MSL Course Descriptions

General Courses

Dispute Resolution and Negotiation (2 credits): This course will examine methods of dispute resolution other than litigation, focusing on negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. It will also explore the use of various hybrid procedures and other mechanisms specifically designed to meet the needs of a particular controversy or categories of controversies. Simulations will be conducted to develop practice skills and as a basis for exploring the public policy and other issues that arise in this area.

Ethics in Law and Public Policy (1 credit): This course focuses on issues of practical professional ethics in legal, policy development, and program management contexts. The course will provoke critical thinking on value judgments underlying decision-making and public policy practices. It will introduce the fundamentals of ethics management and of analytic moral reasoning in policy contexts. It will focus on the responsibilities of policy makers in the context of competing obligations that guide their actions.

Legal Methods and Process: Analysis and Argument (3 credits): This course will introduce students to the structure of the American legal system and the sources of legal authority. It will cover the essentials of legal reasoning and the anatomy of a legal dispute. Students will also develop an understanding of various dispute resolution methods, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. The course will teach students to read and analyze statutes and to understand the relationships among cases, statutes, and regulations. Students will learn to distinguish among and evaluate various types of legal authority and to use that authority to analyze legal problems. Students will then learn to communicate effectively the results of their analysis, by completing a draft and final version of at least one written project, as well as an oral presentation.  

Legal Research (2 credits): The goal of the Legal Research course is to introduce students to legal authorities and legal research resources and techniques. Students will develop an understanding of the sources of legal information and legal citation formats, as well as judgment in identifying appropriate authorities for specific research assignments. The course will also introduce students to the process and strategies involved in effective management of legal research projects. The course will be conducted in a hybrid format, combining online materials and exercises with classroom meetings. There will be several specific deadlines for completion of the course materials, which will include a variety of components such as guided exercises, tutorials, and short open-ended research projects. A portion of the grade may consist of performance on a final research project that relates to the subject matter of the respective student’s chosen concentration.

Public Law and the Regulatory Process (3 credits): This course surveys the fundamental legal principles in the areas of administrative processes and statutory interpretation. The course will examine the roles of administrative agencies in promulgating, administering, and enforcing regulations. After considering the relationship of agencies to the judicial and legislative branches of government, students will study the rule-making process, modes of administrative adjudication, and judicial review of agency decisions.

U.S. Law and the Legal System (3 credits): This course surveys the fundamental legal principles of American law in the areas of torts, contracts, and property. The development of the law will be explored, from common law roots to more recent legislation and judicial decisions, culminating with discussion of current legal topics in each area, and their implications for the workplace and society at large. This course will also introduce students to sources of law including Constitutions, statutes, case law, common law and regulations, as well as the structure and functions of U.S. courts at the federal and state levels, the jurisdiction of federal and state courts, and the role of law in society.

Environmental Law

Clean Air Act (3 credits): This seminar examines the basics of the Clean Air Act (CAA) including its founding principles, key terms, implementation, and enforcement.  Among other topics, the course will explore which pollutants are targeted by the Act, pollution discharge permitting, enforcement actions against industrial sources of air pollution, development of pollution control standards, judicial challenges to agency decisions, and intersections with other laws.  The course will cover current developments and will include opportunities to develop practical skills through a real world exercise, class participation, and a writing assignment.

Clean Water Act (3 credits): This seminar examines the basics of the Clean Water Act including its founding principles, key terms, implementation, and enforcement.  Among other topics, the course will explore which waters are protected by the Act, pollution discharge permitting, enforcement actions against industrial sources of water pollution, protection of wetlands, development of pollution control standards and watershed cleanup plans, judicial challenges to agency decisions, and intersections with other laws.  The course will cover current developments and will include opportunities to develop practical skills through a real world exercise, class participation, and a writing assignment.

Environmental Impact Assessments and the National Environmental Protection Act (3 credits): This course will introduce students to the legal, policy, and practical underpinnings of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and associated Federal environmental review requirements. At the end of the course the students should be able to: articulate the principles behind the environmental review process under NEPA; understand the NEPA review process, its standards, and major elements; assess the major areas of controversy associated with environmental reviews; understand how an environmental review is prepared and reviewed; articulate how NEPA interacts with other Federal environmental review requirements; understand the difference between NEPA and other similar Federal and State requirements; and analyze the various initiatives to modernize NEPA reviews.

Environmental Law (3 credits): This survey course focuses on how legal institutions have been used to respond to environmental problems. While the common law had been used for centuries to address highly visible pollution problems, in the last four decades the public law of environmental protection has grown dramatically to become a vast and complex field of law. Given its vast scope and enormous complexity, environmental law cannot be covered comprehensively in a one-semester survey course. Thus, this course is designed to provide an introduction to the most important concepts in environmental law through selective coverage of topics.

Federal Chemical Regulation (3 credits): This seminar examines the basics of several federal chemical regulation statutes, including Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA),  and Superfund legislation (CERCLA). The class will address the founding principles of these acts as well as their implementation and enforcement.  Among other topics, the course will explore which products/pollutants/practices are targeted by these statutes, permitting, enforcement actions, development of pollution control standards, judicial challenges to agency decisions, and intersections with other laws.  The course will cover current developments and will include opportunities to develop practical skills through a real world exercise, class participation, and a writing assignment.

