Master of Science in Law


Director:  Leslie Oster
Director, Program Development: Shilpa Gokhale
Program Office:

Program Overview

The MSL curriculum centers on the intersection of law, business, and technology, with specific focus areas in business law and entrepreneurship, intellectual property and patent design, and regulatory analysis and strategy. Courses are designed specifically for MSL students, and students have the flexibility to design course plans that fit their particular interests and professional goals.

Enrollment Options

The MSL degree is offered in three formats:

Degree Duration
Residential - Full-time 9 Months
Residential - Part-time 2-4 years
Online - Part-time 2-4 years

Program of Study

The MSL curriculum includes a set of required, foundational classes and a rich collection of electives. Electives fall into three subject areas: intellectual property and patent design; business law and entrepreneurship; and regulatory analysis and strategy. Many students select classes across the three areas of study, while some focus on one particular area. 

Students must complete at least 28 credits for the MSL degree.  Required courses provide students with a foundational understanding of the legal system, the basic structure of business, and the regulatory process. These courses impart a theoretical framework on which students can build with the elective part of the curriculum.

Degree Requirements:

Course Title
Required Core Courses:
(Residential and Online)
BUSCOM 901-0Business Formation & Structure
BUSCOM 992-0Business Torts
BUSCOM 902-0Contract Law & Design
LAWSTUDY 912-0Ethics
or LAWSTUDY 910-0 Ethics and Law in STEM-Related Fields
INTPROP 901-0Intellectual Property Fundamentals
REGLAW 901-0Legal & Regulatory Process
LAWSTUDY 950-0Research in Law, Business & Technology
Writing Requirement:
Choose 1 course:
Residential Only:
Public Persuasion
Communication & Legal Reasoning-MSL
Residential and Online:
Persuasive Communication
Elective Courses: choose from courses designated for the MSL program
Total Required Credits: 28

Elective Course Categories

IP and Patent Design (INTPROP)

In these courses, students learn about patenting inventions, managing a patent portfolio, assessing patent eligibility, preparing and prosecuting patent, serving as an expert witness on patent/IP subjects, and addressing global intellectual property issues. 

Business Law and Entrepreneurship (BUSCOM and LAWSTUDY)

In these courses, students learn about the legal aspects of business formations and transactions and are exposed to subjects including mergers and acquisitions, employment law, business strategy, venture capital, and antitrust. Courses also focus on business and entrepreneurship skills, including negotiations, communications, decision-making, leadership, and quantitative skills. Various aspects of the commercialization process – the issues and opportunities involved in bringing an idea from conception to market – are also addressed.

Regulatory Analysis and Strategy (REGLAW)

Classes in this area examine the process and structure of regulation, both in the U.S. and globally. Students learn to think strategically about regulatory processes and compliance and how to navigate the regulatory environment. Classes focus on a variety of specific regulatory topics: data security, food, environment, health, privacy, telecommunications, and universities.

MSL Residential Format

The MSL residential format includes both full-time and part-time options. The full-time program can be completed in 9 months at Northwestern Law’s downtown Chicago campus. The part-time program is designed for STEM  professionals in the Chicagoland area and can be completed in two to four years, also at the Law School’s downtown Chicago campus. 

The residential options operate on the semester system, with each semester divided into two seven-week sessions and two one-week sessions (called Power Weeks).  The seven-week sessions include foundational and in-depth classes, while the Power Weeks tend to include more focused, specialized, and workshop-type classes.  This unique structure of four, separate seven-week sessions coupled with four Power Weeks allows MSL students to experience a wide variety of classes, topics, formats, and pedagogical techniques. 

Classes in the MSL residential program are scheduled Monday through Friday, during both daytime and evening timeslots, with occasional weekend classes. 

Full-time students are generally in class an average of 12 to 15 hours per week, divided between day and evening classes. Part-time students are generally in class an average of 3 to 6 hours per week, usually in evening classes that meet 1 or 2 nights per week. Additionally, students should expect a substantial amount of out-of-class work, approximately 4 to 8 hours per course per week.

MSL Online Format

The MSL online program is designed for STEM professionals around the world who wish to advance their careers by deepening their understanding of law and business within the STEM context. The online MSL is a part-time program, which can be completed in two to four years. Online students may begin in either the Fall or the Spring and will be required to complete a 2-week online orientation before the start of their first term.

Students in the online format receive the same degree as students in the residential format. The requirements and structure of the curriculum are the same, with a rich and varied selection of online electives that cover business law and entrepreneurship, IP and patent design, and regulatory analysis and strategy.

The online program operates on the semester system, with each semester divided into two eight-week sessions. Students can also take classes during the eight-week Summer term. Students can take up to two classes during each term. In addition, students are required to participate in a one-week, on-campus Power Week, which will occur in the late spring.  This unique structure allows students to experience a wide variety of classes, topics, formats, and pedagogical techniques.

Online courses incorporate a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities, including regular engagement with instructors and peers. Although the format offers some flexibility in terms of scheduling, online courses are academically rigorous and will require approximately 7 hours of work each week, per class.

MSL Courses

The following courses are only open to students in the Master of Science in Law program.  Please note while every effort is made to ensure these lists are accurate, change is inevitable.  Not all courses are offered each year and may not be offered in both residential and online formats.  For specific program information, including a list of required courses, please refer to the Master of Science in Law degree requirements section.

