Specialisation areas

Image: Jan-Peter Kasper (University of Jena)

Great importance is placed on providing the students with skills that are relevant to the labour market. The aim of specialising within the program is to convey in-depth knowledge to students in a branch of law that they have themselves chosen.

SA 1: Fundamentals of law and jurisprudence Show content

The objective of jurisprudence - one of the oldest sciences besides theology and medicine - is not only to interpret positive law, but also to reflect upon it critically. Critical and hermeneutical reflection as key competences are best obtained by studying the basic legal disciplines: legal history, legal philosophy, legal sociology, legal theory and legal methodology. The Law Faculty at the University of Jena with its broad foundation of teaching and research in this area, offers optimal surroundings in which trained legal scholars can develop employability for a spectrum of professions where they help shape our liberal legal system in a just and professional manner.

Courses offered on a regular basis:

  • Historical foundations of law:
  1. Roman legal history
  2. German legal history
  3. History of private law
  4. History of criminal law
  5. History of constitutional law
    Seminar on topics 1 to 5
  • Philosophical foundations of law
  1. Philosophy of law and state
  2. Legal theory and sociology
  3. Legal methodology and argumentation
  4. Political science and constitutionalism
  5. Legal ethics

       Seminar on topics 1 to 5

Course director: Prof. Dr. Harke


Link to the legal history database

Thulex: Thüringen - legislativ und exekutiv

Database with official printed matter of the legislative and executive branches of the state of Thuringia, founded on 1 May 1920, and the former Thuringian states. Joint project of the State Archive of Thuringia and the Thuringian University and State Library (ThULB).

SA 2: German and European commercial law Show content


The specialisation “German and European commercial law” places a strong emphasis on European and international aspects and allows students to prepare specifically for a career as a commercial lawyer in cooperation with practitioners from renowned law firms, as well as private and public commercial enterprises. At the same time, the courses offered in this area of specialisation in both private and public business law offer a gateway to the postgraduate course "Private and Public Business Law" and with it the possibility of acquiring an LL.M.oec.

The specialisation area 2 comprises in particular the following sub-categories:

  • German and European corporate law
  • Intellectual property law, competition and antitrust law
  • International commercial law
  • Law of regulatory economics

Courses on topics relating to these sub-categories are offered on a regular basis and can be freely selected by students. Having regard in particular to the necessary final exams according to § 15 SBPrüfO, a combination of courses from different areas sub-categories is possible. However, it is recommended that students choose to obtain comprehensive legal knowledge in the sub-category in which they intend to write their seminar paper; to that end it is advisable to choose as many courses in that sub-area as possible.

Sub-categories and courses offered

Sub-category “German and European corporate law”

The sub-category "German and European corporate law" builds on the compulsory courses offered in the field of commercial and corporate law and provides in-depth knowledge of the law of public and private companies, including European and international aspects. In view of its great practical relevance, special attention is paid to the law on corporate transactions (mergers and acquisitions) and the law governing special rights for capital market-oriented companies (stock exchange company law).

Highly qualified practitioners (in-house counsel, lawyers, notaries) contribute to many of the courses. Additional practical insights can be gained on the one hand by attending proceedings before the 6th Civil Senate of the Thuringian Higher Regional Court which is responsible for corporate law, and on the other hand through the possibility of completing an internship in the legal department of a company or a law firm specialising in corporate law.

The following courses are offered on a regular basis:

Building on the compulsory courses on commercial law and the foundations of corporate law, the following courses will be held for this specialisation every year, starting during the winter semester 2014/2015:

Winter semester:

  • Stock Corporation and LLC Law I (written exam)
  • Seminar 

Summer Semester:

  • Stock Corporation and LLC Law II (written exam)
  • Seminar
  • Specialised lecture (written exam), e.g. European company law, capital market law, contract design and shareholder disputes.

Sub-category “Intellectual property law, competetion and antitrust law”

The subject of the sub-category "Intellectual Property Law, Competition and Antitrust Law" is, among others, the law of intangible goods, now often referred to as "intellectual property law". This includes industrial property rights (patent law, design patent law, trademark law) and copyright law, the law of inventive pioneers. Intellectual products and services are protected against imitation. These legal fields have gained importance in recent years, especially due to recent technological developments (the internet) and increasing international trade in goods (product piracy, trademark counterfeiting).

Competition law (fair trading law) aims to ensure that economic competition operates fairly. The aim is to protect competitors and consumers from unlawful business practices such as misleading advertising.

Antitrust law ensures that competition is maintained and functions properly. This is achieved by prohibiting cartels (e.g. price fixing), by preventing the abuse of economic power (e.g. manipulating prices in order to exploit customers) and by preventive monitoring of company mergers (mergers, acquisition of shares). Antitrust control in particular is closely tied up with the regulation of energy and telecommunications in accordance with the Energy Act and the Telecommunications Act.

The protection of intellectual property is closely linked to Jena, which is home to a large branch of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. Furthermore, many innovative companies that depend on the protection of their intellectual achievements are based in the region. Internationally renowned trademark lawyer Prof. Dr. Ingerl, an honorary professor at the faculty, provides practical insights into the field.

