees.

The Honorable Nelson Wolff Law Early Admission Program at St. Mary’s University will allow St. Mary’s students to enter law school after completing the third year of undergraduate study. Students’ first year of law school will complete the final 30 hours of the undergraduate program, so that students complete both in six years, instead of seven. Included undergraduate degree programs are English, speech communications, criminology, philosophy, political science, sociology or international relations. The program offers advantages to motivated, talented students who want to save money by graduating in less time.

“St. Mary’s University and the School of Law are dedicated to developing outstanding professionals with a dedication for service and community, in the Catholic and Marianist tradition. This innovative program seeks to attract bright undergraduate students with a strong interest in law school, providing both an incentive to graduate on time and a substantial cost savings for students,” said Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D., St. Mary’s President. “We are pleased to name this new program in honor of Judge Wolff who, as a lifelong public servant, exemplifies both the professional and personal excellence that St. Mary’s strives instill in our graduates.”

“I am honored that St. Mary’s chose to name the Law Early Admission Program after me. The program will inspire students to excel in their academic pursuits and attract the best and brightest to law school,” Wolff said.

St. Mary’s also announced a related program, which grants guaranteed admission to the law school for St. Mary’s graduates who meet certain conditions. Students must apply to the School of Law within three years of graduating from St. Mary’s, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better and an LSAT score of 157 or better to be considered for guaranteed admission.

The University’s strategic planning document, Vision 2012, called on the University to advance academic quality and innovation by considering combined and accelerated degree programs such as this one. The law school and the Graduate School also offer a combined J.D. and masters of public administration degree program.

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