Our Curriculum

The Master of Legal Studies curriculum was developed specifically for working professionals across several industries. Foundation and core courses will give you a broad and solid legal background. In addition to gaining a general grounding in the law, you will have the option to choose an area of focus through elective courses that allow you to delve into legal issues related to specific areas and industries. You can choose to focus in one of three subject areas: Business, Global Law, or Intellectual Property. If you do not wish to select a focus, you may choose from any of our elective courses.


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 and allows you to take classes on your own schedule while interacting with classmates through discussion boards and other technology. Classes will benefit from Northeastern’s signature experiential learning program, drawing on your current professional experiences to make real-world connections.


As a student in this program, you will take one course per term, with two terms in each 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 half. You may petition to take more than one course per term if you so choose.

+ Foundation Courses

Introduction to Legal Studies I (Law and Legal Reasoning) (3)

This course is designed to give students an introduction to the American legal system and legal reasoning. Students will learn about legal processes and the significance of law in various settings in order to extract useful information from sources of law. Skills acquired in this course will include learning how to read and research legal regulations and other legal materials including legal decisions. The materials in this course will cover rights and obligations derived from contracts, legal relationship, and behavior. Students will also be given writing exercises to help them synthesize their understanding of material and to 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 about the creation and implementation of statutes and regulations—including how to do research for sources of law. Constitutional separation of powers and administrative law will be core subjects covered in this course—providing a context for students learning about statutes and regulations. The course will also provide an introduction to international aspects of American law and selected other topics. Exercises will include working with legal materials and lawyers. This course will culminate with a written project that requires students to apply the skills acquired in ILS I and II to analyze legal aspects of an issue of general interest or 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 consequences in administrative and court settings resulting from work-place disputes, and other related areas.

Law and Organizational Management (3)

Students will learn the rules governing organizations, including corporations, partnerships, governmental organizations, and non-profits. The focus will include relationships within the 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 of discrimination in the workplace, the importance of workplace rules, and policies governing the workplace.

Law and Strategy (3)

This course will introduce students to the implications and impact of law on strategy, with attention to applying legal knowledge and resources to strategic planning 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 implicated 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), and 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 concentrations. The focus will be on developing an appreciation of the legal environment and making effective use of legal resources and lawyers as advisors.

Negotiation and Advocacy (3)

Students will learn core elements of negotiations that are the precursors to any final agreement or resolutions of informal disputes: negotiation planning from opposing sides and counseling, analysis of the bargaining range and opponent’s needs, principled concession patterns, problem-solving strategies to avoid deadlock, information bargaining and authority clarification, principles of drafting, settlement, and ethics.

Regulation and Compliance (3)

Institutions increasingly face a host of regulatory compliance issues. This course (building on the ILSII 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.

+ Elective Courses

Financial Transactions (3)

In this course students will explore various aspects of corporate financial transactions, including vendor and supplier contracts, early stage financing, commercial loans, initial public offerings, mergers, and the sale of assets. Issues involving valuation of assets will be covered, and students will learn basic securities laws related to the transactions covered.

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 start-ups, employers, and contractors—including crowd-sourcing and open innovation practices.

International Business (3)

This course deals with topical issues in transnational commercial law. It addresses the legal framework for international sales transactions, including the commercial terms of the sales agreement, shipping contracts, insurance, financing arrangements, and customs documentation. It also examines foreign direct investment transactions, international franchise and distribution agreements, and contracts for the transfer of technology.  Bribery of foreign officials, money laundering, and liability under U.S. and international rules are also included.  In addition issues related to dispute resolution and arbitration will be considered.

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 has taken on enormous importance to both creators and users of creative works. 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.

International Trade (3)

This course provides an introduction to selected topics on international regulation of international trade. The course will include a brief introduction to the economics of trade and trade restriction measures. It will then focus on the World Trade Organization agreements regulating international trade in goods, services, and intellectual property; provide an overview of the North American Free Trade Agreement; and examine U.S. trade laws.

Global Business (3)

This course will examine the world of business in the global legal environment.  Students will explore how human rights principles, political and legal systems, and industry standards impact business practices across the globe. Issues related to supply chain management, understanding the United Nations Human Rights Principles, and general compliance will be covered.

Topics in Commercial and Consumer Law (3)

This course will cover advanced contract issues, sale of personal property, and security interest in personal property. Additional topics covered will include methods of exchanging funds, particularly in electronic form, and issues related to consumer protection.