Getting to Know Europe: The EMLE Way

LLM GUIDE discusses the European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE) Program

The European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE) program offers students three attractive opportunities: pursue a Master degree; study at as many as three different European universities; and become well-versed in the “Law and Economics” perspective on legal issues.

Broadly speaking, “Law and Economics” examines the relationship between economic methodology, legal issues, and human behavior. It emerged as an academic discipline at the University of Chicago during the second half of the 20th century, largely through the work of the “Chicago School” scholars, such as Ronald Coase, Guido Calabresi, and Richard Posner.

Although it has been influential in North American law schools for decades, the field of “Law and Economics” has only become equally visible at European institutions relatively recently. The EMLE program began just over ten years ago. In 2004, the program was officially recognized as an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Program, giving it support and recognition from the leading European institution of higher education.

The EMLE program offers both lawyers and economics students an introduction to the “Law and Economics” angle. Lawyers who participate in the program will almost certainly deepen their understanding of economics and economic theory.

According to EMLE Program Director Hans-Bernd Schäfer, “knowledge of the economic effects of legal rules has become indispensable to understand their clients’ commercial needs. Similarly, economics students will profit from an accurate understanding of the institutional legal framework of market economies.”

But the program also does more. The EMLE provides students with a valuable introduction to Europe for not only non-Europeans, but also for Europeans themselves who may not have much exposure to the legal and economic institutions outside their home country. Its graduates are prepared for work in policymaking, or as consultants and lawyers at various kinds of organizations.

LLM GUIDE users who graduated from the EMLE program have gone on to work for international law firms throughout Europe, continued their studies to become teachers and academics, or have landed jobs with governments and international organizations (such as the EU Commission) around the world.

One of the most attractive aspects of the program is its structure. EMLE students can choose to divide the three terms of the academic year between three different cities. There are currently ten participating universities both within and outside the Erasmus consortium to choose from (Bologna, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Ghent, Aix-en-Provence, Haifa, Linkoping/Stockholm, Madrid, Manchester, Vienna). For example, an EMLE student could find him or herself spending their first term in Hamburg, their second term in Bologna, and their third in Madrid. Another student may choose to spend two terms in Rotterdam before going to Manchester to complete the program. The possibilities are many.

Students begin the course with the necessary introductory courses in law or economics. For lawyers, this means that extensive knowledge of economics is not required prior to the course. The second term of the EMLE program generally delves deeper into more-specific issues, such as property rights and property law. During the third term, teaching and lectures become even more specialized before ending in the early summer to allow students adequate time to prepare their thesis – a focused and scientific paper of around 16,000 words. Students who fulfil the program requirements will be awarded the degree from the third-term institution.

The minimum requirement for the program is a bachelor’s degree, though economics students and lawyers who already have a first master’s degree are generally given preference in the admissions process. Again, the program is open to both European and non-European students, but the cost of tuition for “third-country” (not from an EU, EEA-EFTA, or EU-ascension-candidate country) students is significantly higher. Twenty five Erasmus Mundus Scholarships are available for outside EU students, and ten Scholarships are available for EU students who spend their third term in Haifa (Israel).

Image: "European flag in Karlskrona 2011" by MPD01605 / Creative Commons (cropped and rotated)

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