More schools launch online master’s programs

LMU's Loyola Law School has a highly regarded graduate tax program, which includes a master’s degree for non-lawyers. If you need to know more about tax law but don’t need to be a lawyer, it’s an appealing option.

But L.A. is not for everybody. The traffic, the traffic and the traffic are just three of the hassles.

But there’s a way to beat that.

Just take the online course, which is being introduced this fall. The program began in 2014, but was taught on campus only. One of the start times was 6 p.m., which proved to be a problem.

“Fewer and fewer students were able to get on campus by 6,” said Jennifer Kowal, director of the school’s graduate tax program.


Um, traffic, for one. And students with full-time jobs could face uncertain work hours, which compounded the time crunch.

LMU’s Loyola Law School is not the only school rolling out online programs for non-lawyers, which can be popular for professionals looking to enhance their careers. However, they can be difficult to fit into their daily schedules, which may include both job and family obligations. Not only do online offerings solve that problem, they open the educational opportunity to students nationally and globally.

In addition to Loyola University, the University of Oklahoma College of Law is starting an online master’s program for non-lawyers in international business law. That marks the fourth online master’s degree offered by the school. Earlier, it introduced online programs focused on indigenous people’s law, oil, gas and energy law and health care law.

Likewise, Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University is introducing a new online master’s program in data and privacy law, which it says is one of the firsts for a law school when it comes to that specialty. The online offering is the school’s initial one, but more are planned.  

For LMU’s Loyola Law School, this is also the school’s first foray into creating an online program. In addition to the master’s degree in tax, it will also offer an LL.M. online in tax, which is what practicing lawyers take to broaden their expertise.  

The nation’s tax laws recently went through major restructuring, the law school noted, so the need to keep current is vital.

“These are exciting times for tax law. Expertise in the field is a powerful tool,” Kowal said. “Our online program will make our offerings more widely available to those who need it in their current roles – or the positions to which they aspire.”

The master’s degree attracts professionals who want to be in tax planning or consulting, she said. “It teaches tax problem-solving, versus tax reporting,” she said.

The program is entirely online, she noted. The state-of-the-art teaching method will include both recorded lectures and real-time classroom instruction. However, the recorded lectures are designed to be inter-active, so students won’t simply be watching a professor speaking.

While the school is hoping it will attract students from beyond its normal geographical footprint, it’s also hoping the online course will appeal to those living in the region, Kowal said. They won’t have to worry any longer about getting to campus, which is a big plus.

These online courses can be competed quickly, too. Take the OU Law course in international law. It’s an accelerated 32-credit hour graduate degree that can be finished in 15 months.

It’s a specialty that’s growing, the school noted. “As the complexity of international commerce and the laws governing these activities has amplified, increased demand has emerged for business professionals with strong international legal skills and knowledge,” said OU Law Dean Joseph Harroz Jr. “OU Law’s M.L.S. in International Business Law was created specifically to provide the knowledge that will help advance the career of those in these fields – both for those just beginning their career and those who are seasoned professionals, but need a deeper understanding to progress in their careers.”

Cardozo also sees its new program filling a need. The master’s program provides powerful tools for data and information security professionals, small business owners, and tech startup entrepreneurs who are looking to lead their companies in a rapidly changing regulatory environment, the school said.

The new offering is part of the Cardozo Data Law Initiative, led by Professor Felix Wu, a leading scholar of data and privacy law, who holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Laws and regulations form the backdrop for a lot of the work that non-lawyers do, particularly around managing data,” Wu said. “Understanding those laws will help people be more effective in their careers. This type of knowledge is incredibly empowering, and that’s what our MSL program has to offer.”

And — as a bonus — you can get all of knowledge from the comfort of your home.

Or at Starbucks …





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