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Magister Juris at the University of Oxford
The Magister Juris is a one-year master's level course offered at the University of Oxford. It is a postgraduate degree requiring a previous undergraduate degree in law for admission, and is thus comparable to an LL.M. With the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), it is normally seen as the most highly regarded taught masters-level in the United Kingdom. More than a thousand apply annually but only up to 45 students are normally admitted to the MJur each year.
The BCL and MJur are the only taught graduate courses in the world which make use of tutorials as a central part of their teaching (as well as the seminars and lectures more generally used on LLM and other masters courses). The tutorial is an intensive discussion between a tutor and typically two or three students, providing an opportunity for students to present their ideas and discuss their work with leading academics. It is this level of access to some of the best known teachers and researchers across a wide range of legal subjects which perhaps more than anything distinguishes the BCL and MJur from their LLM counterparts.
Master of Jurisprudence at the Universities of Durham and Birmingham
Whereas the Oxford MJur is a taught degree, the MJur programmes offered by Durham and Birmingham are research degrees. It is awarded on the basis of a candidate's thesis (usually 40,000 words) in an approved area of law, under the supervision of an academic staff. The MJur must demonstrate an advanced understanding of the subject but - in contrast to a PhD - need not constitute an original contribution to knowledge nor reach a standard worthy of publication. Unlike LLM or Oxford's MJur dissertations, MJur degrees at Durham and Birmingham are examined by appointed internal and external examiners, for which a report is prepared. A viva voce, an essential component of PhDs at British universities, is unusual for MJur degrees.
Historically, German law students did not receive any academic degree upon completion of their curriculum. Instead, after usually four or five years of study, students would sit their First State Examination (Erstes Staatsexamen) in Law, which was administered by the ministry of justice of the respective state, not the university. More recently, however, some universities have begun to award their students a Magister Juris upon passing the First State Examination, in order to indicate the equivalence of the education to a master's degree in other disciplines. Examples include the universities of Cologne and Constance. Other German universities are awarding the Diplom-Jurist to their law examinees, following the same principle.
Austrian law students are usually awarded a "Mag. iur." after completion of a four-year curriculum. On average it takes students 13,6 semesters to complete the curriculum. Despite the Bologna process Law is one of the studies, that still stick to the traditional Austrian system without a bachelor's degree and a Magister Juris as the first academic degree.
After the Bologna process, the former Laurea di dottore in Giurisprudenza had been replaced by a first level degree, Laurea in Scienze Giuridiche (three years), and a second level degree, Laurea Specialistica in Giurisprudenza (two further years). This system changed in 2006: at present the Laurea Magistrale in Giurisprudenza (i.e., Magister Juris) is the Law degree in Italy. It is a five-year, second level (master's) degree which does not require a previous bachelor's degree for the admission (Laurea Magistrale a ciclo unico, i.e. integrated Master's degree).