Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Areas of Study

About the Program

Fueling Innovation & Empowering Explorers: We believe that to grow mankind, space, cyber and telecommunications law is critical to the future of our democracy. Our students bridge the gap between law and technology. As technology continues to evolve and humans continue to reach upwards, the laws and regulations that protect citizens and serve industries must change too. Our alumni are at the forefront of this wave of change. Space, cyber, and telecommunications law and policy touch every satellite, every phone call, every online transaction. Since 2008, Nebraska Law has been the only law college in the nation to offer an LL.M. degree in space, cyber, and telecommunications law. Graduates of the program have gone on to careers working for private companies like SpaceX; for civilian agencies like the 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 and law firms. The LL.M. program is available on campus and as a part time interactive online program. Online students attend class live and in real time on screen.

In 2013 the University of Nebraska College of Law broke new ground as the only doctoral-level space law program in the United States, offering a J.S. D. in Space Law. Research-focused and dissertation-based, the J.S.D. program requires students to write a book-length thesis about an aspect of space law. The degree broadens opportunities for experienced lawyers and legal scholars to delve into the very intricate and complex issues facing the regulation of outer space activities in an in-depth manner. The program also offers an Executive Certificate program from practicing attorneys looking to specialize in a specific area of our curriculum. Juris Doctorate students at Nebraska Law also benefit from our expansive space, cyber, and telecommunications law curriculum and may design a program of study in this field.

Space Law

Space law is the study of the laws and regulations governing not just activities in space but also activities on Earth necessary to launch objects into space or to communicate with objects in space. This encompasses all national and international laws governing such activities.  Activities regulated involve innovative new industries like commercial space flight, scientific endeavors such as experiments heading to the International Space Station, the business sector and aerospace companies launching and operating satellites, as well as military applications and uses of space.

Attorneys specializing in space law learn a unique mixture of international, U.S. administrative, and industry specific law, policy, history, and economics. Space law is indeed a capstone course, touching on torts, property, foreign relations, insurance, and many other areas of the law.

Cyber law

Cyber law (or Cyberlaw) is the study of the relationship of technological and electronic elements, including computers, software, hardware and information systems to the law. Cyber law encompasses the regulation of commercial industries and private company data, as well as a vast number of military operations. From the Target & Sony hacks, to cloud storage, to cyber warfare, the law interacts with technology but often with gaps in coverage and difficult dilemmas in how best to proceed. Attorneys who specialize in cyber law are on the cutting edge of what has been called “The Wild West” as regulation and policy lag behind advancements in technology.  Cyber law is now virtually required in every law practice as nearly all clients have an online presence.

Telecommunications Law

Telecommunications law covers every electronic communication and all broadcasting across the United States. This area is heavily regulated by federal law and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but also by state and local laws, dealing with privacy and real estate. Telecommunications law is an area with many controversies as new technologies are created and invented by entrepreneurs. Google is now spending more money lobbying in Washington DC than any oil company. From net neutrality to cable contracts to spectrum management the world of telecommunications law continues to grow and change along with technology. 

Why all three?

While our students generally pick a focus area for their thesis, we require our students to take classes in all three areas. Why? You can’t launch a space vehicle or operate a communications satellite without licensing communication spectrum from the FCC. You can’t discuss cyber warfare without addressing the possibility of satellites as targets. The connections go on and on. These three areas are intrinsically linked by the technology they require and the laws and policies that impact them. Nebraska law is the one program in the world to specialize in all three and require our graduates to obtain a well-rounded understanding of the changing legal frontier.