You will choose four courses from a list of around 40 different options, including a dissertation option. All options are taught by a combination of lectures and/or seminars and tutorials apart from the dissertation option, which involves one-to-one sessions with an assigned supervisor.
Seminars are normally led by a senior member of academic staff but are typically interactive in nature, and you will be expected to participate in the discussions arising from the material covered. Tutorials involve an intensive discussion between a tutor and a small group of students, usually between two and four, providing an opportunity for you to present your ideas and discuss your work with leading academics. Typically, seminars will introduce you to a particular area of study and familiarise you with general concepts and ideas which will then be investigated in greater depth in the tutorials. For most tutorials you will be expected to write an essay, which typically will be marked and returned to you at the next tutorial.
Outside of the seminars and tutorials, you will be expected to read extensively in order to acquire the necessary knowledge to engage with course material at an appropriate level.
All course options are examined by timed examinations at the end of the course - with the exception of the Jurisprudence and Political Theory option, which is examined by three assessed essays, the Taxation of Global Wealth option, which involves an assessed essay and an examination, and the dissertation option. Timed examinations comprise a three-hour examination for each option, in which students typically answer three questions from a list of eight.
MJur graduates pursue a range of careers after completion of the degree. Many enter legal practice, either as solicitors or barristers and legal advocates. Others enter government service of various sorts as legal advisors or in related roles. A significant number will proceed to the MPhil and DPhil, and thenceforth into an academic career.
The University of Oxford has an excellent careers service with which the department has close ties. The Careers Service organises a number of events of specific interest to students wishing to pursue a career in law, and offers one-to-one advice from members of staff with knowledge and experience specific to the legal sector.
The Law Faculty has an extensive network of relationships within the legal profession and each year offers a number of talks and events run by law firms and barristers’ chambers.
MJur (Magister Juris or Master of Jurisprudence; common abbreviations include MJur, M.Jur., Mag. Jur. and Mag. iur.) is an academic degree in law awarded by some universities.
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, Constance and Heidelberg. 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).