Philosophy of Law and Governance

A deeper understanding of law
Programme of
Philosophy (2 years)
TitlePhilosophy of Law and Governance 

The track Philosophy of Law and Governance of the two year master Philosophy trains students to reflect philosophically upon the presuppositions and basic features of contemporary Western legal systems. The programme is interdisciplinary. General philosophical courses and specific courses in philosophy of law are combined with a student’s own selection of legal courses. The students of this track usually complete simultaneously a one year master’s degree in Law.

What is a legal system? Under what conditions is law just? Are citizens of modern, liberal welfare states free and equal? Are there any natural rights? Is international law legitimate? Does social justice apply beyond the state? Which understanding of a person underlies bioethical legislation? Do new forms of technology and governance undermine standards of what it is to be an autonomous legal subject? These and many other questions are raised and addressed in the two year master track Philosophy of Law and Governance.

This master programme is truly interdisciplinary. Students combine courses in philosophy, worth a total of 84 ECTS, with their own selection of courses in law, worth 36 ECTS. The philosophy courses either bring students up to speed on fundamental philosophical discussions (30 ECTS) or are especially designed for this track and concern philosophy of law specifically (54 ECTS).

Detailed information about the programme


Period 1
Period 2
Period 3
Period 4
Period 5
Period 6
Year 1
Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)
Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)
Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)
Philosophy of Law: Classic Texts
(6 ec)
Philosophy of International Law and Migration
(6 ec)
Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)
Philosophy 3
(6 ec)
Philosophy 4
(6 ec)

Philosophy 1
(6 ec)
Philosophy 2
(6 ec)

Year 2
Bioethics, Technology and Law
(6 ec)
Philosophy 5
(6 ec)
Seminar Philosophy of Law
(6 ec)
Tutorial Philosophy of Law
(6 ec)
Thesis Seminar
(0 ec)

Philosophy: Modern Classics
(6 ec)
Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)

Non-philosophical MA course
(6 ec)
Thesis
(18 ec)

Philosophy of Law and Governance courses in the Study Guide

In the master track Philosophy of Law and Governance students learn to problematize law philosophically. Already acquired knowledge of law is deepened in a confrontation with philosophical theories and concepts. Students are trained to do philosophical research.

Courses are taught by professors of philosophy from the Faculty of Humanities and by legal theorists and legal philosophers from the Department of Legal Theory of the Faculty of Law. This approach guarantees a unique combination of genuine philosophical training with close analysis of the most fundamental legal problems.

The exclusive character and small scale of this master enables students to profit from intensive contact with professors.

The set-up of this two year master track allows students to complete simultaneously a one year master’s programme in Law.

Rein Tijm

Student

Rein Tijm

"After (and during) my bachelor programme in law – which almost exclusively involved the application of existing law – I felt the urge to find out more about the mechanisms and motivations operating in the background process of law creation. The master’s programme Philosophy of Law and Governance turned out to be the perfect answer to my interests. The contents of the courses vary widely, which keeps it highly interesting. In some courses you examine the  theory of an authoritative legal or political philosopher within a very small group. You learn a lot from the personal attention you receive in the lectures and develop a proper in-depth view. With other courses you find yourself in a large group of motivated students from varying disciplines, during which you address some topical theme and study the views of many different philosophers. You learn a lot from each other and develop a wide view of the subject. And, because you normally combine this master with a regular legal master, you can earn two complementary degrees in two years!"

Dutch students

Specific admission requirements for the two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy, specialization in Philosophy of Law and Governance:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Law

Dutch students can apply via Studielink before June 1st for the master programme Philosophy of Law and Governance under the heading Philosophy 2 years.

After you have applied for the master in Studielink, you will receive two emails with your login details for VUnet (VU studentportal). Please complete your application in VUnet. Don’t forget to fill in your specialization on VUnet: Philosophy of Law and Governance.

Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Please contact dr. A.J. Wolthuis for more information about this programme.

Orientation
Meet us at the next Master's Event!

International students

Specific admission requirements for the two-year Master’s programme in Philosophy, specialization in Philosophy of Law and Governance:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Law

English Language entry requirements
All students whose first language is not English including both home and international students must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is appropriate. This requirement is specified in order to ensure that the academic progress of students is not hindered by language difficulties.

Acceptable qualifications 
Listed below are all the English language qualifications and tests and the level required to satisfy our English language entry requirements. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment.

  • IELTS Academic Version: Overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.
  • TOEFL paper based test: Overall grade of 600 with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE. 
  • TOEFL internet based test: Overall grade of 100 with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests.
  • Cambridge Advanced English: A, B or C.

Exemption 
Exemption from the requirements listed above can be awarded to students who have fulfilled the following requirements no longer than two years prior to the date of enrolment:

  • students who have fulfilled the requirements of the VU English language proficiency test TOEFL ITP, with the required scores. For more information please consult Taalloket.
  • Students with substantial education (minimum 12 months) conducted in English in an English speaking country.
  • Students holding an International Baccalaureate degree in English.

The required evidence should, if possible, be included with the complete application. If either unsatisfactory or no evidence of English language proficiency has been provided with the application, admission will be conditional upon the provision of such evidence. This condition will be clearly indicated on the offer letter and must be fulfilled before enrolment at the VU Amsterdam.

Students from abroad apply at www.vu.nl/application before April 1st. For more information contact the coordinator of the programme (see below under the heading CONTACT).

Your application will be reviewed by the Admission Board of the Faculty of Humanities. You will be informed whether you have been admitted via Studielink.

Information on courses and the study programme, please contact dr. A.J. Wolthuis

Information on practical matters (application procedure, scholarships, visas, etc.):

VU Amsterdam
International Office
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam

Contact person:
Irena Paap
International Student Advisor 
E masters.hum@vu.nl
t +31 (20) 59 85252

Orientation
Meet us at the next Master's Event!

Overview Philosophy: Philosophy of Law & Governance

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years (full time)/ 4 years (part time)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU students.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Part-time, Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Philsophy of Law and Governance is a specialization of Philosophy (2 years)

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law
Philosophy

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