The Master of Legal Studies curriculum was developed specifically for working, non-lawyer professionals across several highly regulated industries. Foundation and core courses will give you a broad and solid legal background. After gaining a general grounding in the law, you will focus on legal issues in specific industries through elective courses. Human resource management and healthcare professionals may wish to choose a concentration in line with their specific fields. Professionals in other industries can access a wide array of electives. A career counselor is available to work with each student to make sure that your curriculum matches your individual passions and career goals. Courses listed here represent intended offerings, but scheduling requirements may cause changes such that actual offerings differ slightly from those listed here.
The Master of Legal Studies is offered in a 100-percent online format. So no matter where you are, you can take advantage of the program’s challenging classes and expert faculty. This flexible format was designed to suit the needs of non-lawyer professionals.
Our small online class sizes allow you to take courses on your own schedule while interacting with professors and classmates through discussion boards and other technology. Classes benefit from Northeastern’s signature experiential learning model, drawing on case studies, scenarios, and your current professional experiences to make real-world connections.
As a student in this program, you will take one course per seven-week term, with two terms in each fourteen-week semester (fall, spring, and summer). This format allows you to complete coursework as a part-time student within 10 terms, the equivalent of five semesters, or a year and a half. Students may petition to take more than one course per term.
+ Foundation Courses
Introduction to Legal Studies I (Law and Legal Reasoning) (3)
This course will provide students with an introduction to the American legal system and legal reasoning. The course materials will cover rights and obligations created by contracts, fundamental principles of property law, accident law, the regulation of criminal conduct, and the laws associated with business formation and relationships. Students will also complete writing exercises to enable them to synthesize their understanding, and to find and use legal sources in support of their work.
Introduction to Legal Studies II (Statutes and Regulations) (3)
This course builds on Introduction to Legal Studies I. Students will learn how statutes and regulations are created and implemented and will work closely on problems involving statutory and regulatory interpretation. Assignments will include practical training on how to locate relevant legal materials. Constitutional separation of powers and administrative law will be core subjects as they provide key context for the study of statutes and regulations. The course will also provide an introduction to international aspects of American law and other selected topics. Written exercises will require work with legal materials and with lawyers. This course will culminate with a written project for which students must apply the skills acquired to analyze a legal issue of general interest or one specific to their work experience.
+ Core Courses
The Law of Information and Records (3)
This course will present a comprehensive survey of procedural and evidentiary rules in the context of recordkeeping, document production, due diligence, and investigations. It will include an exploration of rights to privacy, issues of confidentiality and conflicts of interest, contractual and legal liability, evidentiary considerations in administrative and court settings resulting from workplace disputes, and other related areas.
Law and Strategy (3)
This course will introduce students to the implications and impact of law on organizational strategy, with special attention paid to applying legal knowledge and resources to strategic planning, risk management, and strategy implementation. The course will use several examples/cases of familiar or readily understood business and organizational strategies to provide opportunities for students to identify the legal environment, consider the legal rights and requirements imposed by relevant law or regulation (e.g., tax, IP, contract, standards, permits) and their potential impact on implementation or results (e.g., cost, delay, risk). Students will then develop approaches for avoiding/clearing hurdles and utilizing opportunities. The range of examples will include strategies common to different functions (e.g., marketing, sales, and operations) and the various degree concentrations. The focus will be on developing an appreciation of the legal environment and making effective use of legal resources and lawyers as advisers.
Governance and Organizational Management (3)
Every member of an organization should understand the steps necessary to impel the organization to take action. Who is authorized to take what measures on behalf of the organization and who will be responsible for what if things go wrong? This course will introduce students to the web of rules governing many types of organizations, including corporations, partnerships, limited liability corporations, and non-profits. The focus will include responsibilities and obligations of different members of the organization, legal and functional relationships within organizations, and powers of members of organizations. In addition, the course will cover employment issues relevant to relationships in organizations. Topics will include rights of workers to be free from discrimination in the workplace, the importance of workplace rules, and policies governing the workplace.
