PhDs and Postdocs

The Master of Science in Law degree enables PhDs and postdocs to augment their skills by acquiring a strong understanding of law and business. Advanced degree candidates are often interested in careers outside academia – in industry, administrative roles, government and policy positions, and so on – but their technical training does not always prepare them well for these other functions. The MSL fills this void by offering a curriculum that contextualizes a student's STEM training with an understanding of the legal, business, and regulatory landscape of innovation. 

The MSL Program is exciting, intense, and concentrated. Just a few weeks into the program, STEM professionals begin to think in a more sophisticated way about legal and business matters. As they progress through the program and learn how lawyers and business people solve problems, STEM PhDs are newly able to participate with confidence and expertise in business and legal conversations. In effect, the MSL enables PhDs to become tri-lingual, adding business and legal knowledge and terminology to their existing technological vocabulary. By mastering knowledge and skills beyond the scientific and technical, MSL graduates differentiate themselves from their STEM peers; upon completing the program, they are equipped to be valuable players in industry, policy, and startup settings.

MSL student

Stephanie Pulliam
MSL '17

"As I neared the end of my Ph.D. study, I longed for a career beyond the laboratory that would utilize my knowledge of science.

I wanted a career that would allow for continued learning and exposure to emerging developments in science, and interactions with scientists in all fields of biomedicine. The MSL program addressed this desire directly. Its focus on intellectual property and regulation has provided knowledge that will facilitate an easier transition to my next career. "

MSL-trained PhDs and postdocs expand their opportunities beyond purely technical, research, academic, and bench positions to more multi-faceted ones at the intersection of law, business, and scientific/technological innovation. Such new positions include product developer, business analyst, scientific advisor, entrepreneur, engineering manager, government regulator, contracts manager, IP specialist, tech transfer officer, IP portfolio manager, regulatory compliance officer, business developer, and consultant.

The MSL PhD Scholarship

Making the MSL more accessible to PhD graduates and postdoctoral fellows

The MSL Program offers a limited number of competitive scholarships for PhD applicants, equal to 25% or more of the regular MSL tuition. (MSL tuition for 2016-2017 is $49,028.) The PhD scholarship can be applied to part-time or full-time study in the MSL Program. Eligibility for these special awards is limited to:

  • applicants who have a PhD in a STEM discipline;
  • post-qualifier PhD candidates working toward a STEM-field PhD, who are not otherwise eligible for any employer-tuition benefits; and
  • postdocs who are not eligible for employer-tuition benefits.

Students interested in these scholarships should go through the regular admissions process, which takes place in three rounds – deadlines are January 15, April 15, and June 1. (PhD scholarships will be available in each admissions round, but because these scholarships are competitive, early applications are highly encouraged.) Once admissions decisions have been made, the Admissions Committee will invite eligible candidates to apply for the PhD scholarships.