New online degree program meets growing need for compliance officers

April 30, 2019

The increasingly regulated world in which businesses operate has spurred a higher demand for knowledgeable compliance officers. To help meet this need, Seattle University School of Law has developed a new fully online degree program – the Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management. Set to launch this fall, this innovative program will provide a flexible option for individuals to gain the legal knowledge and skills to help companies navigate the complex world of compliance.  

“Trusted in-house legal experts who can assess risks and manage them effectively are increasingly valued by companies,” said Dean Annette Clark '89. “In addition to the online format, what sets our program apart is how we teach the topic, which we call ‘Compliance with a Conscience.’ We embed our education with the principle that practicing corporate compliance is something to aspire to because it produces tangible benefits, not just for businesses but also for society.”

Corporate compliance, the process of ensuring that companies and employees follow all relevant laws, regulations, standards, and ethical practices, is a rapidly growing field. Managing compliance operations helps companies prevent and detect violations of rules, thus avoiding costly fines and lawsuits. Corporate compliance also creates positive outcomes for society, such as preventing pollutants from entering the environment, ensuring the safety of workers and surrounding communities, and ensuring that health care institutions are following federal and state regulations.

The program is designed to prepare graduates to become trusted experts and assume compliance leadership roles in a range of industries. In addition to foundational courses in legal methods, research, and analysis, the curriculum covers core aspects of compliance operations, including investigation, auditing, and report writing. Students will have the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge in specific industry sectors, including corporate, healthcare, finance, data, and cybersecurity. Graduates will be able to frame issues and solve problems through the lens of the law across these industries.

This part-time program, which takes two years to complete, is the first online-only program offered by Seattle U Law and the only fully online Master of Legal Studies program in the state of Washington. Students can apply now to begin in either August or January.

“In designing the program, we wanted to make it accessible and flexible so that working professionals can build on their education and work experience to take the next step in their careers, or launch new careers in compliance,” said Linda Hiemer, senior director of Graduate Law Programs. “We recognize the important role technology and online learning plays in support of our mission at Seattle U Law to educate diverse students and develop leaders in our communities.

For more information, including instructions on how to apply, visit onlinelaw.seattleu.edu.