Law school adds new graduate degree

The GW Law School has added a new degree in national security and U.S. foreign relations law aimed at military and governmental employees.

The degree, which is part of the school’s graduate program, currently has 12 students, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gregory Maggs said. He added, however, that the program’s size is expected to double in the next few years.

“This is for students who are interested in everything from counterterrorism measures to military policy to laws regulating our intelligence services,” he said. “We’re pretty happy with the success of the program because we only got approval to offer this last December.”

The curriculum encompasses many courses that were already being taught, but the new degree focuses on law that pertains to the use of the armed forces at home and abroad, intelligence operations abroad, counterterrorism, electronic surveillance and privacy, homeland security, and other similar topics, according to the program’s Web site.

Maggs said that graduate students take those courses with students working toward their standard law degree, making the new program a cost-efficient addition for the school.

“It didn’t really cost us much of anything because we were fortunate that we had already in our curriculum pretty much all the courses that we needed. We added basically one new course on intelligence law, and we hired an adjunct professor to teach that,” Maggs said. “I would say other than just a little bit of administration and paperwork, it was something that we could do with the strength we had. Obviously it took a lot of planning and man-hours to put it in there, but as far as the bottom line of the budget, it was insignificant.”

Maggs said the program was added in response to students in the general program who were studying national security law but graduating with general graduate degrees.

“We thought this would add value to their degrees, they ought to get credit for what they are doing,” Maggs said. “It’s not a large departure from what we were doing before, but now we have an organized program with specific requirements for getting a specialized degree.”

The school also implemented a new specialization within an existing program, adding a focus in energy and environmental law into its Environmental Law program. The new focus requires students to take classes like International Law of Climate Change and Air Pollution Control.

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