Syracuse University College of Law Introduces “Third Year Away” Option for Residential J.D. Students

Starting with the Class of 2023, students in Syracuse University College of Law’s residential J.D. program will have the option of spending their third year entirely off-campus while still taking courses from College of Law faculty. Specifically, students in good standing will have the option to enroll in the “Third Year Away” program, which will allow them to satisfy their remaining requirements for graduation by completing a supervised externship in a legal practice setting and by taking up to 12 credits of interactive online courses.  

“Syracuse prides itself on a robust and innovative curriculum,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “The College is now adding a new option for incoming students that will enhance our ability to provide them with both the doctrinal knowledge and the practical and professional skills necessary for the 21st-century legal profession.” 

The Third Year Away Program builds on the College’s established Externship Program, which features placements and accompanying seminars in London, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, DC—with plans to add more locations throughout the United States and beyond. The Externship Program leverages the College’s global alumni network to offer semester-long placements accompanied by faculty-led, substantive seminars focused on building professional skills.

The new option also capitalizes on the College of Law’s JDinteractive (JDi) program, the nation’s first ABA-accredited, fully interactive, online J.D. program. As part of the JDi program, the College of Law already offers an array of online courses in addition to intensive residential courses. Each online course consists of live class sessions and self-paced class sessions taught by the College of Law’s faculty. The JDi infrastructure, which allows the College to teach and support JDi students around the world, will allow the College’s residential J.D. students enrolled in the Third Year Away Program to participate in the academic, intellectual, and social life of the College when off-campus.

“Increasingly, our J.D. students gain valuable skills and professional experience by working as externs in judicial settings, law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and non-profits,” adds Dean Boise. “By allowing students to participate in externships across the nation, while still taking doctrinal classes with our faculty through online courses, we are providing them the opportunity to learn both the substance and the skills they need for success. With Third Year Away, we are truly breaking new ground in legal education.”

“Third Year Away capitalizes on two of the College of Law’s strengths: our first-rate online classes and our far-reaching Externship Program,” says David M. Levy Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Online Education Nina Kohn. “While other law schools are contemplating ways to add remote learning options that increase flexibility for their upper-class students, with JDi fully underway, Syracuse already has the infrastructure, the courses, and the faculty expertise to make it happen. Moreover, Third Year Away allows students to get a jump start on their careers by combining their doctrinal coursework with field placements in the communities they seek to work in post-graduation, affording them greater opportunity to develop and strengthen professional networks that can help accelerate their job opportunities.”

Prospective students who wish to learn more about Third Year Away should contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid by phone at 315.443.1962 or by email. All other inquiries should be directed to Director of Communications and Media Relations Rob Conrad at 315.443.9536.