The following courses are offered on a regular basis:

  • Lectures: Competition law
  • Lectures: Trademark law
  • Lectures: Copyright law
  • Seminar on competition law and intellectual property law
  • Colloquium: Current case law on competition law
  • Lectures: Patent and design law
  • Lectures: Antitrust law

Sub-category “International commercial law”

The sub-category "International Business Law” covers both private and public limbs of international law in their relation to transnational commercial law. The lectures and seminars, to which highly-qualified practitioners also contribute, impart knowledge from the fields of private and procedural international law, international trade law, public international law, as well as international uniform and arbitration law. A basic understanding of these areas of law is indispensable when shaping legal relationships involving cross-border transactions.

The following courses are offered on a regular basis:

  • Lectures: Fundamentals of private international law
  • Lectures: International commercial law (WTO law)
  • Seminar on European and international commercial law

Sub-category “Law of regulatory economics”

The fourth sub-category deals with private and public regulatory law, e.g. network regulation in the field of energy and telecommunications or capital market law, in particular the law relating to the supervision of financial services. Members of the Institute for Energy Law are involved in the teaching, especially Honorary Professor Dr. Michael Lippert.

The following courses are offerede on a regular basis:

  • Lecture: Energy industry law
  • Seminar on energy industry law

Course director: Prof. Dr. Bayer 

SA 3: German and European labour and social welfare law Show content

Specialisation area 3 focuses on labour relations and social protection. On the one hand, it addresses matters relating to the field of collective labour law as a whole, thus adding to the scope of the introductory lecture on employment law which has its focus on individual rights. In contrast, this specialisation deals with questions of industrial constitutional law, industrial dispute law and the law of coalitions, as well as procedural aspects of labour law. We also cooperate with the Federal Labour Court, and judges from Erfurt regularly give lectures in this area.

In addition, there are courses offered on social protection which deal with German social welfare law, in particular, an introductory course on the general principles of social protection. Furthermore, lectures on the system of social security law and the individual branches of social insurance are offered regularly.

Lastly, this specialisation also addresses European labour and social welfare law.


  • Lecture: The social welfare law system
  • Lecture: The organisation of co-determination
  • Lecture: Law governing collective bargaining
  • Seminar on labour and social welfare law
  • Seminar on case law relating to social welfare law matters

Course director: Prof. Dr. Fischer

SA 4: German and European public law Show content

This specialisation area combines essential legal aspects of modern administration. A range of professional opportunities and interesting creative tasks await students who have chosen this specialisation area. In contrast to other areas the concern here is often less with an infringement of rights or litigation. Instead the focus is on the challenges for the modern public administration, in using expertise and legal knowledge to structure the future for the public good. At the same time administrative law is the foundation for scrutiny, review and control exercised by supervisory bodies and the administrative courts. These tasks arise at all levels - local government, state and federal and for the EU and numerous international organisations.

The constitutional foundations of tax law are important for all students who wish to specialise in this area, considering the modern state is tax-funded. Finally, students will also study economic administrative law, which has experienced an unexpected upswing in recent years with interesting new areas such as telecommunications or public procurement law.

The specific feature of the specialisation area is the cross-jurisdictional dimension of the various forms of administration. Today, public authorities, law firms and courts no longer only deal with German constitutional and administrative law, but increasingly also with European and international aspects.

The area of specialisation reflects this development. Specific topics of the lectures are examined in greater depth in seminars. The courses provide students with targeted preparation for professional practice thanks to the cooperation with highly qualified practitioners working in courts, tax firms and commercial enterprises.

We particularly recommend the language programs for English, French, Spanish and Russian, which teach the respective legal terminology.


  • European constitutional and administrative law
  • Constitutional foundations of tax law
  • Public commercial law
  • International Organisations
  • Income tax law
  • Corporate tax law
  • Public commercial law (specialisation: Public procurement law)
  • Environmental law
  • Building and planning law
  • International law (advanced)
  • International economic law (WTO law)
  • Antitrust law

Seminar - as announced

Language courses:

Law & Language / Droit et Langue / Prawo po-russki / Derecho y Lengua de

Course director: Prof. Dr. Knauff

SA 5: Criminology Show content

Criminal law is an indispensable core area of our legal system. The subject area "criminology" reflects the breadth of this field of law. The lectures and seminars in this specialisation area convey qualifications that are in great demand in various professional fields (e.g. criminal courts, juvenile courts, public prosecution, the legal profession [in particular criminal defence], companies, the penal system, offender support, the police or ministries at state and federal level).

Studying criminal sciences is particularly appealing due to the interdisciplinary and experience-based nature of the subject. It covers the philosophical, historical, and doctrinal foundations of criminal law, e.g., in lectures on ancient criminal law history and in seminars on the philosophy of criminal law or on fundamental questions of criminal law doctrine. Among other things, criminology deals with why criminality arises, the forms it takes, and social reactions thereto. Its research interests are focused on legal facts, that is, on whether and how the law is actually implemented. It thus enables criminal law and criminal justice to be observed, as it were, from a distance - and sometimes from a critical distance. This critical insight is encouraged through courses on juvenile criminal justice, sentencing law, and the execution of sentences.

