The Nelson Wolff Law Early Admission Program
The Nelson Wolff Law Early Admission Program offers advantages to motivated, talented students who plan to attend law school and graduate in less time. The program allows qualified undergraduate students in certain degree programs to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just six years, instead of the usual seven. To be eligible, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or better, earn at least a 154 on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and complete a minimum of 91 hours before starting law classes.
St. Mary’s students in the program enter law school after completing their third year of undergraduate study. Students’ first year of law school will complete the remaining 29 hours of the undergraduate program so that students complete both degrees in six years. Included undergraduate degree programs are Criminology, English, International and Global Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Communication Studies.
The student will use the first 29 hours of law school credits to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University following the student’s completion of the first year curriculum at the St. Mary’s Law School. In the event that the student determines not to complete law school, the credit hours will be applied to the remaining 29 hours needed to obtain the student’s undergraduate degree.
A student should make the decision to participate in the Early Admission Program as early as possible in order to stay on track with the Early Admissions Degree Plan as described in the sample plans below. Students desiring to enter the program may apply any time in the first, second, or third year of undergraduate study, although earlier application is likely to ensure more efficient course planning in the undergraduate degree. The student should also inform the student’s academic advisor and the Prelaw Advisor about the student’s participation in the program.
If an applicant takes the LSAT more than one time, the LSAT score used for the Early Admission purposes shall be an average of all LSAT scores received by the applicant.
The student must meet the criteria stated above and make a timely application to the St. Mary’s Law School during the student’s junior year. Please consult the J.D. admissions page for more details about the St. Mary’s Law School admission procedures and requirements, including the character and fitness requirements for admission to the bar of the State of Texas. Additional information can also be found in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Students admitted through this program enter law school after completing their third year of undergraduate study. Students’ first year of law school will complete the remaining requirements of their undergraduate program so that students complete both degrees in six years. Included undergraduate degree programs are Criminology, English, International and Global Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Communication Studies.
Students who do not qualify for early admission to the St. Mary’s Law School may continue the regular course of study for their degree and obtain their undergraduate degree upon completion of the regular coursework for that degree. Failure to qualify for early admission does not bar the student from applying for regular admission to the St. Mary’s Law School.
For more information, visit the Undergraduate Catalog. The law school and the Graduate School also offer numerous joint J.D. and master’s degree programs.
Early admission into the Master of Jurisprudence or another graduate degree program in the School of Law requires a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or better.
Any deviation from the written requirements is invalid unless approved in writing by the Dean and/or Provost.
Students are advised to consult with the Office of Financial Aid prior to applying to law school because the early admission to law school will affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid available to undergraduate students. In some cases, however, this may be replaced by financial aid and scholarships available to law students.
The Pre-Law Program at St. Mary’s University provides undergraduate students with information and opportunities to enhance their chances for admission to law school and prepare them for successful legal careers.
Sonia Garcia, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science