Study in Germany

26.05.14

An overview of course offerings and scholarship programs for foreign law students in Germany

[ Up ] [ Introduction ] [ Study programs ] [ Doctoral programs ] [ Scholarship programs ] [ General information on studies in Germany ] [ Overview on study programs in German ]

Introduction

Once upon a time lawyers only needed to know the law of their home country. They enjoyed a national legal education, worked with national law only and did not need to speak foreign languages. A sophisticated lawyer of the 21st century, however, must be prepared for the globalisation and its growing impact on his work. A young researcher, university lecturer, lawyer in an international law firm or civil servant in a ministry should have studied international and comparative law and the legal thinking in other countries with different legal systems. This will enable him to make valuable contributions to the development of the law of his home country. The best way to qualify is to pursue studies abroad, thus learning to know not only the foreign law but also the country, the culture and the people.

Studies in Germany are particularly attractive for lawyers from countries whose legal system is based on the continental legal tradition - including Vietnam. After Word War II, responding to the catastrophe of the Third Reich, Germany has focused eminently on building up a modern "Rechtsstaat" (state based on the rule of law) with a sophisticated legal system. For the foreign lawyers, not the details of the German law are interesting but the structures, the innovative legal concepts, the highly developed legal dogmatics and the advanced legal methodology. In many cases German law may serve as a source of inspiration for the legal development in their home country.

Many German universities have developed study programs for foreign law students. Due to the chaos brought by the Bologna process, the course offerings are heterogeneous and sometimes confusing. It is my task as DAAD lecturer to provide guidance for orientation. The following overview shall serve this purpose, redirecting you directly to the relevant websites of the universities. It is followed by an overview of scholarship programs and links to general information on studying in Germany. With regard to the great number of study and scholarship programs the overviews cannot be exhaustive. Course offering on a commercial basis with high tuition fees, including those of public universities, are not listed. Note that this overview is restricted to study programs in English. If your language skills allow you to follow study programs in the German language, please see my much more extensive overview on study programs in German .

Are you interested? Then, in a first step, you should inform yourself about the study programs that come into consideration. It may be a good idea to contact a relevant university in order to make sure that your participation in the program is in principle possible. Besides advanced language skills usually a master's degree (in some cases a bachelor's degree) and sometimes other qualifications are required. You should also acquaint yourself with the scholarship programs. In a second step you should see me for consultation (office: room no. B102 at Hanoi Law University, e-mail: tschmit1@gwdg.de). On closer examination, some course offers may be less interesting than they appear in the advertising of the universities. Others may not be well advertised but correspond better to your personal interests or promise a better individual support. Concerning scholarship programs, you may also get advice from the DAAD Regional Office Hanoi. - In a third step you may submit your applications to the German university and the scholarship provider. Note that there is limited time left. In Vietnam, the deadline for applications for DAAD scholarship is October 15. Furthermore, please take into account that Vietnamese students must pass the APS Test at the German Embassy before being admitted at German Universities.

Study programs for foreign law students in Germany

[A. Summer courses] [B. Erasmus program] [C. Complementary study programs] [D. General postgraduate study programs] [E. Specialised postgraduate study programs]

A. Summer courses (as advertised for 2013)

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Bucerius Law School (Hamburg): Summer Programs in International Business Law and in Mediation - Effective Representation
(in English)

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University of Augsburg: Augsburg Summer Program in European and International Economic Law
(in English)

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University of Düsseldorf: Arbitration School
(in English)

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University of Frankfurt/Oder: The European System of Human Rights Protection
(in English)

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University of Giessen: International Summer University (ISU)
(in English)

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Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (Frankfurt): Max-Planck Summer Academy for Legal History
(in English; with special emphasis on global perspectives on legal history

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see also the language and introductory courses for lawyers, e.g. the crash course Juristische Fachterminologie - Einführung in das deutsche Recht at the University of Bremen (in Geman)

B. The Erasmus program

The Erasmus program of the European Union is the most popular exchange program for students in Europe. The studies abroad can be for one or two semesters, the access is easy and the foreign students are well supported and integrated at the guest university. In its 25 years history, the Erasmus program has provided an important contribution to a better mutual understanding and cooperation of lawyers in integrating Europe. However, the exchange is generally limited to students coming from and going to European universities. Only the Erasmus Mundus program that focuses on the sector of advanced studies and doctoral studies supports cooperation between European and non-European universities.

C. Complementary study programs (not requiring completion of a full course of legal studies) [→ see also complementary study programs in German]

German universities usually offer study programs for foreign law students  who have completed a full course of legal studies (of 4 to 5 years, including bachelor's and master's degree) in their home country. However, there are exceptions (a few even in English):

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University of Bonn: LL.M (Master of European Studies - Governance and Regulation)
(interdisciplinary studies; 1 year; includes career developing and intercultural skills; with master thesis; in English)

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University of Göttingen: MA Euroculture
(interdisciplinary studies, not at the Faculty of Law; 2 semesters; requires bachelor's degree in home country; in English)

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University of Hannover: LL.M (European Legal Practice)
(4 semesters; with master thesis; requires bachelor's degree in home country; joint international study program of the universities Hannover, Lisbon and Rouen; requires knowledge of English AND of German, French or Portuguese)

D. General postgraduate study programs (magister programs) requiring prior completion of a full course of legal studies (open only to foreign participants)

Most German faculties of law offer general postgraduate studies in German law for foreign lawyers who have completed a full course of legal studies (of 4 to 5 years) with a degree that must be equivalent to the German State Examination. These studies take 2 semesters, include a magister thesis and an oral examination and result in the degree of "Magister Legum" (LL.M) or "Magister iuris" (Mag. iur.). Often they precede doctoral studies at the same university. However, these studies require excellent knowledge of the German language, since the foreign students will attend the same courses as ordinary German law students.

