Central New York, Education, Technology

Syracuse University Unveils New Online Law Degree Program

Applications for Syracuse University’s new online law degree program will open in March 2018, with its first classes set to be held in January 2019.


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Audio Transcript: Hilepo_OnlineLawDegree_02.26.18_Script

By James Hilepo SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) — Syracuse University will begin offering an online law degree program for those who cannot attend the school as a residential student. The program, which will begin in January 2019, is the first of its kind in the country.

The degree will feature the same curriculum requirements as the on-campus law program already offered by the university. The online program is year-round and meant to be completed in three years and three months.

The admission requirements for the online Juris Doctor program are the same as those for the on-campus version, and graduates of either program will earn the same degree.

The program, accredited by the New York State Education Department and the American Bar Association, will require some experiential work, including hands-on experiences with practicing lawyers as well as six in-person courses at a university-affiliated location.

The program’s website states, “At least 50 percent of online class time is in real-time, allowing professors and students both in the classroom and online to interact in a small class environment.”

Kathleen O’Connor, director of online education at the Syracuse College of Law, believes that offering an online alternative will allow them to expand the options they can offer prospective students.

“Our faculty felt confident that our particular program,” O’Connor explained, “that we could take that to an online audience and reach new and very qualified students who are unable to come to our residential program.”

For this reason, O’Connor believes that even though no university in the United States has ever offered a live, fully interactive online law degree program before, the Syracuse University College of Law felt they could do it the right way.

O’Connor also emphasized that taking this step for law education is a necessary and long-awaited step.

“We also believe that education and especially higher education is moving in this direction and law is way behind the rest,” she said.

Applications for the online program open next month.