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Lawyers to get a doctorate in space law

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Staff writer |
UNLThe College of Law at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln got a green light to launch a doctorate in space law. UNL is the only law college in the United States to offer a Master of Laws degree in space, cyber and telecommunications law.

Graduates of the one-year program have gone on to careers working for private companies like SpaceX; for civilian agencies like the State Department and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab; for military operations such as the U.S. Cyber Command and Space Operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base; as well as for think tanks, consultants and law firms.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will be the only U.S. law school to offer both a master's and doctorate in space law. The doctorate program has been offered online since the 2012-13 academic year.

"This additional degree offering, much like the launch of the online LL.M., is going to widen opportunities for experienced lawyers and legal scholars to delve into very intricate and complex issues facing the regulation of outer space activities in an in-depth manner," said Matthew Schaefer, professor of law and director of the college's Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law program.

Research-focused and dissertation-based, the juridicial sciences degree program in essence will require students to write a book about an aspect of space law, such as regulation of satellite communications or liability issues relating to commerce in space. Students will play a pioneering role in developing the field of space law.

Mr. Schaefer said he expects one or two students to join the new program each year and it likely will take two to three years to complete the degree. The juridicial sciences degree program was unanimously approved August 1 by Nebraska's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.

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