Compliance and Risk Management Programs FAQs

As the regulatory state has expanded, governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) has become a major new field of expertise with its own methods of critical thinking, risk assessment, and managerial sociology, allowing compliance experts, lawyers, and business executives to protect stakeholders by anticipating and reducing enterprise risks.

The law school’s programs in compliance and risk management that focus on this major new field of GRC joins only a few other concentrated graduate courses of study in the country. The master program will be the only such program in Ohio. The master and certificate programs in compliance and risk management will provide lawyers and non-lawyers with the knowledge and analytical skills needed to work in an organization’s compliance and/or risk management department competently, effectively, and ethically.

The law school has designed the master and certificates to help these professionals’ pivot their careers to a compliance or risk management-related focus or to assist those already specializing in compliance and risk management professionals take their careers to a new level.

According to a literature review and survey of governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) professionals:

"GRC is an integrated, holistic approach to organization-wide GRC ensuring that an organization is acting ethically and in accordance with its risk appetite, internal policies and external regulations through the alignment of strategy, processes, technology and people, thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness."

GRC makes up a three-legged program that allows an organization that has reached a certain size to reliably achieve its objectives, address uncertainty, and act with integrity. Each of the three legs of the foundation revolves around the same variables that are aligned with each other: strategy, processes, technology and people.

  • Governance is the combination of processes established and executed by the directors (or the board of directors) that reflect the organization's structure and decision-making hierarchy for achieving its goals.
  • Risk management is predicting and managing risks that could hinder the organization from reliably achieving its objectives in an uncertain world.
  • Compliance refers to adhering to standards, both mandatory (laws and regulations) and voluntary (company's policies, procedures, etc.).

GRC is a discipline that aims to synchronize information and activity across governance and compliance in order to operate more efficiently; effectively share information, reports and interpretations; and avoid wasteful overlaps.  Each of these three disciplines creates information of value to the other two, and all three impact the same technologies, people, processes and information.

Our program that specializes in healthcare fits well within the School of Law’s Law-Medicine Center that is perennially ranked among the top programs in the nation. From corporate practice to bioethics, from malpractice rules to government regulation, the health law curriculum offers a deep dive into the key issues with the leading scholars in the field.

As a partner with CWRU’s world-renowned School of Medicine, University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic, the Law-Medicine Center shares a campus and collaborates with the best medical researchers in the world.

An added advantage of the CWRU School of Law’s program is its location in the greater Cleveland region. Our region, including Akron and Canton, is home to a heavy concentration of a number of highly regulated industries, including biomedical, healthcare, and food processing industries.

The greater Cleveland region, including Akron and Canton, is home to a heavy concentration of highly regulated industries, including for example, banking and finance, polymer and materials, and advanced manufacturing industries.

This region is home to major banks including KeyCorp and FirstMerit Bank. The Fourth Federal Reserve District, one of 12 regional Reserve Banks in the Federal Reserve System, is also rooted in Northeast Ohio. In total, the financial services industry employs more than 58,000 individuals in this region.

The polymer, chemical and plastics industry is rapidly growing in Northeast Ohio as companies discover the advantages of establishing their operations near the Utica and Marcellus Shale play. Nearly 1,000 polymers and materials companies call Northeast Ohio home. Finally, advanced manufacturing companies, employing nearly 2 million workers, are thriving in the greater Cleveland region, including many of today’s industry leaders—Parker Hannifin, Eaton, Timken, Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. and Arconic.

Courses are held at the CWRU School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio.

The introductory, four-credit Risk Management course will be offered in an online, synchronous format in the evenings during the business week (Monday-Friday). This course will initially be offered in the fall of 2021. After 2021, this course will be offered in the summer. At this time, all other courses will be held in person.

Classes are held during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Course days and times vary, but will be held during the business week (Monday-Friday). The Risk Management course is the only course that is taught online, in the evenings, during the business week (Monday-Friday), in a synchronous, online format.  

Compliance graduates with a general certificate obtain jobs in law firms and in the compliance and risk management departments of a wide-range of different businesses.

Compliance graduates with a certificate or master degree with a specialization in healthcare obtain jobs in law firms and a wide-range of different healthcare-related businesses, from hospitals, pharmaceutical or device manufacturers, food processing companies to insurance companies, pharmacies, diagnostic services, and eldercare businesses (for example home healthcare, assisted living, nursing home and hospice), as well as a wide range of government agencies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the FDA, FTC, SEC, and the DOJ, among others.

Yes! Significant merit scholarships are available to students through the graduate programs in Compliance and Risk Management.

Other types of aid may include federal and/or state student loans, and financial assistance through the military and employers.

For information about ‘pay in full,’employer reimbursement, and payment plan options contact Tonya Phillips, director of student financial services admissions, at

This program normally requires that you have completed an undergraduate degree by the time the program starts. The program does not require either the GRE or the LSAT, and significant scholarships are available while this program is starting up.

View our application instructions for additional information.

A regular master’s in law (ML) program focuses on understanding legal concepts and procedures. The master and certificates in Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management provide a similar education as an ML while also providing students with legal and regulatory knowledge that is particular to the healthcare industry. Our compliance programs also teach the unique skills necessary to successfully navigate a career in compliance and/or risk management.

For more information, please contact Eric Chaffee

Applications are accepted at any time during the year.