Oxford BCL v Columbia LLM


Andrea M
Hi guys

I was wondering if anyone can offer some guidance? I am not really concerned with job prospects in either NY or london, so my question relates solely to the actual programs.

Any thoughts? Is the BCL extremely hard/ is the LLM at Columbia more amenable for research?

Thanks
A
Hi guys

I was wondering if anyone can offer some guidance? I am not really concerned with job prospects in either NY or london, so my question relates solely to the actual programs.

Any thoughts? Is the BCL extremely hard/ is the LLM at Columbia more amenable for research?

Thanks
A
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Andrea M
another question re Columbia - are you assessed in the same way as a JD student is or is the standard higher?

I'm sure there are applicants who are considering both schools, so any info is appreciated!
another question re Columbia - are you assessed in the same way as a JD student is or is the standard higher?

I'm sure there are applicants who are considering both schools, so any info is appreciated!
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Shqipe
Interesting question!
I am in a similar position: Cambridge v NYU. Right now i hope that Harvard will accept me to avoid a tough choice with possible regrets later.

I would say that Oxford BCL is "the" finest and most prestigious postgraduate law course in the world!
The problem is as always what you want to do next - BCL is designed more for the research and academic route, most tutorials are one-to-one with tough lecturers who will give you huge lists of cases to read and will mould your brain to think the way they want you to.

Then the US LLM experience is in a different level an altogether different experience. Then is NY which (although your experience at Oxford will still be a memorable one) compares with few places in the world.
Long story short, you cannot go wrong with your choice because both are world leading institutions. In my opinion Oxford ultimately has the edge!
Interesting question!
I am in a similar position: Cambridge v NYU. Right now i hope that Harvard will accept me to avoid a tough choice with possible regrets later.

I would say that Oxford BCL is "the" finest and most prestigious postgraduate law course in the world!
The problem is as always what you want to do next - BCL is designed more for the research and academic route, most tutorials are one-to-one with tough lecturers who will give you huge lists of cases to read and will mould your brain to think the way they want you to.

Then the US LLM experience is in a different level an altogether different experience. Then is NY which (although your experience at Oxford will still be a memorable one) compares with few places in the world.
Long story short, you cannot go wrong with your choice because both are world leading institutions. In my opinion Oxford ultimately has the edge!
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treatise
I'm currently doing the BCL.

I don't see the basis for the claim that it is the finest and most prestigious postgrad law course in the world.

The issue is not whether the work load is heavier or whether or not you have tutorials. The issue is what you learn, how you learn, whether you learn more, whether all of it suits your taste or temperament and what your career goals are.

I have spoken to friends who have LLMs from elite US law schools. They told me that they learn as much if not more from their LLM.

I also saw some previous postings last year on harvard LLM v Oxford BCL (primarily written by someone who did her LLM in Columbia but who was apparently heading for Oxford to do the DPhil). The analysis that Oxford BCL is "superior" is based on flimsy evidence and awfully naive.

There are pros and cons in an Oxford BCL v Columbia/Harvard LLM . To arrive at the conclusion that the former is "better" than the latter requires far more compelling evidence. Better in what sense? how much? from whose perspective? to what ends?
I'm currently doing the BCL.

I don't see the basis for the claim that it is the finest and most prestigious postgrad law course in the world.

The issue is not whether the work load is heavier or whether or not you have tutorials. The issue is what you learn, how you learn, whether you learn more, whether all of it suits your taste or temperament and what your career goals are.

I have spoken to friends who have LLMs from elite US law schools. They told me that they learn as much if not more from their LLM.

I also saw some previous postings last year on harvard LLM v Oxford BCL (primarily written by someone who did her LLM in Columbia but who was apparently heading for Oxford to do the DPhil). The analysis that Oxford BCL is "superior" is based on flimsy evidence and awfully naive.

There are pros and cons in an Oxford BCL v Columbia/Harvard LLM . To arrive at the conclusion that the former is "better" than the latter requires far more compelling evidence. Better in what sense? how much? from whose perspective? to what ends?

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Andrea M
Thanks - both posts make sense.

I think it's difficult to assess as both programs as they are so different. My take on it, so far (and I may be wrong), is that you learn more research and writing skills in a US LLM program as you are required to take courses that have writing credits. You also have more choices when it comes to subjects. People often say that the BCL is more intensive etc than a US LLM (maybe because you are with JDs) but it is 4 subjects compared to the many more subjects the US LLM requires. Obviously its also a question of volumn and difficulty...

Treatise - how have you personally found the BCL? You dont sounds like you have been blown away. What subjects are you taking?
Thanks - both posts make sense.

