What is law

University of Cologne

Law students essentially expect the following courses and exams:

The individual areas of law are systematically presented in lectures and explained using practical cases. Most of the lectures in the compulsory subject area are aimed at all students in the semester in question and accordingly take place for a large number of listeners. They are usually held by professors who are special experts in this field. Lectures usually lead to one Exam at the end of the semester, in which students often have to work on a case in an expert opinion.

Working groups
The lectures of the basic studies accompany so-called working groups (mostly in the first semesters). In these, the application of the theoretical knowledge acquired to specific cases and especially the legal "expert opinion" style is practiced in smaller groups. The working groups are led by tutors who have successfully passed at least the first legal exam. As a rule, these are scientific employees of the institutes and chairs of our faculty, but a few are also "external".

Seminars are led by the professors themselves. These are courses with a limited number of participants in which students are introduced to independent scientific work. As a rule, they require a solid basic legal knowledge, so that you can only attend them from the third semester.
Usually first written work Submitted on the chosen or assigned topic, later in the seminar sessionsPresentations kept and the results found discussed . A special form of seminars are the restricted-access specialty seminars that belong to the first legal examination and that are relevant for the final grade. Seminars are important in order to acquire a content-related and formal qualification for a doctorate that may be considered later. They offer an excellent opportunity to practice oral expression as well.

The term papers in civil, criminal or public law are detached from specific courses. They are generally offered during the semester break and predominantly require a case to be dealt with in writing. The main difference to written exams is that the expert opinion is drawn up over a period of several weeks, taking legal and literature sources into account.

Subject-specific language courses
In foreign-language events and subject-specific language courses, students not only have the opportunity to acquire specialist legal terminology in another language and thus prove that they have acquired a foreign language competence. Rather, the courses offer students the opportunity to qualify for the practical requirements that are increasingly geared towards international cooperation.

Key qualification events ("soft skills")
The same applies to events in which “key qualifications” - negotiation management, rhetoric, mediation and much more - are imparted. Many of them are useful and interesting for students from the first semester onwards.

Moot Courts (optional)
Moot courts should also be mentioned. These are simulated court hearings that are often held in English and for which teams from different universities prepare for months and then compete.

Self study
The material imparted in the above-mentioned courses and queried in the examinations can only be successfully internalized if you prepare and follow up on it independently and repeat and deepen it on a regular basis. Therefore, self-study is indispensable for law students and an essential part of their everyday life that should not be underestimated. Dealing with legal literature is likely to be the common denominator and the basis of all other possible learning models.