Volume 3, Issue 3, (Originally Published on Monday 18th March 2013)
MLS Associate Dean Elise Bant held meetings last Tuesday and Friday to discuss the potential consequences of students’ choosing to accelerate their course of study.
The meetings’ full content is available in the Course Acceleration Guidelines, and the Statement on Duration of Legal Studies (available online at http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/jd/course-and-sub-jects/the-course/course-acceleration-important-information/).
In a nutshell, Bant stressed three main points: there is an increase in requests for clarification of an accelerated degree’s validity from employers and admission and scholarship bodies; the Council for Legal Education (COLE) has adopted the recommendation “that applicants for admission be required to have completed an accredited course of three years or the ‘equivalent’ of a three year course”; and that approval must be obtained before your degree can be accelerated.
The Guidelines state that Bant’s approval has always been required when overloading within a semester, and that load-spreading (taking winter and summer intensives) does not reduce duration of the degree overall, “in most cases.”
While this may be true, there are also students who choose to take winter and summer intensives without reducing the number of subjects taken during the semester, which results in an accelerated degree. This third scenario has not previously been subjected to any approval process. “I never gained, nor was told that I was required to gain approval,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous and has completed an accelerated JD in two years by taking winter and summer subjects.
There have been reassurances that the Acceleration Approval Form will serve only as additional paperwork reinforcing the fact that the JD is an accredited three-year degree that can be accelerated. The need to submit the form when applying for admission is presumed to be unlikely, according to the MLS administration.
The administration furthermore recommends students apply for approval after their first semester of study. In addition, students at a later stage of their already accelerated degrees are encouraged to do likewise, raising questions as to how effective the form will be in those cases where the ‘approval’ comes after the fact of their degree’s acceleration.
Haram Kwon is reporting from London, where she is currently De Minimis’ full-time Europe Correspondent and, in her spare time, studying at CTLS.