Law studies leading to the B.A. degree at UNAK are in many ways designed in a manner that is different from the conventional programmes at Icelandic universities hitherto. At UNAK we consider it critical to legal education that students learn not only what the laws are, but that they also have 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 studies, students are introduced to Roman law (SAG0173), legal history (SAG0273, SAG0373 and SAG0473), legal theory and interpretation (KEN0173 and SKÝ0173), foreign legal systems (SAG0273 and SAG0373) and international law (ÞJÐ0173), as well as foundational subjects in Icelandic law (HMD0173 and LÖG0173) and general academic skills (VGH0173). 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 studies, students examine European Law (EVR0173, EVR0273), constitutional law (SKP0173, SKP0273), human rights law (RÉT0173, RÉT0273), sociology of law (RFÉ0173), administrative law (SÝS0173), international private law (AER0173), legal ethics (SÐF0173), the law of the sea (HAF0173) 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 (IRE0173 and ISR0173).
Students also have the opportunity to and 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) (MFL0173 and MFL0273). There is also scope by means of two open courses (CPS0173 and CPS0273) and one workshop-based course (MST0173) to study cutting-edge legal topics. Towards the end of the second year, students choose a topic for their B.A. thesis and begin working on this well in advance of submission at the end of the third year (LOK0373 and LOK0473).
Students must complete 54 ECTS in order to be able to commence the second year of study. All B.A. courses are taught in intensive three week blocks, during which students devote themselves exclusively to one subject.
The B.A. 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.
Law – Masters Programme
Studies for M.L. degree in Law
The Faculty of Law at the University of Akureyri offers a two year programme of studies at the master’s degree level which leads to the examination degree of magister legis (M.L). This examination degree taken in continuation of a three year B.A. degree programme in law is equivalent to the conventional five year certification examination in law (cand.jur.). Studies for the M.L. degree in law amount to a total of 120 ECTS divided in such a way that students complete 90 ECTS in courses and hand in a 30 ECTS credit master’s degree thesis that they work on during the two years of study in the programme. Emphasis of the study is placed on practical Icelandic law so that the students are as well prepared as possible to cope with legal work as judges, attorneys at law or as lawyers employed by official institutes or private corporations. The teaching is conducted by permanent teachers of the faculty in addition to practicing lawyers, but the studying is done in Icelandic.
The structure of legal studies at the University of Akureyri is slightly different to that of other universities in this country: the B.A. degree programme is varied and academic with substantial emphasis placed on comparative law, history of law, legal doctrines, international law, human rights, resource and environmental law, European law, studies in legal sources and constitutional law. The M.L. programme of study builds on the academic foundation but there the main emphasis is placed on honing the practical skills of students in the main fields of Icelandic law, both in terms of public law, commercial law, family law and the legal process, in addition to which the students work on their master’s degree thesis, which is a requirement that satisfies strict academic demands.
In the M.L. programme, each course is spread over the entire semester, and general use is made of the continuous evaluation system of the faculty.
The admission requirement of the master‘s degree law programme (M.L.) is a B.A. law degree from the faculty of law of the University of Akureyri, or another comparable degree, and generally a grade point average of a minimum of 7 (or comparable grade in another grading system). Students who do not satisfy the above mentioned admission requirement can nevertheless apply for admission to the M.L. programme and such applications will then be evaluated each on its own merits by the faculty.
See Curriculum and Course Catalog.