Criminal law and criminal procedure is becoming increasingly Europeanised and internationalised, as evidenced inter alia by the creation of international criminal law norms and international criminal courts. The lecture “International criminal law” is dedicated to this development. The courses on "medical criminal law" reflect the increasing importance of criminal law for the medical and health care sector. Lectures on "Forensic Psychiatry" offer insights into how experts in forensic psychiatry operate and illustrate their relevance to criminal law. Lectures on "economic and corporate criminal law" teach and question how behaviour in economic life is regulated by criminal law.  New forms of computer and Internet crime appearing in our digitalized era, including relevant criminal procedural issues are the subject of the lecture course "Cybercrime".

Courses (lectures or seminars):

  • Fundamental philosophical questions of criminal law
  • Dogmatic principles of criminal law
  • History of criminal law
  • Criminological principles of criminal law
  • Juvenile criminal law
  • Sanctions law
  • Penal system
  • International criminal law - (laws of jurisdiction, international criminal law, European criminal law)
  • Medical criminal law
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Commercial and corporate criminal law
  • Cybercrime
  • Criminal proceedings and criminal defence

Course director: Prof. Dr. Schramm

SA 6: International Law Show content

The importance of cross-border relations is particularly evident in the field of international law, which is largely shaped by the activities of international organisations such as the United Nations, the EU, the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The specialisation area provides deeper insight into international law beyond the compulsory curriculum, paying particular attention to the structure and activities of important international organisations and the central provisions of the international value system, including the internationalisation of criminal law. Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are now partly tried by international criminal courts.

Another important part of the specialisation area is the more in-depth study of European law. Advancing European integration represents a historically unique development that constantly raises new legal questions. The impact of European law on the national legal systems is of considerable importance in almost all areas; many national laws are also shaped by European legal requirements. For example, national regulations must be benchmarked against the fundamental freedoms of the EC Treaty, such as the free movement of goods, freedom of establishment, freedom to provide services and the free movement of capital. Public commercial law is particularly affected by European law requirements, and is therefore also covered by this area of specialisation.

Private International Law and Civil Procedure Law (IPR and ICVR) is another important part of the specialisation area. Questions relating to conflict of laws can arise in a wide variety of legal fields: in commercial and corporate law as well as in family or inheritance law. Legal relationships with cross-border implications are predominantly dealt with in international agreements and EU legal acts, which results in a variety of cross-references to the European and international law content of the focus area.

The courses in the "International Law" specialisation area offer students the opportunity to prepare for a career in European and international organisations. Given the immense importance of public commercial law, the specialisation area also provides excellent preparation for a career as a lawyer, as an in-house counsel in a company's legal department or in national commercial administration. In addition, the specialisation area provides important skills required for working for interest groups or associations on an international level. In some cases, the courses in the specialisation area are taught by highly qualified specialists who provide an interesting insight into everyday professional life and, if necessary, can help to find suitable internships.

Finally, credits earned in this area of specialisation with a focus on business law can be credited within the framework of the postgraduate program in Private and Public Commercial Law (LL.M. oec.).

This specialisation area comprises the following sub-categories:

  • International organisations
  • European constitutional and administrative law
  • European and German public commercial law
  • International private law
  • WTO law
  • International law (advanced)
  • Antitrust law
  • Law & Language

A total of eight courses must be attended in the area of specialisation, two of which must be covered by seminars.

The following courses are offered on a regular basis:

  • Lecture: European constitutional and administrative law
  • Lecture: European and German public commercial law
  • Lecture: Law of international organisations
  • Lecture: International Law (advanced)
  • Lecture: WTO law
  • Lecture: Introduction to IPR
  • Lecture: International criminal law
  • Law & Language lectures (also in languages other than English)

Course head: Prof. Dr. Ohler

A current brochure on the specialisation area "International Law" is available here for download [pdf, 7 mb] de.

SA 7: Civil justice and contract design Show content


The vast majority of all graduates of a given year take up the profession as a lawyer after completing their legal training. As such, specialisation area 7 deals with the implementation of substantive law in practice. It provides insights and skills that are important for qualified litigation, legal advice and law-making in a modern world.


In terms of content, specialisation area 7 deals in greater depth with selected areas of national civil law. In addition, students are introduced to the international dimensions of civil law and civil procedural law, as these have become increasingly important in legal practice in recent years due to increasing international interdependence in the wake of globalisation and European integration.


The following courses are offered on a regular basis:

  • Contract design
  • Law governing societies and foundations
  • law of stock corporations and limited liability companies
  • International private law
  • International procedural law
  • International sales law

In view of the practice-oriented nature of specialisation area 7, some of the courses are taught by lawyers and notaries.


Due to a lack of teaching staff, the range of courses offered in specialisation area 7 is currently limited and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Please contact the coordinator for further details.

Coordinator: Frau Prof. Dr. Giesela Rühl, LL.M. (Berkeley)

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