International Programmes 2019/2020

International Master's Programme LLM Legal Theory (with European Academy of Legal Theory) LLM Legal Theory (with European Academy of Legal Theory)

Goethe University Frankfurt • Frankfurt am Main

Master of Laws in Legal Theory (LLM Legal Theory)
Course location
Frankfurt am Main
In cooperation with
University of Bologna (and EUI Florence)
Université libre de Bruxelle
University of Glasgow
University of Lucerne
Stockholm University
Teaching language
  • English


Programme duration
2 semesters
Winter semester
More information on beginning of studies
Regular classes start in late Oct.; from early Oct. on students may/should attend preparatory classes.
Application deadline

We suggest early applications. As there are usually some remaining places, prospective students can also try to apply before the start of the academic year, i.e., in late September.
Overseas applicants have to take care of visa requirements, take into account the period of time to get a visa in their respective countries, and apply accordingly early.

Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

The tuition for the whole academic year is 7,200 EUR. Prospective students may apply for a partial waiver (see application form).

Combined Master's degree / PhD programme
Joint degree / double degree programme

This programme engages with the ongoing globalisation and the connected structural transformation of normativity in law. It introduces the Anglo-American as well as the continental tradition of legal theory. However, its focus is on safeguarding European traditions as the basis of constitutionalism for a global perspective, developing legal scholarship and jurisprudence as a science, and developing jurisprudence as applied legal theory so as to enable students to solve system conflicts. Such conflicts occur quite regularly nowadays because national law is becoming supra-, inter- and transnational and because of the growing weight of transnational law-making on the part of non-state actors.
This is reflected in the unique character of the programme. Moreover, it offers an excellent institutional setting on the new Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt.
(1) The programme's exclusive concentration on legal theory makes it unique in the field of advanced legal studies in Europe, enabled by the university cluster of EALT.
(2) It rests on synergies between three institutions located on the same campus: a large law faculty, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (, the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders" ( integrating the Frankfurt social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and philosophy) with a focus on normativity, and the House of Finance (Institute for Law and Finance,
(3) It also connects the reputation of Goethe University (GU) with that of other renowned German and European universities.
Besides GU, the partners in the programme are the universities of Bologna and EUI Florence, Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ULB), Brno, Cracow, Lucerne, and Stockholm.
Associated partners contribute in a specific way within the activities of the Third Term Network, namely, in the supervision of students' Master's theses. They currently include renowned instructors from the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, Lucerne, Stockholm, Paris, and further universities as in Belgrade, Groningen, Palermo, Barcelona, and others. In addition, close cooperation exists with the International Association for Legal and Social Philosophy (IVR). The programme also has ties to major legal theory scholars at German universities such as Freiburg, Göttingen, Hamburg, and Munich.

Course organisation

The obligatory part of the curriculum consists of three compulsory modules (A-C) and of passing three elective modules out of seven (E1-7), and a Master's thesis (D). Students may stay at GU during the entire academic year. Alternatively, they may attend modules in Stockholm, Brussels, or Florence starting in February. Moreover, they are welcome to attend more or less the whole set of modules.
1. Compulsory modules:
A: Jurisprudence (History of Jurisprudence, Theories of Law, Moral & Political Philosophy of Law)
B: Theory of Comparative Law, Global Law; European Integration
C: Legal Methods, Inferencing in Law, Methodology in Legal Research (preparing D)
2. D-module: Master's thesis
3. Elective modules: E-modules deepen the basics of jurisprudence taught in A-, B- and C-courses.
E1: Law, History, and Culture / Cultural Studies (History of Law, Legal History, Legal Anthropology, Law and Religion)
E2: Law, Society & Culture (Legal Sociology, Law & Gender, Law & Literature)
E3: Law, Science and Technology
E4: Formation of Normative Orders (Legal Pluralism, Human Rights, International Law)
E5: Law and Economy (Governance & Compliance)
E6: Global Law
E7: Law, Language and Reasoning
Following current developments in legal theory, other courses may be additionally integrated into the programme.
Obligatory classes will be taken by approx. 20 international students. Elective classes will have fewer participants (minimum number: seven) and may be open to other students. Classes will mostly be taught by renowned academic teaching personnel and partly by legal practitioners. The academic year will start with the winter semester (October to February) in Frankfurt, consisting of modules A1-3, B1-3, C1-3, E1 and E2.
There is an introductory week at the University of Brno on legal writing (according to the Anglo-American as well as the continental model) and a preparatory week in Frankfurt (preparing module A), both subsequently in early October before the beginning of regular class in late October. Moreover, there are winter and summer schools in Palermo and other places. On individual admission, students may participate in lectures or conferences at GU convened by institutions such as the Max Planck Institute or the Institute of Law and Finance. There are no regular classes from early March to mid-April.
Spring/summer semester (mid-April to early July) takes place in late April / early May at GU (E4, E5) and in late May to early July at ULB and EUI Florence.
The so-called "third term" (mid-June to mid-September, no courses) facilitates an optional research stay at a partner university or another partner of the Third Term Network ("mobility phase D") in Europe or Germany.

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Types of assessment

Oral and written examinations, essays

A Diploma supplement will be issued
International elements
  • Integrated study abroad unit(s)
Integrated study abroad unit(s)

There are regular elective classes at the universities of Stockholm, ULB Brussels and EUI Florence.

There is also a variety of non-obligatory winter and summer schools or short term workshops at the universities of Belgrade, Glasgow, Krakow, Lucerne, Palermo, and Sofia.

Integrated internships

The programme provides no internships. However, some seminars will provide close contact with legal practitioners.

