The uniqueness of the programme is its combination of accredited ‘regular’ law and accredited ‘regular’ economics courses into one single accredited programme, officially backed by two separate departments (Law and Economics, respectively) of Utrecht University. However, in order to allow full recognisability of the degrees granted in society and the economy, some students may prefer a Master of Science in Economics degree and others a Law Master degree. The programme has been organised in such way that students entering with a bachelor of law will typically be proceeding to an LLM degree, and students entering with a bachelor of economics (or business and economics) will typically be proceeding towards an MSc degree. Approximately two thirds of the programme (that is, the first two terms) is joint and about one third (the third term) is customised for the purpose of proceeding towards either an LLM or an MSc. The final, fourth term is devoted to thesis writing and there are possibilities for LLM and MSc track students teaming up with each other in developing their thesis. Since a thesis officially is an individual piece of work, students, however, will remain solely responsible for their part of such teamwork.
Joint goal of the LLM-track and MSc-track
The pivotal question of both tracks is how markets and organizations can be improved to make them work better. Insights from both economics and law allow to address this question in a much more comprehensive manner than the knowledge of just one discipline would. Therefore, in the first two terms each joint course focuses on a different aspect of this overarching goal. Whereas the course in corporate governance turns on the issue of how corporations are structured and in which way they are accountable to stakeholders, the course in Public Law and Economics focuses on both economic and public law theories of market regulation. These two courses therefore provide the building blocks for understanding both corporate and public aspects of market and organizational behaviour and market regulation.
The subsequent joint courses in European Competition Law and Economics of Competition Law centre around the question on how to provide for effective competition in a free market economy. Both the legal framework and the economics foundation for competition and competition law are discussed, critically examined and applied. This will give you a thorough understanding of not only the process of competition, but also of the effects of competition law on market behavior.
Track title: LLM-Track
The LLM-track, with its focus also on developing legal academic skills, continues in term 3 with elective courses called Capita Selecta. With questioning the heart of a central question in regulating markets: why regulate, instead of allowing for free competition? The courses delve into this question, again using insights from both economics and the law. In addition, a number of courses focus on the questions of supervision and enforcement: how can supervision be shaped, so as to be both efficient, effective and within the boundaries provided by the rule of law? Which types of enforcement strategies are possible and how does enforcement play out in practice? Within the Capita Selecta courses, you are invited to select a few to advance understanding of the relevant law topics of competition law, finance and banking and law and technology. The list of the elective courses is adjusted each year to include the most pertinent questions of contemporary developments. In the previous year, the Capital Selecta focused on issues such as Blockchain and financial markets, Blockchain and competition law, legal issues regulated to the operation of digital platforms, A specific course allowed students to contribute to the working of a competition authority and acquire practical experience in a governmental authority. In this way the LLM-track, culminating in a thesis on a legal issue of the regulation of markets, provides you with a profound understanding of the key legal issues of market regulation, topped with a sound knowledge of the economic theories involved. As this track leads to the Dutch civil effect qualification (if bachelor requirements are met), it prepares you not only for corporate practice and working in regulatory agencies, but also for law practice, both in leading law firms and niche-players focusing on competition law and regulatory law.
Track title: MSc-Track
The MSc-track focuses on how to improve the functioning of firms, markets and organizations. The track consists two courses, chosen out of five optional courses. The course Public Policy and Competition analyzes problems that arise when governments themselves are active players on the market and as such compete with private parties. Promoting public interests using public law in markets such as broadcasting and gambling will be examples of the analysis of the trade-offs involved. The course Financial Regulation explains how financial intermediaries behave, how market failures arise, and what the international regulatory response has been. The regulation of corporate finance activities, banking and financial markets is discussed. The course Mergers and Acquisitions discusses the rise and decline in the number, size, and complexity of mergers and acquisitions of the last decades. The course pulls together insights from economics, business, and law to fully understand and analyse takeovers and the role of regulation in this form of market restructuring. The course Behavioural Economics and Public Policy discusses the opportunities and challenges of evidence-based policy making, with a specific focus on behaviorally informed policy interventions. In this course students will study and discuss main behavioural theories and concepts, as well as randomised controlled trials, which are often considered to be the “gold standard” for policy impact evaluation. The course Energy and Environmental Economics takes the necessity and desirability of a transition towards a more environmentally and strategically sustainable energy system as a point of departure. Multidisciplinary groups of students will work on developing policy proposals that address challenges in the energy transition for the Netherlands, set by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands.
In addition, this track offers two required courses of 2.5 ECTS. In the course Economic Policy topical issues in the social-economic policy domain are addressed. The course Professional Skills, which runs over the entire year, provides you with knowledge and analytical skills to be more effective in a professional career by offering a series of workshops. You are also challenged to reflect on yourself.