Samford University and its Cumberland School of Law have created an accelerated law degree program that will enable a Samford student to earn a bachelor of arts or sciences degree and a law degree in six years rather than the usual seven.

A Samford student who has completed three-fourths of the work for a bachelor's degree may be admitted to Cumberland.  After successful completion of the first year of law classes, the student would be awarded a bachelor's degree in his or her undergraduate major.

"This program highlights the unique opportunities available to our students on a campus with a high quality law school," said Dr. Nancy Biggio, Samford assistant provost.  "At a time when students and families are seeking quality academics, strong return on investment, and affordable options, the ability to earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree and be well prepared for the modern work force in six years is tremendous."

A student seeking admission to the law school under the accelerated law degree would use the normal law school application process.  Cumberland is receiving applications now for its 2014 class.

The student generally should have a Law School Admission test (LSAT) score equal or better than the median LSAT of the law school class that entered in the fall prior to their application, and should have a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 or better.

Students would complete the standard law curriculum of 30 credit hours during the first year of law school, with some work counting toward their undergraduate major and other work as upper level electives.

If a student chooses to drop out of Cumberland prior to completion of the first year, any successfully completed law courses would apply toward a bachelor's degree.

Students would be charged law tuition rates for their fourth year at Samford, but would be able to use any undergraduate scholarships for four years, according to Lane Smith, Samford's director of student financial services.  In addition, because they would be classified as graduate students, they would be eligible for greater federal aid and higher loan limits, Smith said.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.