BUSCOM 901-0Business Formation & Structure
BUSCOM 902-0Contract Law & Design
INTPROP 901-0Intellectual Property Fundamentals
REGLAW 901-0Legal & Regulatory Process
LAWSTUDY 901-0Negotiation Skills & Strategies
INTPROP 905-0Patent Law
INTPROP 910-0Patent Preparation & Prosecution Workshop
REGLAW 905-0Regulatory Strategy & Communication
BUSCOM 905-0Business Strategy & Frameworks
LAWSTUDY 905-0Quantitative Reasoning in the Law
BUSCOM 915-0Entrepreneurial Finance and Venture Capital
INTPROP 935-0Introduction to IP Licensing
INTPROP 940-0IP Strategy & Management
INTPROP 945-0IP Valuation
INTPROP 950-0International & Comparative IP
INTPROP 955-0Intellectual Property Investments and Capital Markets: A Global Perspective
REGLAW 915-0Technology Standards: Strategic & Antitrust Considerations
REGLAW 920-0Digital Data: Privacy, Policy & Governance
REGLAW 925-0Global Business Regulation & Risk Assessment
REGLAW 930-0Regulation: Environment and Energy
REGLAW 935-0Regulation: Tech and Telecom
BUSCOM 925-0Employment Law
BUSCOM 935-0Entrepreneurship Lab: Part I
BUSCOM 940-0Entrepreneurship Lab: Part II
BUSCOM 945-0Business Combinations
LAWSTUDY 910-0Ethics and Law in STEM-Related Fields
LAWSTUDY 920-0Communicating Scientific Information: Technical Professionals and Expert Witnesses
LAWSTUDY 925-0Dispute Resolution Processes
LAWSTUDY 930-0Corporate Criminal Law
BUSCOM 950-0Litigation Operations & eDiscovery
INTPROP 960-0Monetizing Patents: Fundamentals of Patent Assertion
REGLAW 940-0Medical Devices: Regulation & Compliance
INTPROP 951-0Intellectual Property Internship
BUSCOM 951-0Business Internship
REGLAW 951-0Regulatory Internship
BUSCOM 955-0The Deal:Working with Contracts and Contract Language
LAWSTUDY 940-0Communication & Legal Reasoning-MSL
LAWSTUDY 945-0The Privacy Paradox and Other Post-Snowden Games
BUSCOM 960-0Leadership Communication
BUSCOM 965-0Entrepreneurship Law
BUSCOM 970-0Design Thinking
BUSCOM 975-0Introduction to Accounting and Financial Statements
BUSCOM 980-0Cases in New Venture Strategies
REGLAW 945-0Health Data:Classification and Compliance
BUSCOM 985-0Integration of Science and Clinical Care
REGLAW 950-0Open Data: Implications for Government, Law, and Society
REGLAW 960-0Data Security Regulations: Data Breaches and Beyond
INTPROP 965-0Infringement Risk Assessments: Driving Early Resolution of Patent Disputes
BUSCOM 991-0EntrepTeam Project
INTPROP 970-0Intellectual Property & Business Strategy
LAWSTUDY 950-0Research in Law, Business & Technology
LAWSTUDY 955-0Judgment & Decision-Making
BUSCOM 910-0Federal Income Taxation
BUSCOM 992-0Business Torts
BUSCOM 993-0Transactional Skills: Basic Training
BUSCOM 984-0International Team Project-MSL
REGLAW 965-0Privacy Law and Regulation
REGLAW 970-0Health Care Law and Regulation
REGLAW 975-0Food Policy and Regulation
BUSCOM 981-0Introduction to Taxation: Business Income
REGLAW 980-0Regulatory Compliance: Product Approval & Life Cycle Issues
BUSCOM 982-0Public Persuasion
REGLAW 985-0Regulatory Compliance at Universities
INTPROP 975-0Business Foundations of Design and Trademarks
REGLAW 990-0Legal & Regulatory Issues in Emerging Industries
BUSCOM 952-0Strategic Decision Analysis: Gaining Competitive Advantage in an Uncertain World
LAWSTUDY 951-0Legal & Policy Challenges in Emerging Technologies    
LAWSTUDY 953-0Forensic Science
INTPROP 972-0Patent Life Cycle Management at the Intersection of Regulatory & Patent Law
REGLAW 922-0Data Privacy: Law, Regulation & Application
BUSCOM 954-0Dealing with Debt: Law & Strategy When Businesses Fail
REGLAW 972-0Health Care Law & Regulation: State
LAWSTUDY 956-0Persuasive Communication
BUSCOM 956-0Visual Communication for Systemic Change
BUSCOM 958-0Navigating Complex Corporate Environments to Bring New Products to Market
REGLAW 942-0Energy & Climate Change: Law & Policy
REGLAW 974-0Health Care Law & Regulation: Federal
INTPROP 912-0Patent Preparation & Prosecution Workshop II: Advanced Topics
LAWSTUDY 912-0Ethics
LITARB 741-0Clinic: International Human Rights Law and Practice
BUSCOM 962-0Advanced Contracts: Practical Aspects
BUSCOM 912-0Assessing AI & Computational Technologies
BUSCOM 917-0Introduction to Securities Regulation
BUSCOM 922-0Presentation Design & Visual Storytelling
INTPROP 922-0Patenting Software Inventions
BUSCOM 904-0Contract Drafting
INTPROP 980-0Patent Landscape Analysis Using Natural Language Processing
REGLAW 995-0Regulatory Policy
REGLAW 973-0Health Law
REGLAW 992-0RegTech: Transforming the Interaction of Regulators, Regulated Enterprises, and Markets
REGLAW 982-0Gaming Law & Regulation
BUSCOM 911-0Applied AI in HealthTech
BUSCOM 906-0Contract Law
REGLAW 902-0U.S. Regulation: Design, Implementation, and Enforcement
REGLAW 903-0Law, Health Policy, & Science in the COVID-19 Crisis
BUSCOM 907-0Federal Income Taxation
BUSCOM 908-0Business & Corporate Strategy in Action
REGLAW 904-0Global Transactions & Compliance
BUSCOM 909-0Tax Policy