Health Care Law

Food & Drug Law (3 credits): This seminar considers the Food and Drug Administration as a case study of an administrative agency that must combine law and science to regulate activities affecting public health and safety. The class is designed both for students who expect to become involved in food and drug matters and for those who are interested in the interplay of law and science. Topics to be discussed may include: history of the food and drug administration; food law, misbranding, and economic issues; nutritional policy and health claims; food additives, and color additives; drug regulation; drug approval process; breakthrough drugs and ethics of drug testing; medical device regulation; and regulation of biotechnology.

Health Care Law & Policy (3 credits): This survey course covers current federal and state regulatory schemes governing the provision of healthcare. The class focuses on three major themes: quality of care, access to care, and cost containment. Students will learn about professional licensure, malpractice, the provider-patient relationship, informed consent, the regulation of healthcare facilities, public and private insurance regulation, bioethics of organ transplantation and end of life care, the Affordable Care Act, and other topics.

Health Care Reform (3 credits): This course will explore how the law through regulation, legislation, and litigation has shaped and is shaping health care reform in the United States. To this end, the course will explore major attempts and proposals to reform public and private insurance, as well as payment and delivery system reform. Students will learn about the historical efforts to reform the U.S. health care system, but this timely course will also discuss current reform efforts such as the Affordable Care Act and the American Health Care Act.

Public Health Law (3 credits): This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the legal, regulatory and ethical issues impacting health care and public health law in the United States. In the process the student will develop an appreciation of the legal and political tensions between individual legal rights and freedoms, societal needs, and public health programs. In addition, the student will gain an appreciation for how law may serve as a tool to organize, implement and change health policies and programs.

Cybersecurity Law

Cybercrime (3 credits): This course will explore the legal, regulatory, and policy issues of cybercrime. The course will define cybercrime, teach students about types of cybercrime, and inform them on the methods of cyber criminals. The course distinguishes itself from the introductory law and policy of cybersecurity course in that it will not only offer an analysis of the legal, regulatory, and policy issues with which students may be confronted in their places of work, but also offer them practical solutions to preventing and responding to cybercrime. Students will learn about resources and best practices that they can easily apply to the context of their own jobs and other practical, real-life situations.

Law and Policy of Cybersecurity (3 credits): This survey course will explore the legal, regulatory and policy framework of cybersecurity, cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, and cybercrime. Specifically, this course will examine the laws and policies designed to mitigate cyber threats, address cyber privacy concerns, criminalize cyber offenses, and govern cyber warfare. This course will provide students with a framework for understanding the myriad of federal and state laws and regulations that govern this emerging field. While the focus of the course will be on U.S. cyber law and policy, law and policy of foreign countries will also be addressed. Through the analysis of case studies, students will study the intersection of cyber law and policy in the domain of homeland security and learn about cybersecurity’s role in the real world.

NSA, Foreign Intelligence and Privacy (3 credits): As a result of massive leaks of top secret information by contractor employee Edward Snowden, a substantial amount of previously secret information has been made public, which shows that either without judicial warrants or with warrants not premised on the traditional probable cause standards, the following examples of information are now readily accessible to the U.S. foreign intelligence community: (1) 100% of the metadata of U.S. phone calls; (2) 75% of the content of emails; (3) virtually all codes for breaking encryption used to keep internet data private; and the communications of over 35 world leaders, many of whom are longstanding allies of the U.S. Also made available by Snowden are previously secret rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court which authorize (and, in small measure, critique) much of this data collection, as well as Inspector General reports calling some of these practices into question. Looking at these secret court rulings and the existing “public” body of court rulings on the Fourth Amendment, as well as Congressional testimony and legislative proposals, this course asks the question whether these massive data collection practices can be sustained under the Fourth Amendment. As a result of Snowden’s leaks, avenues of judicial review may have opened up outside of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), presenting the likelihood that the Supreme Court may resolve this important Constitutional question.

Homeland Security & Crisis Management Law

Homeland Security and the Law of Counterterrorism (3 credits): This course addresses the legal implications of the government’s two main roles in dealing with a mass domestic terrorist incidence: crisis and consequence management. “Crisis management” predominantly involves a domestic law enforcement (and sometimes, military) response to terrorist threats, including enforcement and intelligence measures necessary to prevent threats or acts of terrorism, as well as apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of terrorist attacks. “Consequence management” primarily concerns measures to protect public health and safety, including restoring essential government services and providing emergency relief to businesses and individuals affected by the consequences of a terrorist event.

Law and Policy of Emergency Management (3 credits): This survey course will examine how federal, state and local government laws and policies govern responses to emergencies, whether caused by natural disasters or terror attacks. Students will also analyze the various directives and guidance that shape emergency management policy. Among the issues that will be studied are Emergency Operations Planning; Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning and Continuity of Government (COG) planning; the Incident Command System (ICS); the Role of Emergency Management Agencies; Mass Evacuation and Sheltering Planning; Interoperability; Pandemics and Emergency Public Health Response; Port Security; Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP); Planning for Individuals with Functional Needs; and Tests, Training, and Exercises.

Law and Policy of Emergency Public Health Response (3 credits): This course examines the federal, state, and local laws provided to each level of government to respond to a catastrophic public health emergency, whether caused by natural disasters or man-made (i.e. terrorist attack). Issues addressed include governmental powers related to quarantine and isolation, compelled medical testing and treatment, compelled service of health care providers, triaging of patient care, altered standards of care during emergencies, emergency seizures of medical supplies and facilities, compelled service of medical personnel, liability and immunity issues for health care providers and other responders, intergovernmental emergency compacts, emergency licensure of medical personnel and other responders, concerns regarding civil liberties and property interests impacted by the government’s use of emergency powers, deployment of military personnel to provide domestic response services, and related federalism issues.