LLMs You Never Knew Existed: Space Law

Ever had trouble reconciling your dual passions of law and outer space? Felt pressure from your parents to pursue a more down-to-earth career? Thought you were doomed to be a tax or corporate lawyer who felt you had to hide your intimate knowledge of the moons of Jupiter and the habitability of Mars?

Lending further evidence to the theory that law applies to just about everything, LLM degrees aren’t just for corporate, tax, or even public interest lawyers. Yes, you can indeed get your LLM in Space Law.

But space law isn’t as far out as it sounds. You won’t necessarily be regulating alien immigration or the infrastructure of the Death Star (maybe give it a couple years), but many of the same areas of civil and commercial law that regulate our Earth-bound dealings apply to our presence in outer space too. Some topics in space law which you’re likely to cover in your Space Law LLM coursework: space tourism, satellite communications, national security implications of space holdings, international trade and World Trade Organization regulations, exports in space, military presence in space, arms control, managing traffic in space, international space treaties, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, how space law is created and maintained, and how private, government, and military assets are governed and regulated in space.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the first U.S. university to offer an LLM in Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law. Both foreign and domestic lawyers are welcome to enroll in the program (which also sponsors NASA scholarships), but is intended for lawyers who have experience in the field. Required courses for the program are: International Law, Space Law, National Security Space Law, Domestic Telecommunications Law, International Telecommunications Law: Cyber Warfare, Researching Space Law, and Thesis Independent Study. Only eight to ten students are chosen to be part of this select group.

Until recently, Nebraska was the only university to offer this unique degree, but recently the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) jumped on the space bandwagon as well. Required courses for Comparative National Space Law, International Space Law, Private International Air Law, U.S. Aviation Law, and U.S. Space Law.

Abroad, Leiden University in the Netherlands and McGill University in Canada also offer LLM degrees in Air and Space Law.

This is the first of a multi-part series on unusual LLM degree programs. Stay tuned for our next post.