By Becca Speier
A tremendous shift towards online learning emerged out of necessity when the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the beginning of 2020. But now, three years later, online learning has evolved to become more accessible than ever – especially for law schools.
The convenience of virtual education has expanded the market for those seeking to enhance their career credibility and specialize their education. “USC has always had online programs for our Gould students that utilized remote learning to deliver impactful, credible legal education,” said Anitha Cadambi, Associate Director of Graduate Curriculum and Instruction. USC’s online legal education programs, including master’s degrees and graduate certificates, make it possible for students anywhere in the world to learn from the foremost experts in entertainment law, business, compliance — and more. Online Master of Laws (LLM) student Luna Hernandez shared in a recent interview for the USC Gould Redefined blog: “The [Online Master of Laws] program allowed me the flexibility to keep working full-time as a transactional paralegal, and still pursue my ultimate goal of passing the California bar exam and becoming a practicing attorney in the U.S.”
The USC Gould School offers two online degree programs: the Online Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree for professionals in any role interested in learning the law, and the Online Master of Laws (LLM) for international attorneys looking to increase their knowledge of the U.S. legal system.
Both programs are offered 100% online in a format that combines self-paced (asynchronous) and real-time (synchronous) components. Students are still able to meet and have discussions with their fellow peers and professors through weekly discussions offered in each course. The USC Gould online academic week is Wednesday through Tuesday; this allows students to maximize their time, curating their schedule to what works best for them.
Part-time and flexible, these virtual programs are ideal for working professionals; students can complete their studies in as few as 16 months. “The online modality offers students the ability to learn in a way that suits their life and learning style best,” said Cadambi, expanding on the advantages of virtual studies. “Students can self-pace and direct their learning as needed online, giving them flexibility while ensuring they are able to complete their degree.”
USC Gould continuously updates and expands its online curriculum opportunities, utilizing the expertise of its deeply committed and distinguished faculty, many of whom are expert practitioners working at law firms, entertainment studios or running their own companies. With no end in sight to the growing popularity of online learning, the trend is expected to continue transforming higher education in new and innovative ways.
Is online learning right for you?
In determining if studying online is right for you, it is important to consider your ultimate career goals, learning style and schedule. Online learning may be a fit for:
- Students interested in a flexible schedule and the ability to learn at their own pace.
- Students who enjoy interacting with professors and peers over Zoom and discussion boards in a collaborative online classroom experience.
- Students who want to earn a master’s degree while employed full-time, in as few as 16 months.
- Students who want to specialize their studies, enhance their career credibility and learn from leading practitioners and lawyers.