Aufzählung

see the course offerings of the universities of Augsburg, Bayreuth FU Berlin, HU Berlin, Bochum, Bonn, Bremen, Dresden, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Frankfurt/Main, Frankfurt/Oder, Freiburg, Gießen, Göttingen, Halle, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Kiel, Cologne, Constance, Mainz, Marburg, Munich, Münster, Osnabrück, Passau, Potsdam, Regensburg, Saarbrücken, Trier, Tübingen, Würzburg

E. Specialised postgraduate study programs requiring prior completion of a full course of legal studies (open to German and foreign participants) [→ see also specialised postgraduate study programs in German]

For some years, German universities are offering an increasing number of specialised postgraduate study programs, in particular in the fields of European Union law and business law. These programs are primarily designed for graduates of a full course of legal studies in Germany but are generally also open to foreign lawyers with equivalent degrees. Usually they last 2 semesters and result in a postgraduate master's degree (LL.M). They provide legal education at the highest level but also present challenges to foreign participants, since they build upon the knowledge from a full course of legal studies in Germany. Only a few of them are in English:

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University of Bochum: M.A Criminal Justice, Governance and Police Science
(4 semesters; with master thesis; with master thesis; requires one year of relevant practical experience after graduation; in English)

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University of Bremen: LL.M.Eur (European and International Law)
(3 trimesters, one in another country; with master thesis; requires good working knowledge of German AND English or French)

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University of Frankfurt/Oder: LL.M (Master of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law)
(3 semesters; with internship and master thesis; includes distance learning; in English)

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University of Hamburg: LL.M . (European Legal Studies)
(interdisciplinary studies; 2 semesters; with internship; with master thesis; can be followed entirely in English)

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Saarland University (Saarbrücken): LL.M European Integration
(sophisticated study program with excellent reputation and long tradition; 2 semesters; with master thesis; with 5 specialization study units; can be followed in German and/or English)

In addition, some universities offer specialised postgraduate study programs in the field of business law in English on a commercial basis with high or very high tuition fees.

Doctoral programs (open to German and foreign participants)

Foreign lawyers who want to obtain a doctoral degree in Germany, classically first have to complete general postgraduate studies in German law for foreign lawyers (magister programs). Special doctoral study programs are not common. However, some Max Planck Institutes offer in cooperation with local universities special doctoral programs for talented young lawyers (so-called International Max Planck Research Schools - IMPRS). Despite their English label, some require advanced German language skills, while others only require English language skills. Usually, free doctoral research positions will be especially advertised.

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Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in cooperation with the University of Freiburg: International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment (REMEP) (interdisciplinary studies; activities in English)

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Max Planck Institutes for Comparative and International Private Law (Hamburg), for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg) and for Meteorology (Hamburg) in cooperation with the University of Hamburg: International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs (interdisciplinary studies; activities in English)

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Max-Planck-Instiut für Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht (München) in Zusammenarbeit mit der Universität München: International Max Planck Research School for Competition and Innovation (activities in English)

Scholarship programs for law students for studying in Germany

I. Overviews

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Scholarship database (DAAD) - the fastest way to focussed and comprehensive information

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Stipendienlotse (scholarship database of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

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Stipendiumplus.de (overview on the most important organizations for the promotion of young talents" ["Begabtenförderungswerke"])

II. Scholarship programs of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

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The DAAD generally grants scholarships
- for undergraduates (esp. for university summer courses)
- for graduates and postgraduates (esp. for summer courses, postgraduate studies, research stays of university lecturers and scientists and as research grants for doctoral candidates)
- for post-docs (in exceptional cases only)
- for the bilateral exchange of academics and
- within the framework of inter-university partnerships.

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See for Vietnam the Country-specific Information on the DAAD Scholarship Programmes 2013/2014 / Länderspezifische Hinweise zum DAAD-Stipendienangebot 2013/2014.

III. Scholarship programs of political foundations (close to political parties)

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Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS)

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Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES); see also the special website of the FES Vietnam Office

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Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung

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Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

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Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS)

IV. Other scholarship programs

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Deutschlandstipendium (additional scholarships financed by the Federal Government and private sponsors but granted by the following universities)

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Stiftung der deutschen Wirtschaft (Foundation of German Business - SDW)

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International Max Planck Research School for Comparative Legal History (promotion of young researchers in the field of legal history by the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt)

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Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst (KAAD)

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Mawista Scholarship for extraordinary personalities (from a private company providing health insurance for foreign nationals in Germany)

General information on studying in Germany

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Website Study and Research in Germany (DAAD)

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Web page Study in Germany (DAAD IC Riga)

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Website Studying in Germany (private website)

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Web pages Study in Germany / Studieren in Deutschland (Deutsche Welle)

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Webpages and database on study programs in Germany (also in English) (DAAD)

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Website INOBIS (uni-assist)

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Website Higher Education Compass (German Rectors' Conference)

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Links to the websites of Faculties of Law in Germany (HU Berlin)

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Links to the websites of Faculties of Law in Germany (Jurawelt)

 

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