Dominican University has launched Chicago's first fully online undergraduate program in legal studies. Facilitated by Dominican's School of Professional and Continuing Studies, the program is accepting applications for the first class in February of next year.
The university describes the bachelor of arts in legal studies (BLS) as an interdisciplinary program exploring the American legal system from a wide range of perspectives, including economics, philosophy, theology and history.
Dominican University has a proud 110-year commitment to social justice, and graduates of the program will be qualified to work as paralegals, law enforcement officers, public officials and nonprofit leaders.
Graduates will also have the opportunity to take further, specialized courses in civil litigation or real estate law and gain preparation for paralegal certification examinations.
Despite being distance learning, it will be a rigorous social science program, set to prepare students for law or graduate school.
Matt Hlinak, assistant provost for continuing studies and special initiatives:
"The State of Illinois and the federal government are both projecting significant increases in demand for workers in law-related careers in the coming years.
"We're hoping to meet that demand by offering a practical, convenient and values-driven education to working adults."
Eligibility requires students to have already gained at least 30 hours of college credit and have been out of high school for at least seven years.
Students with all levels of computer proficiency will be able to apply, as the Dominican University's School of Professional and Continuing Studies program starts with an adult learning seminar that will help acclimate students to the online learning environment.
Many institutions are looking more and more at online options – they're often seen as much cheaper for the universities to run. But some unions – namely, California's UC-AFT – are not convinced that these online programs will be less expensive and therefore become revenue sources for universities.
This came as a California Watch article from July said that as California's community colleges add more online classes to their offerings, a new report from the Community College Research Center has found that students are more likely to fail or withdraw from online courses than from traditional ones.
Tina Korbe at Hot Air refutes critics' claims. Korbe believes that the fight against online education is about jobs rather than the quality of education, or for a revival of a university as it was originally conceived.
"Let supply and demand determine the cost of an online college education and an in-person college education and schools will no longer be faced with a "bloodletting." Best of all, educationally speaking, lecturers who truly want to foster an academic environment — and aren't just looking for a job with tenure — would only have to interact face-to-face with students who also want to contribute to such an environment."