I think it's difficult to assess as both programs as they are so different. My take on it, so far (and I may be wrong), is that you learn more research and writing skills in a US LLM program as you are required to take courses that have writing credits. You also have more choices when it comes to subjects. People often say that the BCL is more intensive etc than a US LLM (maybe because you are with JDs) but it is 4 subjects compared to the many more subjects the US LLM requires. Obviously its also a question of volumn and difficulty...

Treatise - how have you personally found the BCL? You dont sounds like you have been blown away. What subjects are you taking?

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treatise
The intensity and heavier work load in the BCL can be attributed to the fact that Oxford's academic term consists of 3 sets 8-weeks. In effect, the academic term for undergraduates and postgraduates lasts for a total of 24 weeks annually. If Oxford's academic term is structured similar to the US, I doubt the work load will be materially different. Also, I am not sure if you learn more in terms of writing skills in a US LLM because most BCL tutorials require you to write essays.

The quality of courses, professors and teaching in Oxford varies greatly. Some lecturers/tutors are very disappointing whereas others are impressive.

Currently doing jurisprudence, comparative human rights, restitution and international dispute settlement.

A friend of mine who is currently doing the BCL but who has done the LLM in Harvard said that the latter is more enriching and enjoyable because of the clinical and advocacy programs, the insights that professors draw from other disciplines when they teach traditional black-letter law subjects, the stunning breadth of interesting courses, and the ability to enroll courses in other faculties and schools.
The intensity and heavier work load in the BCL can be attributed to the fact that Oxford's academic term consists of 3 sets 8-weeks. In effect, the academic term for undergraduates and postgraduates lasts for a total of 24 weeks annually. If Oxford's academic term is structured similar to the US, I doubt the work load will be materially different. Also, I am not sure if you learn more in terms of writing skills in a US LLM because most BCL tutorials require you to write essays.

The quality of courses, professors and teaching in Oxford varies greatly. Some lecturers/tutors are very disappointing whereas others are impressive.

Currently doing jurisprudence, comparative human rights, restitution and international dispute settlement.

A friend of mine who is currently doing the BCL but who has done the LLM in Harvard said that the latter is more enriching and enjoyable because of the clinical and advocacy programs, the insights that professors draw from other disciplines when they teach traditional black-letter law subjects, the stunning breadth of interesting courses, and the ability to enroll courses in other faculties and schools.







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Andrea M
Thanks for that.

Someone has suggested that there are between 4 - 8 essays per subject of approx 2000 words, which would mean that, at the very least, you would have 16 essays to do for tutorials.

Also, one of the posts on this board refers to the fact that at Oxford most courses are not in lecture format whereas at Cambridge it is.

Is this accurate?
Thanks for that.

Someone has suggested that there are between 4 - 8 essays per subject of approx 2000 words, which would mean that, at the very least, you would have 16 essays to do for tutorials.

Also, one of the posts on this board refers to the fact that at Oxford most courses are not in lecture format whereas at Cambridge it is.

Is this accurate?


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Jaan222
I think Oxford is only better in the sense that it has prestige all around the world...............and name always counts.......on the other hand i think a US LL.M is far better than an Oxford BCL for in the US they r far more advanced than UK institutions even in compare to the Oxford.......they r not coservative like British style.......I m sorry to say i could not like British acedemic style.........they r still taking handwritten exams while the whole world is advancing and at NYU all exams r taken on computers.........this one thing shows differnce in thinking and advancement............teaching style in UK and US differs substantially.......and thinking style is different...........i never bothered myself applying to Cambridge or Oxford becuase i could not like their approach and style and I think many might share with me this view
I think Oxford is only better in the sense that it has prestige all around the world...............and name always counts.......on the other hand i think a US LL.M is far better than an Oxford BCL for in the US they r far more advanced than UK institutions even in compare to the Oxford.......they r not coservative like British style.......I m sorry to say i could not like British acedemic style.........they r still taking handwritten exams while the whole world is advancing and at NYU all exams r taken on computers.........this one thing shows differnce in thinking and advancement............teaching style in UK and US differs substantially.......and thinking style is different...........i never bothered myself applying to Cambridge or Oxford becuase i could not like their approach and style and I think many might share with me this view
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treatise
andrea -- though each subject has 4 tutorials, some subjects require you to submit 4 essays (like civil procedure etc), whereas others require you to submit 2 essays and prepare 2 essay outline that do not need to be submitted (like comparative human rights). wheras some subjects only require essay outlines (like global comparative financial law law)
andrea -- though each subject has 4 tutorials, some subjects require you to submit 4 essays (like civil procedure etc), whereas others require you to submit 2 essays and prepare 2 essay outline that do not need to be submitted (like comparative human rights). wheras some subjects only require essay outlines (like global comparative financial law law)
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Almost all BCL courses involve substantial seminar/discussion classes rather than lectures (some have lectures too of course).

