The University’s accelerated six-year Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate program stopped accepting applications this year after failing to attract enough students to fill the program, a law school administrator said Wednesday.
The highly selective program offers incoming undergraduate students a chance to earn a bachelor’s degree in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and a law degree from the GW Law School in six years – a combination that would usually take seven years, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ Web site.
GW Law School Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gregory Maggs said the Columbian College requested to terminate the program last fall, when no new students entered into the program.
“Given the small numbers, and the large amount of administrative work, CCAS asked the Law School if the program could be terminated,” Maggs said in an e-mail. “I think that the BA/JD program was a worthwhile experiment, but I guess it just did not work out.”
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper did not return phone or e-mail requests for comment on the closure.
Jeffrey Brand-Ballard, an associate professor of philosophy who has served as the Columbian College adviser for the program since its inception in 2005, said the lack of interest could be a result of the program’s selectivity.
“It is an extremely selective program, so students who are offered admission often have many other offers to consider from the nation’s most selective schools,” Brand-Ballard said in an e-mail. “Perhaps as a result, the Program hasn’t attracted enough students to remain cost-effective in the long term.”
Brand-Ballard said he has enjoyed his time working with the program, which he said attracted extremely competitive students.
“The program succeeded in recruiting some outstanding students who might not otherwise have matriculated at GW,” Brand-Ballard said.
Third-year program participant and Columbian College senior James Bonneau said the program was the only reason he chose GW. Students already in the program will be able to finish as planned.
“GW was not my first choice and in fact, I had not visited or toured GW while in high school,” Bonneau said. “But when I found out I had gotten into the BA/JD program, I knew I couldn’t turn it down. Being tentatively accepted into one of the premier law schools in the country in high school was just too good an offer to pass up.”
Bonneau said he was shocked to hear of the program’s closure, as he believes the program appeals to high school students who know they want to attend law school.
“It was a really great selling point for both the undergraduate and law school,” Bonneau said. “I’ve only heard rumors about the reasons why the program was canceled but I really can’t imagine a problem that couldn’t be addressed by modifying the program rather than canceling it outright.”
The article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (April 19, 2010).
The article originally reported that the six-year Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate program began in 2000. The program admitted its first class in 2005.
This article appeared in the April 15, 2010 issue of the Hatchet.