Law studies, leading to a BA degree at the University of Akureyri are in many ways designed in a manner different from the conventional programmes hitherto offered at other Icelandic universities. We consider it to be a critical aspect of legal education that students learn, not only what the laws are, but that they also get a solid understanding of what law is. Law and jurisprudence are thus examined in a context that is historical, social and philosophical in character. In the first year of study, students are introduced to Roman law, legal history, legal theory and interpretation, foreign legal systems and international law as well as foundation subjects in Icelandic law and general academic skills. This provides the necessary historical and theoretical knowledge and skills, in order to tackle the second- and third-year courses with a nuanced critical and analytical perspective.
In the second and third years of study, students examine European law, constitutional law, human rights law, sociology of law, administrative law, international private law, legal ethics, the law of the sea and some black-letter law subjects – Introduction to Criminal Law and Property Law and Introduction to Contract Law – with a substantial emphasis placed on theoretical and comparative context.
Students also have the opportunity to apply their legal knowledge and develop their practical legal skills in two moot court courses (one in Icelandic on Icelandic law and one in English on international or foreign law). There is also scope, by means of two open courses and one workshop-based course, to study cutting-edge legal topics. Towards the end of the second year, students choose a topic for their BA thesis and start their thesis work well in advance of its submission at the end of the third year.
Students are required to complete at least 54 ECTS, in order to be able to commence the second year of study. All courses towards the BA degree are intensive courses, taught in three-week blocks, during which students devote themselves exclusively to one subject.
The BA degree provides an excellent academic basis for those who intend to continue to qualify as practicing lawyers. Moreover, the studies also provide a solid foundation for those who do not intend to pursue conventional legal careers, but rather wish to focus on careers in related fields such as international relations, political science, administration, criminology, sociology of law, and legal theory. The approximately equal balance between courses taught and examined in English and Icelandic prepares students for work in both the domestic and international labour markets.
Distance studies in Law were offered for the first time in 2016 for those students that started their Law studies (BA) in fall 2016. Students are thus able to follow the paths of study regardless of their location. Distance students must attend short study sessions in Akureyri, together with the on campus students, where the main emphasis is on project work and discussions. Distance studies will also be offered in fall 2017 to students in year two and three of their BA studies in Law.
Secondary school matriculation examination (stúdentspróf) is required for admission to the BA degree programme in Law.