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Programme description for the Integrated Master's Programme in Law at the University of Bergen

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Adopted by the Faculty Board on 16 June 2011. Applicable from 15 August 2011.


Programme name
One-tier Master's Programme in Law


Degree
Master in Law: Completion of the degree confers the title Master in Law. The diploma will be issued once the degree has been completed. Graduates must take the following oath to be awarded a degree (the law graduate’s oath):

"Never knowingly to deviate from truth and justice, nor to encourage needless dispute, nor in any other way to promote any unjust cause or intention."


Scope
300 ECTS credits. Normal length of study is five years.


Language of instruction
Norwegian. Some individual courses may be taught in another Scandinavian language or English.


Programme start
Each autumn


Objectives and content
The Master's Programme in Law at the University of Bergen comprises a total of 300 ECTS credits (five academic years). This includes the preparatory courses Examen Philosophicum (10 credits) and Examen Facultatum (10 credits), elective courses totalling 30 credits, and an original, written thesis (normally 30 credits) – the Master's thesis. On application, the students may submit a Master's thesis equivalent to 60 credits.


Structure
The programme is based on the problem-based learning method. During the first two years, students are organized in study groups, headed by an advanced student. The groups meet each week to resolve a given assignment. Each individual student must write an original paper after each meeting, on which they will receive feedback. Students are also required to comment on their fellow students' assignments.
In the third year, these groups are optional and are organized and managed by the students themselves. The papers and the commenting are still mandatory.

In the fourth or fifth year of study, students can choose elective courses according to their own interests. One of these courses must be taught in English. Students must also write a Master's thesis on some aspect of the law. During this period, students have the opportunity to study abroad.

The requirement of an English linguistic course does not apply for those traveling abroad and take courses where the language is non-Scandinavian. The requirement of English linguistic special courses does not apply to students who write the master's thesis of 60 credits, or for students who choose specific combinations of special courses adding up to 30 credits. See further information under the heading "recommended elective courses».

Approved participation in the interdisciplinary topic TVEPS can be stated on the diploma with zero credits.

In the first semester, students take the Examen Philosophicum and Examen Facultatum preparatory courses in parallel until October / November. Please note that students who have already passed the Examen Philosophicum and Examen Facultatum will only be awarded 10 credits in the autumn semester. The course Public administrative Law I starts at the end of October or beginning of November and concludes with an examination in January.


Learning outcomes

KNOWLEDGE:
Graduates possess knowledge of basic rules and contexts within all subject areas covered by the study programme as well as specialised knowledge within subject areas covered by the Master’s thesis.
This means that graduates will have knowledge and understanding of

  • national and international law;
  • how national law is influenced by international legal systems such as EU law, EEA law, international human rights and other international law;
  • how legal arguments vary in different areas of law;
  • key problems and debates in the legal environment, both in practice and within both national and international jurisprudence.

SKILLS:
Graduates are able to use legal methodology to independently analyse, discuss and form an opinion on legal problems. This involves

  • acquiring and systematising relevant legal material, and using it as a basis to identify legal problems and contexts;
  • conducting an independent analysis of legal problems in a thorough, comprehensive, critical and balanced manner;
  • reasoning their way to a professionally sound opinion through clarification of discrepancies between different types of valid arguments and between underlying legal and societal values.

Graduates are able to convey and assess legal analyses and opinions by

  • systematically preparing independent written analyses within a number of different areas of law;
  • commenting on and assessing legal analyses produced by other students as well as receiving and utilising such comments themselves;
  • working with others in groups in order to analyse legal problems.

GENERAL COMPETENCE:
Completion of the study programme allows the graduates to achieve a suitable level of competence linked to

  • acquiring new knowledge in their special field and within adjoining fields, and to solving legal problems including those outside of the areas of law included in the study programme;
  • systematising and considering arguments, providing advice and making decisions;
  • identifying and taking the consequences of ethical and professional aspects within legal argument and opinion;
  • conveying legal analyses and conclusions, as well as professional ethical assessments, to other members of the legal profession both in writing and verbally;
  • presenting their own assessments and conclusions to large and small audiences and arguing for these assessments and conclusions;
  • working independently and in groups

Entrance requirements
Admission to the programme takes place through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service. Cf. Regulations governing Admission to Higher Education. All applicants must qualify for entrance to higher education. Admission to the programme is restricted.


Recommended previous knowledge
Good command of Norwegian.


Introductory courses
Students must have completed and passed the Examen Philosophicum and Examen Facultatum before starting the second year.