Course-specific, integrated German language courses
Course-specific, integrated English language courses
Tuition fees per semester in EUR
Additional information on tuition fees

The tuition for the whole academic year is 7,200 EUR. Prospective students may apply for a partial waiver (see application form).

Semester contribution
360 EUR
Costs of living
800 EUR a month or higher
Funding opportunities within the university
Academic admission requirements

For the Master of Laws in Legal Theory (LLM), the following requirements must be met:

  • Graduates must hold a basic degree in law or a basic degree in another field of study relevant to legal theory (e.g., arts, humanities or cultural, social, political, or economic studies) with a minimum duration of six semesters (180 ECTS).
  • In general, they should also prove a minimum of one year of professional and/or research experience outside the basic degree programme prior to the start of the Master's programme in Legal Theory.
  • Applicants who do not have English as their first language must include evidence of English language proficiency.

For further information, please see:

Language requirements
  • A test result in accordance with the International English Testing System (IELTS 7 points minimum), or
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Internet-based test 100 points minimum, with the following minimum section requirements: reading: 20, listening: 20, speaking: 20, writing: 20, or
  • any equivalent recognised English language proficiency certificate

Students holding a prior first or second degree with English as a medium of instruction do not have to submit such a test report.

Application deadline

We suggest early applications. As there are usually some remaining places, prospective students can also try to apply before the start of the academic year, i.e., in late September.
Overseas applicants have to take care of visa requirements, take into account the period of time to get a visa in their respective countries, and apply accordingly early.

Submit application to

Online at
or via e-mail using the application form (see website) – send application materials to the following e-mail address:

Possibility of finding part-time employment

In Frankfurt, 44,000 companies and organisations have approx. 450,000 employees on their payrolls. In addition, Frankfurt is the financial centre of Germany, with 350 banks, including the European Central Bank, 150 foreign banks, and the fourth-largest stock exchange in the world. Furthermore, Frankfurt is home to various cultural and research institutions. These are key players in a flourishing economy, offering students and graduates interesting jobs and internships. During your studies, there are plenty of job opportunities at Goethe University itself (e.g., as a tutor or research assistant), or you may look for jobs and internships elsewhere in the greater Frankfurt area. Some job opportunities are particularly interesting for students from abroad, e.g., at the airport and the trade fair. The "Studentenwerk" as well as the Career Services at Goethe University can help you to find a suitable offer.


Frankfurt am Main offers a wide variety of accommodation, from university dorms to privately rented apartments. The biggest providers of dorms are the "Studentenwerk" (student services: and churches.
The 19 dormitories offer more than 1,700 different accommodation units starting from approx. 200 EUR per month for a single room to up to approx. 550 EUR for a family apartment of 45m².
We strongly recommend that students contact such organisations as soon as they receive their letters of acceptance to the programme, as these rooms are in high demand.

Career advisory service

See above

Supervisor-student ratio

Goethe University Frankfurt

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© Lorenz Schulz

Goethe University is frequently ranked among Germany's leading institutions of higher education. Although the current organisation was founded as a university in 1914 by prominent citizens of Frankfurt, its actual origins go back to 1763. With currently approx. 47,000 students, including approx. 7,300 international students, the university prides itself on a rich tradition of intellectual and cultural excellence. Numerous Nobel laureates in science and medicine, including Max Born, Paul Ehrlich, and Max von Laue, were among the students and teachers at the university. It is home to the world-renowned Frankfurt School, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's Institute for Social Research, and three Clusters of Excellence in life sciences, medicine, and social sciences. Several Max Planck Institutes are situated on its campuses, too. Goethe University has enjoyed the teaching of philosophers and theologists, such as Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, and Jürgen Habermas. The university has 16 faculties, including Law, Economics and Business Administration, Social Sciences, Educational Sciences, Psychology and Sports Sciences, Philosophy and History, Theology, Linguistics, Cultural Studies and Arts Studies, Modern Languages, Geosciences and Geography, Computer Science and Mathematics, Physics, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Biological Sciences, and Medical Science.

University location

Since the Middle Ages, Frankfurt am Main has been a major trade and finance centre at the crossroads of Europe's trade routes. Today, as the leading financial marketplace in continental Europe, Frankfurt is the seat of the European Central Bank and of international banks such as the Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. Thus, Frankfurt is at the centre of European monetary policy and the European Monetary Union. Major public banking institutions, including the Deutsche Bundesbank and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, one of the EU's leading public credit institutions, are based in Frankfurt, as is the world's fourth-largest stock exchange, the Deutsche Börse AG. The stock exchange also houses the world's largest and most modern all-electronic derivatives exchange: Eurex.
The region benefits from an outstanding telecommunication and transportation infrastructure. Frankfurt Airport is the leading airport in continental Europe and offers excellent connections within Europe and overseas. Frankfurt's dense transportation network ensures a seamless connection to all road and rail links.
Frankfurt is an international meeting point. It is home to the oldest trade fair in the world, the world-renowned Frankfurt Book Fair. It also offers many cultural attractions, among them two opera houses, concert halls, theatres, and a great variety of museums and art galleries. Situated on one of Europe's great rivers, the Main, Frankfurt is a vibrant city with many recreational facilities catering to the city's international population.
Cosmopolitan in nature, Frankfurt is home to a large community of expatriate workers and offers a wide choice of entertainment in the English language, from cinema to theatre, literature, and sports. About half of Frankfurt's citizens are foreign-born. There are a multitude of ethnic-based associations, and food from around the world is easily available. Frankfurt is a city in the heart of Europe: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, and Zurich can all be reached by high-speed rail in less than four hours.