iCourts PhD in Law
In 2014 the Department of Political Science and iCourts launched a dual degree program that allows Northwestern doctoral students to qualify for a Doctorate in Law from iCourts at the University of Copenhagen Faculty of law.
Dual degrees require students to have doctoral advisors and to complete the mandated requirements of both institutions. Northwestern students generally apply to the iCourts dual degree program after completing their coursework and qualifying exams, thus in their 3rd year of doctoral studies. Successful applicants qualify for iCourts doctoral funding that can be used for research and dissertation writing.
Admission to the University of Copenhagen Law Faculty’s PhD program requires a Masters degree (or equivalent) and approval of a doctoral project, which includes an individual plan indicating how the student will meet the requirements for iCourts’ 3-year doctoral program. Northwestern students may apply at any time, but before beginning the dual degree program students must have a Master degree and have completed qualifying exams for the Northwestern PhD. Northwestern-based applicants need a letter of support for their proposal written by a Northwestern-based dissertation advisor.
Requirements for the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law PhD
- PhD Plan: A faculty member from iCourts will be added to dual degree dissertation committees. Within the first 3 months of enrollment in the iCourts doctoral program, students must develop a Phd plan that serves the purpose of project management. The Department of Political Science’s doctoral prospectus serves as the basis of this plan.
- Status reports: The iCourts program requires bi-yearly status reports. Any change in the Phd plan must be approved by Northwestern and iCourts doctoral advisors as well as of the head of the Phd school at the Faculty of Law in Copenhagen.
- Coursework: The University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law requires 30 units of ECTS coursework (the equivalent of 6 months of full-time course work) at the PhD level. Northwestern coursework may be used to fulfill this requirement if courses are considered to be above masters level. The head of the Phd school at the Faculty of Law must approve ECTS credit.
- Teaching: The University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law requires teaching experience. Teaching at Northwestern may qualify upon approval to the head of PhD school at the Law Faculty in Copenhagen. iCourts funding packages may be decreased if students do not also teach at the University of Copenhagen.
- Residency: Dual degree students are expected to spend at least six months in residence at iCourts.
- Roundtable presentation: Students are required to do a roundtable presentation at iCourts where projects are presented and discussed. This generally occurs within the first six months of enrollment.
- Pre-Dissertation Colloquium: No later than six months prior to completing the doctoral program candidates must present their research before their committee. This requirement may be fulfilled by an electronic (virtual) meeting, but it is better fulfilled by a public presentation at iCourts where an outside commentator/discussant poses questions and suggests improvements.
- Dissertation Defense: Students write one doctorate that must qualify at both institutions. University of Copenhagen requires dissertations to be approved by an assessment panel of three experts, of which two must be external. These external members are usually tenured professors that by definition are not members of the dissertation committee. The panel will be chaired by a member of the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Law. The two other members of the committee generally come from other universities and at least one member is from a university abroad (usually from another European country). The panel writes an assessment report, usually 10-15 pages long, and determines whether the thesis is suited to pass a public defense. The public defense usually takes about 2 hours. This defense does not substitute for a Northwestern defense, which must also occur for a Northwestern degree to be conferred.
- Funding: iCourts has generous funding for their doctoral students. This funding is intended to cover research and writing. The Graduate School at Northwestern will defer one year of a Northwestern graduate student’s funding package, at most, for a student’s return from Copenhagen.