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Magister Juris at the University of Oxford
The Magister Juris (MJur) 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. It is a counterpart to the long-established Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), with which it shares all course options, but for students from a civil law rather than a common law background.
Historically, students from civil law jurisdictions were able to study for the BCL at Oxford, but had to meet additional requirements. Following the establishment of the Institute for European and Comparative Law at Oxford, in 1992 the faculty of law introduced a one-year degree programme of Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law, and in 1999/2000 closed the BCL to students from civil law jurisdictions. The Magister Juris at that time allowed to choose a number of undergraduate options, as well as an option in the history faculty. As the MJur and BCL programmes became more similar, the qualifier in European and Comparative Law was dropped in 2001.
The structure of the MJur nowadays is very similar to that of the BCL, and for the most part, BCL and MJur students study the same options in the same classes. Students select four options from a list of 40 or so available in common to BCL and MJur students. In place of one of the four taught options, students may also choose to write a dissertation of 10,000 to 12,500 words. Alternatively, MJur students may select one option from a list of approximately 12 courses from the undergraduate BA in Jurisprudence. All taught options are taught by a combination of lectures and/or seminars and tutorials. Tutorials, which involve an intensive discussion between a tutor and two or three students, are a feature of the MJur and BCL programmes which is not offered in any taught graduate course in law elsewhere in the world.
Admission to the MJur is slightly more competitive than to the BCL: According to data disclosed by the University of Oxford, for 50 places available each year, 343 people applied on average in the three years before the academic year 2017/18, which equals an average application success rate of 14.6 %. The success rate for BCL applications in the same period was 16.3 %.
Academic dress for the MJur is the same as for the BCL, an outward sign of their shared content and structure: A black gown of silk with a form of black lace sewn on the collar, the lower part of the back, and down the sleeves which are closed and cut straight, but have an opening just above the elbow. The hood, of Dean Burgon shape, is of blue corded silk or poplin with white fur fabric. Holders of the MJur degree rank directly below Bachelors of Civil Law, and above Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery.
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 sit their First State Examination (Erstes Staatsexamen) in Law, which is 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 a Diplom-Jurist degree 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).
- University of Oxford, Faculty of Law. Magister Juris (MJur)
- Cf. University of Oxford, Faculty of Law. Degree of Magister Juris in European and Comparative Law (1992)
- Steffen Knoblach. M. Jur.-Studium in Oxford (England) (via Google Cache)
- Cf. University of Oxford. Examination for degree of Bachelor of civil law. Magister juris in European and comparative law.
- University of Oxford, Faculty of Law. Magister Juris (MJur)
- University of Oxford. Graduate Admissions: Magister Juris
- University of Oxford. Graduate Admissions: Bachelor of Civil Law
- Christ Church, University of Oxford. Academic Dress
- University of Oxford. Regulations for Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates: Council Regulations 22 of 2002. Part 2: Academic Precedence and Standing