Notre Dame College Adds Accelerated, Dual Degree Law Program with Catholic University

Notre Dame College is now offering a dual accelerated law degree program with the Catholic University of America.

The partnership between Notre Dame and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University offers students the opportunity to earn a joint bachelor’s and juris doctorate degree in six years instead of four or more, the traditional 3+3 law admissions model. It also is the first law program at the College to include a guaranteed admission option for students who meet academic requirements to enter the law school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., on the traditional path after completing four years as an undergraduate.

This added flexibility allows Notre Dame students eligible for admission to the Columbus School of Law after three years to choose to spend a fourth year at Notre Dame without credits counting toward both degree requirements, according to R. Eric Matthews Jr., Ph.D., dean of academic programs and assistant professor of political science at the College.

Seniors may decide to stay at the College to complete a double major or participate in undergraduate research, service learning, study abroad, international immersion or even dedicate an extra year to performing arts or athletic eligibility before entering law school, Matthews said. Notre Dame provides a career-focused liberal arts education with emphasis on campus involvement as well as individual abilities and student responsibility in the history and tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Three Law School Partners

This is the third accelerated 3+3 program at Notre Dame in which undergraduates meeting academic requirements are guaranteed admission to law school and can earn degrees in prelaw undergraduate majors at Notre Dame and the J.D. in a total of six rather than the traditional seven or more years. Previous agreements are with Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and the Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law.

Notre Dame students must meet minimum academic requirements, which include course credit totals, GPA and LSAT scores, to be considered for acceptance into the program with any one of these three partner schools.

Details of the 3+3 Years

After completing three years as an undergraduate and gaining admission to the law school through the specified process, a 3+3 program participant at Notre Dame becomes a full-time, first-year law student rather than returning to the undergraduate campus for a senior year. A 3+3 accelerated program participant will follow the usual course of study for full-time, first-year law students.

Upon successful completion of the first year of law study, the credits earned will be counted toward the JD degree and as elective credits sufficient to complete their undergraduate university's requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Fourth Year Option with Catholic University

In the case of the Catholic University partnership, eligible students also can defer admission to the Columbus School of Law until after completing their degree in four years at Notre Dame without an undergraduate year counting toward law school requirements.

Notre Dame offers bachelor’s degree programs in multiple fields, like criminal justice, political science and English, considered as prelaw majors.

Details of the College’s 3+3 law admission programs are available online. Interested students can complete the online inquiry form.

About the Columbus School of Law

The Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America is committed to excellence in legal education within the profound intellectual tradition of the Church. Giving priority to the sacred dignity and uniqueness of each human person, the law school program is a standing invitation for men and women to pursue a professional calling fully informed by faith, moral inquiry and respect for the rule of law. The rigorous course of study embodies, in the words of the university's first rector, "the harmony between reason and revelation . . . [and] the genius of America."

About Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America was founded by the Catholic bishops of the United States, with a charter from then Pope Leo XIII, to be the national university of the Catholic Church in America. For more than 130 years, we have lived out our mission to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research. Catholic University scientists, engineers, nurses, philosophers, theologians, historians, architects, social workers, musicians, artists, and scholars in all fields embrace both reason and faith as they apply the inexhaustible resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition to help solve the problems of contemporary life and enrich the culture around us.

May 2018


About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or

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