Transforming Public Policy with an Online MSL Degree

Public policy shapes everything around us. It is the laws, regulations, guidelines, and actions to solve or address relevant and real-world problems, guided by a conception and often implemented by programs. Governmental bodies identify and address societal issues and reach collective goals through public policy. At every level, people are intricately involved in advocating for positive change within public policy. They can be lawmakers, lobbyists, politicians, or grassroots campaigners. If enacting change is your goal, there are a variety of ways to get there. 

Educationally, obtaining a degree to help you understand the processes and systems you will work within can enhance your career. While many people assume becoming a lawyer is the main road, becoming an attorney isn’t the only option. Earning a Master of Science in Law (MSL) also opens those doors. For those looking to pursue an MSL, McGeorge School of Law is there. Our nationally-ranked public law program gives our students professional, thorough legal knowledge by offering practical training and expertise taught by experienced faculty.

Transforming Government

Advocating and enacting change happens in the biggest way through laws and regulations that governing bodies set out. Whether this is at the federal, state, or local levels, impact occurs everywhere. 

There are various career paths you can take if you’re looking to make long-term changes within government, including:

  1. Lobbyists: people who take part in organized attempts to influence legislators. They usually work for a specific cause and lobby within Congress. A lobbyist’s job is to fight for a goal and to get laws enacted that further the goal. They can be environmental, pharmaceutical, community-driven, and more. They are knowledgeable in their field and use the knowledge to educate legislators on what is happening as well as influence them on why they should pass laws in their favor.
  2. Politicians: Politicians hold power either in the state or local governments. They are proposing and vetoing laws and regulations. Politicians are elected by the people to represent the people and are supposed to work with their constituents’ best interests in mind. 
  3. Policy writers/analysts: Policy writers research and draft policy initiatives. Afterward, they aid in the implementation and adoption of those policies. Policy analysts are on the ground level when implementing or changing the regulations in place becomes a thought. They do the research and reports on the ramifications of any kind of policy change so that everyone is well-informed on the potential impact it holds.
  4. Campaign workers: Many of us have interacted with campaign workers at some point, especially around elections. Campaign workers encompass many cogs in a moving machine. They might be polling the community, making phone calls, raising funds, or advising the person running for office. They could be coordinating travel, keeping an eye on current news, or speech writing. Campaign workers form a team that backs up their running person until election results are in. Getting their candidate in office has a direct impact on the next cycle of government and how it runs.
  5. Grassroots community builders: Community builders are distinguishable in that they are locally accountable. They work to improve the collective livelihoods of their community. This can manifest in many different ways, whether it is starting initiatives to educate the community on pressing issues, pushing for resources, or fighting for change. Some grassroots movements grow large enough that they step outside of their local area. Alexandria Occassio-Cortez as well as other politicians famously started as grassroots movements. 
  6. Public health officials: Healthcare practitioners and public health officials help transform the landscape of our healthcare system. According to the CDC, public health professionals play an important role in the policy process. They do this by conducting policy analysis, communicating findings, developing partnerships, and promoting and implementing evidence-based interventions. Policy is an effective way to improve the health of populations.

These positions all work within the government to change it, whether by being a part of it or working on the outside with the branches in place.

Private Sector

Transforming public policy doesn’t only happen on a public level, but on a private one as well. The private sector, which many times has funding that the public sector does not, also can have an impact on transforming public policy. Plenty of private sector jobs can help influence public policy, such as:

  1. Journalists/policy reporters: While this may not be the first thought for a job that influences policy, news reporting always has the potential to heavily sway the public’s opinion. In today’s age, where there are many news outlets, social media, and various forms of technology keeping us connected to what is happening in our community and around the world, reporting news is no light responsibility. Journalists not only let the public know what is happening but also portray the facts to help people come to conclusions about courses of action that should occur. 
  2. Engineers: Engineers can shape public policy by identifying how their engineering as well as science shapes social issues. Water resource or environmental engineers, for example, use engineering disciplines to develop solutions for planetary health. 

MSLs as a Stepping Stone

A Master of Science in Law gives practical training, expertise, and legal knowledge. Graduating from the McGeorge program lets you:

  1. Review and understand agreements such as contracts
  2. Review and draft proposed local, state, and federal laws and regulations
  3. Understand and comply with regulatory requirements for specific industries
  4. Work with attorneys and compliance officers

Specialized degrees give you a higher leg up in today’s competitive job market. We have MSL programs in both government law and policy as well as water and environmental law. Both bring our students advanced knowledge of the legal system, which can open doors within their careers. Advanced knowledge of the legal system helps you:

  1. Gain a competitive edge when applying for jobs;
  2. Provide a greater understanding of how the law affects your current role;
  3. Enhance your resume by developing a specialization in government law or water & environmental law.

Whether you want to break into a new role, advance your current role, or pivot into being more focused on the legal possibilities within your career, an MSL could be a great move for you. 

McGeorge School of Law not only offers two specialized MSL programs but also offers them online. Our fully online programs allow our students to blend the demands of higher education with other demands in life, such as work or personal responsibilities. McGeorge has a nationally-ranked law program that our MSLs are rooted in, and our online students get access to all of the resources and networks that McGeorge has to offer. This includes on-campus academic and social events which can be joined either through live-streaming or in person. 

If you’re looking into an MSL program, consider McGeorge. Submit your application today or call our admissions office to get started.

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