HELENA – The University of Montana and Carroll College have launched two partnerships to help students obtain graduate degrees in less time and at a lower cost than traditional paths. The new public-private partnerships are a first for both institutions.
The first collaboration has Carroll College partnering with UM’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law to offer its first-ever “3+3” dual-degree program. Students in the program attend Carroll College for three years and then matriculate to the Missoula law school to complete their three-year law degree.
The 3+3 Program enables Carroll College students to complete both a baccalaureate degree and Juris Doctorate in six years rather than the typical seven years. Through this program, Carroll will be able to recruit and retain talented undergraduate students interested in a career in law, and it will help the UM recruit well-qualified and motivated Carroll students.
“This new program will be a win-win for both UM and Carroll,” School of Law Dean Paul Kirgis said. “We think this demonstrates how public and private institutions can work together to better serve our students and meet the legal needs of our state.”
The second collaboration involves the School of Law’s Master of Public Administration Program, which plans to partner with Carroll College’s Department of Political Science to offer the first-ever “4+1” program in Montana. The program will allow participating students to complete their bachelor and MPA degrees in five years instead of the traditional six or more.
“Our MPA degree is the only accredited program in the state,” said Sara Rinfret, director of the UM program. “Our department provides nationally ranked curriculum and innovation in online, in-person and hybrid course delivery. This partnership will create a lot of flexibility for the contemporary student.”
With national student loan debt regularly making headlines, these new programs are a proactive step to help students obtain graduate degrees with less financial burden, maintain quality and serve the state’s economic needs in law, public policy and public administration. Carroll College President John Cech said it’s a model partnership for our state because it seeks to provide a quicker path to workforce success.
“Carroll College appreciates its relationship with the Montana University System, and it is always looking for ways to make higher education more affordable for our students,” Cech said. “We are proud of these innovative public-private partnerships, which allow our students to save time and money while completing their graduate degrees. We are also pleased that the University of Montana recognizes the caliber of student that Carroll attracts and are eager to have them be part of their graduate programs. This is a unique and first-of-its-kind partnership for both Carroll and UM.”
A news conference about these new programs and a signing ceremony are scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Carroll College Corette Library. Members of the media are invited to attend.