First Cohort of Northwestern Law’s New Online Program Begins Classes

On Monday, August 27th, the first cohort of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s new online Master of Science in Law (MSL) program officially began its courses. As with the on campus version, the online MSL program provides practical, business-centered legal training to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. The decision to bring the MSL program online is the latest move by the Law School to expand its many curricular and programming initiatives at the intersection of law, business and technology, as well as provide an option to better accommodate working professionals and international students.

“The MSL program has been an exciting and novel endeavor from the start,” said program Director Leslie Oster. “We are thrilled that the online version extends the reach of this degree and makes it more accessible to STEM professionals around the country and around the world.”

The first cohort, consisting of 30 students from a variety of diverse backgrounds, will now spend the next two to four years deepening their understanding of law and business within the STEM context.

The online program operates on the semester system, with each semester divided into two eight-week terms to allow students to choose between a rich and varied selection of course offerings. All students begin the program with two of their required classes: Legal and Regulatory Process taught by former dean Daniel Rodriguez, and Business Torts taught by Professor James Lupo. Future classes planned will cover topics will cover a range of topics in MSL subject areas: business law and entrepreneurship, IP and patent design, and regulatory analysis and strategy. 

Alyssa Dyar, a Learning Engineer with Northwestern IT’s Teaching & Learning Technologies team, worked closely with partners in the Law School to assist in the development of these courses. Forty instructional videos were produced for the first round of courses, with another 75 more on the way for subsequent offerings. Beyond the instructional videos, a great deal of thought went into optimizing the course design to incorporate a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities, including regular engagement with instructors and peers.

“We are really excited about the array of academic and professional experiences our online students will bring to the MSL classroom,” said Dyar. “It is our hope that the live synchronous sessions, online discussion boards, and group activities will provide rich opportunities for these students to connect with each other and explore how the course content relates to their professional and personal lives.”

Professor of Practice Susan Provenzano had some early praise for her experience as the instructor of the online orientation, “The [Canvas] discussion board has been so valuable for gaining real insight into how the students are learning and engaging with the material. That level of insight just isn’t possible to get in the residential program. It’s been really enlightening.”

Prospective students interested in learning more about the MSL online program should review the Law School’s MSL website, where they can also request further information.