Faculty of LawLaw

Students of law work methodically to build solid knowledge of current law (legal dogmatics), and learn how to apply this to legal cases. The degree programme in law equips students with skills required to work systematically and conceptually to understand and apply legal concepts. The course also covers the relevant historical, philosophical and theoretical foundations of law.

A differentiation is generally made within legal dogmatics between civil law, criminal law and public law. The degree programme focusses on each area of material law, and students are also given an overview of relevant procedural law throughout the course. Alongside these three core areas of legal dogmatics, the degree programme also covers other so-called foundational subjects which are fundamental to students’ understanding of law. These include the history of law, the philosophy of law, legal methodology, political science, sociology of law, and comparative law. 

Special Features and Characteristics

Heidelberg University offers a high quality degree programme, which equips students with a good understanding of the legal system and the methodological skills relevant to each of the three core areas of legal dogmatics and other related subject areas. This ensures that students are successful in passing their first law examination. The core subjects have the greatest weighting in the state examination. Students in Heidelberg must therefore attend a small and large practice class in each of the three areas of legal dogmatics, and complete a term paper and a test for each one.  

The University also offers a comprehensive exam preparation programme (“HeidelPräp!”) which ensures a smooth transition from study to a commercial position at the end of the degree programme.  

Students of other degree programmes offered by the faculty also benefit from the focus on the three core areas of legal dogmatics. Students of law who have previously studied abroad for example, or students who have no previous experience of law, benefit from the focus on the totality of the German legal system.  

Heidelberg University offers students a unique opportunity to study course elements which are particularly relevant to the work of a lawyer. This entails additional courses and lectures (working groups, courses focussing on key qualifications, moot courts) and specific units of study which are integrated into the degree programme and focus on the skills required by lawyers. Such courses and lectures are taught by highly qualified, experienced lawyers. 

The course at Heidelberg University also covers international law. Students are encouraged to spend a period of study abroad. As well as the ERASMUS programme, students might take advantage of the University’s agreements with universities in Cambridge and Fribourg. Teams from Heidelberg University regularly participate in international moot courts and receive coaching from lecturers in the Faculty to do so. There is one area of specialism which requires that students complete half in Germany and half in Luxembourg. Academic work completed abroad may also be recognised for other areas of specialism. There is a comprehensive range of courses and lectures focussing on law in countries other than Germany, and on alternative legal terminology.

Research

The nine institutes within the Faculty of Law employ a total of 23 professors who manage and conduct academic research and offer lectures and courses based on their research findings. The names of the nine institutes indicate their varied research foci: 

  • Institute for History of Law  
  • Institute for Civil Law, Industrial Law and Insolvency Law  
  • Institute for Comparative Law, Conflicts of Law and International Business Law  
  • Institute for German and European Company and Economic Law  
  • Institute for German, European and International Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law  
  • Institute of Criminology  
  • Institute for Constitutional Law, Constitutional Theory and the Philosophy of Law  
  • Institute for German and European Administrative Law  
  • Institute for Financial and Tax Law 

Research is also conducted at the Institute for German, European and International Medical Law, Health Law and Bioethics (IMGB), which is recognised as an institute of the Faculty of Law at Heidelberg University and the Law Department at Mannheim University.  

For many years, the Faculty of Law has also collaborated with the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

Occupational Areas

Graduates of law may work in a range of fields: Traditional legal professions such as the post of judge, positions in public prosecution, in public administration or as a lawyer generally require that students train to be a judge (§ 5 German Judiciary Act), and successfully pass the first law examination and complete in-service training, followed by a second state examination. Beyond such regulated positions, a law degree might enable students to work in business, for associations, non-governmental organisations, in human resources, journalism, business or political consultancy.

Insights

I found it quite difficult to choose between the huge range of degree programmes after graduating from school. Graduating with a degree in Law has so many potential future career options! And that is something I really like about the programme.

Mareike Bayer, 20, Law, 3rd semester State Examination