Compulsory courses
The programme consists of required courses totalling 270 credits. The remaining 30 credits are to be selected from elective courses.

First year:

Second year:

Third year:

Fourth year:

Fifth year:

Recommended during the fourth or fifth year. The diploma will state whether the student took the ethics course JUSETIKK or not.


Recommended electives fifth year of study
Students shall take courses totalling 30 credits, chosen among the following courses:

An exchange period abroad or elective courses from other Norwegian law faculties may be included in the form of recognition of an elective course, cf. Section 5-9 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

The rules governing elective courses do not apply to students who have applied for and been granted permission to write an extended Master's thesis (equivalent to 60 credits).

From and including the 2016/2017 academic year the following will apply:

General information concerning specialist courses in the fifth year of study
The Master's Degree in Law should generally include 30 specialist course credits. One of the courses must be taught in English.

An exchange period abroad or elective courses from other Norwegian law faculties may be included in the form of recognition of an elective course, cf. Section 5-9 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

The rules governing elective courses do not apply to students who have applied for and been granted permission to write an extended Master's thesis (equivalent to 60 credits).
 
Special information concerning specialist courses taught in English
The rules applicable to courses taught in English do not apply to those who travel abroad to study courses that are not taught in Scandinavian languages.
The requirement concerning specialist courses taught in English also does not apply to students who choose one of the following combinations of specialist courses totalling 30 credits:

  1. JUS254-2-A / Police Law and JUS255-2-A / Prosecution Law
  2. JUS256-2-A / Tax Law I, JUS256-2-B / Tax Law II and JUS257-2-A / Basic Company Law
  3. JUS260-2-A / Design and Patent Law, JUS260-2-B / Copyright Law, JUS260-2-C / Trademark Law and JUS260-2-D / Marketing Law (three out of four)

JUS325 / Legal Aid – elective


Master's thesis
During the fourth or fifth year of the Master's programme, the student shall submit an original piece of written work equivalent to 30 credits (Master's thesis) for individual assessment. On application, the student may be granted permission to submit an extended Master's thesis of 60 credits.


Order in which courses must be taken

The order in which the courses on the programme must be taken is indicated in the individual student's education plan.

After the third year, students can choose to write their Master's thesis and take electives or equivalent, before taking the fourth year courses.


Requirements for progression

  1. All the courses in the programme of study are compulsory unless otherwise specified in the curriculum. They are to be taken in the order given in the programme description. The Faculty may make exceptions to this rule in individual education plans.
  2. The teaching and examinations in the individual courses require knowledge from preceding courses.


Location
Bergen


Studying abroad as part of the programme

There are many alternatives if you wish to study for a semester or two at a university abroad. You can travel as part of an exchange programme after completing the third or fourth year of study. During studies abroad you may study elective legal courses or write your master's thesis.

We have selected special partnership universities to provide the best possible study options for our students. More than 1/3 of law students go on an exchange.

How about studying Maritime Law in Southampton, Conflict Resolution in the USA, EU Law in Brussels, Human Rights in Lancaster, Environmental Law in Auckland or Chinese Law in Beijing. You can choose between around 100 universities across all of Europe as well as China, Russia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.


Teaching methods

  1. A required reading list of main literature shall be compiled and approved for each course. A list of introductory literature and additional reading shall also be compiled.
  2. The main literature constitutes 30 to 60 pages per ECTS credit.
  3. The teaching is based on problem-based learning (PBL).
    • As a main rule, each course will have some lectures.
    • All first and second year courses will have study groups headed by an advanced student. The study groups focus on problem-solving. Students are required to prepare for group sessions and participate actively, resolve assignments and comment on assignments written by fellow students.
    • In the third year, students are placed in virtual groups to work on assignments and comment on each other's papers. Students can also form voluntary, self-managed study groups.
    • Large group sessions led by a teacher will be held in all the courses in the first three years. Large groups consist of three study groups. Students are required to prepare for group sessions and participate actively.
    • Seminars will be offered in fourth year. Students are required to prepare for seminars and participate actively.
    • Teaching methods in elective courses in the fifth year varies. See the individual course description.
    • Compulsory supervision of the Master's thesis.

      Scope of supervision
      Students are entitled to supervision when working on their Master's thesis, and the Master's thesis must be written under supervision. Each student will be given ten hours of supervision. Students who have applied for and been granted permission to write a Master's thesis of 60 credits will receive 20 hours of supervision. This figure includes the time the supervisor spends reading drafts, preparing comments, and conversations with the student. Supervision shall be limited to one semester, unless otherwise specifically agreed or there are special reasons why a Master's thesis has taken longer. Supervision shall be limited to two semesters for students who have applied for and been granted permission to write a Master's thesis of 60 credits, with the same provisos.

