MLS offers first online masters degree

Launching in October 2016, it is the impressive expertise and innovative use of technology that sets Melbourne Law School's new Global Competition and Consumer Law masters program apart.

Led by Professor Caron Beaton-Wells, the MLS’s new fully online masters program consolidates the Law School’s reputation for being the first academic institution to offer specialist masters-level qualifications in competition and consumer law in the Asia-Pacific region.

Having established its successful on-campus program based in Melbourne in 2008, MLS remains the only university in the region to offer a fully-fledged masters program in this field.

Its latest initiative harnesses the power of technology to ensure that the program has global reach and provides students with unparalleled flexibility in where and when they study.

Using state-of-the-art online software, tools and resources, students in the new program will experience highly interactive and engaged learning - a quantum leap from traditional styles of distance education.

Professor Beaton-Wells says the online program was established with the intention of making a major contribution to capacity building in the competition and consumer law field, particularly in the Asian region.

“Through my research, teaching, engagement and consulting experience, I’ve gained an insight into the needs of and the challenges facing young competition and consumer authorities,” she says.

“But it’s not just the staff of government authorities who can benefit from a program like this, it’s also members of the profession and the judiciary for whom this an entirely new area in many parts of the world, but particularly in places like South East Asia where it is going to take a long time for the academic institutions to offer programs and courses that will assist in the capacity building effort.”

But the real boon is the calibre of the experts who are involved in developing the program - world-leading figures from academia and practice who are passionate about seeing knowledge and skills in competition and consumer law grow around the world, and particularly in regions such as South-East Asia, the Pacific, southern Africa and Latin America.

Among those teaching into the program alongside Professor Beaton-Wells are Professor Mark Williams, Professor Allan Fels AO and Dr Rhonda Smith.

Professor Williams has been based in Hong Kong for more than two decades and specialises in Asian competition policy and law.

“Mark understands deeply the political economy associated with this area in Asian regimes, and that’s very valuable for practitioners in Australia who are actively seeking to grow their practices in the region,” Professor Beaton-Wells says.

“There’s a well-established understanding of the approach taken in the United States and the European Union but in significant jurisdictions such as China, India and Vietnam, there is much less understanding of how the policy and law and enforcement works on the ground there, and that’s Mark’s specialty.”

Professor Fels AO was the inaugural chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) from 1995 to 2003.

“Allan has a globally recognised reputation for having led significant reforms in the policy, law and enforcement in this area and has been very active in the international fora like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. He continues to consult to major companies seeking to manage their risks in this area, and features regularly at conferences and events around the world,” Professor Beaton-Wells says.

Dr Smith, an economist, is a long-standing teacher of the popular Market Power subject in the on-campus masters program. A former commissioner with the ACCC, her skills will be important in translating learning for students between the law and economics disciplines.

The list of other teachers in the program have, between them, more than a century of experience in teaching, practising, enforcing and reforming the law in this area.

They include former commissioner of the United States Federal Trade Commission Professor William Kovacic; OECD competition committee chairman Professor Frédéric Jenny; former UNCTAD competition and consumer policy branch head, Mr Hassan Qaqaya, and leading international practitioner and scholar, Professor Damien Geradin.

“These experts have enthusiastically joined this program because they can readily see how we can use technology to build expertise in this area around the world,” Professor Beaton-Wells says.

The online program offers masters courses for law and non-law graduates and will take students studying part-time two years to complete.

Applications open at the end of February.

Hear more from Professor Beaton-Wells about distinctive aspects of the online program.

Find out more

More Information

Cindy Halliwell

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