In general the BCL prides itself (rightly or wrongly) on small group teaching in the seminars and in the tutorials. It's not like a North American LLM where your classes consist of sitting in on JD classes. There are obvious advantages to each system of course.
Almost all BCL courses involve substantial seminar/discussion classes rather than lectures (some have lectures too of course).

In general the BCL prides itself (rightly or wrongly) on small group teaching in the seminars and in the tutorials. It's not like a North American LLM where your classes consist of sitting in on JD classes. There are obvious advantages to each system of course.
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exbcler
I did the BCL in 04/05 and I am headed to a US law school this fall for an LLM program. I did conflicts, constitutional theory, competition law and criminology at Oxford.

The posts that have pointed out that there is no direct comparison between the two programs are right on the money. Oxford is rigorous. It is true that the teaching at Oxford can be patchy. But this is true of any degree program. You need to do your homework, and balance your inclinations with common-sense objectives like: is this teacher a big name? Can he actually teach? Do I want to sit in Exam Schools to do this exam, or would I rather take the essays home as is the case with the Jurisprudence exam?

Some may find the Oxford tute/exam system archaic, but it is an intellectual experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else, least of all at a US LLM program. I also don't think the BCL is a program just for academics -- I have friends who did the BCL, stayed on for the MPhil, and completed the DPhil, and have bagged lucrative jobs outside of academia. It is really a question of what your intellectual interests and career goals are.
I did the BCL in 04/05 and I am headed to a US law school this fall for an LLM program. I did conflicts, constitutional theory, competition law and criminology at Oxford.

The posts that have pointed out that there is no direct comparison between the two programs are right on the money. Oxford is rigorous. It is true that the teaching at Oxford can be patchy. But this is true of any degree program. You need to do your homework, and balance your inclinations with common-sense objectives like: is this teacher a big name? Can he actually teach? Do I want to sit in Exam Schools to do this exam, or would I rather take the essays home as is the case with the Jurisprudence exam?

Some may find the Oxford tute/exam system archaic, but it is an intellectual experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else, least of all at a US LLM program. I also don't think the BCL is a program just for academics -- I have friends who did the BCL, stayed on for the MPhil, and completed the DPhil, and have bagged lucrative jobs outside of academia. It is really a question of what your intellectual interests and career goals are.
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treatise
I agree that Oxford's tutorial system is unique and invaluable. Depending on the quality of tutors, the size of each tutorial and the extent of your preparation, the tutorials could be an inimitable and rewarding experience. You are required to think very quickly on your feet and clarify and defend your arguments as the tutors will challenge and critique what you have to say. It's like a mini-moot. Well, at least that has been my BCL tutorial experience so far.
I agree that Oxford's tutorial system is unique and invaluable. Depending on the quality of tutors, the size of each tutorial and the extent of your preparation, the tutorials could be an inimitable and rewarding experience. You are required to think very quickly on your feet and clarify and defend your arguments as the tutors will challenge and critique what you have to say. It's like a mini-moot. Well, at least that has been my BCL tutorial experience so far.
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Andrea M
Thanks exbcler and treatise.

exbcler, why have you decided to do a US LLM? Also you mention that some may find the exam/tute system archaic - in what sense?
Thanks exbcler and treatise.

exbcler, why have you decided to do a US LLM? Also you mention that some may find the exam/tute system archaic - in what sense?




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exbcler
That was the sense I got from Hafiz's post.

I got a full scholarship, and there are certain Faculty members at my new school whose courses I want to take.
That was the sense I got from Hafiz's post.

I got a full scholarship, and there are certain Faculty members at my new school whose courses I want to take.
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ccf
I am in the same dilemma. I plan to pursue Dphil or SJD degree after completing my master program. I wonder the chances to continue my research degree (PhD in law or SJD) in Oxford, Harvard and Columbia. I note that Columbia recruits very limited SJD students. It seems very selective. Does anyone have any information about the chances for SJD program at Columbia?
I am in the same dilemma. I plan to pursue Dphil or SJD degree after completing my master program. I wonder the chances to continue my research degree (PhD in law or SJD) in Oxford, Harvard and Columbia. I note that Columbia recruits very limited SJD students. It seems very selective. Does anyone have any information about the chances for SJD program at Columbia?