      Form
      Supervision may be provided individually or in groups. If supervision is provided in a group, students shall also receive some individual supervision.

      Supervision record
      A record shall be kept of the supervision that each student has received. If supervision is provided by someone other than the person the Faculty has appointed as supervisor, the reasons for this must be stated in the supervision record.

      Work plan
      The student and supervisor shall establish a work plan at the first meeting.

      Modification of supervision arrangements
      Any student who finds that the supervision or supervision situation is not satisfactory shall notify the Faculty and may have a new supervisor appointed, if there is due cause. If a supervisor finds that a student is not fulfilling his/her duties in a satisfactory manner, the Faculty shall be notified of this and modification or termination of the supervision arrangements shall be considered.

     4.  The teaching methods used in each individual course are presented in the course description.
     5.  Compulsory requirements: The coursework requirements, including required attendance, etc. are defined in more detail in the "Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen".


Assessment methods

  1. The main rule is that courses conclude with a four-hour written examination to be taken at the University. The form and duration of assessment of individual courses are specified in the individual course description.
  2. Examinations are held shortly after the course is completed.
  3. Elective courses may have other arrangements, see the individual course description.
  4. The questions asked in examinations may also include learning requirements from previous courses.


Grading

  1. The following grading scale is used: A – E for pass and F for fail. The Faculty Board may decide that the grades "Pass" and "Fail" shall be used for one or more specific courses. See the individual course descriptions.
  2. The assessment of the students' achievements shall be based on the content of the individual course, the defined learning objectives, the required learning outcomes, the form of assessment, and the level the specific course is on.
  3. Assessment shall otherwise be based on the "Guidelines for awarding grades in the Master’s degree programme".


Qualification for further study
The Master's degree forms the basis of admission to PhD programmes. Admission requires an approved project description.

It is possible to update and increase skills by taking additional elective courses after completing the degree by applying for special admission to take elective specialisation courses.


Career opportunities
Few programmes of study lead to career opportunities in as many different industries as law. Legal practitioners work in all areas of life, and there will always be high demand for people with legal training.

While many legal practitioners go into the private sector, for example, banking, insurance, retail, industry and shipping, others choose to work for government agencies, for example, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV), the Tax Administration and the Competition Authority. The ministries, the police and prosecution authorities are also popular and major employers of law graduates. Other possible workplaces include the media and trade unions. Another possible career path is research and academia.

Law graduates can become judges or enter the legal profession. Only qualified lawyers ("advokat") are allowed to provide professional legal services and bring cases before the courts. Law graduates must take the compulsory "advokat course" in order to receive the title "advokat" and a licence to practise as a lawyer. In addition, they must have two years of approved legal practice, usually as an assistant lawyer, deputy judge or police intendant II.


Evaluation
The programme is subject to several forms of evaluation:

  1. Student evaluation has been established as a permanent system in the first four years. Elective courses are evaluated as specified in detailed regulations.
  2. Teachers are evaluated annually on the basis of student evaluations and statistics from the courses (number of participants, execution, examination results, re-sit percentage etc.).
  3. External evaluation:
    a) The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) monitors the quality of higher education on a continuous basis.
    b) External programme supervisors attached to the Master's Programme in Law evaluate defined, limited parts of the programme and submit an annual report.
    c) The University of Bergen oversees operations through defined reporting procedures.

All internal evaluations shall adhere to the requirements laid down in the University of Bergen's "Handbook for Quality Assurance of University Education".


Authorisation
With certain additional requirements (courses and practice), the degree of Master in Law qualifies graduates to register as an authorised lawyer ("advokat"), 2005/36/EU. Authorisation is granted by the Supervisory Council for Legal Practice.


Programme coordinator
The Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen. The one-tier Master's Programme in Law does not have its own separate Programme Board, but is administered by the Education Committee on behalf of the Faculty Board.


Administration
The Faculty Director as represented by the Section for Academic and Student Affairs at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen is responsible for the administration of the programme. post@jurfa.uib.no

Teaching
The professional study programme in Law is based on a course model.

This means that all students will generally take the same subjects/courses in the same order as they are implemented in each year of study. This allows each subject to be built on another and there is even progression throughout the entire course of study. Students are tested in each individual subject or course. In order for a completed course to be approved, you must generally have met the requirements set out in the programme description with regard to attendance at meetings, submission of papers, etc.