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World Association of International Studies

Post JD and LLB Degrees
Created by John Eipper on 02/16/17 3:20 PM

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JD and LLB Degrees (David Duggan, USA, 02/16/17 3:20 pm)

Earlier, law schools--typically affiliated with a major university--gave LLBs or "Bachelor of Law" degrees (commonly when a BA was not required for matriculation in law school). In 1902, per Wikipedia, the University of Chicago began to give out JDs, but there was resistance at the Eastern Big Three (Harvard-Yale-Columbia) because of the stigma attached because the JD was associated with some of the "night schools" (commonly proprietary schools not affiliated with a "major university") to make their graduates sound more impressive.

Eventually most of the major law schools gave out JDs, and I have been unable to find any holdout.

JE comments:  I think WAIS addressed this question some years ago, but didn't Oxford and Cambridge originally reject the PhD or DPhil as a Germanic parvenu degree?  If so, there is a parallel here with the JD/LLB in the United States--the more prestigious institutions granted a lower-ranking degree.  (Not that German Universities weren't prestigious, but they were...German.)

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  • BCL Degree, Oxford (Tom Hashimoto, UK 02/20/17 3:08 AM)
    I would like to add BCL (Oxon) to David Duggan's list of JD and LLB (16 February). The Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford is a taught master's programme, equivalent to an LLM elsewhere. So, it says "Bachelor" but in fact it is a Master's programme, and it says "Civil Law" but it is a "Common Law" programme.

    Allegedly, it is called "civil" law as opposed to Church/Canon Law. At Oxford, the highest degree (in terms of the order to be presented at the official ceremonies) is Doctor of Divinity, and so, I assume that by contrasting with Canon Law, BCL came under the control of the Department of Law rather than the School of Theology.

    MJur (Magister Juris) is another taught master's programme at Oxford, but it is for students who completed a civil law degree prior to admission. It is an equivalent of MSc/MA, which paves the way to MPhil/DPhil.

    Yes, yes, MPhil/DPhil is another strange degree at Oxford. MPhil is considered as a research degree (as opposed to a taught degree), or mini DPhil. Those who successfully completed an MPhil may proceed to a DPhil, and if they do so, they become the second-year equivalent in DPhil. Those who do not have MPhil (like myself) enter the programme as PRS (Provisional Research Student) before we go through the Transfer of Status exam and become DPhil candidates. Typically, 1-2 years after the ToS, all DPhil candidates have to go through the Confirmation of Status exam, at which we must present roughly half of the written thesis/dissertation.

    JE comments:  Tom, could you tell us about the Oxford distinction between a research and a taught degree?  For the former, does this mean you do not attend actual classes or seminars?

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  • MA vs DPhil at Oxford (Robert Gibbs, USA 02/20/17 3:20 AM)
    My time at Oxford was the late 1960s, when the UK as well as the university were going through some major social changes.

    With all the DPhils being called Doctor, the common lament at the high table seemed to be:

    "Doctor? Doctor? Who are all these Doctors? Why can't they be MAs and gentlemen like the rest of us?"

    As an aside, most of my lecturers and tutors were MAs and wrote great books and accomplished great things but... no PhD/DPhil. One of them was something along the lines of BA Oxon, Failed or Incomplete!

    JE comments: The US "incomplete" equivalent is the ABD (All but Dissertation) degree, which isn't really a degree.  I'm curious about the "failed" part.  In brief, is it common or easy to flunk out of Oxford?  US universities are obsessed with "retention," keeping you in school.  Tim Ashby wrote last week about the Edinburgh MBA program, and how they weeded students out every semester.  What is the culture at Oxford/Oxbridge?

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