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 four subject areas: Business, Human Resource Management, Healthcare, 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 will provide 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 find and interpret legal regulations and other legal materials including legal decisions. The course materials will cover rights and obligations created by contracts, legal relationships, and behavior. Students will also complete writing exercises to enable them to synthesize their understanding 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—providing a context for the study of 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 considerations in administrative and court settings resulting from work-place disputes, and other related areas.

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, 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 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.

Governance and Organizational Management (3)

Students will learn the rules governing organizations, including corporations, partnerships, limited liability corporations, 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.

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.

Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management (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 - Business Law

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.

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 in 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.

+ Elective Courses - Healthcare

Health Law Survey (3)

This course examines the legal regulation of the provision of health care services. Topics include access to health insurance and health care, healthcare financing, the organization and responsibility of health care 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.

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 of particular fields.

Regulation of Clinical Trials (3)

This course covers legal and ethical issues related to conducting clinical trials in the health care 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

Employment Law (3)

This course provides an overview of employment law. Subjects covered include the basic “employment at will” doctrine, statutory regulation 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 law (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 law 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 - Intellectual Property

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 on-line 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.

Identifying and Securing IP 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.