Legal Scientific Theories, Methods and Writing

Course content

The course, Legal scientific theories, methods and writing is inspired by the American tradition of building the training of future lawyers around a course in Legal Research and Writing (LWR)- However in contrast to the American model, the course offered at the Faculty of Law has a stronger focus on research theories and methods and the writing of academic articles.

The MA course will aim to introduce the students to the very latest research techniques and ideas to enable them to write independent articles of scientific quality. To ensure that the course will build on the latest research results, the course will be taught by internal VIPs who will present their own research and the tools used to conduct it. These presentations will form approximately half of the course while the other half will be composed of the students researching and writing their own academic article and being subjected to different types of review and feedback.

The MA course on is an advanced version of the BA course on Retsvidenskabelige teorier, metoder og skrivning. As an advanced course the MA version will be taught in English (although this can be changed) and introduce the students to the best international scholarship in the form of cutting-edge legal science, its theories, methods and conventions. While the course will be taught in English, students will be able to submit their final project in either Danish or English.

The course targets students interested in legal research and aims to bring them up to a level at which they are able to, independently, find and delimit a suitable research project and plan and execute a plan to complete this research. This ability is not only relevant for students who chose to become researchers but also for other types of professional trajectories most of which will include legal research and drafting. During the course, the students will become familiar with a range of different theories that are currently hotly debated in the scholarly literature.

These theories include legal theories as well as social science theories that aim to explain the development of the law: Legal cynicism, legalism, regime theory, legal orders theory, law and economics, law and society and field theory. The approaches presented to the students may change to reflect what research is being undertaken at the Faculty of Law.

This course is part of iCourts Excellence Programme (iEP) – International Law and Courts in a Global World, see 'Remarks' below.

Learning outcome

• Advanced knowledge of legal scientific theories
• Advanced knowledge of legal scientific methods
• Advanced knowledge of writing processes and how to independently structure individual research projects

• Structure and complete independent legal analysis and writing based on scientific theories and methods
• Independently locate and identify legal research objects
• Build a legal scientific argument and situate it in a wider state-of-the-art

• Independently plan and execute complex writing tasks
• Engage in scholarly and scientific debate
• Give and receive scientifically based feedback

The main learning activities in the course are based on working with a scientific text and relating ones own research to the relevant theoretical and methodological perspectives as well as giving/​receiving/​implementing feedback.

The process towards a finished scholarly article will be divided into three different sections that are designed to follow the learning objectives of the course and provide progression throughout the semester:
- the first third of the course will be devoted mainly to becoming acquainted with the legal scientific theories and methods upon which the course builds. The invited VIP will present their own work and the course coordinator will situate this perspective in a wider theoretical and methodological landscape.
- the second part of the course will focus on the students finding and delimiting their own research objective.
- the third part of the course will focus on finishing the academic article.

While these three sections seem at first glance distinct, in reality there will be significant overlaps driven by the written assignments given to the students in which they will slowly move towards writing their article. Besides these elements, the learning activities will include group work, peer feedback and presentations.

The reading material of the course (750 pages) will consist partly of articles written by the legal researchers who introduce the students to their work. As such there is no fixed curriculum in a classical sense.

For each session taught by a researcher from the Faculty of Law, the students will read one or two scholarly articles on which the researcher will base his or her talk. The researcher will take the students through the entire process that preceded the publication of the article (getting the idea, writing the article, going through peer review etc.).

Besides this literature that will compose about half of the 750 pages, the students will read central chapters of Mark van Hoecke’s Methodologies of Legal Research (2011) as well as Howard Becker’s seminal book Writing for Social Scientists. This will account for about 200 pages. The rest will be selected by the students themselves as they prepare and execute the writing of their own articles.

Please observe, this course is part of iCourts Excellence Programme (iEP) – International Law and Courts in a Global World. Students who sign up for the iEP become iCourts Student Fellows and will get a unique opportunity to become part of the research environment of iCourts – the only centre of excellence in law in Denmark. The iEP is open to all Danish and foreign MA students at the Faculty. All iCourts courses may be taken individually but only students who complete at least three of the 15 ECTS courses offered by the centre will receive a certificate confirming their participation in the iEP. Read more about the programme: http:/​​/​​​​icourts/​​teaching-and-doctoral-training/​​master-excellence-programme/​​

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination
Project exam (including group project)
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • English
  • 412,5