Negotiation and Advocacy (3)
Students will learn core elements of negotiations that are the precursors to any final agreement or resolution of informal disputes: negotiation planning from opposing sides and counseling concerning available strategies, analysis of the bargaining range and the other party’s needs, principled concession patterns, problem-solving strategies to avoid deadlock, information bargaining and authority clarification, principles of drafting, settlement, and ethics.
Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management (3)
Institutions face a dizzying array of regulatory compliance issues. This course (building on the Introduction to Legal Studies II course) will cover the challenges facing organizations in building programs that ensure adherence with legal obligations. Statutes covering a broad range of areas will be explored, including health and safety, environment, financial services, consumer protection, and employment. Particular attention will be paid to strategies helpful in building a low cost, readily communicable pattern of instructions to facilitate compliance throughout all levels of an organization.
+ Elective Courses: Healthcare Concentration
Health Law Survey (3)
This course examines legal regulations governing the provision of healthcare services. Topics include access to health insurance and healthcare, healthcare financing, the organization and responsibility of healthcare institutions (especially hospitals), healthcare cost containment policies, public and private insurance programs, and the formulation of health policy. The course will also provide an introductory overview of the major statutes, regulations, and case law related to health law, including an introduction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Healthcare Regulation and Compliance (3)
This course covers major regulatory issues related to the healthcare field, providing an in-depth regulatory overview of health programs. Statutory schemes covered will include HIPAA/HITECH, Stark/fraud and abuse. In addition, students will learn about compliance programs, including compliance operations, and the code of conduct for particular fields.
Regulation of Clinical Trials (3)
This course covers legal and ethical issues related to conducting clinical trials in the healthcare field. Topics covered include federal regulation of human subject trials (including compliance issues), liability risks relating to clinical trials, and ethical issues that arise from human subject research (especially on vulnerable populations).
+ Elective Courses: Human Resource Management Concentration
Employment Law (3)
This course provides an overview of employment law. Subjects covered include the basic “employment at will” doctrine, statutory regulation of the workplace (including the National Labor Relations Act), the effect of individual and union labor contracts, non-compete agreements, whistleblower laws, and employee complaint processes.
Wages and Benefits (3)
This course will cover topics related to wage and hour laws (federal and state), ERISA (pensions), health insurance benefits and the Affordable Care Act, and disability insurance.
Anti-Discrimination Law (3)
This course will provide an overview of antidiscrimination laws governing the workplace. The focus will be on discrimination based on race and sex, but some attention will also be given to discrimination based on other characteristics, including age, sexual orientation, and disability. In addition to general issues of discrimination, the course will focus on the specific topics of retaliation, harassment, and bullying in the workplace.
+ Elective Courses: Additional Topics
Identifying and Securing Intellectual Property Rights (3)
This course will focus on intellectual property issues in employment, collaborative environments, and business transactions. It will cover common issues for founders and startups, employers, and contractors—including non-compete agreements, crowd-sourcing, and open innovation practices.
Intellectual Property and Media (3)
This course will cover copyrights, trademarks, and unfair competition, with a focus on media, advertising, user-generated content, and other online activities.
Intellectual Property Survey (3)
In our modern day “information economy,” the law of intellectual property (“IP”) has taken on enormous importance to both creators and users of creative works. Such IP Law is the way we provide legal protection to encourage invention and creativity by guaranteeing an opportunity for financial return to the originator of novel work. This course introduces students to the classic principles of copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret law and explores the ways in which those principles are shifting and adapting in response to new technology.
Regulation and Global Business Strategies (3)
This course provides an introduction to the international legal concepts, principles, and institutions that define and shape international business relations. Globalization has increased the number of economic interactions across national borders. The globalization of production and consumption takes place against the background of an international monetary system and an international legal infrastructure facilitating and regulating transnational trade, international finance, and global intellectual property and investment protection. The course specifically examines case studies of global governance based on codes of practice, certification, and other regulatory initiatives.