For students with a legal background who are interested in the very nature of law, an LLM in Jurisprudence may be the course to go for. A rigorously academic course, it is quite theoretical in nature, but excellently suited for law students who enjoy the theories behind the theories.
The word “jurisprudence” comes from the Latin “juris", meaning Law, and "prudentia”, knowledge, so the literal translation is 'study of Law' or 'science of Law'. Through an LLM in Jurisprudence, students gain a furthered understanding of legal systems and institutions and the reasoning behind them, of the nature of law, and of the philosophy of law in general. Amongst the aspects of the course will be natural law, civil law, law of nations, as well as, of course, the theory and philosophy of law. Whilst the course is also about the actual content of law, it is more focused on the processes that lead to that content, ensuring that students of an LLM in Jurisprudence gain skills enabling them to analyse and criticise various aspects of law.Find LLM programs in Jurisprudence
1 year is the usual length of the course taken full-time
5 years is the length of a course taken on a flexible basis, including many online courses
50 years ago was about the time when the Philosophy of Law began to garner great interest
The Jurisprudence program is suited for graduates of law or qualified lawyers who are fascinated by the philosophical foundations of law and want to question them further. It is especially useful for those who want to broaden their intellectual horizon and deepen their legal understanding, or who would like to have the tools necessary for criticizing legal systems on a well-founded basis. It is suited to students who enjoy theoretical studies and have a genuine interest in philosophy as well as law. Whilst most undergraduate law courses included aspects of Jurisprudence, an LLM serve to give a far wider understanding of the concepts and the philosophical and social contexts underlying law.
There are not many courses in pure Jurisprudence, although some universities do offer them including well-established institutions such as Cambridge University. You are more likely to find Jurisprudence as a part of a more general LLM in Law, such as that offered by the University of Edinburgh. Most universities, including some online universities, which have postgraduate law faculties which offer LLM courses that at least include the study of Jurisprudence. Often the study of Jurisprudence is offered as 'Jurisprudence and Legal Theory', thus slightly widening the field. One university which offers this course is University College London, where students of the LLM in Law can choose to specialise in Jurisprudence and Legal Theory.
The entry requirements are of course different for different universities, but as in law in general, they tend to be relatively demanding requiring a bachelors degree in law or a related subject to a Grade 2.1. Some universities require entry tests and interviews. Most LLM courses require either an undergraduate degree in law or a qualification as a lawyer, for instance through a law conversion course. Due to the complexity of the field, students need to show proficiency in precise and critical thinking. If English is not the student's first language, they will have to prove high-level English abilities. Many universities require an IELTS of 7 or a TOEFL of 107. Generally, these tests have to be taken within a certain length of time to beginning the course.
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1. The word 'jurisprudence' was first used in English in 1628.
2. During the time of the Roman Empire, studies of philosophical law similar to modern jurisprudence were very popular and seen as a great art.
3. The questions asked during this course can be boiled down to the descriptive 'What is law?' and the normative 'What should law be?'.
4. There is another field, therapeutic jurisprudence, which takes the study further and discusses what psychological impact legal processes have on people.
5. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair read Jurisprudence at Oxford, albeit as an undergraduate.
Understanding Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Legal Theory by Raymond Wacks
Central Issues in Jurisprudence: Justice, Law and Rights by N E Simmonds
Introduction to Jurisprudence by Dennis Lloyd Lloyd