George Mason University

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Mason student trailblazes a fast track to law school

December 4, 2018   /   by Mariam Aburdeineh

Ghazal Khammash is the first student enrolled in George Mason University's 3+3 program, which allows students to earn a bachelor's degree and a law degree in 6 years instead of 7. Photo by Mariam Aburdeineh.

Ghazal Khammash may not know exactly what she wants to do with her law degree yet, but she’s still ahead of the curve.

As the first student enrolled in George Mason University’s 3+3 Accelerated Program, which allows students to earn both their undergraduate degree and law degree in six years instead of seven, she’s saving a year’s worth of time and tuition.

“I’m really eager to finish my education and [go to] work,” said Khammash, who recently earned her bachelor’s in government and international politics and is now enrolled as a first-year law student. “Six years and seven years—those are two very different numbers. Being able to get out and do what I want to do sooner makes a world of difference.”

For Khammash, that difference includes being able to graduate early, get a job sooner, pay off her student loans faster and help support her family financially.

“We started the program within Mason in 2014 as a way to address the rising cost of education,” said Alison Price, senior associate dean at Mason’s internationally renowned Antonin Scalia Law School. “For students who know as they enter their undergraduate education that their ultimate goal is a law degree… [3+3] is the fast track to a law degree.”

Between her full-time classes and part-time job at a local law firm, Khammash is working hard but said she isn’t overwhelmed. She didn’t find herself having to study longer hours than her peers as an undergraduate student, either. For motivated students, the process really is as simple as three plus three.

“You get your major requirements [for your undergraduate degree] done within your first three years, and [during your senior year] you’re double-dipping with your first year of law school,” Khammash explained.

And there’s no issue if students decide to change career paths.

“If the student gets to the traditional fourth—or senior year—and decides the program is not for them, then they simply take a full load of electives,” said Price. “They are not bound to enter law school; it is just an option.”

Khammash is learning a lot in the classroom and at her job. Seeing her working toward her law degree at the young age of 20 inspired one of her coworkers to attend law school as well.

“That makes me so happy,” she said. “I feel like, if more people know about the [3+3] program, they will [be inspired], too.”