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pnarg
I have a similar problem: in between Yale llm and Oxford Mjur (no common law background for me). Yale doesn't allow deferrals, but I am hoping Oxford does... any clues?

ccf: from what i've heard (and i've asked many people), if you are a good student and take advntage of your time during the llm to build a relationship with a professor (tutor to be), you will be for sure in any law school's doctorate program.
I have a similar problem: in between Yale llm and Oxford Mjur (no common law background for me). Yale doesn't allow deferrals, but I am hoping Oxford does... any clues?

ccf: from what i've heard (and i've asked many people), if you are a good student and take advntage of your time during the llm to build a relationship with a professor (tutor to be), you will be for sure in any law school's doctorate program.

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Andrea M
The Oxford website doesn't say that they don't allow deferrals, which probably means that they allow them in some circumstances (maybe I am wrong, I'm not sure).

The question is how useful is it to have a US LLM and the BCL? Would be great to hear from those who have done it, and deferred one of them.
The Oxford website doesn't say that they don't allow deferrals, which probably means that they allow them in some circumstances (maybe I am wrong, I'm not sure).

The question is how useful is it to have a US LLM and the BCL? Would be great to hear from those who have done it, and deferred one of them.
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exbcler
The Oxford website doesn't say that they don't allow deferrals, which probably means that they allow them in some circumstances (maybe I am wrong, I'm not sure).

The question is how useful is it to have a US LLM and the BCL? Would be great to hear from those who have done it, and deferred one of them.


Useful for what exactly? We want to help, but it is difficult to do that if we are not aware of your personal goals.

If you are asking whether the program is useful, then we would also need to know what you want to get out of it. What are your intellectual interests?
<blockquote>The Oxford website doesn't say that they don't allow deferrals, which probably means that they allow them in some circumstances (maybe I am wrong, I'm not sure).

The question is how useful is it to have a US LLM and the BCL? Would be great to hear from those who have done it, and deferred one of them. </blockquote>

Useful for what exactly? We want to help, but it is difficult to do that if we are not aware of your personal goals.

If you are asking whether the program is useful, then we would also need to know what you want to get out of it. What are your intellectual interests?
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Andrea M
Sorry exbcler.
My question is simply whether it adds anything, academically, to have BOTH an LLM and a BCL. Personally, I think that it is a way to avoid making a decision and one must choose, but I ask whether anyone has done both so they can comment.

My interests are in corporate and public law.
Sorry exbcler.
My question is simply whether it adds anything, academically, to have BOTH an LLM and a BCL. Personally, I think that it is a way to avoid making a decision and one must choose, but I ask whether anyone has done both so they can comment.

My interests are in corporate and public law.

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exbcler
Sorry exbcler.
My question is simply whether it adds anything, academically, to have BOTH an LLM and a BCL. Personally, I think that it is a way to avoid making a decision and one must choose, but I ask whether anyone has done both so they can comment.

My interests are in corporate and public law.



I know plenty of people who deferred one or the other, and managed to do both. Without knowing more about your circumstances, I would just say that if you have the opportunity to do both at minimal personal cost (both in terms of $$ and time away from your job and your life at home, assuming you want to go back), just go for it.

I think Oxford is good for public law (they have a good comparative public law course which I did not do because I do not read French, but have heard good things about from friends), jurisprudence of course, and fundamental common law subjects like conflicts and restitution. Those are the big courses. Colin Tapper is also good if you can get him as your Evidence tutor, but he only tutors Magdalen students.

I am not very sure about Columbia, but I hear it is stronger than NYU for corporate law subjects.
<blockquote>Sorry exbcler.
My question is simply whether it adds anything, academically, to have BOTH an LLM and a BCL. Personally, I think that it is a way to avoid making a decision and one must choose, but I ask whether anyone has done both so they can comment.

My interests are in corporate and public law.

</blockquote>

I know plenty of people who deferred one or the other, and managed to do both. Without knowing more about your circumstances, I would just say that if you have the opportunity to do both at minimal personal cost (both in terms of $$ and time away from your job and your life at home, assuming you want to go back), just go for it.

I think Oxford is good for public law (they have a good comparative public law course which I did not do because I do not read French, but have heard good things about from friends), jurisprudence of course, and fundamental common law subjects like conflicts and restitution. Those are the big courses. Colin Tapper is also good if you can get him as your Evidence tutor, but he only tutors Magdalen students.

I am not very sure about Columbia, but I hear it is stronger than NYU for corporate law subjects.
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