Interview with Timothy Glynn of Seton Hall Law School

Timothy Glynn is the Senior Associate Dean and Andrea J. Catania Endowed Professor of Law at Seton Hall University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. We’ve interviewed Timothy Glynn in May 2018.

There are currently around 15 or so universities offering a Master of Science in Jurisprudence or related programs online. How long ago did Seton Hall Law School decide to start its Master of Science in Jurisprudence program and how is it structured? What led you to start a program there?

Seton Hall Law School began offering an MSJ degree in Health Law over 20 years ago. The professors in the law school’s Center for Health and Pharmaceutical Law recognized that many nonlegal professionals working in the highly regulated health care space would benefit from a greater understanding of law and legal reasoning. In 2013, Seton Hall Law began to offer the MSJ program completely online, although students also may choose to take electives in-person at the law school.

We now offer five MSJ concentrations: Financial Services Compliance, Health & Hospital Law, Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Law & Compliance, Intellectual Property, and Privacy Law & Cyber Security, with the MSJ in Privacy Law & Cyber Security being our newest offering due to the demands within the field. The online program consists of ten, eight-week courses and are taken one at a time. The majority of our students take five courses per year, which allows them to complete the program in as little as two years. Our online courses are asynchronous, as students do not need to be logged in at a specific time daily/weekly.

Our site is designed to help people who are researching Master of Science in Jurisprudence programs find the right school. Can you outline your program’s values, mission, and goals?

The mission of the MSJ program reflects the mission of Seton Hall Law: providing the highest quality legal education to our students framed by the values of integrity, loyalty, and engagement focusing on a ‘one student at a time’ approach. Our goal is to ensure that MSJ students acquire an understanding of the relevant law and legal reasoning while developing corresponding analytical skills that enhance their ability to confront the law-related issues. They work with counsel to address legal compliance and ethical challenges arising out of their respective professional roles.

You offer five different degree concentrations: Financial Services Compliance, Health & Hospital Law, Pharmaceutical & Medical Device Law & Compliance, Intellectual Property, and Privacy Law and Cyber Security. Could you tell us a little more about each concentration?

The Health & Hospital Law concentration designed to challenge students intellectually while exposing them to various legal and ethical issues in healthcare. Students in this online degree program develop industry-specific legal knowledge and learn to write and communicate more effectively.

The Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law & Compliance concentration was specifically designed for mid-career professionals looking for advancement within or outside their organizations. This degree exposes students to legal, ethical, and policy issues specific to the life sciences industry and helps students build analytical and communication skills necessary for continued professional development. The Intellectual Property Law concentration was specifically designed for professionals looking to protect brands, inventions, and original works. This provides extensive exposure to patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and also allows students to focus on privacy and security issues in the health, science and technology fields.

The Financial Services Compliance concentration is designed to enhance our students marketability and be able to effectively analyze and respond to myriad financial compliance issues they encounter on a daily basis. Seton Hall Law has paired its compliance knowledge with its internationally known corporate law faculty to meet the needs of the financial services industry.

Our newest concentration, Privacy Law & Cyber Security, is designed for professionals at all levels who need to grapple with the implementation of complex privacy rules. Courses cover current laws and practices that impact privacy rights, and professionals who complete the coursework will be poised to recognize and respond to privacy risks within their organizations. Knowledge of privacy laws and norms, coupled with awareness of cyber security issues, will enable employees to mitigate risk and proactively deal with threats.

For students who have decided to get their Master of Science in Jurisprudence degree but haven’t decided whether to get their education on campus or online, can you explain the advantages and disadvantages of both options?

Many individuals want to learn about the legal aspects of their professions but cannot realistically commit to spending time attending live classes on a set schedule. Our students find that earning an online MSJ is flexible and convenient, as it allows them to complete coursework anywhere at any time. Students also enjoy the engaging interactivity and individualized feedback available through an online educational experience.

On occasion, local students choose to take electives at the law school. While taking in-person courses is not necessary, this hybrid option provides MSJ students with an opportunity to engage in a different way with the Seton Hall Law community and with the course material.

Online education can require discipline to stay on track. Can you outline how Seton Hall School of Law helps students stay on track with their degree? Do you have any recommendations for students to keep them from falling behind?

Seton Hall Law’s MSJ program is designed to ensure that each student succeeds. Again, the online, asynchronous format delivers the content in a way that maximizes flexibility and convenience for busy working professionals. The standardized structure of each eight-week course then ensures that students understand the expectations for each week and can plan accordingly. Moreover, because the courses containing many interactive components and the sections are small, students engage constantly with their professors. This allows the professors to assess student performance on an ongoing basis and identify and assist in real time students who are struggling with time or the material. Finally, both the professors and our Academic Director are committed to working closely with students to find approaches that will enhance their academic success.

While the degrees focuses on aren’t designed for students pursuing a law degree, faculty with a solid knowledge of legal matters are important. Can you tell us about the experience levels of faculty at your school? Do they just focus on the Master of Science in Jurisprudence program or do they teach law as well?

Our faculty is comprised of dynamic, nationally respected and highly accessible mentors who focus on ensuring each student’s success. They are committed to helping our students achieve their professional goals and move forward in their careers.

All of Seton Hall Law’s online courses are developed and updated by full-time faculty with expertise in the relevant area of law and regulation. Some of these courses also are taught by these faculty members. As is the case in the JD program, other courses are taught by adjuncts, all of whom have JD degrees and significant practice experience in a related field. In addition, the law school works tirelessly to retain adjuncts who have proven to be successful teachers and student mentors. In sum then, students in our online MSJ programs study under the same instructors and benefit from the same faculty expertise and challenging coursework as those attending classes on campus.

For students who’ve decided to apply to your program at Seton Hall Law School, what advice do you have to put together an application? For example, I know your program requires a letter of recommendation–are you looking for mostly academic references or professional references?

Our MSJ admissions committee is seeking applicants with a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds and experiences. Applicants to the Master’s degree in law must have a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or the foreign equivalent. In addition, each applicant should have professional experience or an academic background in an area related to the academic concentration they wish to pursue: health, life sciences, information technology, telecommunications, cyber security, or financial services.

Admissions decisions are based on the quality of the applicant’s undergraduate performance, relevant professional experience, and expected ability to do superior graduate work. Applicants are not required to take pre-admission tests such as the LSAT, GRE, or GMAT. One letter of recommendation is required, and it is preferred to be completed by a professional reference.

What do you think sets Seton Hall Law apart from other online Master of Science in Jurisprudence or similar programs?

Seton Hall Law School has a proven track record of providing high quality education to working professionals in our MSJ and other programs. Again, our MSJ program is now over twenty years old, and we have hundreds of successful alumni working in many fields. Our more recent innovation -offering these programs entirely online — simply has made the degree more accessible to working professionals. Moreover, the continued commitment of our full time law faculty to this program, including in developing and teaching MSJ courses, and serving as academic and professional mentors to students, demonstrates that we view the MSJ program as a core (not satellite) component of our law school.

Special thanks to Timothy Glynn, Senior Associate Dean for his insightful responses.