Through the Department of Law’s systematic and incremental curriculum, students learn to objectively analyze contemporary social problems and use a fair, logical thought process to work toward solutions — without the excessive stress of some law programs. These skills comprise what we call the “legal mind.” The Department offers over 140 classes, from small introductory classes to advanced seminars that explore cutting-edge fields. The flexible curriculum allows students to deepen their knowledge through self-directed learning, opening up a broad range of future career paths.
The Department of Law fosters individuals who are able to draw on a legal mind to forge their own path forward. Far from being limited to the legal profession, career options for graduates span abundant options from the civil service to business.
Selecting classes that fit one’s own interests and goals from the Department’s extensive offerings can be challenging. To help students accomplish this task, we have prepared several model courses of study tailored to career paths ranging from the legal profession to the corporate world. Our students consistently achieve outstanding scores on the civil service examination. Departmental graduates are also eligible to earn a teaching certificate (Elementary Type 2, Junior High School, or Senior High School).
Legal reforms of Japan’s law school system have been passed, cutting the minimum time taken to qualify as a legal professional after entering university from eight years to six. Students of the Faculty of Law may graduate early after three years and take the bar examination in their second year after entering the Graduate Law School. They may qualify as a legal professional after completing the Supreme Court’s year-long Legal Training and Research Institute program. Meiji Gakuin University’s Graduate Law School has concluded a partnership agreement with the graduate law schools of Waseda University, Chuo University, and Keio University, among others.* The Department has established this course to meet the needs of students interested in pursuing a career as a legal professional. Those wishing to take the course may apply for entry in their second year, if they choose. (The pre-entry program begins in the autumn semester of the first year.) *
*Students may choose a law school with which the Department has not concluded an agreement.
The law is a field with no “right answers” that requires students to refer to many texts and legal precedents during their studies. To support them in this challenging endeavor, the Department has instituted a Special Teaching Assistant (TA) System. Young legal scholars serve as TAs permanently stationed at both the Shirokane and Yokohama campuses. These TAs provide detailed assistance on everything from class content and study methods to report and thesis writing.
The Department’s 140-plus class offerings include many in fields at the vanguard of legal studies today, including Consumer Law, Intellectual Property Law, Adult Guardianship Law, Labor Law, and Environmental Law.
Starting in their third year, students are permitted to enroll in almost any advanced class throughout the Faculty. The emphasis is on student autonomy in this policy of permitting participation in classes outside the Department in which they are enrolled. By allowing students to take lectures and seminars in any subject they wish, the program encourages them to become proactive learners.
The Civil Servant Seminar brings in outside lecturers two to three times a week to support students in their preparation for civil servant exams. This makes attendance at a separate test preparation school unnecessary and helps students remain highly motivated throughout the challenging study process.
Students learn civil and criminal law — essential topics in the study of law — in small, discussion-oriented classes. In the Foundational Seminar, they build academic literacy and establish a strong foundation in the study and research methods distinctive to the Department of Law.
Small group seminars in the second year are geared toward ensuring a strong grasp of essential legal subjects. During these first two years, students solidify their understanding of constitutional, civil, and criminal law.
The aim of the final two years is to attain more advanced legal knowledge and thinking skills. Students select from a wide range of classes while also engaging in in-depth discussion on specific themes through seminars and special lectures. In addition, they may enroll in classes on cutting-edge subjects that match their career interests, such as international corporate activity, consumer and environmental issues, and adult guardianship legislation.